From Evolution to Revolution… The Style Crest Story
- In the spring of 1967 Tom Kern and Eric Haas, two students at Bowling Green State University, on a trip to Washington D.C. observe an abundance of mobile homes and residential site built homes with substandard entryways, dangerous, lacking substance and curb appeal.
- With their work and desire to tap into the emerging plastics industry the idea was born to design and produce safer, durable, appealing steps and railing.
- The first fiberglass step was developed during the summer of 1967 in Tom’s father’s fabricating business building and later perfected in Tom’s home garage.
- The new entry step design utilized a wood base coated with several layers of fiberglass that was nearly indestructible.
- True to their entrepreneur spirit, Tom and Eric also experimented with developing polyurethane foam kitchen cabinet doors that could be coated to resemble a wood-like finish. These products and fiberglass steps were at the core of our companies beginning.
- With $12,000 in savings and a short list of investors to back him, Tom went into business with Eric, opening Poly-Foam International in Fremont, Ohio.
- Producing fiberglass steps and cabinet doors, the Style Crest name was created and quickly became associated with steps, while the Poly Foam name was connected to the kitchen cabinet doors.
Now with a total of 15 employees, sales and marketing for the step business consisted of loading steps on a truck, driving to retail lots, and demonstrating performance using a sledgehammer to prove durability, winning over customers one by one.
- By mid-1970’s customer growth was rapid and their need for other quality products prompted Style Crest to grow into a distributor of manufactured housing products.
- By 1979, nearly 4,000 items were offered and the company now employed over 60 associates.
- The truck fleet had been expanded to semi-trucks and Style Crest was moving forward, growing rapidly.
- PFI Transport was created as a new division to deliver Style Crest products to a growing customer base throughout the Midwest, East Coast and South.
- Style Crest acquires Anchor Sur Products in 1981, the primary anchoring system of the manufactured housing market. Production of these products is consolidated to Fremont.
- Style Crest also starts production of vinyl foundation skirting in 1983 as a new and better alternative to aluminum skirting products that it was manufacturing in Fremont.
- By 1984, quick growth led to opening of a second distribution center in Atlanta, Georgia and another one located in Tampa, Florida.
- In 1985, the corporate offices and factory were relocated to allow for expansion of production facilities, consolidation of distribution and manufacturing was started in Florida.
- Another new division, GMH Enterprises, opens in 1986 focusing on real estate investment development, building and leasing warehouses in Fremont, Ohio.
- The late 1980’s saw the relocation and expansion of distribution centers in Florida, Georgia, and the opening of a new distribution center in Fremont, Ohio.
Success & Recognition: 1990’s
- In 1991, Style Crest opens a fourth distribution center in Hometown, Pennsylvania.
- In 1992, a new division, Resource Materials Corporation, started producing a line of RMC Vinyl Siding.
- Two more distribution centers followed in 1994, one in Reidsville, North Carolina and one inWaco, Texas.
- By the mid 1990’s Style Crest put a team together to expand beyond theManufactured Housing market and started selling vinyl siding to the Residential Housing market through 1-step specialty distributors and directly to independent lumber yards.
- In 1996 and 1998, Style Crest earned the National Supplier of the Year award from the Manufactured Housing Institute. This award recognizes companies for their vision, dedication and extraordinary achievements, innovation and can-do attitude to promote a positive image and advancement for the industry.
- In the late 1990’s Style Crest increased customer service in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia with the acquisition of three companies – RKS, Winfield Supply, and Harco. This is a time of rapid growth and expansion. The economy is good and the manufactured housing industry is growing.
Leadership & Progress: 2000’s
- The new millennium ushered in product improvements in both steps and vinyl siding, introducing the EZ Step with an additional slip resistant safety feature along with a premium vinyl siding line, Harbour Crest™, for original equipment manufacturers.
- In 2000, Style Crest purchased Keck-Hall Supply, another respected distributor of manufactured housing products in North Carolina.
- 2001 saw Style Crest become the exclusive distributor of Magnavox Security Systems for the manufactured housing market.
- 2001 Tom Kern is selected as “Industry Person of the Year” by the Journal.
- Style Crest Sales was created to support sales of all York International Corporation Coleman brand HVAC equipment for the manufactured housing industry.
- Continued progress resulted in building a new headquarters in Fremont, Ohio and a seventh distribution center in Collins, Mississippi.
Collins also became the headquarters for a new installation division, Style Crest Home Services.
- In 2003, Style Crest received the “Circle of Excellence” award from Fleetwood Homes, a leading manufacturer and retailer of Manufactured housing. This achievement was based on on-time deliveries, order accuracy, customer service, invoice accuracy, problem resolution, cost reduction initiatives, and technical assistance.
- Late 2004, another distribution center in Russellville, Alabama was opened. The Mississippi and Georgia warehouses were then consolidated into this 328,000 square foot facility.
- In 2005, the Plant City, Florida facility was relocated to a larger 35,000 square foot facility in Lakeland, Florida.
- Hurricane Katrina was a devastating event that effected several families in the Gulf region in 2005/2006. To support relief efforts, Style Crest took quick action by setting up two temporary distribution centers in Mississippi and Louisiana and our associates worked together to support housing set-ups, helping 160,000 victims who lost their homes.
- As production of vinyl siding grew, in 2006 Style Crest installed a new state-of-the-art packaging system, Auto-Packer, with a built in vision system to assist in quality control.
- Also in 2006, Poly Foam International, Inc. officially changed its name to Style Crest Enterprises, Inc. Several of the nine divisions were then consolidated to streamline the business and formally transition to a one-company structure.
- In 2007, Style Crest announced the opening of a new larger distribution center in Hammond, Louisiana, relocating the Prairieville facility.
- As business with Lumber Building Material Dealers grew, Style Crest in late 2007, launched the HomEx® Innovative Exterior brand of vinyl siding for this channel.
- In 2011, Style Crest opens another new larger distribution center in Archdale, North Carolina, relocating the Fayetteville facility.
- Also in 2011, our newest vinyl product customer serving the residential housing market, Norandex, names Style Crest Vendor Partner of The Year, recognizing Style Crest’s commitment to customer service and growth for Norandex.
- While using the technology since the 1980’s, Style Crest started to officially brand and market its proprietary AccuCharge® systems in 2011 and in 2012 took it one step further by introducing the REVOLV® brand, the next generation of HVAC products designed specifically for mobile homes.
- To meet the changing needs of the residential housing industry, in 2013 Style Crest revamped its entire vinyl siding line
offering an expanded palette of colors, profiles and new embossments.
- Committed to bring great products to market for both residential housing and manufactured housing, with outstanding customer service, in 2014 Style Crest was recognized first with the Supplier of the Year award from the Independent Builders Supply Association and then the prestigious Supplier of the Year award from the Manufactured Housing Institute for the third time.
- An industry leader for over 40 years, Style Crest continues to bring innovative products, service and programs to market. In 2014, recognized for his leadership in the manufactured housing industry, his entrepreneur spirit, and dedication to bring better and innovative products to market, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation inducted Tom Kern into the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
- Today, Style Crest continues to serve the Manufacturing Housing market nationwide with over 4,000 products, and offers a full line of manufactured vinyl siding along with other exterior cladding products to the Residential Housing market on a regional basis.