Frank, the new Ostaco
The 41-year-old door prehanger gets a new name
July 5, 2022 By Daniel Reale-Chin
Frank stands proud at 248 Bowes Rd. For the last 40 years the company was known as Ostaco. Ostaco entered the market as a small patio door manufacturer based in Markham. The addition of windows and entry doors brought growth and expansion.
Currently operating out of Concord, Ont., CEO Marco Greco comments, “This felt like the right time to rebrand. The last couple of years have been difficult and the adversity has made us stronger as an organization and helped us to focus us on what matters most – our team, our partners, and our customers.” He goes on to say, “With this new brand – which is much easier to pronounce! – we’re keeping it simple and trying to be the best at what we do, we make windows and doors.” Besides its straightforward messaging, the name Frank pays homage to its founder, Frank Greco, who started the company in 1981 and who continues to operate the family run company with his son Marco.
Like the other buildings on Bowes Road, Frank is a Goliath. It’s a massive production warehouse and office with a lunch room that features views of the other businesses like a marble and granite warehouse and metal products warehouse that call Concord home. At 90,000 square feet, Frank’s production floor is cavernous, separated into two areas – windows and doors – with a long line of flags that hang from the ceiling.
“Each of the flags represents a country where one of the team members is from,” says Laura Weil, vice-president of business development.
The door area is 16,000 square feet, with 14 skilled workers overlooking its door-slab machine, jamb-prep machine and CNC machine, among others.
As a door prehanger, Frank has carved out a niche in the market by focusing on fiberglass doors and composite door materials.
In its four decades the space has seen changes but, on the door side, Weil says at its core the process has stayed the same. “The materials may have changed, but I think what makes us special is that our doors are still traditional bench-built.”
The prehanging process is done in-house, with part of Frank’s raw material like the vinyl-clad frames and doors coming from Vision Extrusion, up the street in Woodbridge, Ont.
“We offer vinyl-clad frames, which match well with our vinyl windows. It lets customers match their doors and windows and gives the exterior of their homes a harmonized look,” says Weil.
Some remnants of solid-wood doors can still be found on the floor, but Weil says its something they’re phasing out.
“For our door systems, we’re moving away from solid wood and using more textured composite material. We’re doing the same for our jambs and frames, moving away from veneered and toward the textured composite jambs,” says Weil.
Frank’s biggest focus has been on fiberglass door systems. With the growing area, Frank has become closely associated with Therma-Tru, a Maumee, Ohio-based fiberglass producer. In recent years, Frank has become Therma-Tru’s sole distributor in the Greater Toronto Area. “Therma-Tru has a unique stance in the industry,” says Weil, “they’re the largest fiberglass producer in North America, have a large research and development budget and great designs.”
By working exclusively with Therma-Tru, Frank has access to the manufacturer’s premier products, access to a fleet of what Weil calls progressive designs and allows them to produce door systems with looks that range from classic through to modernist. In fact, Therma-Tru’s 30,000-square-foot innovation center – which houses the company’s R&D team – allows them to research and create new designs. The company also performs system tests at the innovation center, which adds peace-of-mind for Frank.
“We also work with other Canadian manufacturers. But we’ve started to manufacture to Therma-Tru’s specs,” says Weil, “They also provide our slabs, hinges and frames.”
“Our product offering is entirely focused on fiberglass doors and composite door materials – aligning with the Therma-Tru product offering. Our growth strategy is being supported by the efforts of Vas Tampau and the Frank production team,” says Greco.
New name, Same people
Tampau’s office is on the main floor of Frank’s production site. For seven years, Tampau worked as Frank’s entry-door production specialist, managing the daily operations of the manufacturing site. Last month, Tampau made the transition to technical product specialist. “The transition has been tough, but exciting,” says Tampau, “There’s been a lot of traveling involved and I’ve been working directly with Frank’s network of dealers.”
With a network of over 200 dealers, Tampau has been busy with marketing, brand knowledge and showcasing Frank’s new offering. “We have a vast dealer network in Ontario and Winnipeg. We have a great relationship with our dealers, they’re highly specialized in their markets, and our product is custom.”
In terms of stains and designs, Frank has been using PrismaGuard finishers from Therma-Tru for the past three years.
“There’s 30 colours of stains with four grains, but the most popular have been the trendy stains like walnut grain, which has a nice deep colour. The grain also runs horizontal rather than vertical, which seems to be emerging, so customers like it.”
New name, New product
Flush-glazed doors have also become a growing part of Frank’s offering. The embedded glass means that the door systems have a larger glass-area compared to glass-insert door systems. Compared to inserts, flush glazing also makes the pre-hanging process more cost-effective and the overall product lighter.
“Flush-glazed systems are a growing segment of the market because its uncommon. Customers are responding to it really well. They like the fact they’re getting a larger glass area, it also gives a simpler look since you no longer need the door lite surround. Our dealers also like it because, well, the demand is growing, but also because it makes the overall door system lighter,” says Weil.
Not your Momma’s house
Beyond the flush-glazed doors, Weil has noticed tides shifting towards modern designs, “If you go back 20 years ago, the industry focused on a lot of steel and wood doors with highly decorative glass. Now people like grand entrances with simple glass-designs.”
As architectural trends move away from the maximalist designs of the early 2000s and ditch the minimalist trends that defined the 2010s, new designs seem to blur the lines between grandeur and simplicity. According to Weil, waxing trends like eight-foot doors, chic designs like black frames and door-systems, and the demand for balanced looks that match exterior trims and finishes on windows and doors are on the rise.
At Frank, the highly customized door prehanging process allows the company to keep-up with trends as they arise, the traditional bench-build procedure sets them apart from automated competitors, and the name change from Ostaco to Frank offers a fresh take on a family-owned business.
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