It all started with Grandfather clocks.
In 1995, George Liu and his father, Marlon, pooled their money and bought a small manufacturing plant in China. The factory made Grandfather clocks, and George’s modest, metro-Atlanta home would become the US headquarters and warehouse facility. It was a humble beginning, and the father-son duo had no idea what was in store for them.
Being a young entrepreneur and visionary, George was not afraid to take on a challenge. He knew the market for Grandfather clocks was limited, so he decided to make a change. He and his dad sought bigger and better opportunities for growth, and stair parts was going to provide that opportunity. They retooled their factory and began their journey down the stair parts road. They called the business LNL Building Products.
It was not an easy path. Not only did they have to learn the stair parts business, problems with machinery, product design and the factory itself seemed to pop up at the worst times. Plus, there were constant challenges of importing product and keeping the supply chain functioning. The two kept at it, working tirelessly to overcome roadblocks.
Through a lot of long hours and hard work, production volume started to grow. Small victories turned into larger ones. A handful of customers developed into several large accounts. Focusing on the dealer and wholesaler channels, demand increased steadily. And when the housing market began to explode in 2003, LNL's production hit high gear.
Momentum finally, had turned their way. Dealers and wholesalers could offer their customers quality stair parts, in volume quantities, while maintaining profitable margins. LNL expanded their product line to include metal balusters, handrails, rail fittings, and more. Even better, owning the factories meant LNL provided their customers with flexible container loads of products their customers wanted most.
That was the game-changer. Dealers and wholesalers were no longer locked into buying an entire container of one product. They could mix container loads to match to their assortment, which improved their inventory turns and margins.
While their competitors struggled to provide basic, commodity stair parts, LNL had them in stock, ready to ship. As high-end, custom home designs became the rage, customers wanted box newels, and they wanted them in red oak, white oak, maple, mahogany, and cherry. Again, LNL was there to meet demand with containers of beautiful box newels, in dozens of designs and species.
In 2006, George and his dad branded their line Regency Stair Parts, and new designs and profiles were created to solidify their share in the marketplace. The booming housing industry helped Regency add new channels of distribution throughout much of the US. It might not have been their original goal, but George and his dad had transformed the entire stair parts industry.
Today, LNL Building Products has over 1200 employees in China and the US. No one could have predicted that a small Grandfather clock factory would become one of the largest stair part manufacturers in the world. Thanks to the vision of George Liu and his dad, that is exactly what happened.