On October 19th, 2009, Hunter Douglas will be offering a new line of vinyl shutters to the northern Nevada region, including Reno and Lake Tahoe. Currently, Nevada leads all other states in the sale of wood, faux and vinyl shutters.
Here is a quick background as to why this revamping was necessary. Hunter Douglas used to have many different fabrication plants around the country. When the Hunter Douglas Corporation bought family owned manufacturing companies, they kept only that company’s profitable lines. In this case, the Hunter Douglas Corporation bought the Bytheway’s fabrication plant in Sacramento. Bytheway’s had a shutter product called Harmony Shutters that was tremendously profitable. Hunter Douglas rebranded that product into the Summerwind Shutters line. The Hunter Douglas Corporation already had a competing shutter line called Palm Beach Shutters. So Hunter Douglas had two, competing hollow extruded shutter lines. All of the corporate marketing dollars were behind the Palm Beach line, and the Summerwind line suffered due to only having a local following. Therefore, they decided to combine the two products into one, hopefully improved shutter line.
Here is an overview as to what you can expect. Hunter Douglas promises a manufacturing time of less than 7 workdays in production. They will close one of the fabrication plants, and now all the shutters in this line will come out of the Sacramento plant. The material in both shutters was the same, so that will not change, but the configurations and options will. They are taking the best performing parts from each line and merging them together for a better product. This new line, which will continue to be sold under the “Palm Beach Polysatin Shutter” name, will be available in 4 designer “white” colors. Louver sizes will be drawn from the Harmony line, and will continue in 2 ½”, 3 ½” and 4 ½”.
Some things will be completely new. For example, they have now added a feature that will act as a light gap strip which will mount to the back of the frame. This will serve many purposes including hiding the mounting screws from the street side. That had been a common complaint amongst consumers in the past. There are new designer frames available as well, including a new Z-frame which will be selected by the majority of homeowners in the Reno/Tahoe area. There are 3 track systems available for door applications. When we make an appointment in your home, I will elaborate on them. This hardware is new though, and is smoother and quieter than its predecessors. They also added new hinge finishes to the revamped Palm Beach Polysatin Shutter line with an always popular, but never before available, antique brass, as well as a designer finish in brushed nickel.
One of the biggest changes is that of the tilt mechanisms. They have been completely re-designed. This was a necessary change. The old tilt bars, whether on the front or the back, had been the weak spot in the overall design of either shutter. Hunter Douglas’ claim is that these new tilt mechanisms are fool proof and indestructible. Their advice to us as dealers was to “break” or disassemble the tilt rods and then reassemble them for the client so that they could see how easily fixed they are if a child were to pull too hard on the rod assembly, or some other similar situation. One major change here though, is that the tilt bar on the front mounted type is manufactured for that individual panel, and therefore is not replaceable unless the entire panel is replaced. If the product is as durable as they claim, this will not be an issue.
The Hunter Douglas Palm Beach shutter is now available in 5 specialty shapes including arches, and more shapes will be added in the future. The 4 1/2” louver is not available in the shapes or in the french door application. In all arch shaped options, the only orientation of the louvers will be horizontal.
Due to these adjustments, there will be a better continuity to the entire Hunter Douglas Shutter line. They still have the Heritance all wood shutter, the New Style Composite vinyl shutter and now the Palm Beach hollow extruded vinyl shutter. This will make it possible to cross order these products as the frames and colors and styles are now more identical across the product lines.
I think that the best news for customers is that they have improved the product, but the net cost for most consumers has actually decreased due to the fact that virtually all the upgrades that used to be extra charges are now included in the base price.
Those homeowners with either the Harmony or Summerwind shutters in your homes should know that Hunter Douglas will continue to support your products indefinitely. Hunter Douglas says that they will continue to manufacture matching shutters to fill out the uncovered windows in your home. However, I would prioritize the purchase of those shutters as I don’t know how long they will continue to do this.
I am sorry for taking so much of your time to read this, but I’m very excited to offer this new line to my customers.