Case Studies

Cardinal Shower Enclosures

New projects and divisions drive growth for a North American leader

Cardinal Shower Enclosures is a full-serviced manufacturer of shower enclosures serving customers across the U.S. and into Canada. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky with locations across the country, Cardinal has the ability to reach 80 percent of the domestic market with twice-weekly deliveries.

The family-owned company produces a full range of high-end shower doors and enclosure systems, engineering, manufacturing and testing all its own glass in an 80,000-square-foot tempering facility and 208,000-square-foot production plants. The company also offers its own line of related hardware such as pulls, towel bars and knobs, making Cardinal a one-stop shop for all of a customer’s custom shower enclosure needs.

In the 20-plus years since the pivot to the manufacture of shower enclosures, Cardinal has grown into one of the most prominent names in the market. The company now employs nearly 600 people between its Louisville headquarters and six additional locations across the U.S. and has an in-house trucking fleet that allows it to defray transportation costs and ensure timely delivery.

Tapping into the commercial market

Cardinal has enjoyed healthy growth as of late, breaking sales records in both March and April 2016. Wolf credits this growth in part to the company’s foray into the hospitality market and the introduction of Cardinal Commercial Products (CCP), a new division focused on the manufacture and wholesale of products for the commercial market.Cardinal Shower Enclosures

Launched in 2013, CCP offers everything from all-glass storefronts and entrance doors to curtain wall systems. By utilizing a screw-spline assembly system, these products can be quickly and easily installed, saving customers valuable time and labor costs. The division has its own 80,000-square-foot production facility, allow the company to ramp production up or down as dictated by demand.

Cardinal has also made a concerted push into the hospitality market. This new niche represents and exciting growth opportunity for the company, which is now providing showers, commercial and art glass to the hospitality industry. While a large portion of the company’s hospitality sales currently fall under the Cardinal Shower Enclosures brand, Wolf says the industry is a companywide focus.

Rolling out new products

The company recently introduced a new line of tempered seeded glass that combines the safety of tempered glass with the unique look of a seeded product. Distinguished by the small bubbles than run throughout each pane, seeded glass has become increasingly popular as of late.

“It has that antique look with the little bubbles that you would expect in old glass, but it’s tempered so it’s safer. We just started offering that in the last six months and we’ve received some great feedback on it so far,” she says.

As Cardinal looks to continue diversifying its product offerings, the company has placed an increased focus on its hardware division. While Cardinal has offered products like pulls, towel bars and knobs for years, it’s now looking to expand its hardware offerings. “We’ll be adding on to it a lot and offering it via our online store, which should launch in six to eight months,” says Wolf.

The company is also looking to add to its line of shower enclosures, starting with an update to the popular Skyline sliding door enclosure systems. A preferred product in the hospitality market, the Skyline series features one fixed glass panel and one sliding glass panel with a bold, industrial look and is available in sizes ranging from 48 to 72 inches.

In the near future, Cardinal hopes to introduce a double-roller Skyline unit which can opened using either panel. Optional features will include the Cardinal 10 surface protection, which uses state-of-the-art nanotechnology to make glass easier to clean. “We’re currently working on the technical aspects and design and hope to be ready within 6 months to a year,” she says.

Cardinal is now closely tracking the emerging popularity of frameless glass systems, which the most recent trend to hit the industry. “The glass has no aluminum or metal around it, creating a cleaner, sleeker, more industrial look,” Wolf says. “A lot of our newer products are more toward the frameless, but we do have some semi-frameless as well as some that aren’t frameless but give the illusion of being frameless.”

Building a relationship through customer service

Success can be a slippery concept to nail down. For some, it’s measured in raw revenue while for others it’s a less material calculation. At Cardinal, success comes down to the company doing all it can to best serve its employees, customers and vendors.

“Customer service has always been a huge deal for Don. For example, we don’t have an automated system when you place an order because Don felt personal interactions were very important when it comes to taking care of everyone,” says Wolf.

While Cardinal is working to integrate the next generation of employees into its workforce, Wolf says that a disparity in expectations around company culture and work/life balance can be a source of friction when it comes to younger employees.

“We’ve had to be aware that it’s a different mindset and that millennials are much more independent thinkers. Baby Boomers’ work ethic was self-sacrificing, but the millennials need to see more immediate recognition for their efforts,” she says.

With new products lines and divisions driving unprecedented growth, Cardinal Shower Enclosures will retain its position as one of the leading manufacturers in its field.

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