Superior Windows & Doors expanding

Housing starts are down, remodeling permits aren't flying out the door and most folks are leery about overextending their finances.

But that hasn't slowed Roy Cooper much.

The owner of Superior Windows & Doors is in expansion mode, relocating the company's longtime Ashland showroom and opening a new showroom and warehouse in north Medford.

The 1,500-square-foot shop at 300 E. Hersey St. serves the company's historical customer base in Ashland, while a new 5,000-square-foot shop at 1121 Helicopter Way, off Medford's Vilas Road, reflects Superior's recent growth.

"I actually knew immediately when we bought the business five years ago that we were ready to grow," said Cooper, who purchased Superior Windows & Doors from founder Dave LeFors in 2004. "I signed a five-year lease, but the moment it expired this summer I said the time had come."

While the business took its lumps between 2006 and 2007, Cooper said the company is 50 percent bigger than when he acquired it.

"We bought the business at the height of the (real estate) market," Cooper said. "Even though we lost 20 percent of our business — and I would say everyone lost about that much between 2006 and 2007 — we're much larger than the company we bought. We're even eyeballing Grants Pass and Roseburg and are ready to move right up the I-5 corridor. Commercial property values are down big time. So it's a great time to expand, just like it's a great time to buy a car or house."

Cooper said he looked for about six months before settling on the north Medford location.

"It doesn't make sense to build right now because you can lease for a whole lot less," he said.

A new shell that had never been occupied suited Cooper just fine.

"The showroom was built exactly the way I wanted," he said. "I didn't have to change what I did to fit the building."

With Ferguson Enterprises, a Newport News., Va.-based plumbing, heating and air-conditioning wholesale company with a 10,000-square-foot showroom nearby, Cooper anticipates economic synergy.

"We could serve as anchors, attracting cabinet makers and other guys," he said.

Superior Windows & Doors has shipped products as far as the coast, Merlin and Klamath Falls. In recent months it has supplied windows for Southern Oregon University's new student housing project and developments in Central Point and Jacksonville.

"Our growth, long-term, is in places like Eagle Point, Central Point and Jacksonville," he said.

The company had as many as nine employees three years ago and has a staff of six right now.

"I've had a tough time finding employees," Cooper said. "I listed a job opening on Craigslist and got 100 resumes. We're in a very specific niche and there was only one person with window and door experience."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail

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