Company History - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Company History

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In 1947, United was created as United Sales Products by Frank Kalister to distribute and install overhead garage doors in the residential market. Frank started the business in his mother's garage in Cleveland, OH to provide him and his family a second source of income.

The company grew and by 1950 moved to Union Avenue and became Frank's sole employment. By this time United was the exclusive area distributor for the Milwaukee located, United Door, which at that time was a major force in the overhead door industry.

For a period in the 1950's, Steve Shimko and Leo Vassilo managed the company while Frank (retaining ownership) worked for other companies to broaden his experience in the garage door industry.

Frank returned to United in 1957 as active management and relocated the company to Scranton Road. In the following years, Frank led the company into the manufacturing of wood doors and wood replacement sections, first as a partner in a joint venture, and finally as the sole owner of a woodworking shop located on 13th Street in Lorain, Oh.

With the woodworking shop remaining in Lorain, United's main factory moved to 8400 Madison Avenue in 1962. While at this location United expanded it's product line to include commercial and residential operators and replacement parts for both doors and operators. Also at this time, United moved the production of flush plywood residential doors from the Cleveland location to the Lorain woodworking shop. On October 21st 1969, Frank founded and became president of the Ohio Door Association, which transformed into the International Door and Operator Association (I.D.A.), today's governing board of the industry.

In the mid 1980's Frank passed control and management of United to his two sons, Gary and Paul. They expanded United into service and installation in the late 1980's.

In 1990, United moved its Cleveland operations to a larger building at 8000 Madison Avenue. The building was purchased in 1987 and was then renovated with the help from the Cleveland organization of Small Enterprises. This larger facility gave United the room to enter the wholesale market on a larger scale.

Building on the experience their father taught them, the Kalister brothers pushed the company to become a wholesaler to local contactors, builders and opened a showroom for Cleveland's retail market. Finally in 1997, United was sold to Gray Horse, Inc., a Chardon, OH based Company. Gary and Paul remained at United as their positions changed to Vice-Presidents, and Jim Osborne, II became President of United Garage Door. In April 2000, both Gary and Paul stepped out of the company leaving full management responsibilities to Jim Osborne and new Vice-Presidents, Paul "Rusty" Berner and Dave Ziegler.

Also in 2000, the woodworking shop, formally based in Lorain, OH, was relocated to the main factory on Madison Avenue in Cleveland. With this relocation came the end of wood replacement sections being made by United and the opening of a Custom Wood Door Department featuring Carriage House Style Doors with an overhead operation. Since 2000, United has continued to improve its product lines by offering more doors, more colors and more options for all of its customers. Servicing and installing residential and commercial doors are a matter of expertise with United as well as automatic door openers for any application you might need.

With a new Millennium beginning, United will remain a foundation block for the garage door industry of Cleveland, OH, but they also hope to become a household name for all of Northern Ohio.

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