Frankford Umbrellas Doubles Production, Warehouse Space, And Shipping Capability

Frankford Umbrellas Doubles Production, Warehouse Space, And Shipping Capability

MT. LAUREL, N.J. – Frankford Umbrellas, a provider of shade solutions for the contract and retail industries since 1898, has recently doubled its production, warehouse space, and shipping capability.

At the same time, the company continues to focus its efforts on reducing its carbon footprint in spite of its recent expansion. Frankford’s need for expansion is the direct result of a remarkable growth in sales and volume, particularly during the past six years. While the company previously was solely a supplier to commercial properties including hotels, resorts and restaurant chains in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, it is now also supplying over 400 outdoor specialty retailers and design showrooms. In January, Frankford will celebrate its 125th anniversary.

Marc Kaufer, president of Frankford Umbrellas, attributes this skyrocketing growth to a number of factors, including the company’s ability to serve a niche market that previously was left underserved. “We continue to fill the gap between low-end big-box-quality umbrellas and high-end designer choices that are price prohibitive,” explained Kaufer. “We’ve found that the majority of customers fall somewhere in between the low end and the high end. Above all, they want quality and value – they want to get what they pay for. And that’s what Frankford provides to them. More and more customers are discovering us, and in order to meet the demand, we needed to invest in expanding our production and shipping capabilities, our inventory and our warehouse space.”

Kaufer noted that his company’s ability to pivot during the supply chain issues and labor shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are another reason for his company’s success. “We made adjustments to accommodate supply chain shortages and were able to continue to keep stock levels up. As a result, many customers of our competitors who under normal circumstances wouldn’t have thought about changing suppliers did so as a result of the need for product when it was unavailable during the height of the pandemic. They discovered that Frankford could supply them with what they needed, and then were pleasantly surprised at the high level of customer service and the superior quality of our umbrellas. Our clients tell us time and again that they have never experienced the customer service that we provide.”

The expansion in warehouse space has benefited not only Frankford customers, but the company’s employees as well. Said Shawn MacDonald, vice president of Frankford Umbrellas, “Our expanded warehouse and production space has further improved the work environment of our employees and has allowed them to work more efficiently. Our goal is for them to be comfortable and to take pride in their workspace. Employees are considered family here. It’s just a really nice place to work.”

In spite of its expansion, Frankford has maintained its commitment to sustainability. The company has installed motion-sensor lighting throughout its facilities, which has resulted in a 30% reduction in energy use. In addition, in 2021, Frankford recycled over 42,000 pounds of material. But the company’s most basic effort to be green is displayed in one of its primary missions: to eliminate built-in obsolescence from its products.

As Kaufer explains, “In a world where most products are intentionally designed to break so that they will need to be replaced in a year or two, our strategy is to make products that will stand the test of time. That’s why we use a 10-year fabric that won’t fade and a frame that is built to withstand the wind. It’s really pretty simple: when you make a product that doesn’t break, you prevent it from going into a landfill, you prevent the pollution that results from manufacturing replacement products and ultimately, you protect the environment. That’s what sustainability is all about.”

Kaufer said that Frankford has been using social media to educate customers about its products, services and sustainability efforts, particularly in its “Did You Know?—Frankford Facts” and “Frankford Fit” campaigns (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest: @FrankfordShade; Instagram: frankfordshade; LinkedIn and YouTube: Frankford Umbrellas).

“Yes, we sell umbrellas, but even more than that, we sell connection,” said Kaufer. “We build a connection with our customers by committing to grow along with them, so that when they have an opportunity to expand, they can count on us to be ready with inventory to support that growth. We are so grateful for each and every one of our customers and are continually determined to earn and retain their trust.”