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Molding Manufacturer Reinvents the Doggie Door

Posted: December 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 21, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Tom Schrey, left, stands with father Walt and brother Bill as they examine a milled aluminum part created on the computerized milling machine behind them at Schrey & Sons Mold Co. Inc. in Valencia on Tuesday.

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When the Schrey family –of Schrey & Sons Mold Company Inc. in Santa Clarita – set out to build a better doggie door for their family pets, they parlayed an already successful business into a multi-million niche business – Ideal Pet Products. At the time, there only two manufacturers of pet doors in the United States.

“In 1979, no one was making plastic pet doors,” said Tom Schrey president and CEO of Ideal Pet Products. “They were die-stamped out of steel or made out of metal.”

Using their expertise in making molds for the wax casting and plastic injection industries, the family developed a way to manufacture plastic, rustproof doors that were easier to install and more economical for consumers. And in doing so, they successfully tapped into the pet industry market which is estimated to generate $53.5 billion this year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

Today, out of their Valencia headquarters, Ideal Pet Products now designs small, medium, large and extra large pet doors – some of which are energy efficient – along with inserts for sliding glass patio doors.

“Now we have probably over 200 different doors,” Schrey said.

“And we’re expanding globally.”

The original molding company, going strong today, was founded by his father Walter in 1969 out of a two-car garage at the family home. The family moved the company to Santa Clarita in 1975. Today Schrey & Sons manufactures special orders for medical and aerospace industries making molds for knee and hip joints for key customers like Johnson & Johnson, Schrey said. His brother, William, continues to run that business while Tom Schrey focused on building the pet door business. Both businesses remain family-owned and operated.

Motivated by solving problems for homeowners and their own love for their family pets – six Great Danes over his lifetime – Schrey said the family wanted to create something that “ensured protection and comfort for our four-legged friends while not placing a burden on anyone’s wallet.”

Shunning the traditional ways of going after the pet market, the Schreys' thought big and began selling their pet doors through chain stores as opposed to the small mom and pop neighborhood pet shops.

When the company first began, it was unknown Schrey says and so it hired reps to get its product into smaller hardware chain stores like Builder’s Emporium. Today the company’s products sell in 1,600 Home Depot nationwide and Lowe’s on the west coast, he said. It’s been one of the leading pet door manufacturers for some time now.

“We were the first pet door company to service the big box stores.”

Ideal Pet Products also began selling through Amazon in the United States and just got onboard with Amazon in the United Kingdom. The company also represented its products at International pet shows in Germany and Italy, prompting it to secure warehouses in Mexico and France to handle its European sales.

One would think the manufacturing molding business didn’t fit with the model of design pet doors but the two businesses work well together, Schrey said. The company originally started out in a 20 foot container alongside its molding business and just grew from there – growth that has been staggering, he said.

Eventually the company moved its manufacturing to Thailand, but moves the product intended for domestic consumption into through its local warehouse operations – consisting of some 71,000 square feet in two buildings. The doors arrive in 40 foot containers and the company’s 50 employees breaks the containers down, repackages and ships product out to customers from its local base.

Although Ideal Pet Products just began online sales for to five years ago, they now account for 20 percent of its sales, Schrey said. Overall the company is grossing $18 million in sales for a niche product and sales are up 10 percent this year.

“The growth is a testament to the hard work of our community of developers, staff, and clients from all over the country,” he said.


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