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VOL. 119 | NO. 108 | Tuesday, June 21, 2005

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Dillard Door Sees Continued Growth

Company merges two divisions, adds new services


The Daily News

Christopher William Bird simply walked in the door and took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself to him. In 2000, John Dillard Jr., then president of Dillard Door and Entrance Control Systems, was looking to retire. In walked Bird, already a friend of Dillards.

The timing of that meeting resulted in Birds purchase of the company over a period of two years from the Dillard family.

Over the years. The door division of Dillard Door and Entrance Control Systems was created in 1947 by John Dillard Sr. Then located on Madison Avenue, the company has expanded over the years, and its location has changed several times. Today, Dillard Door & Security Inc. is located at 788 East St.

Over the years, the business has not only changed locations, but also names. It has been known as Southern Glass, J.W. Dillard Co., Dillard Door Co. and Dillard & Specialty Co.

The changes, then as now, reflect the companys efforts to evolve with the times and keep up with advancing technology.

In 1974, John Dillard Jr. joined his father at the company. Continuous growth over the years led the company to form an Entrance Control Systems division in 1998.

Diverse clientele. Dillard Door & Security Inc. provides door and loss prevention equipment and services to Metro Memphis commercial and industrial market clients. The companys customers include office building owners, retail stores, churches, and manufacturing plants and warehouse facilities.

Our clients are pretty diverse, all commercial/industrial, but we divide them into several groups, like general contractors, plant maintenance, security engineers and direct retail store owners, Bird said. Weve primarily been a door company commercial industry only and we expanded over the years into access control gates.

One-stop shop. The two divisions, Dillard Door and Entrance Control Systems, currently are being merged under the umbrella of Dillard Door & Security Inc.

The problem we encountered with having two separate companies is that we have loyal customers with each company that didnt know we did the other, Bird said.

As a result, the companys core strategy is to increase name recognition. Bird said priority No. 1 is to spread the word that the company now offers one cohesive group that deals in security from the ground up.

Our motto is that the door is the first line of security, he said.

Gaining recognition. The companys Entrance Control Systems division recently was recognized for its marketing efforts. At an International Security Conference held in Las Vegas, ECS earned SAMMYs, sales and marketing awards, in the Company Logo and Vehicle Design categories.

SAMMYs are presented annually and recognize security dealers and systems integrators who demonstrate professionalism in sales, marketing and installation efforts. Dillard Door was selected from among more than 100 entries.

Along with winning awards, the company distinguishes itself by serving clients that include Coors, FedExForum, Nike and UPS. It is also in the throes of a major growth spurt.

Thats why were kind of pulling it back into one (company), Bird said.

Industry experience. Bird is no stranger to the door and security industry, a fact that led to his natural transition to president of Dillard Door & Security Inc.

John Dillard Jr. and Bird met through the Downtown Rotary Club, where they found they had some common ground.

Ive always been in the door business, and my dad was in the door business, as well, Bird said.

After college, Bird spent a few years working as an insurance and securities broker before giving in to his fathers urgings to join him in the door and hardware business.

I had a bit of computer knowledge, and my dad disguised his offer as a plea for help in getting the door business into the computer age, he said.

When that business, Wickham Sales, was purchased by Nashville-based A.J. Smith Co., Bird returned to Memphis to run the door division of AJS.

While heading that division, he also became a certified architectural hardware consultant through the Door and Hardware Institute in McLean, Va.

Meeting a need. Bird acknowledged that Dillard Door could operate in almost any city, but Memphis is home and its where the company plans to stay, he said.

But the company does business with clients located outside the city, as well.

Theres a general need for security, Bird said, adding that every day, that need increases.

Whether it be specialized doors like the ones the company is now setting up for a symphony hall in Nashville automatic and access controlled gates or burglar and fire alarms, Dillard Door & Security Inc. has a goal to become a one-stop shop to meet all its clients security needs.


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