Since Trim-Tex Inc.’s inception circa 1969 and founding in 1970 (Trim-Tex celebrates its 40th anniversary this year), the company has become a major supplier of cornerbead and drywall-related accessories that for any drywall finishing contractor is certainly a household name. Its roots began in plastics, which the company does benefit from supplying products to other industries, but it is mostly its line of drywall products and accessories that has made the company a brand.
Joe Koenig, president of Trim-Tex, has made a point to sprinkle its products throughout the offices. Each office has a different motif as selected by the individual working in that space. It’s quite interesting to see how the personalities differ when floating from room to room and how the products can be utilized in so many different applications.
Walls & Ceilings wasn’t solely on visit to make an extended tour but to see the company’s latest endeavor-the Trim-Tex Design & Training Center. This state-of-the-art facility will not only showcase the possibilities of the company’s product line but also provide hands-on training for contractors. The training is geared towards not only contractors but also designers, architects and others in the building community.
“The design center is for whomever,” says Koenig. “You can create just whatever you want.”
THINK CREATIVELYChock full of countless options in its product range, the Lincolnwood, Ill.-based manufacturer offers flexible vinyl bead and trim, and other drywall-related accessories. Always trying to pioneer on innovation, Trim-Tex has embraced the Web as a resource to inspire and educate its customer base.
Those familiar with the company’s Drywallart.com Web site will understand how Trim-Tex strives to retain its customer base and solicit new ones: showcasing new ways to use the products. The site navigates users through several different applications throughout residential space such as living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, studies, hallways and more. Each room showcases a different product line and how it can be used in a creative setting. The site also features how the products can be used commercially, with examples of major corporations and restaurants.
As a logical template, Koenig took this virtual tour from the Web site and wanted to have a visual tour in person at the company’s facilities implementing the same principles of using drywall-related products and accessories.
The concept, according to Koenig, is to have different courses for varying levels of skill. As an example, there will be “Drywall Art 101, 102,” “Bead Installation 101, 102,” and so forth. The courses, once “officially” up and running (Koenig says the company is ready now but is still tweaking a few things) will be stretched over two days or more if needed. Again, classroom time for the courses will be limited with the bulk of the time working at the stations (or as Koenig refers to them, “vignettes”). Altogether, there will be 24 vignettes that will illustrate the possibilities of using products in a decorative fashion.
Each vignette will show the different stages of production on the job with each station featuring approximately four to five of the company’s products. There are five to six different methods that the instructors will teach.
“What inspired me was our team,” says Koenig. “We do a lot of photo shoots, so that begged the question: How can we showcase our product ranges that we are creating?”
He refers to these decorative designs as “affordable luxury.” He argues that it’s a more affordable option using trims and bead than wood in these applications. The advantage is not only cost but as Koenig says, there are no seams with these types of products as you will find with wood.
The design center is 8,000 square feet of playground for all attendees. Koenig and other staff will be the instructors. He plans to have guest teachers as well, such as Myron Ferguson and other notable industry figures. Karyn Newman is the design and training center coordinator.
EXPAND THE PROJECT“The drywallers are sometimes their own worst enemy because they low-ball the price just to get work,” says Koenig. “Our battle cry is ‘Don’t just bid a job, sell a job.’ Offer more options that allow you to get more pay in return.”
His concept is to increase the drywallers’ skill level by expanding to that of a trim carpenter. By utilizing cornerbead and other drywall accessories, walls can be sprinkled with these products to make accents, wainscoating, wall trim and more. And it costs far less than using wood.
“Why haul all that equipment to the job site, do your work and leave?” asks Koenig.
Scrap material from cornerbead and trim can be utilized on the job with a bit of creativity.
Attendees of the Design & Training Center can expect a facility tour and video welcome session that outlines the company’s information and history.
“We’re going to be teaching qualified applicants,” he says.
The course can apply towards CEU credits and the company plans to become an AIA qualified, accredited continuing education facility to architects. The point Koenig wants to beat home is that the building community should be thinking creatively with the newer products that are out on the market.
Those interested in attending the Design & Training Center should contact the company about available dates, pricing and accommodations. W&C
Sidebar: FORTY YEARS AND COUNTINGWith the launch of its rigid vinyl into the drywall industry in 1970 by Joseph Koenig Sr. with its J Bead, Trim-Tex Inc. has serviced the drywall market for 40 years. At the offset, the goal was to design and create durable drywall finishing products. The vinyl J Bead was designed as a replacement for metal bead used by drywall contractors to finish rough drywall ends under doorways and window encasements. The company has grown from its mom-and-pop ethos working out of a garage to a 218,000-square-foot facility, with more than 200 products (with 600 SKUs) and a much larger staff.
Its headquarters in Lincolnwood, Ill., is a one-stop shop that controls the marketing, research and development, manufacturing, shipping, testing and more.