Commercial elevator specialist with roots in Ohio enters the residential market.
North Canton, Ohio-based Canton Elevator Inc., which began building its name in the North American commercial elevator industry nearly 70 years ago, is implementing techniques used in producing durable commercial elevators in the production of residential units. Canton added its residential division in 2010, noting homeowners’ desire to install elevators to enhance accessibility as they age and increase their homes’ resale value. Co-owner and President Michael Paschke states: “We wanted to add a commercial-grade option to the home elevator market.”
The move into the residential market necessitated a physical move to a 125,000-sq.-ft plant in North Canton. Here, Canton employees integrate commercial-grade materials into residential elevators, which, according to the company, results in “superior durability, long life and reliable operation.” The facility is also home to sister company Canton Architectural Products, which occupies approximately 20% of the space and manufactures the company’s cabs, which are available as standalone products. The majority of Canton’s sales revenue is still generated by its commercial products, but the company anticipates its residential sector will take up a growing share.
Walter Walker founded Canton Elevator in the late 1940s. He sold the company to Jim Paschke and Harry Martinson in 1977. The current owners, Michael Paschke and Robert Kazar, bought the company from Martinson in 1999.
In the early years, the majority of Canton Elevator’s business consisted of service, maintenance and new installations. Then as now, most of Canton’s business comes from repeat customers. “We earn and keep business by providing a quality product at a fair price,” states Kazar. “Our reputation for standing behind our product is widely known in the industry, driven by our desire to be the best.” Kazar said growth has been steady, attributing that to the company’s focus on quality.
Canton Elevator’s residential line is distinguished by an efficient hydraulic drive system. The advantages, according to the company, are “a dependable and exceptionally smooth, quiet ride, and a pump and motor that are so discreet that homeowners hardly know they’re there.”
The company’s residential units can be installed during home construction or added during remodeling. The company states its Presidential residential line follows the highest industry standards and is easy to install and maintain. Each unit comes with a two-year, limited parts warranty.
Kazar notes that, more and more, home elevator buyers are opting for high-end finishes to match their personalities and homes’ style. Examples, he said, include raised wood paneling, hardwood trim molding, etched metal and decorative glass.
The first step in a purchase, he said, is for the customer to choose between two basic models: a 750-lb.-capacity, 12-sq.ft. unit or a 950-lb.-capacity, 15-sq.-ft. unit. Both travel at 40 fpm.
Then, the customer selects from four cab styles, from traditional to modern. Options are:
- Monticello, featuring hardwood cabinetry
- Hyde Park, with contemporary, hanging laminate panels with black reveals
- Montpelier, with flush plastic laminate walls to complement a clean, modern interior
- Mount Vernon, featuring flush, unfinished plywood walls enabling a homeowner to self customize
Finally, the customer selects ceiling and interior wall-panel design, trim, light fixtures, handrails, hall and car stations, phone boxes and buttons.
Safety features include fully automatic doors and infrared light curtains to hold doors fully open while passengers enter and exit. Paschke states this reduces the chance of injury. “We are staying ahead of the curve on elevator safety,” he said.
Many homeowners want to live greener lives, and, since the mid 1990s, Canton Elevator has taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint and increase its commitment to green building practices. Its initiatives include recycling the vast majority of the company’s waste wood, plastic and paper products and using lumber procured only from certified Forest Stewardship Council sources. Additionally, its energy-saving drive system is more efficient than that of some of its competitors, with less heat and noise generated. Its quiet motor runs only when the elevator is ascending. Gravity lets it gently descend.
Canton Elevator marked a milestone in 2013 by performing its 20,000th job, for clothing store American Eagle Outfitters. The company’s most prestigious projects include elevators at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, California; the Smithsonian Institution museum in Washington, D.C.; Carnegie Hall in New York City (NYC); Harvard and Princeton universities; and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the company’s hometown of Canton. Another recent memorable job was for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum pavilion in NYC.