Somfy, a world leader in Boca Raton
The company Somfy, the world’s leading manufacturer of tubular motors and controls for roller shutters, blinds and doors established in Boca Raton is at the heart of a very active market. Its well-adapted motorized solutions meet with great success among professionals and house owners. Meet a company ignoring economic downturn.
e-Toile: Mr. Gaudry hello, you are in charge of the Rolling shutter market for Somfy Systems, Somfy’s U.S. subsidiary of French company leader in the home and building automation market of the openings and closures. Can you tell us more about your business and your products?
Pierre Gaudry: The company Somfy, with its head office in Cluses in Haute Savoie, is the world’s leading manufacturer of tubular motors and automation for roller shutters, blinds (outdoor, indoor) and doors in industrie and business.
In Europe, Somfy also manufactures motors for garage doors, gates and shutters, and offers a full range of alarm systems. Somfy is present in 54 countries through 68 subsidiaries, 51 branches and offices in five continents.
e-Toile: Somfy is a company established in many countries, why have you chosen to locate in Boca Raton, Florida?
Pierre Gaudry: In 1977, Somfy Systems, Somfy’s U.S. subsidiary, was set up in New Jersey, which is still our head office for the United States.
In 1985, SIMU, another French manufacturer of tubular motors was established in Orlando to meet a growing demand from U.S. manufacturers of roller shutters.
When SIMU joined the group in the 90’s, Somfy Systems has chosen to locate in Boca Raton to cover all the Southern United States.
In Boca Raton, we have a large warehouse of 32,000 sq.ft, a sales team, a showroom and a training room that we use (as well as our customers) to train and welcome all staff (architect, builder, automation expert, manufacturing) interested in our solutions.
In Florida, the original request from the manufacturers of cyclone shutters has added over the years a demand for motors and controls for blinds, especially in South Florida (Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties).
In South Florida, there is a high demand for indoor blinds (pleated, venetian, shades or draperies) and Somfy motorization provides solutions adapted to the majority of these blinds. In Boca Raton, we are at the heart of a very active market.
e-Toile: The company communicates on energy saving. Are Florida and the United States interested by this message?
Pierre Gaudry: Most products that our customers build (shutters, or outdoor patio blinds) create energy savings. Motorize these products maximize energy efficiency by controlling the temperature.
Such a message, standard in Europe, receives more and more favorable praise in Florida and the United States in general where cost of energy is constantly acting as burden on household budgets.
In this context we have just launched in the U.S. market a simple and affordable offer for home automation, Tahoma, which allows the consumer to be able to save energy by controlling, scheduling and supervising the lights, air conditioning and blinds in his home from a distance via a touch pad, a webphone or a laptop.
e-Toile: In a difficult economic environment, Somfy shows a sales increase. How do you explain the overall increase and is it found locally in the Southern United States?
Pierre Gaudry: Somfy Group has an entity, Somfy Activities, which includes companies whose the main operation corresponds to Somfy’s three traditional activities, "Shutter & Awning", "tertiary solutions and interior blinds" and "Doors and gates" and another entity Somfy Participations whose purpose is to invest in industrial companies that are outside the core business of Somfy.
For now, in the Southern United States, our growth is based on the vitality of certain markets and on the organization of our sales team as well as our logistics, both allowing us to meet the demands of our customers.
But we can also anticipate future demand for our innovation capabilities. For instance, our new engine for inside curtain, Glyde, meets with great commercial success.
We have also developed the market for motorized indoor curtains: a market that will grow when you consider the interest of American people regarding this type of product.
Article published Nov. 10, 2011.