Denise Dahms’ family has been selling garage doors for more than 60 years, but the family business barely survived its first year.
In 1955, Gene Renner, Denise’s dad, was selling garage doors—among other things—for a local lumber company. A year later, he started R&R Garage Door with his father, Elmer Renner, but the company struggled.
Gene Renner wanted out of the business, but an F5 tornado in May 1957 changed his mind by tearing a 71-mile path of destruction through the metro and surrounding area.
“They were thinking of closing,” Dahms said. “Then the tornado hit. Instead of closing, they sold garage doors out of a trailer in Ruskin Heights.”
Kansas City experienced a building boom in the aftermath of the storm. Gene Renner renamed his company Renner Supply, adding hardware to its offerings.
“After the tornado, other things came into play,” said Dahms, president of Renner Supply and Delden Manufacturing Co., which the Renners and their partners formed in 1964. “They thought they could supply more things to builders.”
Renner—which now focuses on garage door sales, service and installation—has changed with the times as garage door production has shifted through materials including wood, steel, fiberglass and aluminum. Today, Delden and Renner have more than 100 employees and five locations in Missouri and Iowa.
Marketing manager Brad Dodson noted three keys to the companies’
long-term success—premium components in all Delden-branded doors, multiple brand options and custom doors built in-house.
Dahms added two more.
“We have good service and good employees,” she said.