Date: 15 September 2020
It’s been three decades since the company that started as Staging Concepts entered the market with a portfolio of platforms, risers and stairs, and a vision for growth. Today that company is Trex Commercial Products, a leading national provider of custom-engineered architectural railing and staging systems for the commercial and multi-family sector. This year, the Minneapolis-based company commemorates its 30th anniversary and has more than a few reasons to celebrate.
Founded in 1990, Trex Commercial Products has become a supplier of choice for event venues of all sizes and functions, offering staging systems and railing under its legacy Staging Concepts brand and its Trex Commercial Products brand. During its first 10 years, the company developed and introduced staging products that set the bar for quality – many of which remain top sellers today. It also built a reputation for outstanding customer service, a core value that continues to be embedded in the DNA of Trex Commercial Products’ 160 employees.
Right Products, Right Time
Initially focused on the performing arts market, Staging Concepts started out working with theaters and live event spaces, including such high-profile venues as Madison Square Garden in New York City, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, Spiegelworld in Las Vegas, and Taichung Metropolitan Opera House in Taiwan.
Following the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), venues across the country sought to enhance the accessibility of their facilities and Staging Concepts’ platforms proved an ideal solution – particularly for major sports stadiums and arenas. “This was a pivotal time in our company’s history,” said Laura Rygielski Preston, president of Trex Commercial Products. “We had the right products at the right time, and business took off.”
As the company designed ADA-compliant solutions for performing arts and sports facilities, railings became a natural part of the equation. Before long, customers were asking Staging Concepts to engineer railings for entire venues. In 2004, the company contracted its first major railing job at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, a project that proved to be a significant milestone.
“That one project propelled us from a small staging company for performing arts and cast us onto the national sports scene,” noted Cindy Albrecht, director of sales and marketing.
Continued Growth and Differentiation
Staging Concepts quickly became the go-to resource for specifiers in the ultra-high-end construction contract arena, booking jobs at dozens of other high-profile professional and collegiate stadiums and arenas, including Yankee Stadium in New York City, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., and Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth. The company also has provided custom staging and railing for the NCAA Final Four Tournament, Sundance Film Festival, American Country Music Awards, the “TODAY” show and the presidential inauguration.
Over the years, the business has continued to diversify within the commercial and multi-family market taking on projects in hospitality, healthcare, worship and retail. Its product line offers innovative options for seating, acoustical applications and patron engagement, and the company is currently working with customers to engineer solutions to facilitate social distancing due to COVID-19. It also engineers customized architectural structures, such as the 60-ft. tall perforated metal panel wall at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., a set of specially designed rotating doors at Ecolab’s headquarters in St. Paul, and the bat-inspired aluminum topiaries at Minneapolis’ Target Field.
“Instead of approaching projects like a traditional supplier, we come in with a turnkey support program and team, including in-house mechanical engineers, 3-D modeling technology, an intimate knowledge of codes and design stamping capabilities,” explained Dan Stachel, vice president of sales and marketing. “Essentially, we take the technical onus off of architects and specifiers and partner with them through the entire process.”
This “design-to-delivery” support, along with a focus on finding innovative ways to accelerate the specification process, have set Staging Concepts apart from the beginning and continue to differentiate the company as Trex Commercial Products.
New Ownership, New Opportunities
Following years of steady growth driven by new product development and diversification, Staging Concepts caught the attention of Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance, low-maintenance wood-alternative decking, railing and outdoor living products. In 2017, Trex acquired Staging Concepts to form Trex Commercial Products, Inc. The acquisition provided Trex with the opportunity to offer full-service railing systems in the growing commercial and multi-family market, access to a complementary product category with a track record of revenue growth, the ability to achieve economies of scale around raw material procurement, and an increase in the range of products it may offer its core customers.
In the past three years, Trex has made investments in manufacturing capabilities and capacity aimed at reducing operational costs for the commercial division. The combined companies also have focused on leveraging synergies to drive efficiencies, innovation and growth.
Looking ahead, Trex Commercial Products plans to continue what Staging Concepts started 30 years ago – focusing on providing best-in-class engineering and solutions, pursuing new opportunities and being a valued supplier partner.
“While a lot has changed over the past 30 years, our core philosophy remains the same,” added Rygielski Preston. “We understand that our role is more than just a fabricator of a designer’s vision. It’s about being a meaningful partner with our customers, from the conceptual beginning to the successful completion.”