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  • Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

    Rodrigo Arreygue paints window frame parts at the Blomberg plant. Besides making environmentally friendly windows and doors, the company is retrofitting some of its products that were installed decades ago.

  • Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

    Jeremy Drucker, left, is reflected in a large pane of glass with production manager Charlie Macher, a 40-year employee, at the Blomberg Window Systems facility in Sacramento. Blomberg shut down in December after 58 years in business, but it will reopen for business on Monday.

  • Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

  • Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

    New owner Jeremy Drucker inspects some of the machinery used at the Blomberg Window Systems factory. Another resource is the longtime, knowledgable workforce, which Drucker aims to expand by adding a bigger line of energy-efficient products. He’s also hoping for a growing regional presence with more sales showrooms.

  • Randall Benton / rbenton@sacbee.com

    Mike Douglas assembles door stiles at the Blomberg factory near Executive Airport. Developer Jeremy Drucker, who led a group that bought Blomberg, says the company’s products have a good reputation.

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New window of opportunity for Sacramento company, workers

Published: Sunday, Mar. 2, 2014 - 12:00 am

Charlie Macher, a 40-year employee of Blomberg Window Systems in Sacramento, remembers getting the word last fall that his longtime workplace was going to close at the end of the year.

“I was sad and dismayed. I wondered what I was going to do with the rest of my life … I’m not a puppy anymore,” he said.

Thanks to the efforts of a Bay Area developer with strong Sacramento connections, Macher and about 25 other longtime Blomberg employees are getting a second chance in the newly resurrected company at 1453 Blair Ave., near the western edge of Sacramento Executive Airport.

Developer Jeremy Drucker and a group of private equity investors recently purchased Blomberg for an undisclosed price. Drucker is serving as company president and has been helping the sales department gear up in recent weeks.

On Monday, Blomberg will resume production at its complex comprising about 45,000 square feet. The site will house a business office, showroom, warehouse and manufacturing area.

Most of the 27 employees in the newly restarted company have worked for Blomberg for 25 years or more.

“Things are a little bit of a mess right now, but we’ll be ready,” Drucker said. “It’s exciting … Really, this is about (the employees). It’s not about me.”

Started in 1956, Blomberg is a long-standing manufacturer of aluminum windows and doors and related materials, establishing a statewide reputation as a manufacturer of high-end products. Drucker said the company’s lifetime manufacturing output totaled more than 500,000 windows and doors.

Late last year, Blomberg’s veteran staff was stunned by an announcement that the privately owned company would shut down by Dec. 31. Drucker said co-owners Ralph Blomberg and Phil Collier were simply at a point in their lives where they wanted to leave the business.

Bud Warren, with more than 34 years with the company, and other Blomberg workers got the word on Oct. 29, a day he recalls with clarity.

“It was a little bit of a shock,” he said. “You’re with the company for all these years, and then they drop this on you. It was kind of surreal … I didn’t blame (the co-owners) for wanting to get out, but I was wondering what I would do next.”

On Dec. 9, Warren said, representatives of Sacramento commercial real estate firm Bluett & Associates were on-site to oversee the Blomberg wind-down and organize the sale of assets. Warren noticed some people standing out in front of the Blomberg offices, and at one point was told that “those guys out there want to buy the company.”

Warren quickly met one of those guys, Drucker, and felt a renewed sense of hope.

“From there, though, we were still on a roller coaster,” Warren said. “Even up until the last day of the year, we were moving rapidly to get the company closed on (Dec. 31). We still weren’t quite sure what was going to happen.”

Ultimately, the business changed hands, and Warren is digging into his duties as the revived company’s operations manager. Macher, his longtime work colleague, is production manager.

Why did 41-year-old Drucker step in? Simply put, he liked what Blomberg made.

“I was a customer and loved the windows,” he said. “I have built many homes using Blomberg and know their value as a builder, developer and architect. Great product with slim and crisp lines, easy to install and use in the field to reduce liability (and a) good product range to fit a variety of needs and cost levels.

“Most recently, I helped remodel my parents’ home, and I specified Blomberg for them.”

Drucker characterized himself as “exactly the type of customer we need to reach – trained as an architect, hands-on builder/developer and extremely aware of budget constraints and the value of great-looking and durable products that work well.”

He called Blomberg’s prolonged history in Sacramento a plus: “Blomberg knows what works. This is why our returning employees are so critical to our success – deep knowledge.”

Drucker’s involvement with Blomberg is just the latest in a series of Sacramento ventures in which he has been involved. He oversaw completion of the environmentally friendly 9onF housing development at 1419 F St. downtown and has been involved in other housing projects in the area.

For now, he’s focused on growing Blomberg, which once employed around 225. Drucker said he expects the current staff of 27 to double in 18 months.

He said he wants the company “to continue to innovate and develop new products that are energy-efficient, great looking and provide value to our customers.”

Along that line, Drucker said the firm will launch two new product lines this year – a high-efficiency window line that meets California’s Title 24 energy-efficiency standards and a series of large multislide doors.

Also in the works: new “contractor profit programs” to work with and support contractors and window installers.

In the long term, Drucker hopes to add design showrooms and satellite offices throughout the Northern California region. He noted that Blomberg’s primary service area fans out over a radius of 150 to 200 miles outside Sacramento’s core.

As before, many parts will be hand-built and fitted at the local facility. Clients run the gamut, from residential to commercial to public facilities. Schools, which typically want windows to last for decades, were prime customers in past years, and Drucker expects that to continue. Drucker said Blomberg had another niche prior to the ownership switch: supplying replacement parts for 40-year-old products.

Drucker said he’s looking to hire new production employees, to learn “valuable lessons from existing employees to build windows for the next 50 years.”

Which is fine with Macher, who says he’s happy to share his experience with younger workers.


Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

Read more articles by Mark Glover





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