Framing the face of businesses

A. Geo. Diack marks 50 years of supplying store, office fixtures
By Jamie McClintock, Staff Writer

INDUSTRY -- In 1953, Arthur George Diack came out of retirement to set up shop in a 2,000-square-foot garage in Los Angeles.

Now, 50 years and several moves later, A. Geo. Diack Inc. occupies a 40,000-square-foot facility in Industry. It manufactures aluminum components for knock-down store fixtures, showcases and mirror frames, as well as ‘‘pass-throughs'' such as windows used in doctors' offices.

The company posts an annual revenue of about $5 million, according to President Tom Gonzalez.

Aluminum skeletons some use showcase corner assemblies invented by Diack himself are sold to store fixture manufacturers, architects and designers nationwide, and they finish the products and sell them to retailers such as Cartier SA, Macy's and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Based in Industry since 1977, A. Geo Diack has a database of 7,000 manufacturers, department stores and architects, and it averages 220 customers per month, said Russell Serrano, the company's sales manager and an employee at Diack for 32 years.

Part of the privately held company's longevity stems from carrying on the foundation set by Diack, who died in 1984, said Gonzalez, who has worked at the company for 35 years.

"He always (wanted) to do things the way the customer wants it,' Gonzalez said. "We take care of the customer.'

At the same time, the company also focuses on its 32 employees.

"It's a balance that we keep,' Gonzalez said. "The customer has got to be No. 1, but the employee is right behind them.'

Success also comes partly because of "the different hats that we all wear to get the job done,' he said.

More than 3,000 companies in the United States manufacture store fixtures in some capacity, according to Tracy Dougherty, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood, Fla.-based
National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers.

Nationwide, the industry generated about $10 billion in revenue in 2002, Dougherty said. A. Geo. Diack has been a member of the association since 1969.

"In an industry as volatile as retail, surviving for 50 years is quite an accomplishment,' Dougherty said.

Even in a down retail economy, the affordability of aluminum helps keep A. Geo. Diack operating in a niche market, Gonzalez said. Despite industry and company changes, some longtime customers continue to purchase Diack products.

"When somebody leaves a company and goes to another company, they still take Diack with them,' he said. "Consequently, it spreads us out even more.'

As for the future, company officials said they are always looking to expand but not without first taking time to carefully develop products and control the firm's spending and buying.

"We're in it for the long haul. We're not in for two years or two months ... and I think 50 years has proven that,' he said.

Jamie McClintock can be reached at (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703, or by e- mail at




A. Geo. Diack Inc. in Industry has been in business for 50 years. L-R: Thomas Gonzalez and Russell Serrano with their company's "H" bars, aluminum sliding track assemblies, that they manufacture. (Staff photo by Mike Mullen)
Copyright © 2003 San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Los Angeles Newspaper Group


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