Written by: Simonette Berry
Has your house every felt like a scene from The Money Pit? In this movie about a home renovation gone hilariously wrong, a young couple buys a house only to find that what they thought were minor repairs turn into months of renovations. In one iconic scene, the main stairway collapses and Walter and Anna are forced to move things from floor to floor by ladder and pulley. After Katrina, scenes of this nature occurred in thousands of flood-ravaged homes, yet there was no place for New Orleans residents to buy custom stairway products. Everything had to be ordered off the Internet, and if something went wrong, clients had nowhere to turn. Phil Cerminaro of Industrial Products, an industrial supply company, saw the need for a shop that offered a comprehensive service for clients in the market for stairways, complete with a showroom and full-service design and installation. Cerminaro worked fast to open by the end of 2005, meeting the demand of post-Katrina rebuilders. It was a godsend to many New Orleans residents in need of a local service they could trust.
Six years after the storm, the city has rebuilt and the local market revolves around renovation rather than building or rebuilding. Cerminaro’s business has grown with the city’s residents, now offering a turnkey solution for a variety of stairway and railing products. They offer everything from prefab DIY spiral staircase kits to custom stairway design and installation geared toward home and business renovations. The Stairway Shop’s 1000-square-foot showroom allows customers to browse through a wealth of traditional stairways, spiral stairs, attic stairs, library ladders, and a host of railing systems. The Stairway Shop renovates existing staircases to update the look and bring them into code compliance. It’s also common for clients to come to them in need of a fix when a carpenter or contractor has installed a stairway incorrectly. A full-time custom stair builder and installation team are on staff, and customers can buy standard stair parts or have a stairway designed and built to spec. Custom stairs require careful design and planning to adhere to building codes.
The Stairway Shop provides each customer with a unique style to fit their space, while keeping the cost in line with the project budget. “We can either create or have fabricated any type of stairway product for any residence or facility. Our network of craftsmen, stair builders, and factories across the country can supply anything we don’t make in-house. Recently, a family from Ville Platte was building a new home, and they wanted a custom, curved, freestanding wooden staircase. We created it with a combination of oak and iron balusters and had it made by some Amish craftsmen in Ohio. They drove it down here and we installed it,” Cerminaro says.
His team works through each phase of the design, construction, and installation process to ensure a positive result for their clients, which has led to overwhelming positive response and a business that finds success wherever it chooses to go. In addition to using the typical industrial materials, Cerminaro began using reclaimed wood to meet his clients’ needs. “A lot of clients had antique heart pine floors, and they wanted their stairs to match. We use reclaimed wood from local renovation projects. We got our first load of reclaimed heart pine when a space on Canal Street was being gutted and renovated post-Katrina,” he says. “My brother-in-law is a builder, and he had to tear out the walls during the renovation of an old house uptown. They found this beautiful 100-year-old cypress bargeboard beneath the sheetrock, and we got a hold of that and started offering it to our clients.” Eco-friendly and timeless, the reclaimed wood has been a hit with Cerminaro’s clients. Cerminaro recently started a new venture: building furniture out of the re-claimed heart pine and cypress bargeboard. To maximize the skills of his gifted in-shop artisans, Cerminaro asked them to play around with making coffee and dining room tables from the reclaimed wood during their down time. This classic furniture has become another offshoot of Cerminaro’s creative business model.”Now, we’re making dining room tables from 100-year-old cypress,” he says. “We can create anything we put our minds to.”
The Stairway Shop
A Division of Industrial Products
5632 Salmen Street
Harahan, LA 70123
888-243-3339 | 504-734-1315