Crossing windows to another world

Allen County officials toured the new Peerless Products facility in Iola this week, learning about the business that now employs more than 30 people.

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May 21, 2021 - 1:17 PM

Josh Granere, center, Peerless plant manager, talks to Allen County commissioners Bruce Symes, Jerry Daniels and David Lee about production at the Iola facility. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Cross through a window and enter another world.

That’s exactly what happened to several Allen County officials and members of Thrive Allen County on Thursday, as they were given a tour of Peerless Products’ new facility in Iola.

Peerless manufactures high-performance aluminum architectural and commercial windows for new, replacement and historical construction.

The Iola plant has been up and running since October, and now employs more than 30 people.

Follow along and let’s take a walk inside together.

Commissioner David Lee and Thrive economic development manager Jonathon Goering marvel at the size of Peerless’ test window. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Plant manager Josh Granere led Thursday’s tour, which began in Peerless’ conference room that features new flooring and fancy ergonomic desks.

He explained that the room is used to provide employee training, hold sales meetings and yearly gatherings.

“It’s come a long ways,” said Granere, who noted his dream for the space is to knock down the west wall in order to build a deck for employees.

Granere also highlighted one of the company’s collapsible doors that had just been installed, after being constructed in Nevada, Mo.

As far as who the company serves, “primarily what we’re looking for are buildings between four- and 10-stories,” Granere said.

Josh Granere, Peerless plant manager, shows Lisse Regehr, CEO Thrive Allen County, and Jonathon Goering, Thrive economic development manager, a newly installed three-panel window inside the conference center. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

“Our product can be residential, and although they’re a little more sophisticated than other brands, … you don’t have to be an installation genius to install these.”

Granere also noted that, especially with the commercial-grade windows made in Iola, “it’s a ways off, but what I’d like to do is get into Home Depot and Lowe’s. I think we could be competitive with it.”

He also noted that, by contrast, Fort Scott’s Peerless facility focuses more on high-rise structures, whereas Nevada’s facility is “more store-front.”

In the catwalk room overlooking the production floor, Granere spotlighted the complexities of glass-moving equipment and explained how one lofts a 1000-pound window with three panes of glass into place.

“It wasn’t too bad,” he said. “We got it in the hole and it was just all about the fine fittings after that.”

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