CJ Pink Ltd.

From Canada to the United States, CJ Pink has been helping clients get from one level to the next since 1996. That’s when the concrete product manufacturer began specializing in pre-cast stairs for all structures. Casinos, hotels, stadiums and universities are just a few of the building types that have benefited from CJ Pink’s expertise.

“The main reason we have such a wide customer base is because of the quality we produce,” says Dan Pink, co-owner and sales engineer of the company now in its fourth generation of Pink ownership. “Stairs are a complicated entity, and we’re able to take that on. Contractors will often tell us our stairs are the best quality product on the job.”

In a construction world where the ideal is to have function and fashion cohabitate, CJ Pink has risen to the challenge with quality stairs worthy of focal-point status. In 2009, CJ Pink wrapped up a three-year project with the completion of the Royal Bank of Canada Center in Toronto. The company was hired by Allnue Structures to manufacture the stairs, which are highlighted by glass railings installed with interchanging lights for an intriguing and engaging architectural piece.

This whimsical portion of the building took three years of constant planning and perfectly scheduled delivery. From 2006 to 2009, the company would manufacture individual stairs and cure them in the yard for just-in-time delivery.

“We spread it out for the whole length of the job because we didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves on inventory,” says Wade Pink, co-owner of CJ Pink. “But we also like to have a few loads done ahead of time before the contractors need it. There’s a constant fine line there which the people here are very good at monitoring.”

Punctuality isn’t the only plus to hiring this company. The company’s in-house design and engineering department speaks the same language of architects, engineers and contractors it works with on projects. It is up-to-date on new design codes and standards as well as techniques that result in polished, manicured stairs that can turn, twist and elevate to new heights.

“We are continuously looking to innovation and looking at ways of doing things better and quicker and easier,” Dan Pink says. “Our employees think out of the box and come up with great ideas. If you can draw it, we can make it.”

Foundation of Hard Work

Today, CJ Pink stands as the premier manufacturer of pre-cast stairs, but rising to this position was not as simple as the company makes it look. It was founded by Christopher John Pink in 1932 and originally produced burial vaults. Over the years, the company has produced products such as manholes, septic tanks, box culverts and barriers along with the stairs. Pink says the company not only had to adjust its designing capabilities, but also the materials it used because apparently all concrete is not created equal.

The company was an early adopter of self-consolidating concrete, which allows the company to pour concrete into castings of greater difficulty. Before using this material, it had to use vibrations with the concrete to fill the nooks and crannies designed into more complicated stair sets.

“We had to adapt because essentially what we did before was buried in the ground, now everything is above ground and we had to improve the quality to compensate for that,” Pink said. “We use self-consolidating concrete which is just a change in the concrete mix design. You have to pay more up front, but it’s a better result in the end.”

It’s an investment well spent because the company has been featured in high-profile projects across North America, including 25 states and five Canadian provinces. It has also worked in Bermuda and the Bahamas. In 2010, it completed the below grade stairs for the new World Trade Center. CJ Pink is also going to manufacture the precast stairs for the new New Jersey Nets’ Barclays Arena in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pink says that as the U.S. economy returns to normal, New York City has become one of its steadiest sectors. Due to its international presence, CJ Pink has weathered the economic downturn by maintaining a reliable stream of work in Canada.

The company began seeing a recent influx of U.S. projects in December 2010, mostly on the East Coast. However, Pink says that conservative mortgage laws in Canada shielded the region from the credit crash experienced in the United States.

He compares the construction scene in Toronto today to the Las Vegas market five years ago. Pink recalls looking around the city and losing count of the vast number of cranes. “We have gone through this economy seamlessly,” he says. “It’s very fortunate for us to have an international influence.”

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