TEXAS LIFESTYLE | HABITAT By Nancy Miller Barton
S U PA D o o r s Incredibly green. Irresistibly gorgeous.
“I missed the plane,” explains Ian Fisher on how he
found his way to Texas from South Africa. “I was supposed to go to California.” It was 1978 and Fisher, owner and co-founder of SUPA Doors, was stuck in Miami. Now what? He saw a fellow saunter to the ticket counter wearing “a ten-gallon hat” and ask the clerk, “Y’all gon’ to Santone?” Seconds later, Fisher approached the same clerk. “What language was that man speaking?”
An afternoon spent chatting with Ian Fisher is full of laughter and lessons on life and business. Add identical twin brother Dave for double the fun. The two opened SUPA Doors, which makes an environmentally wise door, after working in building materials and lumber in both South Africa and Texas. As for the company name, try this: say “Super Doors!” Now add a little South African twang – and you’ve got SUPA Doors. The Fishers have done business together for 40 years and started the door company on the side. It turned out that selling interior doors for hotels, condominiums and homes was “more refreshing than the commodity stuff,” says Fisher. Working with architects and designers, there’s more chance to show “personality.” “It’s an incredibly green product,” explains Fisher. SUPA doors are made of MDF or Medium Density Fiberboard. It’s wood, just repurposed, that would otherwise go into the landfill or fire kiln. We’re talking bark, off-cuts, pieces that aren’t used when making two-by fours, lumber or anything else. These leftovers are mixed with waxes and resins. The result: sheets of board. SUPA Doors was the first in the United States to use MDF on stile and rail doors. (If you’re looking straight at a door, the stiles are the pieces on the side; the rails are top and bottom.) They’re perfect for painting and about one third the price of wood doors. As Fisher says, “Why cut down a tree only to paint it?” A tour of the factory shows a clean efficient mix of assembly line and craftsmanship with doors stacked high in various stages of creation. Chances are, when you open the door at a luxury hotel or condo in New York City, Austin or “Santone,” you’re walking through the threshold of a SUPA door. 1732 Universal City Blvd | Universal City supadoor.com
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CREDITS: (BACKGROUND) Supa Doors, (BROTHERS) Jacob Kluger
Intrigued, Fisher booked a flight to San Antonio and hasn’t looked back. “Texans are such warm, spirited people,” he says. “It’s easy to live and do business here.”