Cambridge Elevating

Going to the top

Cambridge Elevating is a business that specializes in manufacturing, installing, and servicing premiere residential elevators and lifting devices. Located in Cambridge, Ontario, the company has been helping the mobility impaired since 1988.

Tony Strybosch is president at Cambridge Elevating; he came on board in 2005, after his partner purchased the company a year earlier. Since the shift in management, Cambridge has certainly proved its value in the market. “Since the acquisition in 2004, our growth has been about seven fold,” he says.

Strybosch explains that the company’s success has a lot to with its ability to serve the existing market and its willingness to enter new markets. “While our focus remains in residential elevators, we are moving into multi-use facilities that have two to three storeys, which entail buildings such as community centres or arenas.”

Of course, elevators aren’t just for those with disabilities—they are also for convenience. Everyone can relate to not wanting to walk up a couple flights of stairs. To that end, Cambridge Elevating has leveraged the high-end residential amenity market. “Back in 1988, the company was strictly for handicapped accessibility,” explains Strybosch. “It was that way for at least 10 years. But my partner recognised the opportunity in a bigger market, as a luxury item. It’s the new amenity of this generation, especially with aging baby boomers. I would say our substantial growth can be attributed to entering that market.”

It is no small victory that Cambridge Elevating is succeeding in the residential and semi-commercial projects. As a formerly maintenance-oriented business, the company lost a significant servicing contract in 2006. “We have replaced that entire sales base within three years with strictly residential manufacturing and installation,” Strybosch beams. “Where we’re headed is the elevator portion of our business.”

Elevating quality and service

Cambridge Elevating has made a name for itself by striking the right balance between quality and service. The company is small enough to pay due attention to its valued clients, and it cares enough about quality to provide the best product out there. “We compete with a large, public company, and there are a lot of problems associated with its size,” maintains Strybosch. “With us, if you need something, you can call and get an answer right away. With them, you could wait for days—we know first-hand, because we buy some of their auxiliary products. We find that our service level is the best in the industry.”
“Obviously, we are convinced our product is the best,” he adds. “We have carved out a niche as a high-end residential elevator manufacturer, not a mass producer. Our other competitor is about volume and low prices, but the quality isn’t as good.” And nothing says product quality like custom design. Completely adaptable to any style of home, Cambridge elevators and lifts blend into the home decor with its universal design capabilities. With custom finishes, cab sizes, operating panels and sliding doors, clients can find the right fit for their space.

Making it right

The growing trend of residential elevators has gotten the attention of many home builders, architects, mobility device dealers and even experts like Mike Holmes, host of Holmes on Homes. “Mike only deals with quality companies,” says Strybosch, “and he has been satisfied with our work. It means a lot to us, but it also shows our clients that we’re a good company that knows what we’re doing.”

In February 2008, Holmes featured Cambridge Elevating on his show, which is designed to help homeowners who have been taken advantage of by incompetent or unscrupulous contractors. For the episode, Lien on me, Cambridge Elevating installed its Elmira Plus model into the house. With a 1000-pound capacity and a rated speed of 45 fpm, the elevator was finished with textured stainless steel, and was fitted with an accordion car gate with clear aluminum frame and smoked acrylic panels. It also came complete with a motorized automatic gate operator.

“It’s nice to see a good, quality company that takes pride in their work,” says Mike Holmes of Cambridge Elevating. “We’ve all dealt with bad companies, good companies, and excellent companies, the differences can be subtle but can mean all the difference to the contractor and the customer.”

Only up from here

The only challenge in the residential elevator business is raising awareness that this is available at a relatively low cost. “A lot of people think it costs $50,000 to put in an elevator into a new home, but it’s in the $25,000-to-$30,000 range,” says Strybosch. “If you’re building a home, you can easily design an elevator shaft right into the frame.” Fortunately for Cambridge Elevating, word of low prices spreads quickly, and as more people line up for their own elevator or lift, news should travel even faster.

Strybosch is confident the business will continue to grow for the next 10 years. “We have seen substantial growth in the last year and our order log has even increased over 50 per cent year-over-year from the recession.  We feel we will continue to grow into a large market.” He is probably right, especially if building codes have anything to do with it. “On the commercial side, every public building will be legislated for accessibility by 2012,” Strybosch says. “That means any public facility with more than one storey will need an elevator. That will be another big part of our growth.”