Creative Awnings

Creative Awnings

Bob Pozzuto had been in the garment trade for 25 years, operating a sewing factory in Coopersburg until the industry began to change when American apparel manufacturing started moving overseas.

“I put the building up for sale and started to ask myself, do I want to retire or not,” he recalled. “I sold the place to a man who was involved in window treatments and awnings, which he started without any prior experience or experience with sewing. That piqued my interest.”

Pozzuto and his family put that interest into action, traveling to Germany to visit awning factories and manufacturers and learn about their production.

“I thought, this can’t be too difficult, with 25 years’ experience,” he remembered saying. “So I started a little awning business in 1986 with my former son-in-law. It took off pretty well.”

Now, 30 years later, Pozzuto can’t even fathom the thought of retiring.

With an infectious, can-do enthusiasm in his voice, Pozzuto is clearly proud to be president of Creative Awnings, the sales side of the business, Perfecta Awnings, the manufacturing side, and Mauritzon Northeast, which offers other acrylic fabrics to awning and boat dealers. They’ve been at 425 Springfield St. in Springfield Township, between Coopersburg and Quakertown, since moving to the 24,000-square-foot facility in 1993.

Pozzuto turns 86 in September and eagerly shows up early for work every day to help his employees run the industrial-strength sewing machines that stitch together customized home and commercial awnings that are sold locally and shipped, through a network of 50 dealers, from the Midwest to the southern United States.

“Every order is unique.” Pozzuto said. “We receive specs on fabric color and size, we cut and sew the fabric, build the frame, marry the two together and send the final product by truck.”

A seasonal business, it has grown to include 18 employees during the busy stretch between March and September, where sometimes the factory turns out as many as 25 orders a day. Production times on an awning range from the next day to two weeks, depending on the size and scope of the order.

And, during a hot summer like this year’s, the company has an attractive, resonant sales pitch – temperatures can be 20 degrees cooler under a customer-designed awning.

It’s a family affair, with Pozzuto’s wife, Violet, managing the books, and his daughter, Karen, as senior general manager. Her son, Kyle, an installer, is also working at the company, too.

Using frame components made in Germany, Perfecta manufactures lateral arm awnings, its most popular product, retractable awnings, window awnings, stationary patio pipe-framed awnings and commercial awnings.

Pricing depends on the width of the awning and how far it projects from the building and the accessories that can go with it, such as solar sensors that will send a signal to automatically extend the awning. There are even wind sensors that will retract the awning if strong winds are detected.

“We do everything ourselves,” Pozzuto said. “All the fabric is cut and sewn on the premises, and we assemble and attach the fabric and test and do the installations.”

Devotedly customer-focused, he stands ready to offer advice for proper care of his products.

“If it gets dirty, I tell customers to simply brush it off with a long-handle broom,” he said. “If it’s targeted and stained by a bird, just wet the fabric down from the bottom up.”

If it’s a stubborn stain, Creative Awnings will take down the awning and send it out for a professional cleaning and reinstall it.

Pozzuto also preaches common sense to his customers.

“If a strong wind comes up, use good common sense and retract the awning, and don’t extend an awning if a strong wind is expected,” he said. “My awning at home is 13 by 22 feet. It can become quite a sail in a strong summer storm.”

“We back everything we make,” Pozzuto added. “We had a customer who called about an awning 25 years old, and it needed repair in the older stitching and we fixed it. It makes me feel good when I see old customers still enjoying our products.”

Karen Pozzuto said it’s been inspiring to learn not only the awning trade from her dad but also the importance of nurturing strong, lasting relationships with customers.

“It’s been an incredible honor to learn from him and to be part of a family business,” she said. “He’s so dedicated to the business, our family and our customers. He’s here early in the morning and doesn’t leave until the day’s work is done. That means so much to our employees, to have that kind of inspired leadership. I can’t think of anyone with his work ethic and commitment.”

She said her father believes in making business personal by building lasting relationships backed by quality products that are handmade with the kind of care that only comes from a family-run enterprise.

Karen Pozzuto said it’s been inspiring to learn not only the awning trade from her dad but also the importance of nurturing strong, lasting relationships with customers.

“Our customers keep coming back and we get many referrals because of his vision and hands-on attention to making sure every order is completed in a timely manner and to exacting standards,” Karen Pozzuto said.

Pozzuto shows no sign of slowing down. “I still go to work every morning and still sit down and sew,” he said. “I have found one person for sure who I can rely on in this life, and it’s me along with my family and co-workers. I learned and proved I could do this successfully. It just takes a lot of hard work and dedication.”

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