Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 19
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

QUALITY CHOICES: “We’re set apart from other awning companies by the variety of our products and the amount of fabrics we carry. We offer a very broad array of fabric choices.” Staff members of Awning Design West include from left, co-owner Alan “Gordy” Techner, show room receptionist Jodi Santimauro, and product consultant Mitchel Galinsky. “Our company has a long-standing reputation. Service is a priority, and we are very customer-focused.”

Awning Design West on Route 130 South Offers Awnings in All Styles and Sizes

It’s like adding another room to your house, says Alan “Gordy” Techner, co-owner of Awning Design West. Indeed, the addition of an awning over a deck or patio can certainly extend living space.

Awning Design West, located at 1392 Route 130 South in Windsor/Robbinsville, is one of three Awning Design showrooms in New Jersey owned by Mr. Techner and his partner, Mark Pedersen.

Originally established in 1988 in Freehold, focusing on commercial awnings, the company expanded to include residential awnings when Mr. Pedersen purchased it in 1993. Mr. Techner came on board in 2007, when the Awning Design West showroom was opened. The business is now two-thirds residential, one-third commercial.

New technology and new products are providing more opportunities all the time, and it is becoming an increasingly important business, notes Mr.Techner. “I’m very excited about the new products. We are in a business that has a lot of relevance.”

Popular Product

And, with outdoor entertaining growing in popularity (perhaps even more this summer, with the rise of gas prices), awnings are becoming even more important.

“More homeowners are adding awnings, stationary canopies, or sun structures to their backyard to provide greater use and enjoyment of that space,” reports Mr. Techner. “Motorized retractable awnings are our most popular product and make up the bulk of our business. They are water-resistant, fade-resistant, UV protective, and made of solution-dyed acrylic fabrics or long-lasting baked-on finished aluminum. Fabrics are warrantied for 10 years.

The awnings offer flexibility as well, since they can be retracted, pitched, or tilted to varying degrees and increments.

Awning Design West products are available in many styles, sizes, and a myriad of colors and patterns. “We offer more than 600 patterns and solid colors, so possibilities are endless,” points out Mr. Techner. He adds that earth tone colors continue to be popular, as do variations of stripes.

Rope and Pulleys

In addition to the retractable awnings, the company carries stationary canopies, window and entry door awnings, and solar screens (with special screening fabric to reduce glare and keep out heat). Window awnings can reduce heat by 20 degrees and also help to keep interior items from fading, says Mr. Techner.

Porch awnings are also popular, he adds, and they are often stationary, but can be retractable. They are motorized or manually operated with ropes and pulleys.

“Aluminum awnings are very durable,” he observes, “and we have 20 different baked-on finishes. Another product that is becoming popular is the welded-frame entrance door awning. We are doing more of these, and they are not only attractive, but very functional when there is no overhang at the door.”

Awnings are from such manufacturers as Durasol, NuImage, and Sunblok, and available at various price points. Design Awning West is New Jersey’s largest retailer of Durasol brand awnings. Fabrics are from Sunbrella, Dickson, Sattler, and Tempotest.

All the awnings are made-to-order, adds Mr. Techner, who will visit the client’s house to provide a solar evaluation to determine the best awning choice. Once a decision is made, Awning Design West installers set up the awning and demonstrate its proper use and care.

Mr. Techner is very enthusiastic about the products Awning Design West offers, and takes pride in seeing their installation at a client’s home. “There is a lot of personal satisfaction when we put the product on the customer’s house. They are happy with its function, and we get a lot of referrals and repeat customers. Some clients may have a second house at the shore.”

He is also very proud of a recent project the company had in Princeton. “We designed and installed a large custom stationary deck canopy at the student center on the campus of The Hun School. The canopy spans 35 feet and projects out 18 feet on this raised patio, providing substantial shade where none had previously existed. The project was partially funded by a recent graduating class as a gift to the school.

“It was a real team effort by our production department at Awning Design, led by Ian Wittman, production manager and designer of the project.”

Dimpled Finish

Awning Design West’s attractive showroom displays full-size awning samples that customers can see and operate. This is a real plus for people who are searching for the best type of awning for their needs.

In addition to the awnings, the company offers a selection of outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and grills. “We have just added a brand new line of premier quality grilling products,” notes Mr. Techner. “These include Napoleon gas grills, TEC infra-red portable grills, and Saffire grills and smokers, which are known as kamado-style grills. It is a Chinese method of grilling and uses special wood and lump charcoal. These are ceramic with a special dimpled finish, and use extremely hot temperatures.”

During the fall and winter, the company’s focus shifts to fireside products, and their Fireside Pros business is under the same roof. Fireplaces, wood and gas inserts, stoves, and accessories are all on display, and installation and service is provided. Brands include Regency, Hampton, and Hearthstone.

Right now, however, awnings are key, and Mr. Techner could not be more pleased at the upsurge in these products. “Awnings have always been big favorites in Europe, but now they are really becoming popular in the U.S.

“People come in and look for quality and value, and a fair price. We have prices for most budgets, with the cost depending on model, size, and features. Service is a priority with us. We have a great staff, and we always do the best we can for our customers. They come from all over the area, including Princeton, and we are very easy to get to. We’re right on Route 130 South, just a couple of miles below the Princeton-Hightstown Road. Come and see us!”

Awning Design West is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m to 4:30 p.m., Saturday 10 to 5, Sunday 12 to 4. (609) 223-2020. Website:

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