In 2001 Orion Henderson walked through the doors of Horton Brasses Inc. to begin a day of work. He wasn’t just another employee hired to work at the company. He was the fourth generation to work at the family business. And this wasn’t his first job. At the age of 26, he was beginning the ascent to become the company’s leader. Unbeknownst to him at the time was how quickly that role would be his.
In 2007 his time had arrived. His parents were ready to hand off the business, and plans were made and executed. The next few years, as most of us know, were challenging. Leading up to and after Orion took over the helm, Horton Brasses took steps to modernized the company, including its hardware which has been the focus of the family business since its inception in 1936. (Even before the Depression as you’ll hear in our conversation.)
360 WoodWorking sat down with Orion Henderson for a casual conversation about the company’s beginning and family members who influenced its path to what it’s like to step into the business to products, catalogs and where Horton Brasses goes in the future. To hear Orion’s own words, click the audio player immediately below each question.
1. How did Horton Brasses get its start? Was there some specific event that triggered the start of the company?
2. The product catalog is rather extensive, what did it look like at the beginning?
3. As a fourth generation head of the company, at the helm for almost a decade, did you know you were ready to take over control of Horton Brasses Inc. when your mother said that it was time? What prepared you to takeover?
4. Horton Brasses Inc. ,as far as 360 Woodworking editors are aware, has most often been an Internet or online order company. While we’re sure you have walk-in customers, too, how do you view your company? What percentage of business is Internet orders, and how have you grown that area to stay competitive?
5. You sell a lot of products, how many new products do you introduce, and where is the concentration of those products focused? And tell us more about catalogs.
6. What does Orion Henderson do to relax? Any woodworking?
7. What’s your favorite thing about being part of the Horton Brasses history?
8. Horton Brasses sells many different designs of hardware from period to contemporary, have you noticed any trends or shifts from one area to another?
9. What do you see for the future of Horton Brasses?
10. Is there one piece of hardware out there that you’d like to offer that you currently don’t, and why?