“I’m an old soul” reflects Chris Gillies, President With Chris’s love of old world charm, his education and of Architectural Stone and Iron (ASI) Products. That insight illustrates Chris’s desire to channel the old-world beauty of Spanish Colonial and European decorative wrought iron into western Canada. The elaborate, ornamental design features of wrought iron were virtually non- existent in Canada until now. With Chris’s love of old world charm, his education years of experience in architectural exteriors and entrepreneurial spirit, Chris took a leap of faith and started ASI Products.
That was five years ago, during the height of the recession, but now after hard work and a recovering economy, ASI is positioned for success.
Since 1990, Chris has spent a lot of time in Phoenix Arizona, which continues to be Chris’s source of inspiration. “I would see these doors and the wrought iron everywhere, so I thought, why not offer that in Canada”. Bringing iron products to Alberta was not without its hardships, in particular the cold-climate all Albertans know very well. “We were pioneers in this business. Our doors are made of steel, so in the beginning they would freeze up. We – very quickly- needed to work with engineers to ensure we were able to carry a product that withstands Canadian winters.” Now, Chris is proud to say, they are really the only ones offering customized, quality wrought iron design on the Canadian market.
Chris owes much of his unrelenting drive and determination to his business partner, Jeff Sterling in addition to his customers. “It’s nice having two of us. We play off each other and get really excited when talking to customers; we feed off peoples’ wow factor when they see our products.” Now that Jeff is able to focus on the construction and installation part of the business, Chris has more time to create and bring to life the visual design client desire when they seek-out ASI Products. “I love being able to work with clients and watch as their ideas transpire into reality.”
ASI’s customers are primary in Edmonton and Calgary and on a design scale, it’s interesting to see the difference in style and demographics. Calgary’s style tends to have a more contemporary, modern feel, while Edmonton’s style lends itself to a more traditional, ornate feel. The next big step for ASI is to expand into the Vancouver market.
Despite the challenges over the last five years, Chris knows that ASI is right on track. Right from the start, he has received positive affirmation that he is destined to succeed.
In addition to the unwavering commitment, unfailing determination and visionary approach, Chris and his partners are destined to weave the elaborate and timeless old-world feel of wrought iron into the everyday architecture found in the Canadian landscape.