A New Year reminds us to look back at where we’ve come and set intentions for where we’re going. Propelled by new staff and new ideas, 2019 saw a lot of changes at Reliance Foundry!
In May, Brent and Brad Done retired. Shane Kramps and Pritesh Desai stepped into their shoes. Shane left a previous position as VP at Corvus Energy to join the Reliance team. His background in ecologically-friendly corporate culture brought a new interest in sustainability to the company, while his approach to management continues the Dones’ legacy of innovation. Pritesh joined the management team as an experienced financial and business leader with over 20 years in the field as a CPA. His career has been focused on sustainable growth: he helps companies expand while maintaining corporate cultures that allow teams to be successful.
This new management fostered new thinking about Reliance Foundry’s product lines. To complement our existing bollard offerings, we launched a new line of metal hardscape. As with our bollards, our hardscape is made of architectural, high-quality castings. Our detectable warning plates, tree, and trench grates are designed to look good while providing durable value.
Reliance had a year of outreach into our local communities and our client communities. We were part of the Surrey Board of Trade’s Industry Bus Tour, a well-attended event that invited residents, business-people, and politicians to visit industries in our community. We were also honored to donate bollards to the renovation of a historic local firehall into a community gathering spot. In November, a team of Reliance employees went to our first ASLA trade show in San Diego. We played bollard chess with those who stopped by for a chat and set up a chalkboard asking, “What do Cities of the Future Need?”
Our sales data from 2019 showed a few unexpected new trends developing. Check out our best sellers in bollards, hardscape, and bike parking!
2019’s best bollards
Last year we predicted the R-7535 would take a top spot in 2019’s sales. The model climbed a few positions from its place in last year’s data but didn’t surge enough to reach the top ten. Instead, we were surprised to find a breakout new favorite.
Simple columns with annular rings: R-7576 & R-7901
R-7576 Bollard Stats:
Height: 34 in Body Diameter: 5-3/4 in Base Diameter: 5-3/4 in Weight: 51 lbs Material: Ductile Iron
Max. Inner Pipe Diameter: 4-1/2 in
Max. Inner Pipe Height: 31 in
R-7901 Bollard Stats:
Height: 36 in
Body Diameter: 4-1/3 in
Base Diameter: 4-1/3 in
Weight: 38 lbs
The modern columnar bollard with three annular rings was the Style of the Year, taking two of the top spots in our sales data. Adding the sales data of the two lines together make this the most popular style by a huge margin. This represents a big shift from last year!
Although the two bollards have very similar look, and are often used on the same site together, they are functionally very different products. The narrower, taller R-7901 is machined out of steel. It is generally installed as a fixed, embedded bollard, or it is put on a removable mount.
The complementary R-7576 is cast ductile iron rather than steel. It is shorter and wider, and typically is installed as a sleeve over a crash-protective steel pipe.
- The R-7571 bollard has the sleek, unfluted body style and annular rings of these bollards, but adds a classical bollard cap. This combination of classic and modern makes it a standout for many applications, providing eye-catching guidance to traffic.
- Another simple modern look can be found in the R-7842, which offers a plain column with collars at both top and bottom. Depending on the colors chosen, the R-7842 can have an industrial or decorative look.
- For those who have chosen this style as a site focal but need other functionality, the R-7576-B bike bollard includes attractive bike locking arms to provide bicycle parking.
The Martello bollard: R-7651-EM
The Martello bollard surprised us with its sales strength this year, though we are pleased to see it being adopted for its alternative, functional design. This unique decorative bollard was conceptualized by Billings Jackson Design and popularized in New York City. The Martello’s look was inspired by the marine-facing Martello towers used as defensive outposts throughout England.
The sloped design of the Martello gives it a special ability: it can capture the wheels of an errant vehicle and return them to the roadway. The Martello works through impact redirection rather than only through target-hardening. (With weighty steel frame, and space for an embedded footing, engineers on-site still have the option of target-hardening against impact.)
- The Martello was one of the featured products in our “4 Unique Decorative Bollards” blog, showcasing the variety of bollards available to support different aesthetics and functions.
- At 22-1/2 inches, the Martello is a shorter bollard than most. For those looking for short and sweet, the R-7611 offers a pleasing curved profile that can be placed over an interior security pipe.
Stainless steel bollards, fixed & removable: R-8460 & R-8464
R-8460 Bollard Stats:
Height: 35-1/2 in
Body Diameter: 4-1/2 in
Base Diameter: 6-1/3 in
Weight: 20 lbs
Material: 316 Stainless Steel
R-8464 Bollard Stats:
Height: 35-1/2 in
Body Diameter: 4-1/2 in
Base Diameter: 6-1/2 in
Weight: 26 lbs
Material: 316 Stainless Steel
The R-8464 took top spot in last year’s sales data. This year the removable version of this bollard was in 6th position and the embedded version was in 4th position; sales of the two identical bollards together made the top three. It is interesting to see the variety of functions multiplying across this style of bollard. The simple, slender, stainless steel bollard has become a modern classic.
- The R-8472 bollard is a fully-retractable model of this same style. It is installed with a below-grade receptacle. When lowered, it sinks fully into the ground, closing flush to avoid becoming a tripping hazard.
- Substantial security pipe can be given a similar look to the R-8460, even at a much larger size. The R-7311 stainless steel bollard sleeve has the same buffed satin finish on 316 stainless steel, but is 42 inches tall and 10-3/4 inches in diameter. It is used to finish and protect security pipe up to 8-5/8 inches diameter.
Bollard theme from 2019
Like the top spot bollard, 2019’s sales trends saw sites buy matching bollards of different functional types so that the overall site look is not compromised.
2019’s best bike parking
Last year we predicted that 2019 would be a good year for bike lockers: we’d seen a lot of interest out of California, which can sometimes set a trend. In this alone our predictions were correct. Bike lockers were our top-selling bike parking this year.
Sales of bike lockers came mostly from the West Coast. East Coasters take note: these lockers are just as good at keeping bicycles safe from snow as from rain!
Exposure increases the likelihood of bike theft, so bike lockers are a great choice for any location where people will be parked for more than two hours. Employers that offer bike parking encourage employees to consider active transportation. The lockers also provide convenient lock-up for bike accessories, freeing up floor space.
2019’s best hardscape
June this year saw the introduction of our hardscape line, including tree grates, trench drains, and detectable warning plates.
It is hard to get a sense of changing trends on so few months of data, but so far tree grates are rapidly emerging as a favorite.
The Metropolitan tree grate: R-8706-1a
The Metropolitan grate has a geometric, art-deco-reminiscent style. It allows air and water to get to tree roots while protecting the soil around the root bulb from being compacted.
All our tree grates are ADA compliant and designed and manufactured in the US, in compliance with the Buy American Act.
We stock grates of all sizes in black paint finishes that match our classical bollards. We also have stock in raw cast iron. When the raw iron is left outside, in time it develops a rich red-brown patina that protects it from damaging corrosion.
- The Metropolitan also comes in 60 and 72 inch widths: the R-8707 and the R-8815-1 The larger grates have additional circles of rays offering eye-catching geometrical design.
- The thin rays of the Metropolitan tree grate can be found in the simple but efficient R-4990-AX trench drain, which can be used between trees to help bring water to their root beds.
- A similar geometric ray pattern, sporting fewer thick circular elements, can be found in our Boulevard tree grates.
Looking ahead to 2020
Our predictions from last year were only correct in bike parking: 2019 was the year of the bike locker, at least on the West Coast. East Coast employers may yet pick up the trend. Yet there’s something else interesting happening in bike parking: after years in which stainless steel commercial outdoor racks were the best seller, we’re seeing some movement toward black powdercoat finishes. Will this move away from stainless continue?
We predicted that polyurethane flexible bollards sales might take flight in 2019. We saw movement in that category, with flexible bollards now one of our top ten bestselling bollard lines. There was also a lot of discussion around this line—as cyclists advocate for durable, obvious separated bike lane markers and cities look for solutions that give access emergency vehicles. With new models making these thick bollards more economically feasible, we think sales in this category will continue to increase.
We’re also seeing interest in plain columnar bollards, specifically the R-7902 steel and R-8902 stainless steel models. A variety of different mounting options make these bollards a versatile line that gets the job done without fuss.
Finally, in our hardscape lines, we don’t have enough data to really predict a trend, but we can say what we like most! We’ve been universally enamored of the Greek Key Trench drain, which would look lovely as the border to a pool or building site, create movement and interest along a city sidewalk, or add flair as drainage on a residential driveway.