About CopperLeaf Designs
Below are a few articles about the founder of CopperLeaf Kitchen and Bath Design, the late Lorraine Brannon.
- Mom headed family kitchen, bath design business
- Business woman learned work ethic early, propelled family venture to success
The Birth of Bathtub Refinishing and Perma Ceram of Pittsburgh
In the early 1920's, Germany was involved in producing products that were needed to supply and support their war machine. In order to preserve needed natural material assets, German chemical engineers developed a chemical coating that could be applied to worn and discolored bathroom fixures which would extend their useful life for many years. This porcelain like coating allowed their government to conserve these natural resources for the production of tanks, planes, guns, vehicles, and other military items.
In the late 50's and early 60's, U.S. manufactures produced a modified airplane coating that could be used to reclaim worn cast iron and china products. This offered consumers an acceptable alternative to the high cost of replacing bathtubs and sinks. A whole new industry was born.
In early 1970 there was a need to earn extra income in order to support a growing family. My son and I attended an "Own Your Own Business Show", and after due diligence realized the potential and purchased a Perma Ceram Dealership.
I kept my day job and refinished bathtubs, tile, and sinks, in the evening and on weekends for several years. My 11 year old son, Gene Jr. carried my equipment and learned the business from the ground up.
Business exploded and I found it necessary to resign my full time job and devote my efforts to developing the Perma Ceram business in Western Pennsylvania.
In 1982 we signed an exclusive contract with Sears Roebuck to refinish bathtubs in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. We developed a dealer network in all three states and serviced over 100 stores. Sears realized that they could substantially reduce the high cost of bathroom remodeling by refinishing the bathtub rather than replacing it. The program was extremely successful for Perma Ceram and Sears.
It was during this period that we realized the potential in the bathroom and remodeling market and opened our showroom in Wexford. As each of our three children came of age they joined my wife and I in the family business.
In 1992 "Brannon Enterprises Inc." was born. My wife Lorraine became President and was our Chief Bath Designer. Gene Jr. became Construction Manager, Patty was the Office Manager and set up the office procedures. Shawn became the Chief Refinisher and Manager.
In 1993 we entered the Kitchen market. We soon became known for quality cabinetry and workmanship.
On September 2002 we moved to our new office and showroom and our Kitchen & Bath business became known as Copperleaf Kitchen & Bath Designs. Perma Ceram remains the name of our refinishing division.