Overhead Door Company of the 7 Rivers Region, Inc.™

This edition of "Behind the Ribbon" was sent to us by Sam Schank, Commercial Sales at Overhead Door Company of the 7 Rivers Region, Inc.™

Where better to start than with the words of the man who brought our family into this business. My grandfather, Francis Schank wrote his memoir in 2005. And in that memoir he states, “In the spring of 1972 we had an opportunity to investigate the possibility of acquiring the Overhead Door Corp. franchise in our area. After contacting the corporate office, they sent their representative to Arcadia to interview me. Apparently they were satisfied with the interview and invited Rita and me to their corporate office in Hartford City, Indiana for a five day introduction. On June 1, 1972 we signed their agreement and were officially Overhead Door distributors. It was a very slow start, as the franchise had been seriously neglected. We operated out of a small building in downtown Arcadia until 1974, when we built a new building out in the new Arcadia industrial park. In 1978 the door business was growing so fast we bought a lot in an industrial park in Onalaska, Wisconsin, and in 1979 built a new steel building there, which exists today, plus a couple of additions.”

Picture from the Arcadia News Leader

First picture of the new building in Arcadia in 1974. The doors were not even installed yet.

Francis Schank in front of his business in Arcadia, WI circa 1983 (This building was sold around this time, Francis also sold out of his residential and commercial construction businesses in 1983, and all focus was set on Overhead Door. All operations were moved to the Onalaska, WI facility).

In 1992 my father Peter Schank his two brothers, James and Tony Schank, along with their siter Marilyn and her husband Tim Rebarchek made the decision to go into business together and become the 2nd generation of our Overhead Door dynasty. During the 90s the

business flourished furthermore. A large addition was put on in 1994, along with another in 2000. I was born in 1993 and grew up during this period. My first memories of overhead door are of our old “radio room” which was where they kept all the remotes, receivers, operator gear kits, sprockets, chain, limit switches, wall stations, photocells, and of course my personal favorite and childhood obsession; cube relays in all sizes. I can remember my dad’s frustration when he would find my stashes of cube relays I kept hidden in my room when I was 3-5 years old, but he would just kind of laugh and tell me I should not take them. I think I just thought they were cool because they are clear, and the innards look like this complex piece of electrical equipment that would make any homemade robot come to life. Also, all the cool kids had a clear telephone in the 90s… and a cube relay is similar. Oh, the memories of finding little niches to hide and play in the warehouse with my sister and cousins, and of course skating around on all of the dolly’s we have for piling sections on. During the 90s my dad and his brothers spent many late nights painting doors. Armortite, Jetroll, and banner doors came of the production line during the early 2000s and my dad and his brothers sold them by the hundreds. My first jobs at Overhead Door were taking out the garbage’s and sorting out the hardware boxes from stock doors and putting them away into inventory. I was 5 years old. The tasks and responsibilities grew as I grew and shortly after my 16th birthday, I loaded up my first door onto the back of one of our trucks and installed it on my own. I stuck around La Crosse for college and continued to work in the business doing anything and everything in the field. I Began working full time as a Commercial Tech in the summer of 2014 and spent three years in that position. At that point we were nearing a transition with my uncle Tim Rebarchek’s retirement, and Uncle Jim and Tony looking to exit in the next few years. I moved into the office and began learning the business. James and Tony retired in 2020.

Construction of the 1994 addition in Onalaska, WI

Company picture in 1995

Peter Schank getting home from painting doors in 1996. Sam Schank pictured in the Spider-Man costume, with his sister Kendra.

My grandfather passed away this last October. He left me three of his possessions; two of them were, the watch that Overhead Door Corp give him as a gift, and the “Heritage Award” that Overhead Door Corporation had presented him and my father at the Overhead Door convention in Jackson Florida after his official retirement in 1994. This was the first heritage award given to a distributor. My parents took me with them on that trip, I was only a year old. My wife and I will likely bring our one-year-old daughter to the 100-year anniversary convention this coming spring.

Sam Schank with Grandpa Francis Schank in company jackets outside of Onalaska, WI office building in 2016.

Tim Rebarchek at his retirement party in 2016 after 39 years

Taken at Tim Rebarchek's retirement party

Company in November of 2016

Picture of first shop with lockers, break area and "extended show room." 7 Rivers pride themselves on having a clean and organized shop and often take customers on a tour to show them doors on the walls as examples. Customers can also see pictures of team members on their lockers and you can see in this picture that they pre-hardware residential doors at the shop for installation.

Dave Harnish giving an Operator Training in 2017.

Dale Davis and Tim Rebarchek enjoying lunch in 1990

Sam Schank's daughter Bella (13 months old) with some relay cubes