In 1947 Charlie Forrence installed his first fence. It was a 4' tall galvanized chain link fence around the front yard of his home in Nashua, NH. The fence was nothing but a safe place for his young growing family to play. Little did Charlie & Rita realize, but this fence would be the start of something really big for their family and generations to come. Charlie had done such a good job on his own fence that it wasn't long before people noticed and started asking him to install one at their home.
Life was different back then for the young Forrence family. Charlie had just finished serving our country overseas in WWII. He had a full time job working for the International Shoe Company. His nights and weekends were filled with trying to build Gate City Fence. His office and shop were his garage; his tools and truck were simply nothing but a wheelbarrow and a station wagon. Rita at the time was juggling the responsibilities of raising her children, working as a waitress at the Modern Restaurant and taking phone calls for the fence company. Their hard work and determination are still visible in everything we do today.
Big changes for Gate City Fence came in the 60's.
The company moved from Walnut Street to our current location on Ledge Street. Along with the move came the 2nd generation of Forrence members to Gate City Fence. We often joke how some kids grew up playing with toy cars, planes and baby dolls; the Forrence kids grew up with shovels and post hole diggers. Charlie & Rita had four children Suzanne, Charles Jr. "Chick", Ken Sr. and Drusilla "Drue". Friday's were big fence days so Ken & Chick would take the day off from school and work. While the other kids were off playing baseball after school, the Forrence kids were out putting up fence.
Gate City Fence continued to grow through the 70's and 80's. It was during this time that Charlie had transitioned away from installing fence to his sole job , being the primary estimator for the company. Charlie had a sincere and genuine approach when he dealt with customers. We often hear repeat customers reminiscing on how Charlie had come to their house for a simple fence estimate and it would turn into a long conversation around the kitchen table filled laughter and stories. Charlie did business the old fashioned way; there were no calculators, no signing on the dotted line… merely a handshake and a promise from Charlie. A promise you could trust. Though times and business practices have changed, our commitment to delivering our promises remain.
At this time, the 2nd generation of Forrences began settling in. The workforce was led by Chick and Ken Sr. Chick led a crew, as he continues to this day, installing chain link, aluminum and vinyl fences. Ken Sr. at the time was in charge of all the wood job installations. Drue, as she still is today, is responsible for everything involving running the office. A major key to our success is having someone in the family be a part of every customers job.
The 90's was another decade of big changes for Gate City Fence. Along came Kevin, Jeff, Tim and myself (Ken Jr.) "the 3rd generation". As kids growing up, we all worked here, learning the trade long before learning how to drive a car. Although we never skipped school like our fathers, we did spend our spare moments training for our future. Today you will find Jeff and Tim leading wood installation crews and Kevin following in the footsteps of his Dad installing chain link and vinyl . As for myself, Drue and I run the day to day operations of the company.
In 1995 we purchased the manufacturing/warehouse building we call "Forrence Millhouse". The building is located directly behind our Ledge Street property. The purchase of this building has enabled us to provide dry bulk storage for our fence materials. Prior to the building our inventory was limited, due to the footprint size of our operation. It meant we were at the mercy of our suppliers to buy limited quantities. Today our extensive inventory has allowed us to pass along our bulk purchasing power savings to our customers. If it's a fence part you need chances are we have it and lots of it.
The other benefit of having the Millhouse building was our new vinyl fabrication shop. This has enabled us to hand craft beautiful vinyl fences with the best material on the market. Our unique customization capacities allow us to build virtually any vinyl fence or deck railing specific to your job. We have the vision and resources to transform your property and add real value with our custom fabricated vinyl fencing.
In the late 90's we built our new 1500 sq. ft. indoor showroom. Here we welcome customers to view our vast display of fence styles and options.
Both Charlie ( January 2014) and Rita (February 2013) Forrence passed away after working over 60 years to build this company (6 days a week). They are missed dearly by all of us. We often have customers who come by and share their fond memories with us which we appreciate.
Gate City Fence continues to grow as members of the 4th generation become an integral part of the operation. Right now we have Ryan, Jeff's son, who installs and repairs wood fences.
When we say we are a family business we really mean it. Our commitment to family has been the key to our success for all these years. When you call us, someone in the family will more than likely be the one helping you get started. Typically Ken Sr. will be the one to visit your home to give you an estimate; and depending upon what style fence you choose… it will be my Uncle, brother, brother, cousin or nephew coming out to install your fence.