The development of the brand Minka
For a successful company history, only three ingredients are needed: a good idea, committed people and the will for permanent development. The fact that Minka combines these ingredients perfectly is impressively proven by the company’s 70-year history. Starting with the idea of a retractable attic staircase, the founding family Janner pushed the company Minka further and further. This is how a small company in Austria developed into a globally active enterprise with over 150 employees. But even though we are constantly developing, we have always remained true to our core values of quality, flexibility and sustainability.
The history of Minka began in the 1950s, when the young Franz Janner built his first attic staircase. Initially only intended for his own use, this soon developed into a business idea. Franz Janner worked constantly on improving his product and so his father Ernst Janner Sr. was finally able to register a patent for various functions of the attic staircase on 2 November 1951. Based on this, father and son officially founded a company in 1952 – inspiration for the company name “Minka” was provided by the family’s cat, who also enjoyed the attic staircase at home.
In the years following the founding of the company, production and sales were exclusively in the hands of the Janner family. Ernst Janner senior took over the management, but his wife Rosa Janner and their son Franz Janner also put all their heart and soul into the manual production of their loft ladders. As a result, the products quickly found favour with the house builders in Austria. Soon the facilities in Vorarlberg were too small for the company and the Janner family had to move the business to another location. The choice fell on a centrally located place in Styria and in 1956 Minka finally opened its doors in St. Lorenzen im Mürztal.
From their new home in the heart of Austria, the Janner family was able to realise the potential of their business idea even better. The factory was steadily expanded and more and more employees supported the company in production and sales. But not only the team grew, but also the sales figures. The Austrian market became increasingly saturated, which is why the first export activities to Switzerland were started. The 60s also saw the first change of managing director in Minka’s history. In 1966, Ernst Janner senior handed over responsibility for the company to his son Franz Janner.
Since the founding of the company, Minka has filed a number of innovations with the patent office and as a result has been granted the associated claims. In 1972, Minka was once again the pioneer of a new generation of stairs: the fire-retardant metal staircase. In the course of developing this innovative product, the Janner family founded its own powder coating department. With this method, Minka was able to surface-finish the metal parts for the stairs itself. But it did not stop at coating their own materials, because soon external customers also became aware of this new technology from Minka. This is how Minka Powder Coating developed into its own business division, which is still very successful today.
In 1986 Franz Janner handed over the company to his son Ernst Janner jun. who had big plans for Minka’s product range: In addition to attic staircases, Minka would henceforth also produce system staircases. In the late 90s, the production of the new spiral staircases, space-saving staircases and galvanised staircases for outdoor use increasingly gained momentum. But it was not only the product range that grew strongly after Ernst Janner Jr. took over, but also the distribution network. Minka established more and more relationships with international partners and was thus able to open up more and more markets in Central Europe.
The production and office areas have been continuously expanded and converted since the company was founded. Between 2000 and 2015, there were again major changes to the premises. The St. Lorenzen site was completely renovated and a showroom was added, where customers and business partners have since been able to admire our products live. In addition, Minka opened a second location in Kindberg in 2010 to further expand the production of system staircases. This caused the export rate to skyrocket once again. Now sales were no longer limited to the European market, but more and more countries from other continents became aware of the quality and durability of Minka stairs.
In recent years, a great deal of attention has been paid to the further optimisation of the stairs. All product innovations are accompanied by numerous internal and external tests, as a result of which the Minka brand has now become synonymous with high-quality stairs. But the company has also increasingly tackled the improvement of manufacturing processes and the expansion of automatic production in recent years. The new machines and state-of-the-art equipment guarantee even better quality management and even more flexibility in production. This makes it possible to offer our partners an excellent price-performance ratio of the products.
With all the further development, however, Minka did not forget the basic idea of sustainability. In order to make production more sustainable, Minka had the roofs of the business buildings equipped with photovoltaic systems. In 2022, the absolute majority of production could already be covered with energy from solar power. As always, however, the Janner family wants to go one step further – the goal is to produce completely CO2-neutral in 2024.
The history of Minka shows that the founding family Janner and the dedicated Minka team have never rested on their laurels. The managing directors and employees have always strived to further optimise the products, production and processes. However, the focus has always been on the core values of quality, flexibility and sustainability. For this reason, Minka is now one of the largest staircase manufacturers in the world. Every year we produce around 140,000 staircases and sell them in over 50 countries worldwide.