Latest Articles in THE TALK...

  • This time of year, we start looking back to summarize some of the most notable happenings of the past 12 months. In the mainstream media, some of the top stories being bantered about include politicians’ extramarital activities, royal weddings, and the continued economic woes. In the window and door industry, we’ve had an interesting year as well. We started out with a significant... more »
  • Single-family home sales were up 1.3 percent for the month of October. Builder confidence, as measured by NAHB, has increased slightly each of the past two months. Challenges persist in the housing market, says David Crowe, NAHB's chief economist, but he also predicts "modest, gradual" improvements heading into 2012. Are positive numbers trickling into your business yet?  Are... more »
  • Black Friday 2011 was an impressive (or appalling, depending on your perspective) display of retail consumption. I know a lot of folks get all bent out of shape over Black Friday, but I have shared with Window & Door readers that my family and I get into the light-hearted spirit of it. We don’t shove. We don’t trample. We don’t freak out over a missed deal. We think it... more »
  • Arriving in Toronto for Win-Door North America, the industry is getting a chilly reception–at least from the Canadian Broadasting Corp.  This week's headlines from CBC News offer dire predictions of widespread window failures on the many recently-built glass-walled condos here.   The window walls of the many high-rise buildings constructed in Toronto in recent years... more »
  • I had noticed through the summer and early part of fall that the number of times I learned on Facebook that another friend had been laid off was  dwindling. In fact, it had been so many weeks without that pit-of-the-stomach feeling on behalf of a friend that I was a little shocked when I recently saw two friends in a matter of days announce that they were now desperately seeking work... more »
  • The presidential campaign has been going strong for some time on the Republican side. We've had debates, straw polls, withdrawals from the race, and a mix of front runners, including some who weren't officially candidates.  But given the fact that it's the first week of November and we're now a year away from the real election, I thought it was time for WDweekly's first poll of the 2012... more »
  • Last week, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released the results of its Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) study that indicates the home improvement market will falter in the early part of next year. The researchers expect the fourth quarter of 2011 will end up with home improvement spending at a pace of about $111 billion per year year. ... more »
  • We know a little more about what the Environmental Protection Agency is thinking about the next set of Energy Star criteria, tentatively set to take effect in fall 2013. It issued a document last week, indicating U-value and SHGC performance levels it was considering for windows, doors and skylights. What stood out for me is an apparent EPA decision not to go for an R-5 level of performance... more »
  • In case you couldn’t tell, we’re pretty excited this week to announce the 2011 class of Dealers of the Year. Like many companies in many industries, our winners have remained nimble and innovative in the last few years to maintain solid footing and grow in spite of challenging economic conditions. About a month ago, Lowe’s rolled out a new branding strategy. Moving away from its... more »
  • Margins are razor thin in the window and door industry. I suspect that most companies' cash reserves are too low for comfortable sleeping. Why is that? Margins in the fenestration market are set by large firms playing a “contribution to margin” game. Everyone else has to react to the prices at the bottom. For the most part, small companies can get a little more margin... more »