Latest Articles in Close-Ups

  • Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I love a dealer with an angle. It’s tough to develop a focus, a niche, a personality for a business—so when I run across a really good angle, I’m definitely doing a little happy-column-dance. This month I’d like to introduce Windows Plus, a replacement retailer based in Northern Virginia. The dealer’s is a story like many... more »
  • With new product line incorporating a unique manufacturing technique, Insula-Dome looks to expand nationally
    Insula-Dome Skylights sees an opening for another big name brand in its product arena. Setting its sights on becoming that name, the 35-year-old regional manufacturer is launching a new product line incorporating a unique approach to vinyl welding. Based in Yaphank, N.Y., Insula-Dome was founded by Harry Jensen in 1973, originally manufacturing Plexiglas domes for vans. With its thermoforming... more »
  • Company opened to serve victims while putting its own pieces back together
    Amazing Windows & Doors isn’t just helping victims of Hurricane Katrina—it is itself a victim of the storm and its devastating aftermath. The roof of the Metairie, La., building flew off during the storm, leaving the company’s entire inventory exposed to pounding winds and rainwater. Standing water rose above filing cabinets and computers, wiping out years of records and a... more »
  • Post-Katrina, window dealership takes on doctor’s office feel to serve those in need
    Walking into Interstate Windows & Doors is a lot like walking into the waiting room at a doctor’s office. A vanilla reception area has one window, behind which an obviously organized receptionist is stationed, a play table for children is tucked into one corner and a couple of chairs book-end a small table. Rather than health and parenting magazines, the table displays a few window... more »
  • Charlie Cusimano, Perry Poche and John Roberts are men who sell windows like thousands of other people who sell windows. But these men are different. They are survivors of Hurricane Katrina and have spent the last two years rebuilding their businesses, their lives and their customers’ lives. I invite you to experience New Orleans as I did—not as a tourist, not as a volunteer, and not... more »
  • With new manufacturing plant in Tennessee, 140-year-old door maker continues family tradition of continued, steady growth
    The landscape of the interior door business has changed dramatically over the last 20 years or so. With its 140-year history, Steves & Sons has clearly learned to adapt and thrive with change. Dating back to the pioneer days of Texas, the San Antonio-based company has evolved from a frontier lumberyard to one of the largest interior door manufacturers in the United States. And while... more »
  • Manufacturer takes dealer-centric approach to ease ordering of an increasingly complex product line
     Window and door manufacturers are facing some growing pains. The list of products and options offered by most companies is expanding, and customers are becoming more demanding. One manufacturer facing these challenges is Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., now nearing the end of a multi-year rollout of a new ordering and quoting software package. The 60-year-old company’s made-to-order... more »
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    Focusing on new construction products, Tennessee manufacturer sees itself as small fish in a big pond with plenty of opportunities as a result
    MGM Industries does its own thing—in more ways than one. It’s most obvious “thing” is its product line. Unlike most vinyl window manufacturers, the company makes a mechanically assembled window to better mimic the look of wood windows. A tour through the company’s plant in Hendersonville, TN, reveals many other differences too. Unlike most manufacturers its size, it... more »
  • Seven siblings team up to grow Brothers Home Improvement
    The replacement window business is a family affair for the Cavannas. They’re a big family and, together, they have built a big business. Brothers Home Improvement had a wobbly start in 1995 when second-eldest of nine siblings Gene Cavanna teamed up with the baby of the family, Ralph Cavanna, to start a northern California window installation business. The two, with 11 years separating their... more »
  • Targeting the replacement market, California company has developed unique processes and strategy
    Plenty of companies specialize in replacement windows. Few, however, specialize in replacing interior doors—a fact that suggested a big opportunity to the founders of Interior Door Replacement Co. “Homeowners have had to hire general contractors or a large home improvement store, which generally make a mess of a home, are in the customer’s home for days, sometimes weeks, and... more »