Reflections from IBS

Emily Kay Thompson
March 6, 2019
COLUMN : Opening Remarks | Markets & Trends

Was anyone else’s winter thrown a little off by the later dates of the International Builders’ Show? I felt like I returned to bizzaro world where we completely skipped February. It’s a sign of a longstanding tradition when even a small deviation from the pattern creates this sort of impact—the event marked its 75th year this February. Couple that with the return to the West and it begins to explain the endless Starbucks line at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The place was absolutely packed—all three halls. All the booths. All the shuttles, monorail, taxi lines. All the hotels. 

What the crowds indicated to me: business is good. Builders and remodelers may be bracing for a slower market, but they’ll be ready to pivot because of the vendors they met with and products they learned about. Dealers, too. Katie Gregg, our associate director for member engagement for the Window & Door Dealers Alliance, met with many of our members who were at the show to strengthen that essential relationship they have with the many fenestration manufacturers on the floor. 

Was it just my perception, or did the windows and doors really seem to take on a stronger presence than in years past? I’m used to seeing the big booths and big names in our space, but it felt elevated at this event. There were also a lot of our companies that were up for best in show awards this year. It made me proud to see so many Crystal Achievement Award winners in the running. IBS faces the same issue we do every year: there can only be one winner with a ton of great products. 

That’s part of the reason we put together this issue that allows manufacturers and suppliers to highlight their top-selling products. We think it’s important to acknowledge the great work our audience is putting out there. We also wanted to know what makes a best-selling window or door system, so we asked. 

Throughout the product showcase in this issue, we provide the insights on what customers are most drawn to. We complement that information with some insights from an industry veteran on top-notch design. And, we had even more insights to share, so we published some bonus content on the subject of top-selling windows online

We wanted to save some pages for what really makes a company’s products a commercial success: the people who make and sell the products. Our Workforce Development series continues in this issue with thoughts on company culture. 

I’m always hoping to hear your thoughts, too, on any of the topics I mentioned above, as well as on anything else you see (or don’t see) in the issue. Email me at ethompson@glass.org and, while you’re at it, introduce yourself to our new senior editor, Laurie Cowin, lcowin@glass.org, and help me welcome her to the fenestration world.

Thompson is editor in chief of Window + Door, WindowandDoor.com, and WDweekly. Write her at ethompson@glass.org.