Marvin Sees More Fiberglass Gains

October 1, 2007
Last week, WDWeekly reported on a presentation made by Susan Marvin, president of Marvin Windows & Doors at the Midwest Glass Conference. Marvin also sat down with WDweekly, to answer a few questions.

WDweekly: Marvin was a pioneer in developing a fiberglass product line. Why has Integrity Windows been successful, while other fiberglass window and door lines failed to catch on?
Susan Marvin: We did a terrific job running thin wall shapes with fiberglass. Prior to us working with shapes, the only fiberglass windows on the market were beefy. We were able to make the material attractive and have since become very proficient at it. The Integrity Window itself delivers that with tremendous value.
WDw: Where is fiberglass evolving to now? Do you expect fiberglass as a material to gain significantly more market share?
SM: I do see fiberglass continuing to expand its market share. It’s the building material of the future—it’s durable, it’s strong.
WDw: In what segments?
SM: Fiberglass is crossing over to the nonresidential market. Tecton [Marvin’s joint venture pultrusion operation] is supplying some fiberglass storefront products. At Marvin, we are moving up to serve the luxury buyers.
WDw: In recent years, more of your company’s dealers and distributors have been setting up showrooms and retail outlets carrying the Marvin name. How closely does Marvin work with its dealers?
SM: We are never any better than our dealers perform. We will fail, no matter what we do, if our dealers aren’t performing. We invest a lot in getting to know our dealers. Interfacing more frequently, treating it like a team. For example, my nephew Dan, who is in charge of the Infinity product line [the manufacturer’s fiberglass replacement line], I don’t think there’s a dealer he hasn’t met with.
WDw: Is branding becoming more important in the window and door field? Do you see branding playing a more important role in specific market segments?
SM: We invest heavily in branding. Certainly, we are in a segment where the consumer plays a role, so branding becomes even more important. In spec housing, the builder is our customer. In commercial, the brand is less important.
WDw: What other trends do you see in the industry?
SM: There are many companies making a mad dash for the bottom of the barrel. We’re going the opposite direction. My father vowed never to compete on price; instead, deliver great value. Customers put great value on quality, high performance and durability. That takes an investment on our end too, to make quality products.

Reporting by Katy Devlin