Valley Window Companies Reflect National Trends

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – With business up about 8% from a year ago, Window World of Youngstown is tracking closely to a survey of the nationwide window market projected for 2016.

“We’ve experienced increases for the last eight years every year,” Pat Moran, owner of the Boardman window distributor, says.

A report by Catalina Research projects window sales could increase by 7.9% to $11.5 billion this year and unit sales are projected to reach 91 million. The report based that projected growth on an estimated 9.7% increase in housing starts.

Some of the increased business this year at Window World results from one of its main competitors going out of business, Moran acknowledges, but trust in his company is another factor. “People see us, our commercials and our advertising, and we’re from Youngstown. It’s a trust issue,” he says.

“The other factor would be our pricing. We’re one of the lower-priced companies that carries the high-quality products,” he adds. Pricing starts at $208 and averages about $450 per window, he says.

“Today about 50% of our business is financed,” he points out. “We’re offering great promotions on 15 months same as cash. A lot of people are taking advantage of that.”

Customers are looking for high-efficiency glass and windows with exterior capping, Moran says.

“Our percentage keeps going up on interior wood grains on the windows,” he adds.

At Duo-Corp. in North Lima, its chief financial officer, Stephen DeCapua, says first-quarter business will be up about 10% from a year ago.

The company manufactures vinyl basement windows for new construction and replacement windows for residential customers, DeCapua says. It also manufactures vinyl basement and egress windows for poured concrete foundations and windows for steel buildings, pole barns and sheds.

Duo-Corp distributes as far north as Maine, south to Georgia and west to Utah.

“The more mild winter certainly helped the construction industry to continue work with some interruptions,” DeCapua says. The company does considerable business in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, Virginia and Delaware where large snowstorms over the winter slowed business in those markets “but they’re coming back strong,” he reports.

Likewise, contractors that sell and install windows as only one component of what they offer report increased business in that market.

Although much of the public is unaware that Groover Roofing & Siding does window installations, that work represents about 30% of the Girard company’s business, owner Brian Groover says. “We’ve been installing windows since we’ve been in business, going on 22 years,” he says.

On a scale of 1 to 10, he puts current demand at a 7 and up slightly from last year.

Activity in the market segment is driven in part by cosmetics but also by homeowners’ desire to make their properties more energy-efficient, Groover says.

Windows as a whole today are more efficient than 15 or 20 years ago. Considerably more efficient are stainable and prefinished wood windows, he says.

“There’s entry-level windows and then there’s the extremely high-end, energy-efficient windows,” with R-values – the measure of a window’s heat conduction – comparable to solid insulation, he says. “You can put a thermal heat lamp up against our glass packages and put the heat lamp up against solid insulation and we’re seeing better ratings on the window,” he says.

Groover sells Polaris windows, a high-end product made in Youngstown. Because of the manufacturer’s proximity, turnaround time for orders is at most a week or two, he says.

Like Groover, Aim Roofing and Construction, Canfield, attributes about 30% of its business to window installations. “We’re doing a couple of jobs a week,” owner Jarid Lester says.

Activity this year is higher than past years. “People want to put in new windows to save money,” Lester says.

Prices range from $300 to $400 per window, he says. Most customers are looking for double-pane, low-emissivity argon-filled product.

“Some people like the wood grain on the inside, but most people are putting in white vinyl windows,” he adds.

Windows represent about 10% of business for Boak & Sons in Austintown, says estimater Ray Vlock.

“Spring and fall is usually when you get the calls,” he says. “Now we get calls because people do windows and siding together. It’s time for home remodeling”

Overall, the window industry seems to be slowing, Vlock says. Over the past 10 years, new construction windows have improved, decreasing the need for replacements.

“For years and years we were taking out old windows with weights and balances,” he reports. “Now, windows – the newer ones – are all pretty good,” so homeowners don’t replace them unless they “just want to change,” he says.

Pictured: Stephen DeCapua, chief financial officer for Duo-Corp, Boardman, expects a 10% increase in business for the first quarter, holding close to nationwide trends.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.