Looking into window trends
Replacement windows, unlike many other remodeling materials — faucets, paint colors, decorative hardware and appliances — tend not to be as unabashedly trendy. But as vinyl has continued to eclipse other materials for windows, and regional differences between window preferences have become more pronounced, even this sometimes-staid long-term homeowner investment has shown signs of trendiness.
“What we are seeing more trend-wise is vinyl,” said Christopher Burk, product manager for Simonton Windows. “As it becomes more mature in the market, a nice-looking vinyl window that has some exterior facades is a trend, especially in the New England area.”
Windows offering a facade that is traditional in its appearance are most popular, he said, including “angled brick molds” and colonial styles with more trim along the sides. Adding sills that have the appearance of real wood also have been popular, he noted.
For remodelers, vinyl windows have become the third most often purchased building material item, following entry doors and molding, according to a study by the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI).
Of general remodelers, 77 percent said they purchased vinyl windows in 2006, up from 69 percent in 1998, the only kind of window that saw an uptick in remodeler purchases, according to the study. Those who said they purchased vinyl or aluminum clad wood windows fell to 63 percent, from 71 percent in 1998. Those who purchased wood windows fell from 47 percent to 41 percent, and aluminum windows fell 28 percent to 21 percent.
At W.I.T (Whatever it Takes) Windows and Doors in Redlands, Calif., vinyl windows with faux flourishes have not only been popular with remodelers, but with the retailer as well.
“At our store, we’re in a church that was built in 1925, [and] we’re in a town that is really big on historic renovation,” said Claudia Mitchell, a manager at W.I.T. The one-location dealer redid the church with vinyl windows that included some retro architectural touches, she said.
Specialty stores and LBM dealers still hold a significant portion of the window sales marketplace. According to another HIRI study on consumer spending practices for windows, doors and millwork, LBM dealers and specialty supply houses account for 40.1 percent of total consumer sales for those products. Home Depot accounted for 30.2 percent of sales, Lowe’s for 23.2 percent and Menards for 5.9 percent.
One trend that has taken over nationwide, but particularly in the West, has been a propensity for consumers to want more windows overall.
“We do notice that people want more windows and more natural light in their homes,” said Kim Flanary, an engineer at Tacoma, Wash.-based Milgard Windows. “I know there was a time in the ’70s and ’80s when 10 to 15 windows per home was the norm. Now, it’s not unusual to see 30 or 40 windows per home.”
Mitchell, in fact, said her store recently sold 60 windows for a large home project. Some of those larger homes, in spite of their size, imitate a “bungalow” style that has led to further changes in the windows consumers are seeking.
“We have a lot of building of what we call ‘McMansions’ around here. And, there hasn’t been much of a slowdown in people remodeling,” Mitchell said. “I think having a good selection and priding ourselves on good service is the most important thing.”
Alan Greenberg: 1943-2007
Alan Greenberg, co-founder, co-chairman and co-CEO of CCA Global Partners, died of cancer Aug. 28 at the age of 64. He leaves behind a legacy of friendship, dedication and service at the nation’s fifth largest home improvement company.
Before CCA Global grew to a $10.2 billion company, and CCA grew to oversee 3,600 domestic and international retailers, there was one store in one city right in the heart of the United States.
“Growing up, we would always go to play in the store, or work in the store as we got older,” said Tod Greenberg of his father’s orginal store, Tile Town/Carpet City in St. Louis. “He always had some work for us to do when we were old enough to work. I worked in the office, did installation, worked in the warehouse. He made sure it was always real work — it was important to him.”
Tod Greenberg now is a vp at CCA Global, working on information technology initiatives. It had not been his initial plan to go into his father’s business, but as CCA Global expanded and grew on the Internet side, he decided to leave a consulting job in Chicago and come back home to Missouri.
“I think we have such good leadership,” he said. “You know, he didn’t do anything alone. I think the key initiatives that were really important to him — building supplier relationships, communicating across the companies — will continue growing.”
Alan Greenberg’s co-pilot in the flooring business has been Howard Brodsky, who will continue on as the sole CEO of the flooring conglomerate, overseeing its 15 affiliated companies.
Brodsky said that for the past 24 years the pair were in business together, they spoke on the phone almost every day. He said he counted Greenberg’s death as a great personal loss, as well as a blow to the industry.
“We had an immediate bond with each other,” Brodsky said. “It was really never work for either of us. It was a labor of love. It was exciting to do this with someone who was your best friend.”
Greenberg’s accomplishments in the floor covering world are plentiful. He joined Tile Town/ Carpet City in 1968 and helped grow the dealer into a $20 million business. In 1974, he started his own four-store chain called Sun Carpet, also in St. Louis. He had served as president and chairman of the Retail Floorcovering Institute and was named wholesale and distribution Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 1999. Greenberg has been the vice chairman of the Floor Covering Industry Foundation, and earlier this year was awarded the FCIF Lifetime Achievement Award.
Atestament to his legacy, Greenberg’s family asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Floor Covering Industry Foundation. Brodsky said Greenberg’s lifelong commitment to floor covering retailers, employees and the business as a whole will be continued as CCA moves into the future.
“Alan was a person of great integrity and warmth and was a true visionary,” Brodsky said. “It is rare in life for a person to live his dream, and Alan and I were able to live our dream together.”
Lumber Liquidators expands in Ohio
Lumber Liquidators, the largest independent flooring retailer in the United States, has leased an 8,000-square-foot building in Miamisburg, Ohio, according to the Dayton Business Journal. The new store is expected to open in mid-October.
Devoted exclusively to hard surface flooring, Lumber Liquidators also has locations in Columbus, Fairfield, Cleveland and Toledo. Altogether, it operates 110 locations in 39 states. The company is headquartered in a 300,000-square-foot office complex and distribution center in Toano, Va.
The Miamisburg store will be located in a 36,000-square-foot building that once housed Morris Home Furnishings. Other home improvement tenants may also share the site, according to the newspaper.