Windowizards Investigated for Making False Product
The fallout of an investigative piece published in July by Philadelphia’s
Fox News affiliate has created some concerns for the companies featured
in that story. The one most affected has been Windowizards, a window distributor
based in Levittown, Pa., and the manufacturer, OKNA Windows based in Bristol,
The investigative piece alleged that certain windows distributed by Windowizards,
which were advertised as foam-filled, were found to have little or no
foam inside. The news station also made mention of some marketing materials
supplied by OKNA to Windowizards that were alleged to have been inaccurate.
A letter authored by Windowizards president David Goodman says he was
unaware that the marketing materials may misrepresent the amount of foam
installation in some of the windows offered to its customers.
At press time, Fox News published a follow-up investigative
piece to its original story. This report alleges that four
Windowizards customers reported that the company's Thermal-King windows
also were examined to be void of foam
in either the sashes or the inner mainframes. In the fourth case the customer
complained to Windowizards about the
lack of foam and the company arranged for the windows to be injected with
“We deeply regret any potential confusion caused by the portrayal of
foam installation in our marketing materials … We are taking immediate
corrective action to clarify the qualities and attributes of all the products
we offer to avoid any potential misrepresentation in the future,” Goodman
said in the letter.
The foam allegations originated with a former installer, according to
the report, who in December 2006 cut open a window that was supposed to
be foam-filled but, according to the installer, had no foam inside.
Patrick Egan, an attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP, representing Windowizards,
also wrote a letter to Fox News and addressed many of the allegations
against the company.
“Windowizards has also checked its inventory and customer records since
your interview with Mr. Goodman. While we did receive reports of defective
foam injection in a handful of windows—eight to be exact—all customer
concerns were resolved in a satisfactory manner. We ask that you consider
the source of charges made about windows lacking foam: a former disgruntled
contractor,” said Egan.
Following the newscast, Goodman issued another statement further addressing
the concerns of its customers.
“At Windowizards’ request, OKNA, the manufacturer of the windows in question,
is present at our facility inspecting every window to ensure that it has
proper foam content before it is installed,” said Goodman. “Windowizards
intends to respond to every inquiry by sending a technician to the customer’s
home to ensure that the windows are properly foamed and to make modifications
Charles Gentry of Carson and Coil P.C. in Jefferson City, Mo., an attorney
who specializes in defect litigation, says stories such as this are certainly
not new to the window industry.
“Nearly every case that involves alleged product defects includes claims
of fraud,” says Gentry, who is not involved in this particular case, but
has a great deal of experience in this area. “While fraud typically requires
substantial proof to stick, it also opens manufacturers up to punitive
damages. Insurance companies will not cover such claims leaving the manufacturer
fighting with its own money. Also, most states provide consumer protection
laws that are often times applicable and easier to prove. Such laws typically
provide for double and triple damages and attorneys’ fees.”
As such, Gentry warns that it’s best to make sure your product and product
literature are in agreement.
“In most cases, such claims are relatively easy to defend,” he says. “However,
when the facts line up where a manufacturer’s sales literature and the
end product don’t match, look out. If a jury believes a company was lying
to increase profits, they’ll be angry. Angry juries typically award big
Gentry reminds companies to review all sales literature, websites, brochures,
warranties, spec sheets, installation instructions, etc., to make certain
they are in harmony with the product itself.
“As the green movement continues to take front and center stage and the
Internet provides instant access to consumers, manufacturers must be more
diligent than ever to provide what they promise they provide,” says Gentry.
“The plaintiffs’ bar is in the bushes waiting to strike when manufacturers
trip up, intentionally or not,” he adds.
Roto Frank and HOPPE Establish Alliance
Roto Frank of America and HOPPE North America are marketing each other’s
product solutions available in the United States and Canada through a
distribution alliance. In order to launch this collaboration, the Roto
Frank of America sales team has initiated the selling process of HOPPE’s
HLS9000 program, and HOPPE has begun to actively promote Roto’s NT and
ALU Tilt&Turn programs.
Andersen to Restructure and Cut 250 Jobs
Andersen Corp. announced on July 14 that it is reducing its management
and office staff by approximately 250 people as a result of internal restructuring.
The company, which employs nearly 11,000 people across North America,
says this will occur through a combination of early retirements, attrition,
open positions and job eliminations. The majority of these reductions
will be from its staff in the Bayport, Minn., area.
“While we had every hope and intention of riding out this market correction
without making adjustments like this, it has become clear that these actions
are necessary to protect the company’s financial strength and flexibility
given the fading prospects for a near-term housing market recovery,” said
Jay Lund, president of the Andersen Window and Door Group.
In January 2009, Andersen temporarily laid off nearly 600 production workers
due to lower order volume. By the end of May, those employees had been
called back in response to seasonal demand, a series of sales and marketing
initiatives and increased orders attributed to the federal tax credit
for energy-efficient replacement doors and windows.
However, it wasn’t enough for the company to maintain all its employees.
“There is mounting evidence that housing demand will not recover until
late 2010 or 2011 as a result of rising unemployment … and weak consumer
confidence,” said Lund. “This significantly reduces our opportunity to
generate the level of sales needed to profitably support a company of
Andersen’s structure also played a role.
Employees affected by the permanent job eliminations will be provided
with severance pay, benefit continuation as well as help with future job
Tru Tech Re-Opens Former Therma-Tru Plant
Door manufacturers who may have thought they would pick up business when
Therma-Tru announced late last year that it would close its Fredericksburg,
Va., facility, will now face new competition—from Canada’s Tru Tech Doors.
The manufacturer, based in Ontario, wanted to expand into the United States,
so it purchased the Therma-Tru plant and held a grand opening event on
July 8. The new location will produce doors for light- commercial and
Tru Tech officials say they can’t figure out why the plant closed in the
first place and cite the company’s seasoned employees and ideal East Coast
location as its keys to success.
“It didn’t make sense why this facility was closing,” said Tru Tech president
The purchase did, however, come at almost the eleventh hour.
Sam Collister, general manager for Tru Tech, came to the facility four
days before it was set to close, looking to buy the equipment at the plant.
But when he saw the dedicated employees and impressive facility, he thought
perhaps the company should consider buying the entire plant.
Therma-Tru plant manager Ernie Hinegardner had been wondering the same
thing, so when he heard Collister was coming to see the plant prior to
its closing, he said, “This could be our chance.”
Though company officials found that the Fredericksburg location is a great
one, Collister admits that Tru Tech officials originally were looking
in the New England area as a possible location for the first U.S. plant.
“It wasn’t the exact area we were looking for, but when you are able to
hire an experienced management team and factory employees, it’s a great
opportunity,” Collister said.
Also working in the company’s favor was the type of doors produced at
“Initially we were looking for machines to produce a steel-edged product
in Canada,” said Careri. “The steel-edged door market was a niche we were
looking to fill …. So that [the fact that these were produced here] was
the icing on the cake.”
The Virginia facility also will distribute Tru Tech’s wood-edged doors.
Hurd Announces Multi-Million Dollar Investment and
Hurd has announced that it will invest heavily in renovation plans in
its Medford and Merrill, Wis., facilities. The company says that the multi-million
dollar, multi-phase project will upgrade its manufacturing facilities
and processes. Specific plans for renovation include new lines to support
the manufacturing of Hurd’s new H3TM window. Building upgrades, technology
system advancements and lean manufacturing and logistic improvements also
The investment and renovation initiative is backed by Hurd’s new ownership,
HWD Acquisition Inc., which purchased the company’s assets in December
2008, and its parent company, Longroad Asset Management LLC.
HWD Acquisition president Dominic Truniger says that this initiative goes
well beyond just buying a few new pieces of equipment.
“This is one of the largest investments of capital ever made in Hurd’s
history,” says Truniger.
JELD-WEN Closes Oshkosh
JELD-WEN closed its plant in Oshkosh, Wis., in early August. The company
had announced the closure two months prior, on June 5. Company officials
cite pressure from low-cost imports as one of the reasons for the closure.
“Closing the Oshkosh plant was a difficult decision, but an economic necessity,”
said JELD-WEN general manager Scott Wilcox. “Our dedicated workforce has
contributed many improvements toward our goal of keeping our wood door
product offering competitive. But the sustained economic downturn and
long-standing price pressure from lower-cost, imported doors have made
this closure a reality.”
He adds, “The decision to close a plant is not done lightly, and is intended
to ensure future viability in this changing global market.”
Xtrabond® Sealants Opens
New Sales Facility
Premier Industrial, makers of the Xtrabond®, XtraFlash® and XtraFoam®,
has opened a second facility outside Phoenix and has hired Michael Rens
to serve as national sales manager. The new 6,200-square-foot facility
will serve as a dedicated sales center to the company’s original distribution
center located in North Phoenix. The company says it also has hired 10
sales associates to service its nationwide network of customers.
Truseal Technologies Guarantees Insulating Glass Certification
Truseal Technologies Inc. is guaranteeing its customers that their IG
units will pass rigorous ASTM 2190 and CAN2-12.8 certification testing,
or it says it will reimburse the direct costs of the test. The Truseal
Certification Testing Guarantee covers IG units produced with Truseal’s
Dura Platform warm-edge spacers, including Duraseal™ and Duralite®.
“There is a lot of misinformation regarding the difficulty and uncertainty
of passing certification testing. Truseal’s IG certification test guarantee
takes the guesswork out of the process. If a unit featuring our products
fails, we’ll pay for the testing,” says Ric Jackson, director of marketing
and business development, Truseal Technologies.
G-U Consolidates North American Distribution in Montreal
G-U Hardware Inc. is consolidating its U.S. distribution operation in
Newport News, Va., into the company’s Canadian division located in Montreal,
“Our Newport News facility has worked out very nicely for us since we
opened here in 1987,” says general manager Yvon Soucy.“The fact is that
our Montreal facility has enough capacity to easily provide service to
all of our customers throughout North America. The Montreal facility also
provides manufacturing capabilities helping us with shorter lead times
for delivery. It’s basically a logistics decision that benefits our customers.”
G-U will maintain sales offices in both Newport News as well as in Medford,
“For our customers the only change they will see is the warehouse location
that their orders will be shipped from,” says Kevin O’Connor, national
sales manager. “Customer service, technical support and sales will all
continue to be serviced from the United States. Invoices, orders and company
contacts will also continue to be located in the United States.”
Stürtz Announces Plans to Relocate to New Facility
Stürtz Machinery has finalized plans to relocate from Solon, Ohio,
to a new facility in Twinsburg, Ohio. According to the company’s announcement,
the new facility has a larger manufacturing plant floor and more overhead
crane capacity than the previous location.
“After 12 years of working out of the same facility it’s going to be a
big change for us,” says Ellis Dillen, Stürtz vice president, “but
we have been looking for almost two years and finally found what will
prove to be a more suitable location for our operation.”
The Solon Stürtz facility was part of a multi-tenant commercial and
warehouse property; the new location was built as a standalone manufacturing
facility. It offers approximately the same square footage but with a wide-open
21,000-square-foot shop floor. The two main bays are each serviced by
an overhead crane and, according to the company announcement, two recessed
loading docks will make shipping and receiving more efficient during the
Larson Purchases Superior Homes
Larson Manufacturing, a storm doors and windows company based in Brookings,
S.D., has announced the purchase of Superior Homes. The Watertown, S.D.-based
Superior Homes, which manufactures modular homes in a factory setting
for resale, has been in existence for more than 55 years and its projects
have included classrooms, hotels and assisted living homes.
The current business model, management team and staffing of about 70 people
of Superior Homes will be maintained under the new ownership.
“Although we are not planning any major changes in operations, we do intend
to take advantages of efficiencies of both companies as it relates to
procurement, marketing [and] general administrative functions,” says Jeff
Rief, chief operating officer of Larson. “Larson’s financial strength
and stability should expand Superior Homes’ opportunities in the marketplace.”
The acquisition became effective in July and included all assets, land,
building and business operations.
Edgenet Sues Home Depot
Brentwood, Tenn.-based Edgenet Inc. has filed an injunction against the
Home Depot. According to documents filed by Edgenet in the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the software manufacturer
alleges that Atlanta-based Home Depot has misappropriated the company’s
Big Hammer software. The software, which helps product suppliers and retailers
collect and organize data concerning products and product attributes,
was contracted for use by Home Depot.
Edgenet claims that with the help of former employee James Musial, Home
Depot illicitly embarked on creating its own software system, the “HomeDepotLink”
system, using Edgenet’s technology. According to Edgenet, the Home Depot
further interfered with business by informing Edgenet suppliers in early
August that Home Depot would no longer accept product data processed through
Big Hammer systems.
Musial, who was a software manager closely involved in the development
of the Big Hammer software, left Edgenet’s Atlanta office in 2008 to work
for Home Depot.
Included in court documents is Musial’s nondisclosure agreement with Edgenet.
Edgenet asserts that Home Depot has caused tens of millions of dollars
in damages as well as irreparable harm to its business and has requested
a trial by jury.
Home Depot spokesperson Stephen Holmes made the following statement regarding
the case to DWM magazine, “We disagree with the claims presented and intend
to vigorously defend our position in the proper forum.”
GBO Inc. Completes the Sale of Two Divisions
The sale of the principle assets of GBO Inc.’s PVC window division and
its steel door division to Ontario-based manufacturer Farley WinDoor Ltd.
closed in July. The cash consideration of the transaction totaled $12.5
million, payable as follows: (i) $500,000 non-refundable deposit which
was paid on May 29, 2009; (ii) $11 million which was paid at closing;
and (iii) $1 million payable upon the 12-month anniversary of the closing,
which shall bear interest, according to a statement issued by GBO. GBO
officials say they invested the proceeds of the transaction in the company’s
working capital and will use a significant portion of the proceeds to
pay down its current debt.
GBO officials say they will now concentrate on the wood door and window
Senate Resolution Would Increase Funds Available
to Disabled Vets for Home Renovations
The U.S. Senate currently is reviewing a resolution that would provide
for an increase in the amount payable by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs
to veterans for improvements and structural alterations to their homes
as part of home health services. This would include doors and windows
and would increase the amount payable to veterans from $4,100 to $6,800.
The resolution was introduced by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.) in March and
the House recently voted to approve it.
New Hampshire Bill Will Create Window Replacement Program
New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch recently signed a law that will create a
window replacement program in the state for houses with lead poisoning.
Once the funds are available, as regulated by the state, the program will
be made available to owners of homes affected by lead poisoning. According
to Senate Bill 114, which was signed into law on July 16, pilot projects
for the program will begin as soon as funds are available.
Frank Lowe Rubber & Gasket Co. Inc. has re-certified as an
ISO 9001:2008 registered company. The company’s original certification,
which applies to all phases of its management system, was originally issued
in April 2002
Edgetech I.G. passed its recent quality audit by Smithers Quality
Assessments and with it earned the ISO 9001:2008 with design certification
Joseph Machinery has teamed up with an Italian machinery manufacturer
to offer cutting and fabrication solutions ranging from its custom built
high-production machinery to the more universal European style CNC-machining
centers in three, four and five axes for the extrusion world. The machines
are built to Joseph’s specifications and are supported at the Joseph headquarters
in Dillsburg, Pa.
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