February 17th, 2012
A Sad Day
No one on our staff ever wants to hear of a company closing, a plant shuttering, a bankruptcy—none of it. Every time we have to report on one, it is bad news for the industry, the company, its workers, etc. But I will admit that once in a while, and that “once” happened this week, you hear of bad news and you just don’t believe it, and it hits a little closer to home. That’s what happened when I heard the initial reports last Friday that Gorell Windows and Doors “was closing.” Those reports weren’t true once I started digging, the news was that the company founded by Wayne Gorell in Indiana, Pa., was in receivership. We learned that Gorell had retired 12 days earlier and the fate of his former company was now in the hands of the court-appointed receiver.
It wasn’t that Wayne and I were close friends; we met in person twice to my recollection at the International Builders’ Show when his company was exhibiting, but he was just one of those people who knew his stuff.
I was covering the Gorell story while at the International Builders’ Show so I had to call the office so fellow editor Penny Stacey could help me track down some phone numbers. She couldn’t believe it either. As DWM’s assistant editor for many years, she contacted him many times for a story—and I do mean many times. If you know Wayne you know why we called him—because he was so darn knowledgeable. He didn’t pull any punches either. He frequently sent us emails suggesting we look into such and such, he was always vocal when the industry went through various changes such as new updates to Energy Star, and he could talk about solar heat gain coefficients like the best of ‘em. He was also one of the first people to tell me we had to start covering these new “lead paint regulations” that were going to have such a huge effect on the industry. He was right on the money.
Ultimately, the story of Gorell had a happy ending—well, happy for some. While many details have yet to be determined, fellow vinyl window manufacturer Soft-Lite snapped up the assets of Gorell at record speed (less than a week after it went into receivership) and the workers are happy that they still have jobs.
But I doubt Wayne Gorell is happy. I can only imagine the stress and toll that the situation has caused for him as the founder and mainstay of Gorell Windows and Doors. He really is one of the good ones.