August 10th, 2012
The Sad Days Keep on Coming
Back in February, on a Friday much like today, I learned that a vinyl window maker with a solid reputation in the business, Gorell Windows and Doors, was closing. It started with a tip that I wished were not true but it turned out it was. Fast-forward six months later and I find myself in a similar situation. First thing this morning I heard that Dove Vinyl Windows in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., is in the process of closing its doors. I hoped it wasn’t true. I immediately called Bruce Dove, general manager, and hoped he would tell me it wasn’t so. But when I received a letter the company sent to its customers the truth was clear.
When Gorell closed I wrote a blog titled, “A Sad Day.” Well, it seems the sad days are not behind us. Dove Vinyl Windows, a company with a long-standing reputation in the industry, and respected by its competitors, seemed like one of those companies that wouldn’t meet this fate.
When I visited the company’s plant in the spring of 2009 I was immediately impressed—even a little surprised. Dove wasn’t a company you heard a lot about on a regular basis but it had a nationwide reach and virtually no debt as Bruce Dove, general manager, told me. I was also impressed by the amount of equipment and size of the operation. In fact, when I wrote that article I gave it the headline: “The Secret to Its Quiet Success.”
So a year and a half later I was equally excited to see the company was opening a Virginia plant as part of its expansion. How great it was to see a company expanding when others were folding.
On a personal note, I also was interested in the story of Dove as the company is located in the small town of Wilkes-Barre, less than ten minutes away from the small town where I grew up. When I set up the tour with Bruce I think I may have disclosed the fact that we shared the same hometown, but we didn’t realize one thing we had in common.
Before I went on the tour I told my mom, who ran a personnel agency at the time, where I was going and she said, “I know Bruce, I help him place employees there.” When I showed up and told Bruce, he couldn’t believe I was Bobbie Conn’s daughter and we shared a few laughs at what a small world we live in. It was also nice to see him recently at an NWDA meeting, and I’m not the only one who will miss his company.
I received an email this morning from Tyson Schwartz, vice president, sales and marketing, for Thermal Industries (who also was former vice president of marketing for Gorell). Tyson never met Bruce Dove but wanted me to pass on these words: “I am being quite sincere when I say I feel awful for these guys. They have been a solid company and competitor for as long as I can remember. Having long-time companies like this exit the industry is not good for our industry nor consumers. I hope my competitors don’t treat this as a time for gloating but more so a time to help Dove dealers navigate through some pretty tough times.”
He even offered to help Bruce navigate through this tumultuous process.
“Please tell Bruce that I am sincerely thinking about him and I hope everything works out the way it is supposed to. If I can help Bruce in any way – please let him know that I will do what I can. I don’t know him, I just know of his reputation and him as a solid competitor of mine for 20+ years.”
And that is what the industry is all about. People like Bruce Dove, Tyson Schwartz and Wayne Gorell who have loved this industry and served it for years with all their heart and soul.