Is Walmart joining the list of big-box retailers to sell windows? Perhaps. Pittsburgh-based Thermal Industries has partnered with the retail giant, beginning last September, to sell its windows direct through the retailer. The window manufacturer has dealers in six states representing its products in 11 stores.

“So far so good,” says Tyson Schwartz, Thermal’s vice president of sales and marketing. “There was a learning curve but it is working out quite nicely and giving us nice visibility.”

That curve included finding the best times for its dealers to staff the store a minimum of 50 hours per week. He adds that finding the right dealers to staff those stores was key as well, as credibility is of the utmost importance, particularly when partnering with a national retailer.

“There was a lot of experimentation,” says Schwartz. “They found they were getting great results in the morning, and there were areas of the afternoon when they were not too busy. They figured out the formula and now they know what hours to man the stores. They also have developed relationships with store managers who are happy to be filling that space.”

Even if a customer doesn’t walk up to a Thermal representative at a Walmart store, the company and its dealers still benefit.

“We are getting those impressions from the big banner logo that is above each of the 11 stores,” says Schwartz. “Our Internet leads in those areas are picking up. Our dealers tell us those are leads they may not have captured otherwise. They are also able to leverage the Internet and register that store as another showroom.”

He adds that all the dealers are happy and want more stores.

“The feedback all around has been positive and our hope is to get the program expanded,” says Schwartz. “Any time you can partner with a major retailer that is exciting and it is also helpful for new account acquisition.”

In related news, DWM magazine reported in October that Doers Window Manufacturing, based in Tampa, Fla., has partnered with My Home Renovator (a division of Home Performance Network, HPN) to provide energy-efficient windows for Walmart. But Schwartz says Thermal is the first window company to work with Walmart directly on such a program.

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