Another GlassBuild has come and gone, and the show in Atlanta provided ample evidence that the recovery is in full swing.

As I shared in several conversations at the show, I haven’t heard a pessimist complain in over a year.  Attendance at the show was very good, and the exhibitors with whom I talked reported that it seemed like most of the attendees who came by their booths were very serious in their desire to explore new components.  Some seemed to have a shopping list.

That coincided with many of my ad hoc conversations with people I met walking the aisles.  Often they had just come from the booth of a provider of vinyl profiles and were making a beeline for the equipment area.  Equipment proliferated at the show, with companies affiliated with the Italian Trade Commission making a particularly strong showing.  One equipment provider with whom I spoke indicated that their customers’ buying cycles had shifted somewhat, with the closing of the sale taking place after the show.

Among window-manufacturing attendees with whom I spoke, it seemed that some intended to make a commitment for equipment during the show, so that shift must not be too widespread.  It seems that a buyer should be able to strike a good deal by committing during the show.  The equipment manufacturers want to ring the bell after a significant investment in their booth space.  Also, seeing the smiling, welcoming faces of their competitors beaming at the faces of one’s potential customer tends to get the seller’s pencil sharp.

As in previous years, I didn’t see any-earth shattering new products at the show.  It seems like in recent years, the new-product-development cycle is now dominated more by increases in the Energy Star requirements and less by the trade-show cycle.

I talked to several groups at the show regarding the possibility of selling their company.  Some have decided to hold on because they’ve remembered how fun it can be to run a door or window company that’s making money.  Others indicated that they were starting to see this as an ideal time to sell.  There are a lot of potential buyers, debt to back acquisitions is flowing easily and buyers see a runway of several great years ahead.

Also, the GHI for the door and window industry remains high.  If you don’t know what the GHI is, that’s my self-created measure of the propensity of participants in a given industry to retire – the Gray Hair Index.  It’s high in the door and window industry, and more participants in that group seem to be considering selling into the strength of the current market.

Overall, it was a fantastic show, and it sets the stage for a great IBS in January.


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