Top 5 Stories of 2020

1: Thermal Windows and Doors Succumbs to Financial Effects of Coronavirus

2: Pella Slapped With $9 Million Lawsuit Claiming Fraudulent Inducement

3: Lawsuit Alleges Pella Architect Series Windows Were Defective

4: Masonite and Jeld-Wen Reach Settlement Agreements for Class-Action Suits

5: Abrupt Closure at Semco Leaves 141 Jobless

As each December comes to an end, [DWM]’s editors unwrap website data to reveal readers’ top interests for the year. First released through the magazine’s free, daily newsletter, articles about the industry’s latest news remain on the website where they gather clicks. There’s no debating that 2020 was unlike any other, but as the industry worked its way through a global pandemic, the topics surrounding our top stories remained similar to other years. Among the 10 most-read articles, eight were on the topics of closings and legal matters (a pattern that’s held true for at least a decade).

When the coronavirus was little more than a murmur among world news, the year began at [DWM] with a January 3 article on the closing of Wisconsin-based Semco Windows and Doors. The shutdown started 2020 on a sour note, placing 141 workers out of jobs amid the holidays. After notifying workers that Semco would shut down until January 6, employees were then asked to return January 2 for a meeting. “At that point, that concerned me,” one employee told [DWM]. The manufacturer had been on a rollercoaster of financial standing since the 1980s. The article landed at number five on this year’s list.

Later in January, [DWM]’s editors learned that Iowa-based Pella Corp. was pulled into a lawsuit by one of its previous dealers, alleging that the manufacturer “coerced” the dealer into selling its Maryland-based stores. In communications dating back to 2016, officials for K.C. Company alleged that Pella forced them into negotiations that resulted in a sale they say was for less than market value. News of the controversy ended up the second most popular article of the year.

As the first months of COVID-19 made their mark on the industry, attention turned to yet another closing—this time for Murrysville, Pa.-based Thermal Windows and Doors. With a $2 trillion economic stimulus package on the way, CEO and president Gary Acinapura said his company simply couldn’t hold on. Prior to mandatory shutdowns, Thermal was “poised to have a really good year,” Acinapura said, adding, “It’s factors outside of the building that created the issue.” The company notified 114 employees of its closure on March 26. The story ended up the most read article of the year.

In past years, [DWM]’s readers have proven their interests in legal matters—with three out of five of the top five stories of the decade including court cases. This year was no different. Following the case with K.C. Company, in April allegations over Architect Series windows purchased by John Hamlin landed Pella in a federal lawsuit. The article went on to be the third most read. Five months later, news of settlement agreements for Jeld-Wen Inc. and Masonite Corp. seeking to end class-action lawsuits went on to become number four on this year’s list. On August 31, both companies reached an agreement to pay $28 million each to the plaintiffs and the settlement class.

Lastly, while they didn’t make this year’s top five, two additional articles—both proving to be of high interest—help to close the year on positive notes. It pleases our editors (as we write this article, especially) to report that last year’s “Top Five” list, which covered the top stories from the past decade, came in at number seven. At number six was a cameo appearance by one of the industry’s entrepreneurs, as FlexScreen president Joe Altieri made a primetime appearance on ABC’s Shark Tank.

From everyone at [DWM], we would like to thank our subscribers for tuning in and wish everyone a happy new year.

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