Weather-Tek finds winning formula for selling windows and doors
By Scott W. Angus
Weather-Tek offers the best selection of windows and doors in Wisconsin and has them displayed in an expansive showroom at its shiny new headquarters in Waukesha.
While that’s a good reason to do business with Weather Tek, it’s far from the only one. It might not even be the best.
Weather-Tek is all about relationships, knowledge and service.
“We hold ourselves to a higher standard,” President Mark Edberg said.
“Whether it’s a one-time replacement window or a long-term partnership, we bring superior service and product knowledge with over 200 years of combined sales experience dedicated to windows and doors,” Edberg said. “Our team provides resources that help communicate design, cost and value to our clients.”
It doesn’t hurt that many of Weather-Tek’s products are displayed at its new location. The remodeled building dedicates 7,000 square feet to window and door displays in a well-designed gallery. In addition, Weather-Tek features a “hands-on” training facility it calls the Tek Center for contractors who wish to enhance their knowledge and skills as window and door tradesmen while earning continuing education credits.
Another 9,000 square feet of the new location is dedicated to office space for Weather-Tek’s ever-growing family of employees. With 16,000 square feet of warehouse space and an in-house pre-finishing facility, Weather-Tek is poised for sustained growth.
Marvin, Andersen and Weather Shield are the primary brands among those offered by Weather-Tek, which supplied Marvin windows and a 24-by-12-foot lift-and-slide door to Bedford Falls Communications’ innovative mHouse project 30 miles away in Watertown.
Weather-Tek’s business is about 60 percent residential and 40 percent commercial, and Edberg said he would like to grow commercial work to 50 percent. Of the residential business, 70 percent is new construction and 30 percent is remodeling.
In all that Weather-Tek does, building and maintaining relationships with contractors are critical elements to the company’s success, Edberg said.
“They don’t walk in the front door and say, ‘I want to buy windows.’ We have to go out and find them,” he said.
That’s why Weather-Tek has 17 sales people each with over 20 years of experience among its 48 employees, he added.
“We’re going out and building relationships every day. It’s all relationship driven,” Edberg said, adding that he and others from the company are heavily involved in local and national building associations.
The company’s sales people, however, don’t simply rely on their experience. They work closely with builders and customers every step of the way, visiting construction sites, checking measurements and sight lines and then following up to make sure everything fits and everyone is satisfied.
Weather-Tek’s singular focus on windows and doors also sets it apart from much of the competition, Edberg said.
“It’s all we do. You can buy a Marvin window from a lumber yard, but it’s not their core competency. Windows are what we do. When you focus on something to that degree, you become good at it,” he said.
The impressive new showroom is a great space for contractors to view the wide range of windows and doors that Weather-Tek sells, but it’s also a welcoming place for contractors’ customers to shop for the right products for their new or remodeled homes.
“Our customer is the builder, but the experience goes beyond that to their customers,” Edberg said.
Weather-Tek’s sales people walk homeowners through the showroom, help them select their windows and doors, including hardware style and color, and then report back to the builders.
“The builder gets a sense of what the meeting was like, and they don’t have to take two or three hours out of their day. Some elect to come in, but many just send their customers to us.”
The new facility has 16,000 square feet of warehouse, but every window and door in that space is sold and committed to a project. Weather-Tek orders only what it has already sold, and it turns over the materials in the warehouse about every two weeks as orders are placed for just-in-time delivery.
All in all, it’s an efficient operation that provides windows and doors to more than 1,000 homes a year while still devoting much of its attention to commercial work. In particular, Weather-Tek has carved out a niche in historic projects, including in downtown Milwaukee. Among its most notable projects, Weather-Tek supplied 634 Marvin windows and doors to the MKE Lofts, a seven-story building that was constructed in 1907 and recently converted to 100 apartments. Weather-Tek also furnished windows for the historic Brewhouse Inn and Suites, an 1880s-era remnant of the Pabst Brewing Co. that now houses a 90-room hotel and Jackson’s Pub and Grill.
Weather-Tek’s business model has led to 50 percent growth in revenues the past two years, and another 25 percent increase is forecast for 2017.
Edberg noted that a typical new construction project involves hundreds of people and thousands of processes. Weather-Tek, he said, connects the dots.
“From what happens on the window manufacturer’s floor to what happens on your job site, understanding all of the people and processes is our job – connecting them together to provide the best window and door solutions you can find.”