Corporate Mentality Brings Success to a Small Business 3

Wood Windows, Inc.

The mark of any good business is how it treats its customers. By the same token, if you’re being well taken care of as a customer, it usually means that the employees at the business you’re dealing with are, too.

When Connell Lloyd bought Wood Windows, Inc. from its original owner four years ago, the company, a fixture in the Boise market for over 35 years, was struggling. He implemented organizational skills learned over 20 years with Albertsons and another 20 years in the dairy management business and continued to drive the heavy emphasis on customer service the former owner had built.

“We like to say that we’re a service-oriented company that sells windows on the side,” Lloyd says with a smile.

When he came back to Idaho in 2005 he didn’t know anything about selling windows, but he knew the company had a good track record and a job was a job, even at half his former pay. It didn’t take long for him to figure it out. In 2006 he set a company record with over $1 million in residential sales.

“I also saw a lot of inefficiencies in the company compared to where I was working before,” says Lloyd. “So when I took over, I brought my coprporate process-flow management skills to this small business. They helped the business and they helped the customers.”

The first thing he did was was focus his sales staff on individual markets, with no crossover allowed.

“There are over a thousand options on some of these windows,” says Lloyd. “Other companies let their sales people sell any job that comes along, but I took that away from them. What it did was specialize people in their respective markets so they became experts. Customer service is better and mistakes are fewer.”

In his first year as the new owner the company’s profits increased. The next year, he tripled that number. But all that growth created other issues.

“I kind of topped out as a sole proprietor,” Lloyd admits. “I knew I could still grow the company, but I needed some new talent.”

He spent a year wooing John Stearns, an Andersen Windows rep for five northwest states who had been with that company for 12 years, and finally convinced him to come on board as a financial partner.

“It wasn’t easy, and he didn’t come cheap,” says Lloyd, “but he’s been worth every dime.”

Stearns promptly helped the company grow 60 percent.

“Change like that can be difficult to manage,” Lloyd says. “We wanted growth, but not necessarily that much all at once.  We knew it was coming, but it was like a tidal wave.”

They are now the largest Andersen Window dealer in the State of Idaho, and the second largest in the Northwest. 
Their sales people and six school-trained, full-time field carpenters are regularly trained by Andersen to keep them up to speed on all of Andersen’s products.

But one look around their new $50,000 showroom will tell you that’s not all they do. In addition to six other window lines, four wood and two vinyl, they also sell and install exterior Haerdi Plank cement siding for homes, Velux skylights, doors and door hardware.

Lloyd is quick to credit his loyal employees for helping make all that happen. “We have a very low turnover rate,” he says proudly. “I’ve got carpenters who have been with the company 17 years, my bookkeeper has been here 20 years. We have a full service department dedicated only to service. These guys aren’t allowed to go out and put windows in, all they do is service.”

Four years into the turnaround, business is good, and while they don’t expect another growth spurt of that size any time soon, Wood Windows, Inc. has definitely become a force to be reckoned with in the southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon market.