The 2014 Remodeling 550
As of early August, Remodeling magazine published The 2014 Remodeling 550. After hosting surveys and collecting data, this article lists the biggest remodeling companies in the United States, based on each individual company’s sales, jobs, and prospects. A.B.E. Doors & Windows has been ranked #124 nationwide for Replacement Contractors – or, rather, companies that focus mostly on exterior home components, such as windows and doors. We are very happy to have made such an exclusive list along with the great year of business productivity that 2014 has provided us. A.B.E. Doors & Windows looks forward to creating even more opportunities to better serve our customers within the Lehigh Valley.
2014 National Top Specialists
We are happy to have been notified that A.B.E. Doors & Windows has been recognized in Window & Door Magazine’s national 2014 Top Specialists rankings. According to the publication, the Top specialists list is Window & Door’s first effort to identify the largest independently owned specialty window and door companies in the United States, based on sales volume. In light of celebrating our 40th anniversary as an independently owned and operated business, we are honored to have been recognized nationally and published as a Top Specialist. A.B.E. Doors & Windows is excited to continue moving forward, especially as we transition into the second generation of our company. As we gain a much grander perspective of all that is to come in the future, we look forward to continuing and expanding upon the services that we offer to homeowners and businesses in the Lehigh Valley.
Longevity and Service Strength
Anyone who looked at the employment records of employees at ABE Doors & Windows would notice one consistent fact - the longevity of the workforce. Associates at ABE Doors & Windows tend to stay with us for the long haul.
Case in point: our standout troubleshooter and service technician, Bob Blickley. With more than a quarter of a century on the job, Bob has spent the last 10 years as a top field man, solving service issues on every kind of door and window.
Though ABE service techs will take care of just about any door or window that needs attention, Bob knows that real problems often happen where the installation wasn't done by experts in the first place. "Yeah, there is a difference between our installations and others we see," he said. "There are some real disasters out there."
Bob, who lives in Macungie with his wife and 16-year-old daughter, was trained on the job by ABE's own skilled company personnel. His work takes him all over our service area: Reading to New Jersey, Quakertown to Pen Argyl.
"I work on everything," Bob said. "It's probably what I like best about my job, that the work's not the same every day."
What does it mean when a tech has 26 years of service behind him? To the customer who needs service done promptly and well, it means that the person on the job has the background to quickly assess what needs to be done, then promptly follow through with repairs that are complete and correct, so that everything's taken care of the first time.
"The main thing at ABE is that Jim Lett (company president) wants everything done right," Bob said. "So I can tell customers straight - that's how it's going to be."
Keep your garage door safe
When first-class engineering and manufacturing go into any consumer product, the result is typically very safe. Modern garage doors are in that category. But like any product, it's important to keep them in good repair and use them properly to assure the safest operation possible.
To promote correct maintenance and operation, the industry organizations DASMA (Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association International) and IDA (International Door Association) have named June Garage Door Safety Month. Take a moment to consider with us what makes for safe garage door operation. By following these tips, you can improve the chances that your garage doors keep working properly and safely.
1. Periodically look over your garage door. It's a good idea to inspect cables, rollers, springs and all other visible parts. Wear or damage may be clearly visible. If you see anything that looks worrisome, it's wise to call on a trained technician.
2. Best practice dictates operating the door only when you can see it moving. Watch it until it's completely open or closed.
3. Do a monthly test of the door's reversing mechanism. Automatic garage doors are built to change direction when an obstacle is encountered - a very important safety feature. Call a technician immediately if that's not working right.
4. Also test the force setting each month. Stand outside the door's path of travel and try to stop it with your hand as it descends. Call a technician if it doesn't change direction without much effort.
5. And test the door balance monthly. With the door closed, disconnect the door operator and lift the door open. It should open smoothly with little resistance (and stay open when you let go). If it doesn't, that's another sign that you need to get a trained tech in for a look.
6. The garage door isn't a toy. Kids shouldn't play with door transmitters or remote controls. This is a key rule. Keep the controls away from children. Wall controls should be mounted too high for small hands to reach, and youngsters should be instructed in no uncertain terms never to play with the garage door.
7. Leave repairs to spring assemblies to the pros. Because they're under powerful tension, these assemblies can be very dangerous to anyone but an expert.
8. Never walk, run, stand or duck under a moving garage door. If this rule seems obvious, it's worth remembering that too many people have been injured by mistakes such as these.
9. Keep fingers and other body parts away from the door's hinges, tracks, springs, section joints or other parts. The need for this should speak for itself.
At ABE Doors & windows, our committment to garage door safety is total, in June and year-round. We are a resource for community safety in this regard - call us at 610-398-2430 with any safety questions or concerns.
Cellar doors – a product from ABE’s foundation
Forty years have passed since the start of ABE Doors & Windows, and our first product offering is still important to our customers. That's our basement door line - though not glamorous, the cellar door is basic to the physical integrity of any home. It was the first product ABE offered when the company was formed in 1974.
A good cellar door system keeps unwanted moisture out of the basement, helping to prevent or limit a host of problems including mold, mildew, decay of structural members, and even termite infestation. It stays functional for years, contributing to safe, convenient access to the basement level. It plays an important role in home security, creating an entrance that permits passage only to those allowed in.
The first manufaturer whose line ABE carried, Gordon Corporation, remains one of our valued vendor/manufacturers today. Gordon steel cellar doors are provided with a one-piece header that runs the full width of the frame. They're designed to shed rain and snow without caulking and without leaks. An automatic hold-open safety latch keeps them securely open until released. Gordon doors include twin handles made of high-strength, U/V-rated polypropelene - they're attractive, ergonomic and make opening both sides easier. The doors include an internal locking device. You can also secure a Gordon door with a single padlock. Gordon doors are coated with uniformly applied alkyd resin primer, which is baked for a smooth, attractive, long-lasting finish.
Our other cellar-door line is the well-known Bilco brand, an industry leader since 1926. Bilco products feature the exclusive Torsion Cam System for doors that open smoothly and stay securely locked open until you're ready to close them. Bilco doors shed water effortlessly. They're designed not to bind up even during periods of ice and snow. These doors include slide bolt locks and internal mounting flanges for excellent security; they're available with optional keyed exterior lock sets. Overall they're sturdy and rugged, with heavy-gauge steel construction and strong concealed hinges, providing weather protection and lasting all-season operation.
Celebrating 40 Years of Pride and Service
Of all the businesses that will be founded in 2014, we can confidently predict that only a fraction will still be around in 2054. And if we look 40 years in the other direction, back to the spring of 1974, we'll find that only a relative handful of businesses begun then are still with us now. One of those companies is ABE Doors and Windows. This June, we celebrate our 40th anniversary serving the consumers of the Lehigh Valley. It seems timely to pause and consider what's helped get us here.
The company was started by a student just finishing his Business Administration degree at Bloomsburg University. Jim Lett, president of ABE Doors and Windows, says he wanted to open a business of his own - and the business found him. "I called home one day," he said. "My dad was selling building materials. He said one of the customers he represented, the Gordon Cellar Door company, needed someone to install their doors in the Lehigh Valley."
"It was just a casual conversation, but that's how it began. I wrote Gordon a letter and they wrote back to get me started. I worked out of my bedroom and my parents' garage - I had a lot of help from them."
With brothers helping with installations and his mom answering the phone while he was out on jobs, Jim replaced old wooden basement doors with modern steel versions. To free time for sales and estimating, he brought on his first full-time employee, Richard Miller, who's still a top salesman at ABE today.
Jim branched out into other products. The Frantz garage door company needed coverage in the Valley. Jim flew to their headquarters in Sterling, IL for a crash course in the product, working with their field installation crews. He met the district manager of Perma-Door through his brother Bob's involvment in Boy Scouts, and signed on with them just as steel entry doors were replacing wooden doors for residential applications. "People always say you need a good business plan," Jim says. "My business plan was hard work, good luck and taking care of the customer after the sale."
Year by year, with his wife Janet playing a vital role in the business, ABE kept expanding. The product line added patio doors, storm doors, commercial/industrial garage doors and garage door repairs. The emphasis for four decades remained basic: handle quality products, delivering quality installation and service.
In particular, ABE has emphasized customer care. "If there's a problem, we want to take care of it immediately," Jim said. Today ABE continues to put service in the forefront, maintaining up-to-date factory training certifications among its skilled staff. "We hear from consumers who say the people who installed their doors and windows won't answer their calls or are just our of business. The difference is, they know we'll be here," said Shannon Seng, office manager. Mark Rapchak, general manager, said, "A big thing in service is employee longevity. Average tenure here is almost 17 years, which helps us realize Jim's vision of pleasing customers no matter what."
A new generation of ABE personnel is moving the company into the future, among them Business/HR Manager Jim Lett II, son of the founder. "How we do going forward comes down to putting the customer first. If we're going to meet or exceed their expectations, we'll need to offer quality products - but we can't do it without really excellent workers."
ProVia Honors A.B.E. Doors & Windows with Platinum Club Award
On April 8th, 2014, A.B.E. Doors & Windows was recognized as a member of ProVia’s Platinum Club. As specified by ProVia, this award “is a performance-based recognition program for a select number of dealers who excel in service, installation, and promotion of ProVia’s products. As a homeowner, you can rest assured the product you purchase through a Platinum Club Dealer will be furnished by one of the best dealers in the industry.” As a Platinum Club dealer, A.B.E. has exclusive access to ProVia’s new Embarq™ fiberglass entry system, which is currently the most energy efficient entrance door available in the U.S. Market. This door was introduced at ProVia’s Platinum Club Dealer event as the first creation of ProVia’s new way of thinking, “EnVision” – which pushes the door manufacturer one step closer to fully realizing their personal philosophy of creating unrivaled efficiency in home building products. A.B.E. Doors & Windows is pleased to have been recognized as one of ProVia’s best – and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to provide our customers with unbeatable service and full access to the most leading edge technology when it comes to energy efficient door replacement.
Meet our Staff: Jim Osborn
This month, A.B.E. Doors & Windows would like to focus a spotlight on one of our employees, whose outstanding efforts makes him shine brightly among the rest. Working with us since 1993, Jim Osborn (better known to us as “Jim O”) began his career at A.B.E. as an installer and service technician. He has acted as our Warehouse Manager/Product Distribution Manager since 2001, making certain that every detail of each customer’s installation needs is fulfilled. Jim finds great pleasure in interacting with many diverse customers throughout the course of a workday, particularly when he is able to deliver the exciting news that we are ready to schedule an installation date with them. Outside of work, Jim appreciates life most when he is able to spend it with Kathi, his wife – especially when they are able to escape on quiet mornings and take their boat out fishing. Jim also finds much happiness in spending as much time as he can with his grandson. All of us at A.B.E. Doors & Windows are so very grateful for the dedicated and reliable contribution that Jim provides our team, every day in so many ways. Thank you for the last twenty-one years of service, Jim O!
Don't Miss the 2014 Lehigh Valley Home Show
The Lehigh Valley Home Show, sponsored annually by the Lehigh Valley Builders Association, is always a welcome sign that spring is here. This year, when homeowners gather on March 28, 29 and 30 to see what's on display at Stabler Arena, the harshness of the winter should make attendees even more eager and excited than usual.
ABE Doors and Windows is just one of hundreds of exhibitors who'll be on hand. We all know what a slog it's been getting through one of the nastiest seasons in years. Many homes around the valley can benefit from some improvements going forward. Keep in mind that a new door can have a truly transforming effect on any home. A beautiful garage door, patio door or entrance door can make a tremendous difference, not only visually but also in the way you feel about your home as the nicer weather comes in.
Please note that 2014 show hours have changed. The new hours are Friday, 5-9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
That gives plenty of time for visitors to take in this year's big event. It's our privilege to invite you to Booths S068-070 and S083-085, where we'll be presenting a range of door and window products that may be just what you need to truly improve your home and banish those lingering cold-weather blues.
Keys to Security in Entrance Door Hardware
When considering entrance door hardware, homeowners are apt to have issues of appearance and convenience at top of mind, and those are important matters. Even more important, however, is the security that a well-chosen door hardware set delivers. Here are a few points to keep in mind when you're making that selection.
- Properly fabricated hardware. Look for heavy-duty construction, which not only provides long service, but also can resist some attempts to damage or defeat this first line of home security.
- Durable internal springs. Well-made springs prevent sagging of the door lever, helping to keep the door in condition to open promptly and without problems when you're ready to enter or leave.
- Deadbolt protection. No locking arrangement offers absolute protection, but a setup that includes a sturdy deadbolt is an excellent part of safeguarding most homes.
- The Trillennium Multi-point system. Still greater peace of mind is provided by Trillennium, a multi-point locking system, which imporves on the security of single-point locks. All three locking points of this product latch with a one-inch deadbolt throw. The latch and deadbolt release with a single downward movement. (Remember, a critical element of true security is the ability to exit a secured building without delay in an emergency.) The deadbolts include an anti-saw hardened steel pin, which can stop many intrusion attempts cold.
- Schlage Electronic Keypad. This unit - displayed along with the Trillennium system in the A.B.E. Doors & Windows showroom - provides exceptional residential security, difficult for casual intruders or even experienced criminals to overcome. In its deadbolt version, it's available with any entry hardware from Schlage, one of the premier makers of door security equipment.
For a visual reference of the products mentioned above, please visit http://www.proviaproducts.com/hardware/entry-door-hardware.
In any neighborhood, wisdom dictates that homes be properly protected. Thinking carefully about the right entrance hardware is a necessary part of any household security plan.
Replacing Windows, Not Openings
Among the many factors that make replacement windows attractive and affordable is this: In almost every installation, there's no need to change the size of the window opening.
That's important. If the opening dimensions did have to change, that would make it a job for a general contractor. It might affect the structural integrity of the wall, and it would probably mean a much more complicated, expensive project.
Window replacement as we do it is simply a matter of figuring out what the new window will be - size, design, construction, materials and so on - then removing the existing window and refitting with the new one. The wall is normally unchanged.
Of course, that doesn't mean you're limited to the same kind of window that's already in place. Some people want to switch from a twin double-hung to a sliding window, or a casement type that hinges outward. Others might want to replace a plain picture window with a smaller picture window flanked by casements left and right. Maybe the customer fancies a new bay or bow window.
Whatever the choice, (and no matter which manufacturer), the window is custom fitted at the factory to the opening it will fill. Even bay or bow types are delivered as single units, so there's no new construction needed at the installation site.
Lead Safety - What You Need To Know
Lead Safe Work Practices – what are they and how do they pertain to homeowners everywhere? On April 22, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2008 Lead-Based Paint Renovation Repair and Painting Rule became fully effective. The EPA issued this law, stating that “federal law requires contractors that disturb paint surfaces in homes, child care facilities and schools, built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.” Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust that can be toxic to humans and animals. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, solders, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics. Though lead is especially dangerous to children under six years of age, it is also harmful to adults and can pose many health dangers. Before taking on any home renovation project, it is important for any homeowner to educate themselves in Lead Safety and make certain that any company they hire to assist in any future home renovation project is federally qualified to honor and abide by EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rules (Rule 40 CFR Part 745). A.B.E. Doors & Windows is an EPA Certified Renovator and we pride ourselves in providing our customers with proper and professional installation and service. Our company and staff recognizes the significant dangers of lead poisoning and are compliant in following all Lead Safe Work Practices to assure each of our customers comfort and security. To learn more about Lead Safe Work Practices, please visit www.epa.gov.
Hope for the holidays
Among the many special gifts of the holidays, one of the most powerful is hope. Hope shows itself in the warmth that families share when they gather to celebrate, looking ahead to the best for each member in the year to come. Hope shines out in the tidings of comfort and joy friends and neighbors offer one another. Hope is revealed most grandly in the dreams of peace that people everywhere share as they look to the future.
Some folks think of optimism as a little old-fashioned. But that's never been the way we've seen things at ABE Doors and Windows. From our point of view, it's always worth pausing to consider with gratitude the good fortune that so many of us enjoy as Americans - the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness that is our birthright. We think that's the foundation for a positive outlook for all of us.
As we make our way through this delightful time of year and look ahead to the days to come, we have every reason to feel hopeful. Though the nation's economic recovery has been slow getting started, it does seem now to be well underway - and a better economy means better times for almost everyone. For the customers we've valued through the years, for all our co-workers and their families, and for everyone who shares our communities, our nation and our world, here's to a joyful holiday season and all the hope it brings.
A+: ABE and the BBB
For more than a hundred years, the Better Business Bureau has provided guidance and assistance to the American consumer. Today's BBB rates businesses on a scale from A+ to F, while offering accreditation to those who qualify. The Bureau also sets standards for business practices, and supports the efforts of businesses to respond to any complaints that may arise in the course of regular work.
ABE Doors & Windows earned BBB accreditation on July 14, 2008, and has maintained it ever since. On the BBB's ratings scale, ABE holds the highest rating: A+. The Bureau identifies no government actions against ABE, and reports no issues related to ABE's advertising program. For a look at the relevant web page, visit http://www.bbb.org/washington-dc-eastern-pa/business-reviews/windows-installation-and-service/a-b-e-doors-windows-inc-in-allentown-pa-50001077.
To be accredited and top-rated by this respected American institution is, of course, a substantial honor to ABE and all its employees. But we believe that what matters far more than our pride in these recognitions is what they mean to our customers.
While the ratings and accreditations issued by the Better Business Bureau do not constitute specific evaluations or endorsements, countless consumers have been guided by them through the years. The good name of the BBB is such that businesses who achieve their ratings and accreditations have often been patronized by consumers. And if any difficulties arise, the good offices of the Bureau contribute strongly to fair resolutions for all. We believe that ratings from the Bureau are a legitimate consideration when choosing any business - and ABE Doors & Windows is no exception.