A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

28 May 2014
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.



08 May 2014
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."

05 May 2014
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.


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