A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

26 June 2019
Companies You Didn’t Know Started in a Garage!
…featuring A.B.E. Doors and Windows


If you think a garage is too small of a place to start a business, think again. Jeff Bezos started Amazon as an online bookstore in his home garage where he stored all his books for nearly a year before Amazon made its first sale. Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft in a garage and with very few resources. Thankfully, not much space is necessary for programming. Walt Disney and his brother, Roy, started their company in their uncle’s garage in 1923. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak assembled fifty computers in thirty days in Jobs’ parents’ garage before getting Apple off the ground. Google was started as a college project in the garage of the current Youtube CEO.

Our very own Jim Lett Sr started A.B.E. Door Sales in his parents’ garage in 1974. He began installing Gordon basement doors as his primary product, having his mother answer the phone while he was installing during the day and going out at night to sell more doors. He had a phone line installed in his bedroom and used that as his office. Within the first year, he was able to expand his product line to include Frantz garage doors. After that, to the delight of his parents, he was able to afford a small warehouse off Route 100 where he moved all his stock.

When Jim got married in 1978, he and Janet worked side by side to build up the business into what it is today. Together, they purchased the house that is now our main office on Hamilton Boulevard in 1980. It was where they lived, worked, and raised their family until 1988. At that point, they were able to build their dream home and remodeled the house on Hamilton into what is still our showroom today.

After Jim Lett acquired Lehigh Valley Doors in 2000, A.B.E. Doors and Windows really moved up in the world with the addition of our permanent 8500-square-foot warehouse off Gilmore Street in Allentown. All our technicians now work from there as well as it being the primary point of delivery for all our doors and windows. We officially no longer store anything in our home garage!

Janet retired from actively working at A.B.E. Doors and Windows in 2015. While Jim Sr is still a big part of our operations, he has since passed the torch to the second generation. His son, Jim Lett II, started full time in 2007 and is now vested in carrying on his father’s vision. With today’s technology and the energy conscious world we live in, we’re all excited to see where Jim II takes A.B.E. Doors and Windows in the future.

In some ways, A.B.E. Doors and Windows still happily works from its home garage—which has since been converted into our garage door showroom. Stop by for a grand tour of A.B.E.’s humble beginnings and experience first-hand the customer service that made us great!

17 June 2019
What the Hail?!
What the Hail?!


How about that storm? It came up out of nowhere like a drunkard on a bender, trashed your house, and left without even so much as a goodbye. The whole rest of the week, our phones were ringing off the hook with people needing estimates to replace damaged garage doors, windows, and doors. How can hail get that big that fast?

Well, I looked into it.

Hail is possible with most thunderstorms as hail is produced by cumulonimbus clouds. Hail formation requires strong upwards currents of air and is actually made kind of like cotton candy in a machine. It all swirls around inside the thunderstorm, gathering layer after layer of water that freezes onto a solid core. As the layers are added, the hailstone eventually weighs too much to be supported by the wind and falls to the ground. Then, gravity takes over and we have ourselves a right mess.

According to the National Weather Service, in order for a thunderstorm to produce dime-sized hail, its updraft speed would need to be at least thirty-seven miles per hour. For golf ball-sized hail, updraft speeds would need to be around fifty-six mph. Baseball-sized hail requires strong winds that are blowing upwards of one hundred mph. Whoa, talk about a storm!

While we’re on that subject, let’s talk about record-breakers. The heaviest hailstone was reported in Gopalganj, Bangladesh on April 14, 1986 weighing in at a whopping 2.25 pounds. The largest hailstone by circumference actually comes from our own Vivian, South Dakota in 2010, measuring 7.9 inches in diameter. The greatest average hail precipitation falls in Kericho, Kenya which experiences hailstorms an average of fifty days annually. They currently hold the record for 132 days of hail in one year.

So, let’s all just be happy that we don’t live in Kenya and if you need an estimate on replacement products after the hailstorm, give us a call at 610-398-2430. 

06 June 2019
June is Garage Door Safety Month
June is Garage Door Safety Month


June is garage door safety month. Help prevent accidents and injury by taking a few minutes this week to not only look over your garage door, but the surrounding area for any hazards. We have highlighted some key areas to watch out for as you make the rounds.




Inside the Garage


Look up. If you store any items in your garage on shelves or racks, make sure they have not shifted and are still solidly in place. The vibrations of opening and closing your garage door can make items wiggle over time. You don't want those ceramic pots falling on your windshield.


Is your garage door opener light bulb still functioning? If not, let's replace it this week. You need to be able to see that toy that may be in your path when you come home at night.


Look eye-level. Check out any windows in your garage. Are any broken or cracked? Schedule for those windows to be replaced to avoid someone cutting themselves. Look over the mechanics of your door opener. Are the tracks clear of debris? Does anything look broken or worn out? Open and shut the garage door and watch the track, brackets, springs and hinges in action. Take note if you feel something is not working properly. Many injuries occur when a person attempts to fix opener parts themselves, we recommend calling a professional to repair any areas you feel need attention.


Look down. Glance at the state of your floor. Is there an oil spill or any other liquids that need to be cleaned up? If you store any items around the perimeter, are they held in place tightly? If not, look into installing pegboard or some other system to keep things in place.


Look over the sensors that make sure your garage door stops coming down if the beam is broken. Clear away any leaves or garbage that may have gotten in the beams path over time. Have an adult help you test it by crossing the beam. If the door continues to move they may need realignment or replacement.


Outside the Garage


Encourage your children not to leave toys or bikes in the path of the garage door. It seems obvious, but children should never hang from the opening or closing door for fun. Kids should also take precaution when playing in the driveway......so many tragic situations happen from cars pulling into and leaving the home.


Make sure your garage area is well lit from the outside, replace any bulbs that have burned out.


When You are Away from Home


Whenever you are away from home for more than a few days, make sure a trusted neighbor knows you are out of town. Ask them to alert you to any odd happenings near your home.


Install a timer that turns on lighting near your garage at dusk. Criminals are less likely to target a home where they think someone is in the residence.


Don't leave garage door openers in any cars left at home. You can also unplug the garage door opener. We recommend NOT using a lock or zip-ties to prevent the door from opening. Too often, people return from vacation and forget they have a lock on the door and end up damaging the door upon their return.


The myQ app is a resourceful way to stay connected to your home while you are away. When paired with a smart garage door opener unit, you can see if the door has been opened or closed. You can also open it from your phone to allow a delivery or let a neighbor in. A wonderful way to have peace of mind until your return.


Make garage door safety a year long goal by examining the area at least every other month.



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