Energy Efficient Storm Protection with Integrity Windows

2012 Integrity Red Diamond Achiever Award Winner Bensonwood Homes built this private residence with energy efficiency and storm protection on the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Cape Cod, MA. Integrity Wood-Ultrex Double Hung, Awning, Inswing French Door, and Picture units were used to take advantage of the beautiful wood interior and the durable fiberglass exterior needed for the intense northeast coastal conditions. The large windows and doors in this home create a transparent atmosphere that connects the inside with the natural surroundings.

See more case studies and videos at awhastings.com/project-profiles

The Integrity Red Diamond Achiever Program has returned. This annual challenge is a chance for builders to receive recognition for their best work that displays Integrity products being used is a unique way or on a project with an interesting story. See more winning projects at integritywindows.com/Red-Diamond-Achiever-Award-Program.

Not Just Another Insert Window …..

As you may already know, Integrity Windows & Doors released for sale the Wood-Ultrex Insert Double Hung on December 16th of last year.

This much anticipated release continues Marvin’s “Best in Class” approach to product and market development. The continued strength of the residential remodeling and replacement market has been well documented, and this exciting product will help all of us to capture “our” share of the insert replacement business.

If you are like me you may have thought “well it’s about time” or “what took so long”? After all Marvin knows how to make an insert replacement window. True enough, we aren’t the first to have an insert replacement double hung or for that matter the only ones to offer one but to my knowledge we are one of very few to offer a fiberglass insert double hung.

Let’s not forget the long term performance benefits we have come to learn that Ultrex fiberglass provides. The technology that Marvin owns with Tecton Products remains at the top of the industry with regard to complex thin wall fiberglass pultrusion technology. Our fit & finish is second to no one else who is using fiberglass. In case you missed it, the patented acrylic capping resin system used on Integrity Window & Door components was recently certified to meet the AAMA 624-10 specification, making them the only manufacturer in our industry that does.

I for one am happy that Integrity took the time to incorporate much of the “voice of the customer” feedback into the design of our new insert double hung. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. New sill design allows for more of the bottom rail to be visible on the interior which gives the insert a more traditional appearance. They also added the option of a sash lift.

2. A color matched extension to the exterior bottom rail has been added which improves upon our aesthetics from the exterior.

3. Our sizing capability has been greatly expanded. Integrity will make Wood-Ultrex Insert Double Hungs smaller and larger than our current full frame product. Up to 54″ x 84″, incredible. All sizes come certified for performance by the WDMA.

4. The interior check rail/accent ledge has been reconfigured with the depth of the accent ledge overhang reduced by more than half. As a matter of fact this change has already been adopted into the full frame product.

If it sounds like I am excited, it’s because I am. In my opinion the product planning team did a great job.

Ultrex fiberglass, certified exterior coating system, industry leading performance, aesthetic improvements all in a consistent two week lead time – doesn’t sound like just another insert window to me. Check it out!

Ben BrockettBen Brockett
Product Specialist
A.W. Hastings Co.

Integrity Wood-Ultrex Insert Double Hung

Our customers have asked for it – and Integrity Windows and Doors has delivered with its new Wood-Ultrex Insert Double Hung! The frame-in-frame design is precision built to the unique window opening, allowing for a clean replacement without disturbing the existing interior or exterior trim of the home. Rich pine interiors are complemented by Ultrex® pultruded fiberglass exteriors and a wide array of options for superior performance and durability that blend seamlessly with the home design.  Hastings Product Specialist Ben Brockett shares more about this key addition to the Integrity product line.

Minneapolis-To-Marvin Tour Inspires!

Each year, Hastings partners with our retailers to co-host dozens of tours for contractors and architects to Marvin Headquarters in Warroad, MN. Trip attendees invariably return with strong new relationships and amazing stories to tell! On a recent trip, Hastings architectural sales representative Jim Olender accompanied a group of several contractors and architects to Warroad. Before they headed north, the group took in the beautiful architectural sights (and sites) of Minneapolis.

Jim has facilitated many tours around Minneapolis, but he says each tour is a little different. This particular group was treated to a tour of the Guthrie Theater. “As we walked into the Theater, we met Sue Kotila, the Front of the House and Visitor Services Director. Sue gave us a behind the scenes tour of the entire theater, including all three stages, set design, green and rehearsal rooms, and VIP lounge,” Jim shared.

guthrietheater-bridgetonowhere

Guthrie Theater – “Bridge to Nowhere”
(photo by: Can Tiryaki)

The group also visited Gehry’s Weisman Art Museum, the Malcolm Willey House, St. Paul Cathedral, and Lakewood Cemetery.

After touring Minneapolis, the group jumped on the Marvin jet to Warroad for a tour of Marvin’s headquarters. The goal of this leg of the trip was partly to educate industry professionals on Marvin products and solutions, but also to share what makes Marvin different from other window manufacturers.

Marvin-jet

Marvin Jet
(photo by: Can Tiryaki)

Trip attendee Can Tiryaki of Tiryaki Architectural Design called his first trip to the Marvin factory a “great learning experience.” “I really enjoyed the balance between the architectural tour of Minneapolis and the focused factory tour at Warroad. The Minneapolis tour proved that it is a city with a diverse architectural fabric and a rich artistic and industrial heritage. The thing that made the Marvin tour unique was its focus on the people who work at Marvin and also the community of Warroad,” he said. “It was great to learn that Marvin is constantly contributing to the town with scholarships and funding for various community buildings. I think that this kind of emphasis on being ‘local’ distinguishes the company from others in the market.”

Can continued, “From a manufacturing perspective, I was impressed to see the amount of hand labor and craftsmanship that goes into the making of the windows. I also enjoyed seeing the complete process of the natural materials, such as wood, be treated, shaped, and assembled into a high quality window product. It’s the kind of thing that is reassuring to an architect when he or she specifies that particular window.”

There’s nothing like a trip to Warroad to make a fan of Marvin Windows and Doors!  Thanks to Jim and Can for sharing their experiences.

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Marvin Factory – Warroad, MN
(photo by: Can Tiryaki)

Consumer Review Websites: Pros & Cons

A.W. Hastings’ Integrity Brand Manager Sandra Stoughton reviews the pros and cons of the consumer review website, Angie’s List and provides an unbiased recommendation on how to use it for your business.

I’ve been spending a lot of time recently diving into information around consumer review websites. The consensus among most of the articles and surveys I’ve found (and my own personal inquiries to friends and family) is that consumers are giving review sites the same level of trust that they give to friend and family recommendations. This made me question my own buying behaviors and what I do when looking at a large purchase, or even just a review on a new restaurant – and sure enough, I’m just the same. I go to the online sites like Yelp, or YahooLocal for the real “dirt”; more often than not, I even skip over asking my own friends and family for input! (Though, they certainly do play a role in purchase decisions).

angieslistWhat I’m seeing is there is power in these review sites. In the building materials industry in recent years, remodelers and home improvement retailers are in high demand given the uptick in remodeling activity. Because of this, I took a much closer look at the well known consumer review site, Angie’s List.

Angie Hicks

Angie Hicks

We all know Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks’ face. She is in every advertising spot they place – and Angie’s List is a marketing machine with advertising on television, radio spots and direct mail. They’ve effectively marketed themselves around the image of the “average consumer” seeking reviews you can trust™.  Angie’s List (AL) is based on a unique model where consumers PAY for a membership fee, which gives him/her the ability to review local businesses and services. Members can comment on businesses and rate them on the following criteria: price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality and professionalism, or which AL then assigns them a “grade” of A through F. AL lists all types of businesses including doctors, contractors, and even small service businesses like pet sitting.

AL also offers businesses free listings on their site – marketing this as the way they keep their reviews genuine. Because businesses do not pay, but members do pay, they consider the quality of the review to be more honest and truthful. Businesses are encouraged to monitor, review and respond to all reviews on their site; AL even provides a mobile app for businesses to make the response time that much quicker.

Sample of search results based on grade and number of reviews.

Sample of search results

All sounds good, right? There are of course some questions, because the service can’t be foolproof. How does AL avoid fake reviews?  (example: I’m reviewing my cousin’s bakery favorably to help them achieve higher scores). AL claims that it has a strong screening process for each posted review where experts evaluate the review for any “clues” that this might be an imposter. Then there’s also the question: What if my business is not on Angie’s List? Are you losing business because you haven’t set up a business page? Or, if you do set up a business page, are you chancing bad reviews, and will that hurt your business?

There is also a value to having a business page – AL allows businesses to market directly to members who have indicated an interest in their specific types of services, creating a more targeted approach. For example, a remodeler may choose to market to members who have indicated that they are interested in home remodeling services. AL also offers a service where they will take a business’s customer list and match it to their existing member database (this is referred to as the FETCH program). For any of those that match as a member, AL will reach out personally and ask the customer to review the business. This is a helpful way to build your business page easily with reviews.   There are additional services that AL offers to businesses, but all for a cost. We all know nothing is truly “free.”

My evaluation: At a minimum, businesses need to be aware of their presence on AL and keep an updated page. You of course chance negative reviews, but everyone is entitled to an opinion. It’s all in how you respond to the review in that public forum. Above all, if you’re looking to get feedback from your customers, don’t rely on review sites to post these comments – instead elicit those testimonials on your own and place them on your own site.

So, in sum, take a moment to take a look at your business presence on AL – what are your customers saying about you, and is there an opportunity here for new business and new customers? You might find that it’s an opportunity worth exploring!

-Sandra Stoughton
Integrity Brand Manager  

Sandra Stoughton

Marvin.com Rolls Out Technical Info Improvements

Some great news to end the week! Marvin’s website has undergone some big improvements to help anyone access technical information more easily. The newly created Technical Resources tab, which replaces the Sizes, Performance, and Specs tab, offers fresh functionality and streamlines access to everything from ADM pdfs to Installation docs to 2D and 3D drawings – all readily available with an easy click. No need to scroll down a long list of items to search for information!  Also new – all documents accessible on this page are directly linked to source documentation.

Screen shot 2013-08-23 at 9.43.07 AM

You will also note the new tool listed in the Energy Data category – a handy reference to NFRC values for commonly ordered products. This tool allows users to select from variables such as divided lite and glazing options to get resulting NFRC performance values, and links to the NFRC window rating system site for additional product information.

Hastings’  Project Manager Betsy Ellery called it a “real home run” – and we think you will agree!  Check out this great new resource today!

 

Building Brand Advocates – A Labor of Love!

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with an accomplished builder in Fairfield County, Peter Fusaro of Preferred Builders. I’ve heard and read about Peter through the grapevine here at Hastings as well as through the various contractor communication channels, i.e. builder publications, social media.

The reason for my visit was to tour a residential project that has received numerous honors for its “green” accomplishments. This project, named The Performance House, now also Peter’s home as a model for prospective buyers, was a winner of the 2012 Zero Energy Challenge. Peter was extremely proud to show people this home, as the amount of work that went into the project was lengthy and required an extreme amount of attention to detail.

As I was driving down to visit Peter, my mind began spinning with questions I could ask him about – of course focused around why did you choose Integrity? What do you like about the brand? What can we do to serve you better? I wanted to be sure that I could get as much information as possible in my short visit.

As I entered the house (to 2 beautiful high energy dogs as well!), I quickly learned that questions weren’t going to be needed here. Peter was filled with information, and his face truly showed his love of the home and the project. Peter is completely committed to the idea of “green construction” and especially to the products and companies he chooses to work for.

Peter Fusaro

Hastings’ Sandra Stoughton and Peter Fusaro

In the marketing world, we always look for brand advocates – people who truly love the brand, and in turn tell others about that love. This was clearly the case with Peter. He was able to recount for me exactly how and when he “fell in love with Integrity.” I guess I’ve wondered if people really do feel that strongly about their building products, in the same way that I love my iPhone or my new car. I certainly learned this day that it is possible.

It was an enjoyable morning spent with Peter touring the home. I don’t know if Peter knew just how great I thought the visit and day was with him, but I was sure to end the day with a huge thank you – a thank you not only for his time and the tour, but also for his business.

(For additional information about the Performance House, you can visit Peter’s Preferred Builders web site.)

-Sandra Stoughton
Integrity Brand Manager  

Sandra Stoughton

Integrity Red Diamond Program Returns

red-diamondThe annual Integrity Red Diamond Achiever Program is underway for 2013. This Program recognizes and showcases the building community’s unique Integrity residential and commercial projects. Last year, I was excited for the Program because it was an opportunity for us to recognize contractors who are using our products. In 2012, we submitted 14 projects into the national Program – and following the national judging, I was proud to see two of those become winners.

Five winners will be recognized as a “Red Diamond Achiever” and will be featured on Integrity’s website and in their social media efforts. So what’s new for 2013?  Those 5 winning projects will gain additional exposure by being opened up to public voting of a “People’s Choice Award.” I see this as a unique way to gain more exposure to consumers of award-winning projects and give contractors the additional marketing exposure they deserve.

A judging panel of industry professionals including Bob Vila, Patrick O’Toole, JoJo Liebeler, Shawn McCadden and Christine Marvin will evaluate each entry for a variety of criteria. I think this judging panel is unique in that each of these judges will bring a distinct perspective and analysis to each project submission.

In the past couple of years, Integrity has continued to meet the demands of the replacement and remodeling market by introducing products and options such as special sizing for windows to fit any opening, a simulated check rail option for casement windows to mimic the look of a traditional double hung, and tripane glazing for increased energy efficiency demands. And the list goes on…

This year, we are pleased to once again have the opportunity to reach out to loyal contractors in our market and not only recognize them for their work, but also to thank them for their loyalty to our brand.

So in thinking about this year’s Red Diamond Program – is there a customer you’d like to thank for his/her business? Does he/she feel special and appreciated?

Lastly, I recommend visiting the Integrity web site for the full details and how you can thank and recognize Integrity’s loyal contractors.

-Sandra Stoughton
Integrity Brand Manager  

Sandra Stoughton

Countdown to JLC Live – Behind the Scenes!

photo 5All of us at Hastings are getting geared up for this week’s JLC Live in Providence, RI!  I’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of what went into the creation of the JLC 2013 show set.

Just a few weeks after the JLC 2012 show, the team came together to see what worked, what didn’t, and what could we do better for 2013. Well – that’s when it hit me! It all started sinking in, and my brain starts going a million miles an hour. We just had one of the best shows ever – how do I do my part in making next year’s experience even more of an interactive, eye-popping, millwork thrill-of-a-lifetime event?  As I listened to various ideas being thrown around the room, I started taking notes and drawing sketches of how an extended new portion of the booth would all tie together to create a seamless cohesive look.

I returned to my desk with my notes and my many drawings –  where do I start? First things first –  I wanted to create an even more open feel to an already open booth. Instead of just having trusses that are supported in the corners of the booth, how about having them canter leaver at the main entrance to be even more inviting to our customers? Next, how do we take those already cool interactive free standing pieces from last year and create even more of an open floor space feel with them? I started drawing new concepts of how we can fit them into the walls that will support our new truss system and complement our existing system. What we did is create rough openings to support the look we have throughout the booth, and fit those interactive pieces in them. This then allows us to have the same feel and experience in both halves of our booth without sacrificing that cohesive feel that we were looking for.

Now the real fun starts – the construction! And during the construction phase, we can’t forget that Trade Show season is here, and that we must also support our dealers that in return support us! With everything going on, it becomes challenging at times to take on such a large project alone in the Trade Show Department. So that’s when I started asking for favors from our other departments at Hastings. I would like to thank all those who had (or will have) a hand in painting, building, redesigning, dismantling, packing, delivering and setting up the set at the venue.  I also truly appreciate all the suggestions on the whole process and the fact that we were able to work together as one team.

I have learned over the years that we should humble ourselves and listen to others for alone we do not have all the answers. So a big thank you to the talented unsung heroes of Hastings. The praise goes to you this year, for helping in making this year’s 2013 JLC the huge hit I know it will be!

John E. Tyler
Show & Exhibition Product Manager

John Tyler

The JLC Live Experience

JLC LiveWe are in full “preparation mode” for JLC Live, the biggest residential building trade show in our region, where we will meet, host and educate contractor customers from around New England and Eastern NY. We are working to make this our best show yet, keeping a focus on the strong remodeling and replacement opportunity in our market. Throughout our preparations, we dug deep to uncover the value of what we bring to our retailers and their contractor customers at the JLC Live show. As we developed our plans for the show, a few distinct points of differentiation surfaced and I would like to share those with you today:

  • Value. The brands we represent, Marvin and Integrity Windows and Doors, are built on quality, craftsmanship, performance and durability. We see these products as an important difference in the way we do business.
  • Local. We are, as is Marvin, deeply committed to doing business with local independent retailers, not big box stores. This is one of the fundamental values of our business.
  • Education. As a company, Hastings has a strong focus on education at all levels of our business. This happens in the field, at our location in Enfield, at retail locations throughout New England and Eastern NY and at regional events like JLC Live. We love to engage with you and your customers on this level, learning about your businesses in the process. This engagement helps us develop and deploy educational programs designed to help you and your customers capitalize on opportunities in your market.
  • Advocacy. We are lucky to align with a product and a network of retailers who help us develop a strong base of committed advocates throughout the region.

This is not just what we offer at JLC Live. It is the core of our business; an alignment with quality companies and premium remodeling and replacement products. This commitment to value results in the all around strongest product network in our industry. We will communicate this through educational sessions, our newly designed product booth, and our interactive installation demonstrations. For me, those jam-packed demos are “can’t miss” moments of the show – with the audience engaged, and the energy level high, there’s nothing like it!

What will be at the top of my list of favorite JLC Live moments this year? That’s easy – 8:59 AM on March 22nd, when the doors open and a flood of trade customers pours into the exhibit hall to see, hear and learn about our products, partners and the pride we feel in both of those partnerships.

-Miana Hoyt Dawson, Marvin Brand Manager – Hastings 

miana2013-8