Window of Opportunity
Quality And Service Are At The Forefront Of The Family-Owned Franchise Window World
Looking at its high ratings and multitudes of awards and accolades, there is no doubt Window World of Tidewater is a flourishing local business. You would never guess owner Dave Reed traded a vintage car for the Virginia Beach and Newport News franchises, but that was the humble beginning of what would become the largest single replacement window store in the world.
Reed witnessed the beginnings of Window World while living in Wilmington, North Carolina. Intrigued by the innovative concept for selling replacement windows, he took a meeting with the founder, Leon Whitworth in 1999.
“I went into a meeting with Leon to sell him on the idea of adding siding to his product offering,” Reed says. “I never even brought it up. We got to talking and he told me, ‘You’d be good in ’Ginny Beach.’”
The two found they had a lot in common, especially their love of cars. Reed traded Whitworth a 1965 Shelby Cobra for the two Coastal Virginia franchises, packed up his family and headed to ’Ginny Beach. Window World of Tidewater was the 10th Window World franchise to open. In the beginning, Reed and his wife Taunia ran the business themselves. Reed’s goal was to sell 400–500 windows a month. Within three years, the store was selling more than 2,000 windows a month. They quickly outgrew their small Virginia Beach office space, and Tidewater became the largest single replacement window store in the world. They now have eight office employees, seven sales reps and more than 40 independent contractors that perform the installs. In 2016, Tidewater was named Window World Store of the Year out of more than 200 franchises.
“It’s a simple business model: simply the best for less,” says Dave’s son Josh, who now serves as President of Window World of Tidewater. “We offer the highest quality product for the lowest reasonable price. There’s no haggling and no sales gimmicks.”
The Window World business model was the brainchild of founder Leon Whitworth, who began selling windows out of a roadside stand in Wilmington in 1995. His plan was straightforward: sell quality products at a low price directly to the consumer. But it was a concept that went totally against the grain of the industry at the time.
“Everybody looked at it and said, ‘this can’t work.’ Before Window World, the business model of replacement window companies was high pressure sales. A salesman would come to your house, give a big sales presentation and offer an extremely marked up price for a window. Window World brought the price of windows down to half of what the industry was doing at the time,” Dave explains.
“Lots of companies have tried to duplicate what Window World has done, but most have gone by the wayside. What we do works because we have the best interest of the customer at heart,” Dave says.
From the top down, Window World is a family business. Most of the franchises are owned by a husband and wife team and are then passed down to their children. At Window World of Tidewater, many of the employees and contractors that work for the Reeds are related to one another. Family is such a core element of Window World that the national convention is called a family reunion.
For Josh, the idea that he would take over the business was not obvious at first. He had gone to school and was working as a chiropractor before he realized he was interested in joining the company.
“I was thrilled because I never suspected he would be coming on board,” Dave says. “The minute he made that commitment, I had no question what he’d do with it.”
Josh came on board as a salesman in 2009 and quickly transitioned to a sales manager. That same year, he took over as president. Dave and Taunia are still very involved in the business, though Josh now runs the day-to-day operations.
“My parents set up an amazing foundation, and I’m just steering it now at this point,” Josh says. “We’re constantly talking about the business and exchanging ideas. My parents have always been my best friends, so it’s easy for me to pick up the phone and ask them for their help.”
Josh hopes to be able to pass the baton to his own children one day. He has two sons, 7-year-old David and 4-year-old Benjamin, with his wife Tara. If you live in Coastal Virginia, you’ve likely seen the rambunctious boys zipping around on their mini Window World Jeep in the company’s commercials. In fact, these commercials are a product of Dave’s vision to expand Window World’s marketing efforts. The Window World marketing model had only ever included print advertising, but Dave believed TV ads would help grow the business. He was right: business exploded after he incorporated TV ads, and every other Window World owner wanted to know what he was doing. Eventually Dave created his own marketing company, Reed & Associates. The Norfolk-based company does the marketing for 38 Window World stores, as well as several other local businesses.
In everything they do, the Reeds are committed to putting others first. In business, that means providing unparalleled customer service and standing by their lifetime warrantee. It also means giving back to the community. As a corporate St. Jude’s sponsor, the company has raised over $8 million for the children’s hospital. The company also participates in Veterans Airlift Command by using their corporate jet to transport combat wounded veterans and their families.
“The mettle of a company is determined after the sale. That’s where Window World shines because our warrantee is the best in the industry,” Dave says. “As long as you own the house, we own those windows with you.”
Window World Tidewater is located at 2970 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach. Learn more at WindowWorldTidewater.com.
By Chelsea Sherman