It's nice to be recognized.
SMU Cox School of Business and The Dallas Business Journal have named Pella of DFW/West Texas as one of the Top 100 fastest-growing private companies based in DFW. This award tracks the growth of the past three-year period, making this year's awards extra special because it means these companies proved they could come together to find ways to thrive through the COVID, post-COVID, and global supply chain meltdown eras.
It's an award that makes the Pella of DFW/West Texas team incredibly proud. The days since COVID have pushed them to find new ways to grow. Yet the distributor has grown its business thanks to the local team members providing personal service during very turbulent times.
Trey Raney, Pella DFW/West Texas' VP said the uncertainty was the only certainty during the early days of COVID. "We navigated and followed all the varied guidance of the four counties we work with in the greater Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, along with areas in West Texas," he said. "We were very concerned about our team members' health and financial well-being – and we deliberately wanted to keep our offices open to serve our customers better. This required thoughtful consideration of the different ways each team member felt comfortable, while fostering a no-judgment-on-personal choice environment. We had daily internal meetings to work through the ever-changing COVID dynamics to ensure proactive communication with our team members and customers. We had to be flexible, and kind, in how we all operated together."
When the company worked with customers – for window replacement for residential, new construction custom home builders, and commercial projects – Trey said the team worked with them at their comfort level. "That could mean talking through a screen door, window, or virtual appointments," he said. "We tried to conduct business in a new world and in a way that worked for each customer."
During the early stages of COVID, Pella of DFW/West Texas had a 2-month window where its replacement window business was in a bubble of stagnation. "It came on all of a sudden,” said Trey. "And since we're a turnkey operation for our replacement window business – providing the installation with our sales – our installers suddenly had downtime."
The company quickly pivoted to keep those installers busy. Historically, different from the replacement side of the business, the custom home builders Pella of DFW/West Texas works with would handle their own window installation. But, with a general labor shortage in full swing and new construction building projects underway, Pella DFW/West Texas unlocked the formula for offering installation services to new home construction. "That became a momentum builder," said Trey. "It helped us move forward, and more importantly, it offered a new opportunity to our installer partners and helped our builders to grow.”
Midway through COVID, home improvement projects spiked higher throughout the country, and Texas followed suit. "A couple of factors drove that," explained Trey. "With so many people working from home, they began to look closer at their windows. And in Texas, home equity has been on the rise, so people wanted to invest more in their homes. Moreover, people couldn't travel as much, and money earmarked for vacations was diverted to home improvement. These three motivators meant increased demand for windows and doors."
Pella DFW/West Texas has been built to handle the influx and the future. It already had a new, larger warehouse, which they moved into right as COVID started. Earlier this year, an additional warehouse footprint was added to provide more square footage of storage to work through the many different types of supply chain issues. Always nimble.
The company also expanded its brick-and-mortar operations by opening a new showroom in Amarillo in early 2022, remodeling its Lubbock facility, and beginning work on new "experience centers" in Fort Worth and Dallas. In all their new facilities, a key focus is on creating a “third place” for the builder and architect community to gather and learn from each other.
According to Jared Canter, General Manager for trade/commercial sales, the experience centers (slated to open in the first half of 2023) will be much more than a showroom. "Our experience center in Dallas is being built in the design district," he said. "That makes it easy for builders and our residential customers to find us. Our full breadth of products will be on hand and showcased in enclosures, so it's easy to see how things will look in a finished build. We also designed the centers to host events for builders and residential customers. We will have ongoing seminars, how-to's, and dynamic meeting spaces for our team members and builders to dream with customers."
Pella of DFW/West Texas has doubled its staffing in the past two years on the business's residential replacement side. "Our team is dedicated to scaling up the replacement business, and we know window and doors inside and out, pun intended," said Chris Welch, General Manager for replacement sales. Chris said his team is ready to make a complex process simple for the homeowner. “When dealing with an opening in your home's exterior, you need a professional.”
Chris said offering a premium Pella window or door also comes with premium service. "We provide a one-on-one service coupled with education on windows and doors. Selecting windows and doors can be exciting, but sometimes overwhelming. We understand and are dedicated to simplifying the process into a systematic conversation to find the best fit for them. We always want to know our customer's ultimate goals and vision. We can then go over the multiple of materials and styles we offer and how our professional installation process works like no other. The process is very educational, so when a decision is made – regardless of their material or style selection – the customer will be confident and ready to transform their home."
Today, Pella of DFW/West Texas sees continued growth, especially with supply chain issues starting to come under control. "Our latest lead times have improved significantly," said Trey. “Our team is stronger for the adversity we have pushed through together. We are excited about the future and serving this terrific and ever-evolving market. We have the variety of products of the highest quality and a dedicated team of professionals that back our products with a dedication to personal service. We are continuously challenging ourselves to improve. We are proud that much of our growth comes to us through referrals. We bring more value to our customers when we are strong together. In a recent brand study, homeowners in our territory rated Pella products and our local distributorship as being the 'most innovative,' 'highest quality,' and 'easiest to do business with.' And, with a 4.8 rating (out of 5) on Google, it shows why our customers are our best advocates."
Dallas 100: Inside SMU's rankings of North Texas' fastest-growing private companies