Honoring a father’s legacy isn’t always easy. For some, it comes with great sacrifice. Take Sara Grieves, for example. Attending college with a post-graduate goal of going to medical school and eventually becoming a doctor, she put aside her initial aspirations to continue what her father started, a highly successful fenestration company serving much of the West.
“When the industry moved from aluminum windows to vinyl in the early ’90s, my father started Preferred Window Products and built it from the ground up, investing everything he had,” Grieves says. “In 2003, at the peak of success in my father’s career, he fell ill. It was important to him, and our family, that the company continued. So I made the decision to forego school, take over operations, and carry on my father’s legacy.”
Now Grieves owns the Walnut Creek, California-based business and her father is retired. The firm specializes in residential projects consisting of high-density mixed-use developments as well as multi-family condominiums and townhomes and single-family large tract developments. And the company, in business since 1993, maintains what Grieves describes as a “family-owned culture” while growing into a multi-state giant providing quality window and door products to developers and contractors on large construction projects.
Part of that culture is illustrated in the way in which Preferred Window Products cultivates a successful workforce, by rewarding positive results and providing incentives for achieving goals.
“In fact, many of our employees have been with us since the beginning,” says the CEO. “Investment in our employees and training are part of what sets us apart from the competition.”
Success comes from fostering another important relationship, that of Preferred Window Products’ vendors, not the least of which is Western Window Systems. Working together for about four years, the two firms have benefited from each other’s focus on high quality and customer service.
“Western Window Systems does not open relationships with every dealer in the market,” Grieves says. “I appreciate their loyalty and support. They are selective in choosing their partners, which ultimately allows them, and us, to focus on maintaining the best possible quality standards and providing exceptional service to customers.”
It’s that kinship when it comes to customer service that has helped Preferred Window Products grow from a mom-and-pop shop in the Bay Area to selling and installing windows and doors in much of Nevada and Washington state.
“Reputation, referral, word of mouth, and strong vendor and customer relationships” is how Grieves describes the foundation of her firm’s way of doing business.
Giving back to the community also is fundamental to Preferred Window Products’ attention to committed business practices, Grieves says.
“We recently partnered with Taylor Morrison Homes in Northern California, where we donated windows and doors to an apartment complex in Sacramento,” she says. “We also regularly donate our surplus to Habitat for Humanity.”
As Preferred Window Products approaches its 25th year in the fenestration business, there appear to be no signs of slowing down despite what Grieves indicates are two of the company’s biggest challenges: a labor shortage and rising costs of labor construction.
Which only makes the company’s longstanding commitment to investing in its employees, including training, that much more vital. It’s another reason Preferred Window Products and Western Window Systems, with its focus on dealer education, make a formidable team.
“Western Window Systems goes above and beyond with a dedication to training on their products,” Grieves says. “From installation to product knowledge, they have put together a great program for educating our team.”
With homebuilding constituting a strong place in the western United States economy, it figures that Preferred Window Products will continue on a successful path bridging the gap, Grieves says, between manufacturer and developer.