Wellington Reports Successful Comeback
Founded in 1997, Wellington Windows faced some tough challenges in recent years, on top of the weak economy. Reborn as Wellington Home Improvements in February, the Minneapolis-based company is now well on the road to recovery and reached several important milestones in less than four months, according to Brent Woods, president.
The family-owned Wellington Windows, which manufactured and installed vinyl windows and doors, was started by Elizabeth (Libby) Wyatt and her then husband, Gary Woods. Since their divorce in 2001, Wyatt led Wellington Windows with 100 percent ownership as president and CEO. Her son, Brent Woods, also worked for the company.
The family faced several personal challenges as the company struggled to cope with the tough economic climate. Wyatt is a two-time cancer survivor. She also lost one of her daughters, Molly Woods, who tragically and unexpectedly passed away in November of 2011. Also in November of 2011, an important investor working with the family to keep Wellington Windows going, died in a helicopter crash. Ultimately, Wellington Windows was forced to liquefy its assets to its main creditor.
Woods worked with a new partnership group to form Wellington Home Improvement, which was able to purchase the assets of Wellington Windows from the main creditor and renew the Wellington brand, he reports. Since its reopening, with the return of many employees, the company, which also has locations serving the Milwaukee and Chicago areas, has procured 100 new customers in Minneapolis alone. In addition to the new customers, it was able to service 100 Wellington Windows customers as well, he reports.
Woods attributes this success to “having an outstanding product to offer and an aggressive marketing approach.” That will continue, Woods says, with the company planning to spend $1 million dollars on marketing heading into 2013.
Woods also plans to continue on the company's path of rapid growth by continuing to expand services with new products that complement its Wellington brand replacement windows. Wellington Windows provided home improvement services to clients in the past quite successfully, but had not focused on growing this niche, officials note. This will be the primary difference at the new company, which will sell and install such products as roofing, siding, soffit and fascia, gutters and doors, as well as windows.
Woods is currently a minority owner in Wellington Home Improvements and Wyatt will be an employee of Wellington Home Improvements for 12 months to assist with the launch of the Wellington brand and establishing the business of Wellington Home Improvements. In the future, Wyatt says she plans to advise business owners and companies on how to be a “survivor” and avoid the challenges of business ownership she endured that ultimately led to personal bankruptcy.
Wellington Home Improvements has hired approximately 95 percent of the former workforce at Wellington Windows, it reports. Standing behind its word and doing the right thing is a value that is adhered to by Wellington Home Improvements, officials note, and as a result, the new company is also honoring all product warranties that were issued to clients of Wellington Windows.
Wellington Home Improvements officials say it is to the new company’s benefit to be associated with the quality and reputation of the Wellington brand, and to let consumers know that the Wellington Windows as a product is still available.The company has set an aggressive goal of $5 million in business for the first year, and Woods says he is confident that Wellington Home Improvements can achieve that level because employees will deliver on their commitment to quality.