Atlantic Window & Door Systems
Andy Filipkowski launched Atlantic Window & Door Systems 25 years ago when he didn’t like the window quality on the Canadian market, and had decided to seek out a better product that would provide Canadians with higher quality product. By sticking to the idea of quality to this day, Atlantic provides homeowners and the construction industry with quality and precision engineering, using the timeless old world approach to quality manufacturing. The combination of German technology and Canadian quality manufacturing processes make Atlantic Window & Door Systems the premiere source of highest quality windows and doors in GTA and southern Ontario.
The Canadian Business Journal spoke with Trent Steinke, Sales Manager, about the construction industry, the importance of windows and doors quality, and the unsurpassed quality that Atlantic brings to the marketplace.
“We have been in business for 25 years with about 50 employees in total. There are two sides to Atlantic. One side is the manufacturing of windows and doors, including a German product called Rehau, and Quebec-based PH Tech. The other side is the installation and servicing.”
The company produces double and triple glazed vinyl windows, vinyl wood grain windows, and entry and patio doors. The company also offers line of European-style windows and doors called Tilt & Turn. “This product is extremely popular in Europe, and there is only few manufacturers of this product here is Canada,” says Steinke.
“We pride ourselves in producing German-engineered product, Canadian made; everything is produced here in Canada. We work locally with our top engineering, without bringing any material from overseas. That allows us to provide Lifetime Warrantee on our windows and doors for the lifetime of the house.”
Besides lifetime warranty, the company also offers lifetime warranty on its products. All the installers work exclusively for Atlantic, and had been factory-trained by Atlantic. This is most likely why Atlantic has been rated Mississauga’s No. 1 company for windows and doors by the consumers in 2011 and 2012, and the word that best describes the Atlantic approach is “old school”, with everything from manufacturing to painting and assembly being done in the company location.
While the construction industry has seen serious setbacks during the economic downturn, Atlantic business focuses on renovation, which provides Atlantic with 95 per cent of the business. In regard to renovation, Steinke stated, “Following the economic downturn and the end of renovation rebates, we saw a softening of the market, but what insulated us was active market in GTA and the fact that we have a lot of returning customers and customer referrals. We usually work in renovation or custom new homes, not home builders, because home builder generally want the cheapest product, which usually means overseas product.”
Working on renovation projects means that the company needs to provide a solid service and personal approach to working with home owners. That’s why company has seven project managers who generate the business. “We are a business to consumers. We bring consumers to our showroom, and then work with them, from changing few windows, to changing doors and windows for the whole house. Also, while other companies try to retrofit the new window into the old frame, we renovate brick-to-brick. We believe that if you are getting a brand new window with a Lifetime Warranty, replacing the frame is the right way to do it.”
While the company can’t compete with the imports in the price arena, the German design and Canadian engineering win when it comes to lasting product quality. Talking about quality, Steinke mentioned several projects, where the company replaced windows of whole five years old subdivisions, where the windows warped from heat, and failed to provide the service they were designed for. “If the vinyl does not have enough chambers in its structure – less chambers means less material, and lower production cost – the problems arise, and the window will warp over time. We see this all the time, where whole new subdivisions are getting a replacement. I think we will see more of that as more stuff comes from overseas,” says Steinke.
Atlantic is also one of the first companies in Canada that introduced triple glass to the market, a product that provides heat cost and noise reduction advantages. “The triple glass is common these days, but we did paved the way for this solution into the market over 10 years ago,” says Steinke.
In regards to research and development, Steinke pointed that while the materials are standardized, and sourced from local companies, the company needs to create solutions for customers in regard to colours, and in regard to door solutions, because vinyl opens itself to creative solutions and flexibility to provide customers with what they need. “We are one of the few companies able to paint windows black if that’s necessary – black colour attracts heat, and exposes the low quality products to warp.
“Doors would be the main focus of our R&D. We manufacture our own doorframes, reinforcing vinyl with steel, while the competitors usually do vinyl over wood.
We do not use any wood, and therefore our doors will last a lifetime. Also, all of our entrance doors have three-point – top, centre, and bottom – multi-lock system. I would say that this makes Atlantic doors, some of the safest in the industry,” says Steinke.
As to the future plans, the company sees a great potential in offering its customers additional services, and the company already started offering services such as window coverings – blinds, shutters, etc., and plans to add services such as garage doors, insulated siding, insulation, even balcony railing services. Atlantic plans to launch these value added services by the end March to meet customers’ renovation demands in 2013 and forward.