Marinelite Windows Ltd
Ideally located in the heart of a commercial fishing district in Nova Scotia, Marinelite Windows builds and manufactures high quality, aesthetically-pleasing custom windows for boats. Owner Anthony d’Eon formed the company in 1991 and for almost 20 years has been working with only the most seaworthy windows. Marinelite epitomizes reliability and its unique window design is well-known amongst boat enthusiasts and commercial fishing boats alike for being safe. The month, CBJ investigates what gives Marinelite’s successful products their competitive edge.
Marinelite manufactures both fixed and custom-built windows for boats including fixed windows, horizontal sliding windows, full drop windows, half drop windows and hinged windows. The products are PVC framed as opposed to aluminum, the standard for most companies in the industry, rendering the product unique. Marinelite glazes the product with a temperate glass or laminate glass according to a customer’s requirements.
Unique leak-proof design
Marinelite windows are best known for one very important feature: if properly installed, the windows cannot leak. Its fixed windows are made with a unique leak-proof design which has performed exceptionally well during testing. “We have a testing facility where we have tested our competitors’ product and we kept working on ours until it surpassed the products of all our competitors,” says d’Eon. The design ensures that water and wind are kept out during difficult, wet conditions.
Marinelite’s fixed windows are designed in such a way that the installer applies the supplied structural sealant directly to the glass pane as opposed to the frame. This system bonds the glass pane directly to the surface of the wheelhouse. The strong, watertight system does not permit the glass to be pushed through the window opening if the bow is submerged. Furthermore, the window is mechanically fastened by a rigid interior trim ring and stainless steel screws that clamp the window to the bulkhead. The materials used and the features of the product are of the highest quality.
A window into the history
D’Eon got his start in the window business in the automotive sector, owning two automotive glass franchises. He saw and capitalized on a business opportunity when he noticed that quite a few customers were asking for work to be done on their boats as well. At the time, a number of fishermen had found that the commonly used windows of the time were not sufficiently strong. D’Eon thought there was a need to bring in a stronger, more effective product.
“The Canadian Coast Guard was encouraging boat builders to find a better window, so we were able to bring some in from other provinces in Canada and we have even tried a few in the states,” d’Eon says. “It took too long to bring the product in and the product was expensive, but I decided I could probably do something with the PVC line or frames, so we went ahead and designed a line of products.”
That line of PVC products was a very unique product, particularly at the time, as its popularity quickly grew with commercial fishing boats. Marinelite has now successfully been in business for 20 years, a testament to the quality of its products and the reliability of the material. In fact, the very first PVC frames which were built back in 1991 are still in excellent shape. “Aluminum has a tendency to corrode, even if the stainless steel bolts are used, the aluminum was still corroding and then it is hard to fix. Ours don’t have any corrosion problems at all,” says d’Eon.
Marinelite is committed to stellar customer service. “The customer is No. 1. We have to treat the customer right for them to come back,” says d’Eon, noting that he is personally involved in all matters involving customer service. “We try to make a product that meets the needs of the customer and that the customer gets what they need on time. If there are any warranty issues, we have to look after it right away. And if I have to get in the car or jump on a plane because there is an issue, then that is what I have to do.”
Staying afloat during the downturn
The boatbuilding industry was particularly hard hit during the economic downturn, but Marinelite managed to remain somewhat steady during troubled times. D’Eon likens this to the company business model, which allows for a quick turnaround time. “Some companies have set up some sales reps or agents to sell their windows, whereas we sell directly to the boat owner or boat builder,” he explains. “We don’t have any sales agents or middle men so therefore when the customer calls us up or faxes or emails an order they are talking directly to the manufacturer, which means we get back to them with the proper questions and to get things done right the first time.”
The boatbuilding industry has picked up since the beginning of 2011 and d’Eon is confident of an upswing. There are new products to be released and exciting new opportunities ahead. Marinelite is anticipating a great year for 2011 and we at CBJ can’t help but agree.