Committed to Quality

Comfort Windows

Don’t be fooled by the name; Comfort Windows provides much more than top of the line windows. The Syracuse, New York based company offers a full line of products and services, from custom doors, insulation, decking, and siding to bathroom remodeling, basement remodeling, sunrooms and more.

In 1979, Bill Putzer Jr. launched a small start-up out of his home in Syracuse. Mr. Putzer’s original goal was to provide the highest quality window install on the market. Soon, however, the company began manufacturing its own product to ensure top notch quality. Comfort Windows has grown steadily over the years and now operates over 90 trucks and employs more than 200 people across the state of New York.

The Comfort team still manufactures its own windows and doors in its central New York facility. The cold weather specialists carefully design each window and door to conserve heat during the punishing winters of the north-eastern United States. The company partners with manufacturers of other products, but ensures that each solution is specially designed to meet the customer’s needs, regardless of whether it comes from in-house or elsewhere. “It is not a one size fits all,” VP of Sales Fritz Gentile explains. “The glass is custom made, the window is custom made. Nothing is off the shelf.” The team is able to determine precisely what solution is best for each specific need. For instance, “Certain sides of the home may have to have different types of energy efficient glass. A shady side wants to gain solar heat, where a sunny side of the home wants to be heat reflective and keep that heat out. So we offer many, many different energy saving glass solutions for the home.”

The Building Performance Institute (BPI) accredited company is well equipped to provide the most energy efficient solution for each individual structure. The team carefully assesses a home’s energy efficiency using a blower door test to determine where energy is being lost – and then provides solutions to the problem. The difference in savings can be quite dramatic. “You can gain fantastic energy conservation by ‘air sealing’ the home,” Mr. Gentile explains. “Our customers tell us that they are amazed at the savings.”

Comfort Windows was founded on quality, and quality is one of the key things that sets the company apart to this day. Whether made in-house or partner-supplied, each product must meet Comfort Windows’ rigorous quality requirements, and the team stands behind their product – no matter what. For instance, a number of the insulated glass windows that the company manufactured back in 1983 began to fail after about a decade of use. Even though the warranty had expired, the team still wanted to uphold their commitment to fail proof products. “We made a conscious business decision to go back and replace every failed unit at no charge,” Mr. Gentile recalls. It turned out to be a brilliant move. “Our phones rang off the hook because the word got around that we are for real. We are taking care of people, we are taking care of our product. There is a long term ‘low cost of ownership’ backed by every Comfort Manufactured Assurance Warranty.”

The quality of the install, he adds, is just as important as the quality of the product. “You can take the best window in the country and install it improperly and have it not work right, have a seal failure, have a draft around that window, have it look incorrect, or order the wrong insulated glass for the region.” Because of this fact, the company has had an enormous focus on the quality of its installations since day one. “It is what he [Bill Putzer] has always pushed and emphasized,” Mr. Gentile says. “That is an important aspect of the company.” One way that the team guarantees a quality install is by doing all of the work themselves, rather than relying on subcontractors. As a result, “we can control our labour. We can control the quality of the install using employees who care.”

Comfort Windows emphasizes teamwork, and everyone works together to provide customers with the highest quality products and services. “It is a family business,” Mr. Gentile explains. “We went from a mom and pop shop to a fairly large business, but the underlying culture is the family culture. We are all part of the team.” This means that when a mistake is made employees don’t try and hide it; they work together to fix it. As simple as this sounds, Mr. Gentile insists that not every contractor is willing to acknowledge their mistakes. “With some construction companies or home improvement companies [the attitude] is to always sweep it under the table. But here, it is to review it, fix it, make it better, and then learn from that issue.” After all, when a company covers up a problem, that problem is bound to be repeated. As a result, Comfort Windows insists on reviewing and analyzing any questionable results to ensure that services remain top notch. “So we grow from [any mistakes]. We get stronger from it.”

Not surprisingly, the company has earned a reputation for setting things right if anything ever goes wrong. “Because of that, we have very few complaints from homeowners. We [hold ourselves] accountable.”

The team is also committed to providing their products and services at a reasonable price. “Our motto is that if we can’t sell it to our mother, our father, our aunt, or our uncle at the price that we have, then it is at the wrong price. That is why we are value oriented rather than higher priced. That is how the company started and that is how we will always do it.”

The company’s commitment to quality and accountability hasn’t gone unnoticed. For starters, Comfort Windows has won the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for marketplace ethics three times – and was recently notified that the business has won for the fourth time. It is a notable accomplishment, particularly for a company as big as Comfort Windows. “For a large home improvement company doing multiple windows, doors, sidings, sunrooms, and bathrooms, that says a lot; we are dealing with tens of thousands of homeowners a year.” Comfort Windows also maintains an A+ rating with the Bureau. Again, this is not an easy accomplishment for a large company. “Doing the volume we do, having 90 installation trucks on the road a day, handling that many customers and still having an A+ standing with the Better Business Bureau is a very strong attribute,” Mr. Gentile remarks. In addition, Qualified Remodeler Magazine ranks Comfort Windows number one in upstate New York, and number 25 in the entire country. Window and Door Magazine also includes Comfort Windows in its list of the top 100 manufacturers in the United States.

With so much already accomplished, Comfort Windows is still busy moving forward. Most notably, the team has recently expanded its services to include bathroom remodelling. Every homeowner has a bathroom, Mr. Gentile points out, and upgrading this area of the home is at the top of nearly everyone’s remodeling list. In fact, adding bathroom remodeling to the company’s list of services was in response to customer demand. And the response has been nothing short of remarkable. “Once we advertised [bathroom remodelling], our phones have been ringing off the hook,” Mr. Gentile reports. “The growth from last year to this year has been 400 percent growth. It’s been amazing.” The expansion also makes sense because it will help keep business active during the coldest months of the year. “This gives us some work for the wintertime that’s out of the bad weather,” Mr. Gentile points out.

The team is drawing on decades of experience to offer homeowners a sensible and affordable solution in a short amount of time. In fact, Comfort Windows can revamp a bathroom’s wet area in as little as eight hours. “Once we custom measure it and design it with the homeowner it can be done in one day. So it is very convenient.” The company uses acrylic to provide an aesthetically pleasing and low maintenance surface. “Acrylic is a nonporous, beautiful substance that is not going to promote mould or mildew,” Mr. Gentile explains. An increasing number of homeowners are making the switch to acrylic from tile to free themselves from the hassle of cleaning grout, he adds.

The company’s next move will be to increase its showroom and warehouse space. Comfort Windows has just purchased new facilities in Syracuse and is currently looking to do the same in Albany and Buffalo. “That is a huge expansion,” Mr. Gentile points out, and a necessary one. “We are out of space.” Indeed, ongoing success has made the expansion crucial, and the team is looking forward to increasing their reach.

Perhaps best of all, larger facilities will enable the company to showcase its wares to the fullest. “We want to bring the homeowners to us,” Mr. Gentile explains. “We want to start bringing the homeowner to us to see, touch, and feel all the products and the colours and the quality. We want to be a larger display centre, which is not typical for our business.” From one man’s vision of a better window to a major north-eastern supply center, Comfort Windows has a high quality, fully customized solution for virtually every home.

July 20, 2018, 2:57 AM EDT

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