75 Years with Wallside: What sparked the idea for vinyl windows?

Wallside Windows Founder Martin Blanck made news with vinyl windows. Here, he appears in a 1987 edition of Crain’s Detroit Business.

Wallside Windows Founder Martin Blanck made news with vinyl windows. Here, he appears in a 1987 edition of Crain’s Detroit Business.

As Wallside Windows celebrates 75 years, its staying power is rooted in the principles that founder Martin Blanck led with, such as providing outstanding customer service, care for employees and great products.

It’s also due in part to the way he trusted his entrepreneurial instincts.

In the early 1970s, Martin read a New York Times article about vinyl replacement windows as an emerging trend in home improvement. He saw the value in vinyl’s efficiency, easy installation and maintenance, and long lifespan, and decided to shift his home improvement business toward vinyl replacement windows.

Ralph Vasami did business with the Blancks for over 25 years. He first met Martin — whom he affectionately refers to as “Marty” — in 1977, when Ralph was 25 years old and joined his father-in-law’s company, Fiberlux, in New York.

Ralph remembers those early days of vinyl when it wasn’t yet mainstream, but Martin envisioned a future for his business that rested more on windows than the vinyl siding he’d been selling. Ralph said Martin thought vinyl windows could differentiate his business in a way that siding didn’t allow.

“The person buying a Wallside window couldn’t go down the street and get the same window from another dealer, so it gave him the opportunity to have some product differentiations,” Ralph says. “It also gave him the opportunity to build his sales and marketing around that product differentiation.

“When Marty took on vinyl windows, there were other people that were selling vinyl windows but many of them went by the wayside. They didn’t have the vision, they didn’t have the staying power, but Marty was a businessman. He knew what he wanted to do and what he wanted to accomplish and was never afraid to invest in his ideas. He always pushed forward and was true to his vision.”

Ralph came to know Martin because Fiberlux was one of the first companies in the country that supplied vinyl window materials. He said that initially, Wallside ordered materials from Fiberlux and would assemble the final product in Detroit.

Eventually, Fiberlux supported Wallside as Martin decided to manufacture the entire product on-site. From there, Fiberlux provided Wallside with vinyl, tooling and design experience. Ralph believes that the move to full manufacturing of its products is one of many reasons for Wallside’s success.

“The fact that Wallside was able to control the selling process, the manufacturing process, the installation, the customer service and longtime warranty, and repeat business process really gave them an opportunity to extoll the benefits of vinyl and to build a tremendous brand of their own,” he says.

Ralph said he learned from business leaders like his father-in-law, Paul Mancuso, and Martin, how to build business through relationships. When Martin decided to move the Wallside factory from Detroit to its current home in Taylor, he showed the plans to Ralph in New York to get his thoughts. And when Fiberlux was building its new facility, Martin came to take a look and give his feedback as well.

“We were trying to help each other be successful,” he said. 

Ralph remembers Martin, who passed away in 2001, as a friend as much as a client.

“Marty was a gentleman, and Marty was a great storyteller. He always had a story, he always had a joke … You always think back on those kinds of relationships,” he says.

Ralph isn’t surprised at Wallside’s success, because it’s remained true to Martin’s vision. 

“The window business is a very competitive business, and they’re in a very competitive market, but they’ve had great success because they’ve maintained great business relationships, a great business ethic and I think they’ve carved out a tremendous brand. The brand is more than just advertising and communications. It’s how the salespeople treat the homeowner when they’re out on the call. It’s how the installers do their work. It’s customer service. It’s the quality of the product that they put out. They stand behind it. They’ve created a tremendous brand and they really work at it.

“There’s not a lot of companies that survive and thrive for 75 years. That’s a long time. Especially starting with a product that was really not very well accepted at the beginning. It was through a lot of hard work and effort to show the benefits of the product and to believe in the product.” 

Wallside Windows is proud to celebrate 75 years in business. Is it’s time to get your replacement vinyl windows visit WallsideWindows.com/estimate or call 1-800-521-7800 to schedule your free estimate.