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Owning a Window World Franchise: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

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A franchise system is really only as good as its people.

Window World is fortunate to have many talented and dedicated franchise owners who have become the foundation for its ongoing success. Window World also has several long-tenured franchisees who have benefitted from a consistent operating system, strong relationships, and a family culture that comes from being part of the system for nearly two decades.

A franchise with unique appeal

Window World franchisee Greg Deathridge and NFL player Emmitt Smith
Window World franchisee Greg Deathridge and NFL player Emmitt Smith

Greg Deathridge currently co-owns three Window World stores in Virginia and one in California. Before joining the franchise in 2002, he was the CEO of an environmental engineering company for 10 years before owning five home improvement dealerships. When he explored a franchise opportunity with Window World, he was immediately impressed with how the company went to market with its products and services.

From the prices offered to the way the sales staff interacted with the customers to a “no questions asked” warranty policy, Window World presented a different approach to home improvement services that resonated with Deathridge. He said the system allows people to come from outside the home improvement industry and thrive.

“I thought this philosophy was a breath of fresh air,” said Deathridge. “I can build a business in an area that is a long-standing reputable company within the community. It is like night and day from the other home improvement business models out there.”

Putting the “family” in Window World Family

Longtime Window World franchise owners toast their newest store in Panama City
Kirk and Pam Cunningham (center) toast their newest location with Window World CEO Tammy Whitworth (left) and President Steve Kamody (right)

Community relationships were also something that was very important to Kirk and Pam Cunningham. They moved from North Carolina to Tallahassee in 2003 to open their first Window World store. The couple had three young sons at the time, and the store developed a family-oriented, close-knit culture over the years. The same family-oriented philosophy is being fostered in their new Panama City store, which opened in early 2020. 

“We want our customers to know we are a family-owned business, and their family is important to our family,” said Pam Cunningham.

Two Tallahassee office staff members are married to friends of the Cunningham’s sons. Kirk and Pam’s middle son Wesley has been the store’s service technician since he was 16 and moved into full-time sales after college. Window World is such a part of Wesley’s life that he would like to own and operate the store when his parents eventually retire. He is currently preparing to do so.

The close relationships for Window World of Tallahassee extend beyond the store. The bonds formed with customers can be particularly strong and beneficial. One of the Cunningham’s daughters-in-law was recently wearing a Window World shirt while shopping, and she was stopped by a customer who told her how much they loved their windows and Window World.

Offering a great product with outstanding service often leads to these interactions when running into customers at church or a local restaurant. The Cunninghams say they installed windows in starter homes for some customers and then did additional work on their next house many years later.

“We have a lot of repeat customers and family members of previous customers who buy from us, and I think they feel like they are a part of the family when they buy windows from us,” said Pam Cunningham. “With Tallahassee being so small, we develop those close, personal relationships with them.”

Backed by 25+ years of support and experience

Window World CEO Tammy Whitworth with staff
Window World CEO Tammy Whitworth with corporate staff

Deathridge also appreciates the value that comes with long-term relationships with vendors and other franchisees. He said he has known several vendors for nearly 20 years and can even have conversations about where their children attend college. Those connections can be particularly helpful in a challenging year like 2020 when delivery of some products has been delayed due to the coronavirus. When faced with a tight situation recently, one longtime rep was able to provide Deathridge several options to help him.

Deathridge is especially fond of interacting and sharing ideas with his fellow franchisees at Window World’s regional meetings and national conferences. He said some of the best collaboration comes from meetings in which there is no agenda, and the franchisees organically discuss common issues they each face daily.

Having a franchise support system makes everyone better. Deathridge said he gets several calls or texts each week from other franchise owners about certain products or programs. He said he still uses some of the information he learned at those conferences and interactions with other franchisees in his business today.

“I have a built-in Rolodex of franchisees that I’ve met on company trips or in meetings,” he said. “They have the same interests and issues. Window World does an outstanding job of making sure their franchisees are interconnected and communicating with each other.” 

Deathridge has shared his extensive knowledge and experience with the system while twice serving on Window World’s advisory council. Discussions there focus on the 30,000-foot view of the company, where the system is going, and what changes need to be made.

“It has been a very effective tool in giving franchisees a part of the direction of the company. It makes you feel like you have a voice.”

Both Deathridge and Cunningham feel Window World’s business model has been extremely sustainable for many years, and it has played a major role in their success. Cunningham reflects on the franchise’s original motto of “the best for less” and how that mantra still guides them.

“We’ve stuck with the original business model and have not changed it,” said Pam Cunningham.  “Our philosophy is that we are not the expensive people. We are the people that homeowners can afford. We have continued with that mindset, and I think that is why we’ve been successful.”

A sustainable business model is key

Window World, Inc. headquarters in North Carolina
Window World, Inc. headquarters in North Carolina

Deathridge recently reviewed his financials and noticed that the management numbers in many areas, such as labor and commission, are very similar today as they were nearly 20 years ago when he started with Window World. He said that is a tribute to the system’s consistency, even as it grows and evolves in today’s digital age.

He believes that consistency and a sustainable business model make Window World an attractive opportunity for anyone exploring franchise ownership.

“We have earned multiple J.D. Power and Associates awards and have positioned ourselves as a leader in the industry,” said Deathridge. “That is a franchise you want to buy. We have first-class products and service that are recognized nationally. Window World has also shown a commitment to philanthropy, from our CEO Tammy Whitworth on down, that has been amazing.  If I’m spending my money on a franchise, those are the types of things that are on the top of my list.”

Pam Cunningham describes their experience with Window World as “an opportunity of a lifetime” and values the relationships they have with their customers and employees, who are all like family. She said her family has been able to make a good living for themselves. She appreciates the opportunity of having a Window World store and how it has given them the ability to provide their employees with a good, stable income.

Deathridge appreciates the support he has received from the Window World corporate team, which has enabled him to grow to his fullest potential as an entrepreneur.

“I wake up every day thinking about what I can do to make my business successful,” he said.  “I’m not stifled by my corporate office telling me I can’t make my own decisions and grow my business.”

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