The modern 30,000 square foot structure in LaSalle that houses the retail side of Meloche Windows & Doors belies the business’ 50 year history that began as a basement business catering to the friends of founder Bob Meloche. The company’s smooth transition from a small venture initially supplying only storm doors and windows into a vastly functioning business that has products, manufacturing manpower, installation services and customer service is a progression that President Elise Clark attributes to changes built upon the foundation put in place by her father, Bob Meloche, in 1957. Builders, contractors, dealers, architects, and designers are now also customers of the operation, adding to the owner friends that made up the business’ first patrons.
“One of the most important changes is that we’ve kept adding more and more products over the years,” Clark says. Vinyl windows, fibreglass, steel and wood doors, and high quality hardware lines are just some of those added products. The addition of more products was also a way for Meloche Windows & Doors to differentiate itself from their competitors. “What we did was not only continue to provide windows and doors to our market, but we also have a couple of specialty products that nobody else carries here down in Southwestern Ontario,” Clark points out. The Harring line of doors, the high-end Rocky Mountain Hardware line and Baldwin hardware are some of the lines that Meloche Windows & Doors have a monopoly on in the area. Not only that, but in the 1980s when the vinyl window and door market was booming, Meloche Windows & Doors took it upon themselves to remember the quality that wood products possessed and added the versatile wood window line called Weathershield. They are still the sole distributor of the Weathershield line in the southwestern Ontario area to this day.
From a one-man operation into a staff of 35 in order to cover all the services that Meloche Windows & Doors provides is another major change to note. Some of the members of the installation crew, which is recognized for their retro-fit window and door abilities, have been with the company for 15 or 20 years, says Clark. The longevity of some of the employees mirrors the loyalty of the business’ customer base. “We have a huge repeat business,” she says. “Customers come back time and time again and refer people to us.” Clark also considers part of the business’ success is due to Meloche Windows & Doors being a family enterprise — an attractive point to a local customer base. The reputation that has been cultivated by the Meloche family has also made the name recognizable throughout the city. However, she points out that over five decades, new generations have added and even replaced the original customer base and require a different type of treatment. “Up until four or five years ago this company did not do any marketing or advertising whatsoever,” says Clark. “It was all word-of-mouth and that’s how the business grew.”
Although word-of-mouth still works for the business, a recently overhauled website gives a new group of clientele the chance to get to know Meloche Windows & Doors. The site explains a brief history, illustrates the product lines, details the services and where the company is located. “Now there’s a younger generation who require us to educate them on who we are,” Clark explains. “We need to use different tools like a website so that they know what the Meloche name stands for.” The move into modernity can also be found in how the business celebrated its 50th birthday at the end of September. In order to invite the community to the 200-plus person gala event, a video invitation created with compressed still shots was sent out. The video illustrates the average customer’s experience with Meloche Windows & Doors, following the characters in the video from their entry into the retail store, through the showroom, the manufacturing and finally the installation. But as for the next 50 years, Clark maintains that the business will simply continue doing what it always has done. “What we want to continue is providing a high-quality product with excellent customer service. No big changes except some different product lines,” she says. “We can’t be all things to all people, but we do want to keep doing what we do…and well.”