Volume 12, Issue 2 - March/April 2008
Difficult Times, Difficult Answers
The past few months have been turbulent times for the U.S. economy and businesses. The stock market has been tossing and turning, there’s constant speculation over federal interest rate cuts or increases and a number of major corporations have announced layoffs. A heated political race may not be helping matters by keeping these issues front, center and “critical.” So, when a 30-year veteran of the window film industry suddenly closes its doors, eyes widen and ears go up.
When Film Technologies International Inc. notified its employees, and the industry at large that as of Wednesday, January 26, the manufacturer would officially cease operations, phones started ringing all over the industry—including ours. Though we would have liked nothing more than to have been able to set everyone’s minds at ease immediately, we had few answers to provide. Would SUN-GARD® films continue to be available? Is the window film industry at large in economic trouble or uncertainty? Any of us can make assumptions, but there was only one place to go for concrete answers. Fortunately for our readers, Don Wheeler, FTI’s chief executive officer (CEO), agreed to an exclusive interview. On page 16 you will find a complete transcript, as Wheeler summoned the strength and courage in these difficult times to answer our questions.
If after reading Wheeler’s interview you’re questioning the industry’s strength, turn to page 18. There you will find plenty of good news about the window film industry and one company’s tremendous outlook. Since joining Commonwealth Laminating and Coating Inc. in 1998, as its CEO, Steve Phillips has led the company upwards by leaps and bounds. Phillips says Commonwealth continues to experience an annual growth rate of approximately 30 percent, even through what he believes to be tough times in recent years. The company adds as many as 20 new dealers a week to its network and Phillips says he doesn’t see that slowing in the coming years. In fact, the company is about to invest approximately $9 million in improvements to support its current and prospective customer base.
If you missed Window Film’s January-February issue, you should get your hands on a copy. Manny Hondroulis of Energy Products Distribution debuted his column, Open 24/7, by explaining the first steps involved in creating an effective web presence. Manny follows up in this issue by explaining why branding is an important part of your company’s site. He provides simple steps that will help ensure your customers’ “emotional needs” will lead to sales. This is a must-read for anyone.
Last, but not least, don’t miss the opportunity to see what past participants and winners say about the International Window Film Expo, Conference and Tint-Off™. This year’s event will be held May 1-3, in Vegas and it’s approaching quickly! Grand prizes for our Tint-Off™ competition have reached epic proportions. If you haven’t registered for the event, act fast.
Visit our website www.windowfilmmag.com and sign up! I look forward to meeting you there.
Drew Vass is the editor of Window Film magazine.