When Tropical Wholesale owner Matthew Houar began working in the vinyl industry, it came as a natural progression. With a father who, along with a business partner, pioneered the vinyl industry in Hawaii, Houar grew up with a keen eye for not only what works, but also what works best in Hawaii climates.
Houar’s father specialized in vinyl siding, but it was Houar who brought in the window side of things. Following the footsteps of his father, Houar started the first-ever vinyl-window factory in the state.
Now, with several decades in the business under his belt (all in Hawaii, by the way), Houar has seen other companies come and go. Still, he doesn’t mind sharing the secret for Tropical Wholesale’s longevity — a quality product all-the-way-around.
While Houar’s vinyl-window factory did well for quite some time, he eventually found a brand that was doing just as well: Simonton, ranked consistently as No. 1 by J.D. Power and Associates.
What Houar decided to do next is something only the savviest of professionals would do. Rather than burn up resources competing with the big guys, he joined them. He teamed up with Simonton and helped them to design a window specifically for Hawaii.
The result is a special line of Simonton’s Madeira windows. The line itself is built for southern-state climates, but the special line Houar helped to design is meant just for Hawaii.
The windows are done so well, in fact, that Tropical Wholesale even offers Hawaii’s only factory lifetime window warranty, according to Houar, which covers everything from materials and labor to hardware and workmanship. What if they accidentally break? They’re covered for that, with a 10-year accidental breakage warranty.
“For Hawaii, it’s the best you can get, bar none,”
Houar said. “It also has a 20-year warranty not to cloud up, which is a big deal over here because there is no machine in the state of Hawaii that can make that type of glass.”
This type of thinking has helped to carry the company for more than 30 years in business in Hawaii — the longest running residential window business in the state, according to Houar.
The company has a family mentality, and its team spans generations. Houar, his son and his brother run the business. Houar’s daughter, a designer, helps as well, and his wife also comes in from time to time, along with her sisters and even Houar’s parents.
“We don’t have sales reps, so we aren’t wasting money on sales commissions,” Houar said. “In our industry, sometimes people can pay up to 10 to 35 percent of the gross price on commissions. We’d rather give you a better product — more bang for your buck.”
Houar also believes that good handiwork matters just as much as the material being installed. Only in-house, drug-tested employees do Tropical Wholesale’s installations and all of the repairs.
“Service is pretty much immediate,” Houar said. “On an emergency-basis, it’s within 24 hours, and on a non-emergency basis it’s between eight to 10 days.”
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