After purchasing the assets of Pennsylvania vinyl window manufacturer Gorell Windows & Doors in April 2012, Soft-Lite Gorell announced on June 19 that it has closed the Gorell facility in Indiana, Pa., and consolidated manufacturing into its 200,000-square-foot Streetsboro, Ohio, facility. Soft-Lite president Roy Anderson said that continuing to operate the Pennsylvania facility was "not feasible."

As of March, the unionized plant employed about 200 people. Of these, 160 — mostly in sales and customer service — were reportedly offered jobs. Soft-Lite continues to market Gorell windows through its Soft-Lite Gorell subsidiary and has stated it will honor Gorell warranties. Anderson said that Soft-Lite Gorell had retained "the lion's share" of Gorell's window replacement contractor customers.

Drop in Window Sales

The consolidation of Gorell into Soft-Lite comes at a time when, according to a recently released study jointly sponsored by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Window & Door Manufacturers Association, sales of window products had dropped 9% industrywide in 2011, a fall-off seen as "largely driven by the lack of stimulus effects from tax credits," i.e., the natural aftermath to increased replacement window sales spurred by federal tax credits in 2009 and especially in 2010. The AAMA/WDMA study projected a 6.9% increase in sales industrywide for 2012 "driven largely by expectations for stronger new-construction activity."

—Jim Cory is editor of Replacement Contractor.