Louwes Windows & Siding Celebrates 50th Anniversary
Vineland family has been selling and installing quality exterior home renovation products for 50 years―and counting.
BY SCOTT LESLIE
For the past five decades, Vineland’s Louwes Windows & Siding has been quietly building a name for itself in the Niagara Region.
Founded by Aldert Louwes back in 1966, the family firm is now run by three of his five children―Bill Louwes, Joanne Hanemaayer, and Patricia Van Leeuwen―who continue to uphold the Louwes tradition of providing expert advice and quality installation work―all at a competitive price.
Like its namesake, Louwes Windows & Siding specializes in offering exterior home renovations to customers across Niagara. Joanne Hanemaayer, co-owner of Louwes Windows & Siding, says they specialize in windows and doors―but they’re much more than that.
“We can take care of your exterior home renovation needs,” she says, “whether it’s siding, sunrooms or gutter protection. We offer free estimates for supply and install. We also help those who’d like to tackle projects themselves by going over the process. We deal with a lot of contractors in our retail outlet, and provide them with quotes as soon as possible so they can pass great service on to their own customers.”
A Labour of Love
The Louwes siblings owe much of their current success to the hard work and determination of their father Aldert Louwes. But the company founder would dabble in a variety of jobs and business opportunities before settling on what would become Louwes Windows & Siding.
The young Aldert immigrated to Canada from Holland back in 1954. After stints working at a glue factory and for the railroad, Aldert began work at Tisco Aluminum on Lake Street in St. Catharines in 1956, where he cut his teeth installing windows and doors at various homes across the city. By 1958, however, Aldert had married his girlfriend Ada and launched his own business―Wind-Locke Windows, Doors & Awnings―on nearby Scott Street. Here, Aldert and his small staff busied themselves creating and assembling wooden windows for local homebuilders.
At the time, Aldert and Ada were planning to start a family―and money was at a premium. Aldert had originally intended to become a farmer when he came to Canada―so he decided now was the time to make a go of it. In 1962, he sold Wind-Locke and used the money to purchase a farm in Jarvis, Ontario. Here, he raised a few cows and pigs and did some cash cropping. He started doing some installing on the side and soon decided to give up farming altogether.
Hoping to get back to his building roots―and his wife’s relatives―Aldert would eventually move the family to Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1965, and started working for Kenmore Construction, building pre-fab homes. But Aldert dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur again, and he would soon pursue his goal in earnest. The following year, Aldert bought a pickup truck and started his own siding firm―Linwell Building Supplies―and became an aluminum siding dealer for Alcan in Toronto.
“Dad would work during the day, installing siding,” Joanne explains, “and would go out selling at night. He also did a lot of installs for builders. They’d call him up and say, ‘This house is ready!’ and Dad would show up to side it.”
To seal the deal, Aldert purchased a home on Highway 8 in Vineland in 1967 with a barn and a modest acreage of apple trees―and incorporated his new business. The Louwes would eventually tear the barn down, and a new shop went up in its place. The sign on the building was simple and to the point.
“Louwes Ltd.” it said.
As time passed, Aldert worked hard to grow his new firm and support his young family. In its early stages, Louwes was mostly in the business of supplying and installing aluminum siding―and Aldert would spend many long days trying to find new siding customers. Slowly, he began to build a modest clientele and soon had a few installation crews working for him as well as a company van with a built-in eavestrough machine to travel to each site.
Over time, Aldert would continue adding a variety of home products to his business, and expanded into window products and installations. At one point, Aldert even ran Double AA Insulation as a sideline with partner Andy Veerman to complement his siding business.
“Dad was a thinker,” Joanne says. “He came up with the idea of having a machine to run troughs that could be used in greenhouses to water plants. Later, he sold his machine to someone in the greenhouse industry. He even added Hauser patio furniture for a few years, and made picnic tables and wood patio furniture during the winter months.”
In the years to follow, the Louwes children would all take part in the family operation. Sons Bill and Steve would start working as installers after they finished high school―and Joanne eventually joined them in the office. The Louwes siblings would even run the business themselves during the winter months when Aldert and Ada took a much needed vacation.
Sadly, Aldert Louwes passed away in 1991. But his children have continued to play an active role in the running and management of the firm he started 50 years ago. Patricia and Joanne now act as office managers, taking care of everything from accounts payable to customer service while Bill is in charge of installations. He’s also their technical “go-to guy,” and the best one to advise their do-it-yourself customers. (Steve left the business to move north several years ago.) Even Bill’s children Sarah and Jacob have joined the installation team in recent times.
Joanne says there’s been another important constant in the Louwes success story―their customers.
“Our customers are important to us,” she says. “We have a lot of repeat clients – some who have moved a few times and keep coming back.”
Selection & Service
Louwes is in the business of selling and installing high quality windows, doors, siding, soffit, fascia and eavestroughs to residental and commercial customers across the Niagara Region.
Located at 3435 King Street in Vineland, Louwes’ has a 9,000 square foot retail outlet featuring an expansive showroom and storage warehouse. Here, customers can choose from literally hundreds of exterior home improvement products and solutions in a wide array of styles, colours and textures.
Louwes can order in all kinds of new and replacement custom windows including arched and awning windows, bay and bow windows, casement windows, sliders, double hung windows, and bay and picture windows.
One of Louwes’ biggest sellers is North Star window products. North Star is Canada’s leading manufacturer of vinyl replacement windows. Produced in Ontario, North Star windows come with a limited lifetime warranty. North Star also offers a hybrid window with a vinyl interior and an aluminum exterior that’s available in several different colours.
“We’re the largest suppliers of North Star windows in Niagara,” Joanne explains. “We’re proud to offer North Star because it’s one of the most energy efficient and reliable windows on the market today.”
In addition to North Star vinyl replacement windows, Louwes specializes in a variety of home exterior products―everything from soffit, fascia and eavestroughs to shutters, retractable awnings and aluminum awnings. Louwes also carries several leading brand name products including Trutech steel doors, Gentek Siding, Lifestyle sunrooms, and Renaissance patio doors.
Many professional contractors, handyperson and do-it-yourselfers come to Louwes…
…looking for help with their latest project or renovation―whether it’s installing a new door or replacing outdated soffit and fascia. When that happens, the home experts at Louwes are always ready with that perfect suggestion or the ideal product. They can even work with any customer blueprints to help them pick out the right doors or windows for their home.
“A lot of customers get ideas online these days,” Joanne explains, “so most people know exactly what they’re looking for.”
When it comes to dealing with their customers, Joanne says building that sense of trust goes a long way.
“We’re happy to help guide people through the process and point them in the right direction,” Joanne says. “We’ve been in this business a long time so we can answer any question or give them the advice they need to get the job done.”
Customers can rest easy knowing that Louwes is looking after their best interests. For example, Louwes offers a lifetime warranty on the majority of their products, not to mention a comprehensive 10-year warranty on all their workmanship. Louwes even provides flexible financing to accommodate any budget or situation.
“We service what we sell,” Joanne says proudly, “and our customers appreciate that.”
The Louwes team is focused on supplying exterior home improvement and renovation projects―but they’re also professionals when it comes to doing installations themselves. For example, Louwes offers quality installations of everything from bay windows and eavestroughs to three and four season sunrooms to insulated steel and patio doors.
Louwes’ experienced installation team always works closely with the customer, and provides free estimates with any job.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s bays, casement, sliders or double hung,” Joanne says of their window assignments. “We can customize windows to fit any home perfectly.”
In order to stay up-to-date with changing construction methods, the Louwes installation team also participates in several annual safety training and certification programs through agencies like the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board and the Ontario Ministry of Labour.
A Team Commitment
At Louwes Windows & Siding, Bill, Joanne, and Patricia have a dependable core of employees who have stood by the family business for years now. That includes Andy Vandervliet who runs the warehouse, Brian van Andel and Dave Huisman who manage company sales, and Louwes’ professional team of installers―Don Thompson, Doug Kyer, Dan Huisman, Rick Friedt, Rob Epp, and Herman Huisman.
With a solid team like this in place, Louwes Windows & Siding plans to continue focusing on their customers, offering the finest selection, workmanship, and value imaginable.
Joanne says their employees are committed to being the very best―and it shows.
“I can’t say enough about our staff and their dedication to our customers,” she says. “They’re the reason why we’ve been home improvement experts for so long.” BL
Lowes Windows & Siding Ltd.
3435 King Street