Morgantown's Viwinco has the Vinyl Touch

The Reading Eagle recently wrote a business profile about Viwinco. Here's the story written by David A. Kostival. To view it on the Reading Eagle website and see associated photos and sidebar stories. click here.

Viwinco Inc. has earned a reputation among customers and in its industry for its custom-made windows.

There is no doubt that David J. Barnes, 54, Berwyn, Chester County, is passionate about making windows.

As the owner and president of Viwinco Inc., Morgantown, Barnes enjoys being a daily part of the manufacturing and testing processes of the windows made by his company. He is known by his 200-plus employees simply as Barney as he walks through his 140,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

Barnes founded Viwinco 29 years ago as a sister company to his father's building supply company. Jack E. Barnes and his business partner Lou Moretzsohn started that company in the Philadelphia area in 1958.

With the introduction of vinyl replacement windows in the 1970s, Barnes said he took an interest in the window manufacturing process and started the new company in 1982. But time hasn't changed Barnes' philosophy on how to build a good window.

"The only way to build my reputation is one window at a time," Barnes said. "We build a good product, deliver it on time and stand behind it."

The company has seen considerable growth over the past 29 years. "Our first year we made 7,000 windows; that's what we now make in one week," Barnes said. "Attention to detail is important, and we put that philosophy to work in the business."

But if you're in the market for new windows and like the idea of a Pennsylvania-made product, don't bother looking for Viwinco windows at your local building supply store. You can't find the Viwinco windows in any store because, Barnes said, his company has a unique business model.

"Everything is custom-made to order," Barnes explained. "Custom-made windows sound expensive, but they are actually less expensive than the national brands," Barnes said. "We studied production flow in order to be efficient. All of our work stations were designed by the people who actually work there."

In addition, Barnes said, the custom-made windows usually are delivered within one week.

The company's website can assist potential consumers in finding a contractor who installs Viwinco products.

While the company has remained somewhat low key on the local level, Barnes said he plays a major role in the industry. "We are considered a regional player, but everyone in the industry knows who we are," he said. Viwinco mainly supplies to contractors in the eastern U.S.

"We have always maintained a steady growth, but we didn't want to be a national company," he said. "It was more important to me to produce a quality product."

"I want us to be the best company that we can be. I could care less about being the biggest company. Quality of product is number one." In order to ensure quality, Viwinco does its own rigorous product testing.

A popular type of window the company makes is known as an impact resistant window, or hurricane window. The windows use interlayer technology to give them the ability to withstand large pieces of debris that can become airborne in a tornado or hurricane. The company tests the windows with a cannon that shoots a two-by-four at the window at 220 mph [editor's note: it's actually shot at 34 mph]. The inner layer of glass stops the flying debris from creating a void in the window frame, which only would cause further damage, Barnes said.

As the economy improves, Barnes said he expects his company to expand. "Our future targets new construction with impact resistant windows," he said. "This will become important, as the government has proposed stricter energy codes. And as those codes become more stringent, we have a product right here that the masses can afford."