Putting people first
When Paul Marvin was named CEO of The Marvin Companies in 2017, he became the fourth generation of Marvins to lead the family business founded by his great-grandfather George, more than a century ago.
Relationships have always been at the heart of what we do, and we’ve always considered our co-workers, community and customers an extension of the Marvin family.
At 4,600 employees, we’re currently the largest window and door company building every order to a customer’s exact specifications. And now we’re bringing that customization to the homeowner experience itself. We’re building smarter tools that allow you to shop online for windows in an entirely new way—from the comfort of your home, for the comfort of your home.
The strength of our size rose from a season of unprecedented growth in the 1980s, under the leadership of a third generation of Marvins and their father Bill’s watchful eye. Six siblings, immersed in the business since early childhood, were instrumental in positioning us for the 21st century.
They helped introduce terrace doors, new factories, and a revolutionary product—Ultrex®—a pultruded fiberglass that’s stronger and more durable than any other non-wood material on the market. From this innovation, grew the creation of our Integrity® line in 1995 and our Infinity® Replacement Windows in 2002.
In 2008, when the recession hit, they found ways of ensuring their employees were taken care of, leading President Obama to hold up Marvin as an example to the nation.
"The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn't lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and pay—because they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that business—they give me hope," - President Barack Obama
A son’s window of opportunity
It takes vision to transform a family business into a world leader in the building industry. And much of that visionary leadership came from Bill Marvin.
Bill joined his father’s Marvin Lumber & Cedar Company as its eighth employee in 1939. Soon after that, a lumberyard employee suggested making door frames and barn sashes in an attempt to keep workers busy over the winter. They bought a saw and began Marvin’s first venture in the window business. But with the outbreak of World War II, we turned our attention to making ammunition boxes and other supplies under military contracts.
When the war ended, Bill realized that returning veterans needed jobs. If they couldn’t find jobs in Warroad, they’d have to move elsewhere. So, he invested in top-line woodworking machinery and launched what we now know as Marvin Windows and Doors.
Throughout the ‘50s, we grew our product line and our reach. We introduced the innovative Stack and Strip (a unique design that functioned as a hopper, casement or awning) and our first double-hung, The Wingflex. We added a delivery fleet to meet demand for our windows throughout the Midwest—the first of its kind.
Patio doors joined the lineup and throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s, we experienced dramatic growth—from a few dozen employees to about 950. By the late 1970’s, we’d reintroduced the round-top (literally changing the face of modern home design), become the first window manufacturer to have its entire window line certified, and gained our first international customer.
Where it all began
And all of this started with a man named George Marvin—who took a job managing a grain elevator in Warroad, Minnesota in 1904. When that grain elevator left the tiny town, George needed work. The area was a booming lumber center, providing pulpwood for paper mills. Recognizing an opportunity, he established the Marvin Lumber & Cedar Company in 1912.
George set an example of hard work, ingenuity and integrity. He loaned money to farmers and lumbermen to help them through the long, harsh winters. During the Depression, he provided Christmas trees for every family in town. He even secretly bought a failed bank to save farmers from losing their land.
It’s this same ideal of community and putting people first that keeps us headquartered in Warroad today. It’s why we’re excited to come to work each morning. It’s why we continue to do what we do — build the best windows and doors in the industry and build the best relationships with homeowners along the way.
Welcome to the family.