2015-12-11 / Community

Family benefits from company’s longevity

By Wm. Duke Harrington
Staff Writer


Lindsay Soule McAllister, vice president of sales and administration at South Portland based A-B.E.S.T. Windows, poses Nov. 23 at the Brown’s Hill home of Holly and Derryl Hendricks, front, with dog Oliver. Because they ordered the 200,000th window made and installed by the company since its founding in 1985, the Hendricks’ $1,500 order was given and installed for free. (Courtesy photo) Lindsay Soule McAllister, vice president of sales and administration at South Portland based A-B.E.S.T. Windows, poses Nov. 23 at the Brown’s Hill home of Holly and Derryl Hendricks, front, with dog Oliver. Because they ordered the 200,000th window made and installed by the company since its founding in 1985, the Hendricks’ $1,500 order was given and installed for free. (Courtesy photo) SOUTH PORTAND — When Jim Soule founded A-B.E.S.T. Windows in May 1985, his primary concern was to strike out on his own.

He’d been in the window industry for a while at that point, rising to the position of general manager of “a very large company” when he had an epiphany.

“I realized that as I did not share the same last name as the owner of the company, I was never going to own a piece of it,” he said.

With that in mind, Soule set out to create his own brand, founding a uniquely named company.

“The A is for American, because we’re an American-made product,” Soule said. “The rest stands for beautiful, energy-efficient, strong and time-tested.”

And time-tested now fits the company, as well as its product line. On Nov. 21, the company installed its 200,000th window. As part of a year-long promotion, launched when Soule realized the milestone was coming, the recipient of that window got the entire order — a $1,500 value, including installation — for free.

“This is so awesome. I’m over the moon, so excited,” said Brown’s Hill resident Holly Hendricks.

“They were just in shock, it was so much fun to see,” said Lindsay Soule McAllister, vice president of sales and administration at A-B.E.S.T.

Hendricks and her husband Darryl are repeat custom- ers, Soule McAllister said, not uncommon given a 20-year product warranty and 30 years in business.

With offices in South Portland and a manufacturing plant in the Scarborough Industrial Park, A-B.E.S.T. is unique in its industry, as well as in its name.

“We are the only ones in the state of Maine who manufacture, sell and install our own window,” Soule said. “I’m proud of that because that means local jobs.”

The company, which started with just Soule and his brother, now boasts 12 employees. According to Soule, about 95 percent of its business is replacement windows for residential homes. He hit the 200,000 number, Soule said, by filling 800 to 1,000 contracts per year, with an average of 6.8 windows per order.

But what amazes him most is that, while A-B.E.S.T.’s territory runs from Kittery to Augusta, 200,000 is roughly equivalent to one window or every home in Maine.

“It’s really quite a number, when you think about it,” he said. “I feel it sets us aside because it means we’ve earned the faith of the majority or residents in Southern Maine. Every year over the past 30 years we’ve exceeded what we projected for that year, so we’re still growing.

Although he now lives out of state, with his daughter handling day-to-day operations, Soule said he is in South Portland pretty often to check in.

Given that Maine has the oldest housing stock in the nation, with most homes built before World War II, there should be no shortage of need for A-B.E.S.T. windows in the future.

“I always felt we could make a difference,” Soule said. “Now, just like Coach Bill Belichick said, ‘It’s on to Cincinatti,’ for his, it’s on to 300,000.”

Return to top