Richly Deserved Praise For Marvin Windows

September 10, 2012

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Fast Horse has been fortunate to get to know the good people at Marvin Windows and Doors quite well during the years we’ve worked with them. Knowing the Marvin family and their employees, it’s no wonder Marvin has become an iconic Minnesota company. From the CEO to the workers on the line, the company truly lives up to the highest principles of integrity, quality, innovation and — most importantly — commitment to its workers, customers and communities.

So we were thrilled to see Marvin get recognition from no less a source than the president of the United States. In his speech last week accepting his party’s nomination for another term in office, President Obama called out Marvin Windows as one of the people and companies in America who “give me hope.” (You can see his remarks at 35:25 in the video posted above.)

Here’s what the president said:

“The family business in Warroad, Minnesota, that didn’t lay off a single one of their 4,000 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.”

What the president recognized is a family and a company that are taking care of the long-term health of the company, its employees and the communities where it does business. Marvin employs nearly 2,000 people in Warroad — more than the town’s entire population of 1,700. The company could have squeezed out a profit these last couple of years by cutting jobs. But the price would have been paid by the community — in empty classrooms and fewer customers for local businesses. Fewer members of churches and fewer Little League coaches. Fewer volunteers to visit residents at the senior center.

The company’s customers would have paid a price, too, because of the loss of skilled workers and institutional knowledge. Marvin doesn’t crank out widgets; they design and build sophisticated products that are key components in the structure of homes and businesses.

Make no mistake, the Marvins are dedicated capitalists. But in this age of short-term thinking and short-term profit-taking, they have the wisdom to consider the long-term health of their business and the workers who helped build it.

That wisdom was ratified for the nation last week by a pretty good source.