Cleveland Roots: Universal Windows Direct plans to put down new ones in Bedford Heights

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With a staunch dedication to Northeast Ohio, Bill Barr (right) and Mike Strmac, of Universal Windows Direct, are deepening their local roots by building a brand new world headquarters—–right here in Cleveland. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Beth Newcomb

One of the great things about online shopping is never having to leave the house. Everything from mascara to movies can be delivered right to your front door.

Coincidentally, the ability to shop from home is also one of the great things about buying replacement windows from Universal Windows Direct. After 15 years in business, owners Bill Barr and Mike Strmac have perfected the in-home buying process—and they’ve left the high-pressure sales tactics to the other guys.

“That’s how we started in business,” says Mike, a Fairview Park native and Bill’s childhood friend. “We knocked on doors in every neighborhood in Northeast Ohio, working to make a name for ourselves, earning people’s trust.”

“By now most people in the Cleveland area know our names and faces, but they didn’t back then,” Bill adds. “We worked hard to establish a reputation of being honest and fair and providing a top-tier experience.”

Mike says bringing UWD’s Ohio-made products to people in their homes is part of the customer-centric model he and Bill have embraced since day one.

“It’s where people are most comfortable,” Bill adds. “Why should you have to meet us on our turf?”

Those products include the company’s signature UniShield windows with Super Spacer technology, insulated doors, vinyl siding, roofing, insulation and gutter guards.

Of course, if you want to meet the guys on their turf you can. In fact, they’re in the process of making their showroom as inviting as any shopping experience can be.

This spring, the duo will break ground on a new corporate headquarters in Bedford Heights. In an effort to help revitalize that area, Bill and Mike chose to locate their offices and new state-of-the-art product preview area on property just off of I-271. The abandoned hotel at the location was torn down, and the ground is being prepped for upcoming construction.

While preparations for the corporate expansion were in the works, the guys say there was never any question about Universal Windows staying in Northeast Ohio.

“This is where we grew up, and this is where we live,” Mike says.

“Our new headquarters is our promise to our existing and future customers that we’re going to be around for the long haul. We’re establishing deeper roots so we can continue to grow, and we’re enhancing the buying process by giving people the option to visit our product preview area, or shop from the comfort of their homes.”

The guys know nothing will ever eclipse the ease of the face-to-face, in-home demonstration, where you can spend as much time as you like appreciating the differences a UniShield replacement window comes equipped with compared to other brands.

One of those key differences is the aforementioned Super Spacer technology. Bill is emphatic when he says it’s one of the biggest reasons UWD sells so many windows each year—and his is the only company to offer it.

Instead of metal between panes of glass, Super Spacer is structured foam wrapped in a mylar film, which allows it to expand and contract along with temperature changes, which means you’ll never have to worry about condensation on the glass.

“We sell the best window that performs the longest,” Mike says simply.

“Each window is constructed specifically to fit the individual openings in your home. Nothing is pre-made. Our windows come with a lifetime warranty that covers every aspect of the window, including the screen, sash and labor.”

Your UWD window is also made of 100 percent virgin vinyl, which is stronger than the recycled stuff other companies use. The frames and sashes are welded, not screwed and glued like the competition’s windows. And UWD’s windows feature a stunning European beveled edge on the exterior to add aesthetic beauty.

When your UWD representative visits your home, he or she will take the time to review every feature of the company’s premium windows and take measurements to ensure a perfect fit. You’ll be given a price as well as the time to make your decision. You can choose your window based on that price, or place the emphasis on energy efficiency, custom features or a combination of all three.

With UWD’s product quality and warranty up against the other guys, buying from Bill and Mike is an easy decision to make.

“People like to buy from people they trust,” Bill remarks. “We didn’t get to where we are today by selling people junk, and we take care of our customers. We’re focused 100 percent on customer satisfaction.”

You don’t have to take Bill’s word for it. While it might take you some time, you could interview the more than 30,000 happy Universal Windows Direct customers to find out about their window-buying experience. You could check out the company’s A+ rating with the BBB, or admire its Angie’s List Super Service Award designation.

Or you could just take the easy way out, stay in your jammies, and give the guys a call to set up your own in-home consultation.

To schedule a no-pressure, in-home consultation, call Universal Windows Direct at 216-518-8900, or 1-800-9-TILT-IN (984-5846). Visit the website at The Universal Windows Direct showroom, where you can see product examples of everything the company sells and installs, is currently located at 4565 Willow Parkway, in Cuyahoga Heights. Exit I-77 at Grant Avenue. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.; closed on Sunday.

Categories: Eastside Home & Garden