Family business to close after 50 years

Another small business loses the fight between low cost and quality, and low cost wins

This really begs the question, why has north american purchasing, both retail and commercial, become a race for the bottom? And are we wise to be doing so?

The Morning Journal – News – 05/20/2005 (Cleveland)

”I poured my heart and soul into this business,” said Bill Watkins, owner of Lorain Aluminum, as he wiped tears from his eyes yesterday. ”It is hard for me to give this up. I love this place. But there’s nothing I can do.””

At 5 p.m. today, Watkins will padlock the doors to a company he took over from his parents more than 30 years ago. In turn he will lose not only a job he loved, but his home and savings in the wake of a business driven into the ground, he said, by the economy and customers more focused on saving money than buying quality.

”It’s not just losing a business. It’s been a big part of my life. I’ve always loved what I’ve done,” said Watkins, who notified his 33 employees about two weeks ago that Lorain Aluminum was forced to close.

Watkins said he has always based Lorain Aluminum, which installs siding, windows, doors and patio enclosures for homes, schools and businesses, on giving customers quality in products and service.

”But people aren’t after quality any more. Today this is a throw-away society we live in,” Watkins said.

”I used to get people in here saying, ‘Show me your lines of windows.’ Now people come in and say, ‘Show me your cheapest window,”’ Watkins said.

And though Watkins said he could have better competed price-wise with other companies, it would have meant compromising his beliefs and downgrading his products for cheaper materials.

”It’s hard to stop selling quality when you’ve built your reputation on quality,” Watkins said.

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One Response to Family business to close after 50 years

  1. Anonymous says:

    I used to be an employee at Lorain Aluminum…I learned many things from Bill Watkins, mostly how to be a strong yet giving person. It is very sad to see that it has come to an end….

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