Title: Palmitano sets out on his own
Sub-title: Frank (Gianfranco) Palmitano Jr., president of Inter-Quebec Windows and Doors grew up working in his father’s business, which he and a partner eventually took over. This year he set on his own.
Frank Palmitano Jr., president of Inter-Quebec Doors and Windows, walks through a Montreal East grocery store with a big smile on his face. A cell phone is tucked between his left shoulder and neck, under his right arm are some papers. As he picks up some lunch and scours the tomatoes for that night’s supper, three or four people (mostly Italians) nod and wave and the cashiers joke with him. “I love this part of town,” says Palmitano. “After so many years of living here and running a business in this area there are so many familiar faces. Everywhere you go people are friendly.”
The door and window installation and manufacturing business has changed drastically since Palmino’s father (Frank (Gianfranco) Palmitano Sr.) first started to drive him around to meet clients more than three decades ago. “I was only 14 and did not know too much back then,” said Palmitano with a smile. “So my father told me that when we went to customers, I should shut up, listen and learn. While many years have passed, I still do that. When you are in business, customer satisfaction has to be your main concern.”
A drive to service customers better
Palmitano eventually took over his father’s company (Atlanta Aluminum) along with a partner. But after running it for several years, last year he sold his stake, and founded Inter-Quebec Windows and Doors. Today he runs the company along with his wife Norma Valente-Palmitano, (who handles paperwork, schedules services and installations and oversees follow up work) and salesman Joe Morella. In addition, Inter-Quebec also has two trucks, manned by installation teams on the road.
Palmitano cites his desire to better service clients for his decision to set up shop on his won. “The industry has been changing extremely rapidly as supply chains become more efficient,” Palmitano explains. “I wanted to pass the benefits of those changes on to customers.”
Shortly after he opened Inter-Quebec Windows and Doors, Palmitano partnered up with Bonneville Portes et Fenetres, which manufactures a full line of window and door products that Inter-Quebec distributes and installs. The company also supplies balconies and railing, garage doors and staircases.
“By partnering with an automated manufacturer, we are able to provide significant discounts,” explains Palmitano. “Clients save as much as 20%, compared to when they deal with traditional manufacturers. In addition Bonneville Doors and Windows also supplies better quality, a wider range of finishes and a superior warranty.”
Major industry tends
According to Palmitano, clients are increasingly demanding hybrid windows, made of an aluminum exterior and PVC interior. “These are the most energy efficient models on the market,” explains Palmitano. “They meet the Energy Star standard, a government-backed designation that helps businesses and individuals identify products that protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. This designation was extremely important during the recent tax credit initiatives, which were available only for certified products.”
As a result of Palmitano’s lone history in the industry, Inter-Quebec has not surprisingly already managed to attract a broad range of clients. “Residential homes, one window, five windows, smaller jobs, little block apartments,” we do it all, says Palmitano with a smile. “The important thing to me is that we can deliver the client a good job, superior prices and excellent after sales support.”
That said, despite his early successes at Inter-Quebec Doors and Windows, Palmitano isn’t resting on his laurels. The company needs more office space, and Palmitano wants to also improve its showroom capacity. “We have been using the Bonneville showroom in Bois de Fillion,” he explains. “And while I adore working with them, we also would like to set up a showroom of our own soon too.” Looking a little further down the line, Palmitano has two sons of his own, Franco, who is 18, and Joey who is 15, who may one day want to join Inter-Quebec Doors and Windows.
If they do, during their first years, they’ll probably get the same advice from Palmitano that he got from his father decades ago: “I’ll tell them to shut up, listen to their client and learn,” he chuckles.
Peter Diekmeyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Montreal-based freelance business writer.
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