When Sunrise Windows® was established in 1994, it was a small fish in a very big pond. Like most ambitious entrepreneurs, founders Gary Delman, Larry VanDeVelde and Elliott Delman felt equal parts excitement and fear as they put the dream that would become Sunrise Windows & Doors into action. Fortunately, we all know how the story ended: in just two decades, Sunrise has become a window replacement industry leader, with dealers in 39 states. How did this remarkable growth happen?
Gary Delman, who now serves on the Sunrise Board of Directors and remains a significant shareholder, recalls the early days of the company. “[The three of us] put in all the money we had, borrowed a bunch of money from the bank, knowing if things didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be a pretty picture. Fortunately, we focused our energy on the opportunity and achieving our goals; we put the fears in the back of our minds, but knew that those drove us to make things happen.”
Gary fondly remembers the closeness of the team during this time. “We all did whatever had to be done: answer phones, make coffee, help out on the line, deliver windows in the back of the car, watch orders come in over the fax machine,” he says. “We were all tied together to achieve success.” He recalls staying in cheap hotels when travelling, and how the team would use the other side of the paper in the fax machine to save money.
There are also funny memories from the early days. He recalls the time he and Elliott both opened new accounts, each giving an exclusive to the account he opened. “Then we realized that both accounts were in the same city down the street from one another!” he laughs.
More recently, Gary chuckles about a plane ride he took with Mike Roncato, Vice President of Sales for Sunrise. “We practiced our ‘pitch’ sitting across from one another on the plane, and many other passengers were listening.”
Looking back, Gary is most proud of the people who are associated with Sunrise. “It’s humbling to think about all the families that depend on the success of the company,” he says. “It makes you proud that you were able to be a part of that.”
Today, the excitement Gary feels centers on the future of the company. “I never could have imagined how the company would grow and succeed,” he says. “It’s exciting to imagine what it will look like 10 years from now.”
Sunrise would like to thank all of the customers, friends and family that have helped make the company so successful. It wouldn’t have happened without you!