By Allie Murray
As the company celebrates 70 years of success, Pollard Windows continues to focus on the main thing that helped them achieve it: family.
The business got its start in a garage on Burlington’s Maple Avenue in 1948 under the guidance of Norman Pollard and son Reginald, who carefully made every window by hand. Today, the third-generation venture combines craftsmanship with the latest technology in manufacturing techniques to craft their windows and doors.
“Many other window companies purchase predesigned vinyl extrusions and just assemble them. We create all our own designs in our in-house R&D Department and we do everything from scratch,” said company President and CEO Karen Pollard-Josling, Norman’s granddaughter.
The Pollard family immigrated from England to Canada in 1947 to embrace a new life. As a carpenter, Norman taught his wife and children everything he knew about woodworking with hopes of one day opening his own business. The family arrived by boat after the Second World War and was placed in Hamilton with nowhere to stay. Amazingly, the Pollards were the first family to arrive in the city following the war, and the local radio station announced their names in celebration. They felt a true Canadian welcome when another family with the same last name called into the radio station and invited them to stay on their farm. The family agreed, built their own house on the property and began making windows in the garage.
“My dad, Reginald, was 19 when they started the business,” explained Pollard-Josling. “As time went on, they decided it was time to grow the business, so they built a factory on King Road and continued to grow.”
The business has brought a lot of joy into the Pollard family, but along the way they’ve had some setbacks. Pollard-Josling said she lost her son Curtis at age 16 unexpectedly and a few years later, suddenly lost her brother Michael, who was the company president before her. She is happy to be working with another family member, her brother Gary Pollard, who serves as senior vice president.
“I think those challenges and losses have made us realize what’s important, which is relationships and family. We build our business trying to build relationships with people and provide a product with good service,” she said. “I feel that it’s a privilege for our windows to be a part of someone’s home, or a part of the home they’re building.”
In addition to their designs that set them apart from other companies, Pollard-Josling said being a female CEO in an industry that is predominately male adds a sense of uniqueness to their business.
“Being a woman in this industry gives me a different view on things,” she said. “I’m involved in the business part, but I also care about the comfort of my family; it gives a different view of building a home. I’m able to see where the families’ needs are.”
With a look to the future, Pollard Windows plans to transition into more energy-efficient designs and products and is looking forward to working on larger projects, noting their last major undertaking was completing the windows at the Deerhurst Lakeside Lodge in Huntsville.
Pollard Windows is located at 1217 King Rd., Burlington.
For more information, visit pollardwindows.com.