Iver Johnson Sr., owner of American Thermal Window of Chicago and Sahara Window and Doors of Mount Prospect, is a former Chicago police officer who has been providing windows and doors to Chicago-area homeowners for 37 years.
Both stores have retained their individual names, but the two showrooms function as the same company with identical offerings and crews that skillfully install a variety of products in single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and commercial properties.
Probably because of his law enforcement background, Johnson is particularly concerned about the companies now offering windows and doors that don't allow customers to see products in a showroom, but instead send representatives to homes with small samples and photos.
"These companies typically discourage customers from visiting showrooms because they want to visit the customer's home and use high-pressure sales tactics," Johnson said. "They spend two to four hours in the home, bombarding the prospective customer with 'false discounts' and highly insulting and fake promises. And the customer doesn't have the option of walking away. So we highly discourage customers from dealing with companies that don't have a showroom and instead choose to corner customers in their homes."
He also cautioned that homeowners shopping for replacement windows and doors need to do their homework before choosing someone to supply those new windows and doors and then install them.
"You want to choose a company that makes sure your improvement project is completed to expectation, from the point of choosing the most suitable items with the help of knowledgeable reps, to the installation," he explained. "We only use our own very experienced installation crews and almost all of our manufacturers offer lifetime warranties."
When you contract with a company it should also have a long track record and high standing on rating services like Angie's List and Yelp.
"You can't purchase those ratings. They have to be earned. We have been awarded with the Angie's List's Super Service Award for several years in a row and have an exceptional rating on Yelp. Those ratings reflect the way our customers feel about us. We also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau," Johnson said.
Johnson's companies put high emphasis on both security and the aesthetics of their products. Many people liken the front door and accompanying side panels of a home to its face. It gives both visitors and passers-by their first impression of the home and gives one a glimpse of the homeowner's personality.
Windows also act as "ambassadors to your home and family." Eye-catching bay, picture and other specialty windows add personality to a home while also keeping the interior of the home comfortable.
They keep heated or cooled air inside where it is supposed to be, improve a home's indoor air quality and save the owner money in the long-run, said Johnson, whose companies carry nine window lines, including Marvin and Pella.
"We only offer the best. If it isn't up to our standards, we don't carry it," Johnson said.
The same is true of its installation crews. Since a product's performance is only as good as its installation, all installation crews are employed directly by American Thermal Window and Sahara Window and Doors and they are highly trained and held to exacting standards. They always arrive in company trucks and the average installer has a minimum of 12 years of experience, Johnson said.
"Window manufacturers are continually upgrading their products. Today's windows, which are generally available in wood, vinyl and aluminum, have much higher energy ratings than those being replaced, of course, so they save on heating and cooling costs," he added.
In addition to selling windows, American Thermal Window and Sahara Window and Doors offer 58 different door styles with 36 standard paint and stain combinations and more than 200 custom glass options. Custom colors are also possible.
Fiberglass is a common modern choice for outside doors because it is very durable, Johnson said, but his two companies also offer nationally recognized Simpson Doors that are made of solid oak, birch, cherry, poplar and other woods, produced in America. Doors that must be fire-rated, however, (like those between a garage and a home) must be metal and the showrooms also sell those.
Johnson's two companies also offer and install custom patio doors. Custom cuts, designer glass and designer grids are readily available. Steel security storm doors are also part of the inventory for unbeatable protection, as are garden windows for growing plants, windows with blinds between the panes and fashionable doors with decorative glass options.
Johnson's businesses also have a good following with condominium and townhouse associations because they will attend association meetings at no charge. He also offers a wide variety of fire-rated windows and doors for mid- to high-rise residential buildings and commercial properties.
Delivery takes three to six weeks, depending on the order's complexity and Johnson's crews work year-round "because we are capable of doing all of the windows in an average house in a day without causing undue temperature fluctuations."
"At American Thermal and Sahara we all understand what it is to own a home, so we are easily able to relate to our customers," Johnson said. "We strive to make sure our customers receive a positive experience from beginning to end, from their initial phone call, to their interaction with the sales rep and the showroom staff, to their experience with the installation crews. We want nothing but positive experiences!"
The American Thermal Window showroom is located at 5304 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago and the Sahara Window and Doors showroom is located at 150 S. Main St. in Mount Prospect.
"We encourage people to come in to one of our showrooms and see our displays," he said. "There is always someone to serve you."
For more information, call (847) 259-9099 or (773) 774-3131 or visit www.americanthermalwindow.com or www.saharawindowanddoors.com.