In 1986, Tod Colbert opened Weather Tight Milwaukee, putting his focus, unlike many home-improvement outfits, on bolstering homes' exteriors to improve the living conditions inside. More than a quarter of a century later, the company has helped more than 15,000 clients, and Colbert's concept is still going strong. Clients can replace regular windows with energy-efficient panes that stave off extreme temperatures with multiple layers of reflective coating. The company’s capable technicians can also install doors insulated with polyurethane foam, and roofing that resists ice to keep frozen slabs from sliding off the roof and denting cars or bullying helpless recycling bins.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Most of K Komfort's technicians and engineers draw on more than a quarter-century of experience in improving indoor air quality and lowering energy bills. Having witnessed the evolution of heating and cooling technology, the crew deftly repairs old furnaces and installs efficient, new air-conditioner systems with techniques learned in NARI continuing-education programs. HEPA-approved equipment clears ductwork of pesky particles that cause asthma, allergies, and dinnertime interruptions by nuclear physicists, and filtration systems help maintain fresh air once technicians are out of the picture. Their preferred brand is Carrier, but the service truck is stocked with a library of parts from other manufacturers so maintenance often can be completed in one visit.
The technicians at O & W Heating and Cooling LLC keep homes from transforming into desolate tundra or deserts in the winter and summer by maintaining heating and cooling systems of all brands. As dealers of Payne, Crown, and Rinnai systems, the team can also outfit unequipped homes with the furnaces, boilers, and water heaters necessary to not only keep rooms comfy in the winter months but to allow customers to transform their living room into a sauna. Not content to dabble only in the heating and cooling arts, techs also handle plumbing, refrigeration, and appliance repair, allowing homeowners to keep their toasters working and their nonworking toasters feeling ashamed of themselves.
It was supposed to be an ordinary day of shopping for Dan Wolt. But at some point between flipping through hangers and carrying duds to the fitting room, a cartoon light bulb materialized above his head. "Buying windows," he said, as the idea alchemized in his brain, "Should be as simple as buying clothes from a local boutique." At the time, Dan was working for a window company dominated by high-pressure sales tactics and long presentations. He could tell customers felt stressed. So after his epiphany, Dan went home and founded Zen Windows, a window- and door-installing business whose signature is its relaxed, user-friendly style.