To hear him tell it, Robert Hehner’s road to being a successfulsmall businessman was a combination of lucky accidents and businesssavvy. The former contractor from Marine Park was tired of dealingwith less-than-stellar service from distributors and just knew thatif he started his own company, he would be able to do itbetter.But it wasn’t until he fell off of a roof while on the job that hefinally decided to make a go of being an entrepreneur and tacklingthe sales side of home renovation.In 1987, Hehner opened the doors to Brooklyn Window and Door at theintersection of McDonald Avenue and Quentin Road with the missionof catering specifically to the needs of builders and contractors.It was Hehner’s second business venture in his home borough, butturned out to be the most successful.He knew he could make the sales part better for contractors, withearlier deliveries, during better times so that days aren’twasted, said his stepson Mike Tellone, who began managing theday-to-day sales three years ago when Hehner moved to Florida for asemi-retirement. It’s all from experience. That’s why we’ve beenhere for 27 years.Today, Brooklyn Windows and Doors operates out of its originalstorefront and carries over 40 different national brands of doors,windows, skylights, hardware and moldings – including Andersen,Pella, Marvin, Jeld-Wen and Velux. With a mission to provide goodservice, quality products and affordable prices, the company hasbuilt a solid reputation among contractors while also expanding toinclude homeowners.Our two things are service and quality, explained Tellone of whathe considers his company’s strength and appeal. We have a largeselection and variety, and are the largest stocking dealer ofAndersen products. It’s one-on-one service with sales associateswho are up to date on products and all the knowledge. No job is toobig or small.When Tellone was eight-years-old, he thought he would grow up to bea firefighter. When he was 17, he joined the family businessdriving trucks, after having already spent some summers installingreplacement windows for home improvement retailer Topline. Now 32,the sales manager is starting his own family, with his firstdaughter born just this week. On what made him join his stepdad insales and construction, he said he enjoys being in the familybusiness, and loves the variety and interacting with thecustomers.It’s different every day, said Tellone. The majority of businessnow is over the phone and the Internet, whereas it used to beprimarily on the ground, but it’s always a pleasure to see thefinished product. I get to take it from paper to house.Custom windows account for more than half of the sales at BrooklynWindow and Door, and custom and energy efficient doors – markedwith thee Energy Star label – are also popular. Manufacturer’swarranties usually go up to 20 years and products can be shipped tohomes and projects throughout the tri-state area using one of thefive trucks kept on hand.We provide service from Pennsylvania to Connecticut, New Jerseyand Staten Island to upstate, said Tellone. We don’t refusebecause a person lives far. We also try to make it a veryaffordable delivery charge, to actively draw in customers,wherever they may live.Working alongside Tellone are his family and a staff of 24employees, including a mini-army of sales representatives, severalof whom have been there for at least a decade.I worked for two other competitors before coming here in May2002, said sales associate Jerry Steib. I came here to move to amore professional atmosphere.In addition to providing on-site advice, sales representativesanswer questions and provide online sales quotes through theBrooklyn Window and Door website. Also on the website is a rotatingdeal under Current Promotion. The current promotion is a $1,500energy tax credit when a customer purchases energy efficient -designated Energy Star – windows.As a second-generation family-run small business in the heart ofBrooklyn, Brooklyn Window and Door has found itself striking abalance between family and work, with the entire staff consideredfamily members, each of whom has a job to do that they dowell.It’s exciting. It’s nice to have family working together, saidTellone’s mother, Arlene Hehner, who helps with the office andadministrative tasks, taking turns with Bob coming up from Floridato make sure everybody behaves. The workmen in the warehouse callhim dad, even those who are the same age, she said.There is also the professional and moral support from the BetterBusiness Bureau, which the company has been a part of sinceopening. It’s very important to have those networks, especiallywhen you’re starting out and you’re a small business, notedTellone.We’re one big happy family, said Judy Addeo, the receptionist whohas welcomed customers with a smile and chit-chat for 17years.Brooklyn Window and Door is located at 1889 McDonald Avenue.Appointments are not necessary, but product information and hourscan be found online at www.brooklynwindow.com and at 718-WINDOWS(718-627-6400).
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.