If It’s Not Peeling Don’t Fix ItAugust 5th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
How One Company Follows Unconventional Rules to Success
By Emmariah Holcomb
For Steve Pesce, the owner of New York Window Film Co. (NYWF), window film means more than just a business opportunity. It means he gained a second family.
Pesce says his Farmingdale (Long Island), N.Y. business isn’t like any other, starting with how each job is approached. The company he founded 29 years ago focuses mainly on decorative, solar, safety and energy-efficient films. NYWF currently completes approximately 3,500 window film jobs annually and doesn’t expect to slow down anytime soon, according to Pesce. The business was ranked number five in WINDOW FILM magazine’s 2018 Top Dealer’s report with sales of $4.7 million. It has 24 employees that are responsible for managing clients, ordering products, performing installations, and much more. But Pesce thinks of his employees as more than just the individuals who help make his company a reality, he thinks of them as family.
“Many of our team members have been with me for five years plus, with some spending decades with me—imagine that. Over the years we’ve celebrated and have even gone on vacations together. In the summer time, we grill and have lunch together. It’s nice to catch up with one another and stay connected with what’s going on outside of the business,” says Pesce.
An important factor about his employees is that everyone who works in the office is cross-trained. Pesce says the reason is simple— when someone is out on vacation you’d want their job to still be done and sometimes that means another employee steps up to make sure everything is completed.
“One reason I think so many of my employees stay is that they’re trusted to do their jobs. That means I don’t micro manage,” he says.
Longevity isn’t the only thing that makes NYWF stand out. Its headquarters is divided into three distinct parts which helps to make it very energy-efficient, according to Pesce.
“Efficiency was at the top of the list when it came to making our building run smoothly. Those who come and visit are often surprised at how everything works hand-in-hand,” says Pesce.
The building’s first section of 2,000 square feet is where you’ll find all of the offices, including Pesce’s. The second is 1,000 square feet and is where the company’s graphics department is located; behind it you’ll find its warehouse, which is also 1,000 square feet.
“[When we were working on making the building more energy efficient] my wife asked me why I was spending so much money renovating the place. I told her I spend 12 hours a day here, of course I want to be comfortable. I mean would you willingly want to cook in a 40 year-old kitchen when you could have something more functional?” he asks.
The success found inside of his business is also seen through the amount of positive customer feedback it has received throughout the years. Customer service is another focal point of the local gem. Exceptional customer service can impact a business’ bottom line and is something Pesce and his team work to achieve every time. They do this by following the “golden rule.”
“We treat every customer the same no matter what the project size, because the customer is the most important,” says Pesce.
Following that standard isn’t the only reason customers refer their friends to NYWF, or reach out to the company for upcoming projects. According to Pesce, NYWF has a reputation of “being the company that can get the job done” and clients often come in based on word-of-mouth.
“There have been many situations where a customer will go to another company for their window film needs and won’t be satisfied with the quality of the job. Then call us to either fix it or completely take over the job and start over. We can always help the customer … but for a price, especially if it’s a job they want done immediately,” says Pesce.
Fortunately for the company, its customers are willing to pay for a premium service, installation and a high quality experience.
Make ‘Em Laugh
“I always try to make people laugh especially over email—why? Because you miss that when you primarily communicate over a computer screen,” he says.
Pesce’s not shy about telling you he’s “old school” and can often think back to simpler times when being able to communicate effectively with others on a regular basis (face-to face communication) was needed for a company to survive.
“I grew up without much tech [and more personal communication] and I instilled the same values in my kids. But now, thanks to the newer and younger generations, it’s become more difficult to make a personal connection. Take our industry for example … so many people get their business by pushing one button to see who will give the best price. I’m from the days of calling and going to a business to see their blueprints before making your decision. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the need of building relationships with one another,” recalls Pesce.
When asked about the future Pesce seems confident in new developments in the window film industry as a whole.
“There needs to be more innovation in films, think about it, there hasn’t been any in a long time. In 2001 there was an increase in security films. I thought right after that decorative films were in high demand, then there was a huge rise in paint protection film. I think manufacturers have gone heavily into auto and they’ve left out some of the other stuff that keeps this industry going,” says Pesce.
Really a Family
Almost every company says so, but is it really true at NYWF?
“We definitely are a family and work as a team, with Steve as the main person who leads us. It’s funny because Steve is like the energizer bunny. He has a limitless amount of energy. I mean the guy starts at 5 or 5:30 in the morning and doesn’t stop, sometimes I get tired just watching him,” says Emma Catalanotto, estimating coordinator.
“There’s something about Steve. He adds a personal touch with each project that resonates with our customers and glass companies,” says Jennifer Haynie, marketing manager and graphic assistant.
Catalanotto has spent the past decade working with Pesce and knows how challenging being a small business owner can be, as her husband owns his own restaurant. Haynie has spent the past three years at the company and can hardly believe how much she’s learned about the industry.
“I never imagined working for a small company after graduating college, especially one in an industry I knew nothing about. But the environment here is one for growth. They want to teach you and see you succeed, it’s more than just a job—it’s a family you didn’t know you needed,” says Haynie.
“I have so much respect for small business owners because it’s tough and, as an employee, you get to see both sides [the triumphs and the hard times], but even when you struggle, a good business owner keeps working to find ways to overcome the obstacles, that’s exactly what Steve has done,” Catalanotto says.
She also recalled her time with the company before it grew to its current size. Catalanotto mentioned there were only four employees in the office, but they were determined to handle each client with Pesce’s standard level of care.
“I love waking up in the morning knowing I get to come here to work, my only downside is … I wish I had met Steve 40 years ago and started working for him then because there’s truly no one else like him,” says Catalanotto.
“You can’t think of the company without thinking about Steve. He’s a leader because he provides confidence to all of his employees and encourages us to reach our fullest potential. But he’s also very passionate. He’s a boss that truly believes in the products and how it benefits people’s lives. It’s not just a job to him, it’s a passion and he shares that passion with us every day,” says Haynie.
Emmariah Holcomb is the assistant editor for WINDOW FILM magazine. Reach her at email@example.com, and follow her on Twitter @WindowFilmMag
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