Local Pella distributor marks 50 years

August 26, 2011
| By Pete Daly |
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The Pella windows/doors distributorship established in Grand Rapids in 1961 by Norm and Irv Horne is celebrating its 50th year in business this summer with a reception for its employees and retirees.

Owned and managed today by John Estabrook, president of Pella Windows & Doors by Horne, the company employs 54 people and does business in 60 counties in Michigan, with showrooms in Lansing, Kalamazoo, Mt. Pleasant, Traverse City and Petoskey. The corporate headquarters, distribution center and main showroom are all at 2120 Oak Industrial Drive in Grand Rapids.

The Horne brothers’ business strategy for expansion was to locate an older home, replace all the windows with Pella and convert the home into a new showroom. The brothers’ wives — who were sisters — were also part of the business, with Helga and Violet running the office while Norm and Irv were out selling windows.

Bruce Debes, the Horne brothers’ nephew, joined the business in 1970. An experienced business attorney, Debes bought the business from his uncles in 1986.

Estabrook was an advertising sales rep for one of the Grand Rapids television stations when he was approached by Debes, who offered him a job selling windows.

“I thought, ‘no way would I sell windows,’” said Estabrook — but eventually he accepted the job and worked his way up to vice president of sales and marketing. In 1997, Estabrook bought the business from Debes.

Pella, based in Pella, Iowa, is an 86-year-old family-owned, professionally managed company, marketing windows, patio doors and entry door systems.

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