Super Enterprises traces its origins back to 1946 when founder Hal Portnoy opened
a small retail store called “Super Sash and Screen Co.,” upon his discharge
from the United States Army. Essentially, he sold any building materials he could
get his hands on (due to rationing from World War II, all building materials were
hard to come by). For deliveries, he used a surplus army jeep he purchased for $25.
Super Sash and Screen Co. was profitable from the beginning. Hal Portnoy found opportunities where, seemingly, none existed. For instance, the developments in Levittown were sold with no window screens on the houses. He targeted the area and sold screens on a door-to-door basis. He would visit the home, measure the window, go back to his shop, make the screen, paint it and install it for $2 per screen.
Twenty-one years later Sanford (Sandy) Lavitt married Hal’s daughter Arlene, and joined the company full time. By that time the company had been renamed Super Millwork, Inc., and had primarily become a wholesaler of window sash, based in Mineola, N.Y.
Over the following 23 years Super continued to evolve. Door panels and units were added to the product line; an octagon window shop was set up, and Super began adding mass merchants to its growing customer base. In 1984, the Portnoy and Lavitt families joined forces with the Marvin family of Warroad, Minn., and Super Millwork, Inc. became a distributor for Marvin Windows and Doors.
Change in Ownership
In 1990 Sandy and Arlene Lavitt and Doug and Janet MacMillan purchased Super from Hal and Sylvia Portnoy. Doug had been a vice-president with Super since 1984.
1990 and 1991 were tough years in the millwork industry. In 1991 Jersey Millwork, one of the largest millwork distributors in the metro New York area, filed for bankruptcy. Super Millwork, Inc. purchased the post-petition assets of Jersey Millwork in July 1991. The purchase brought an expanded octagon window customer base and The Home Depot as a customer for interior door units. In the following six years Super Millwork grew The Home Depot account from 11 stores to more than 40.
In 1992, Super moved to a larger corporate headquarters in Melville, N.Y. That same year, Sandy’s older son Jason joined Super upon his graduation from college. In 1996, Keith, Sandy’s younger son, joined Super upon his graduation from college.
Marvin Windows and Doors played an increasingly important role in the success of Super Enterprises throughout the 1990s. In 1996, Super increased its Marvin distribution base by acquiring Forge Wholesale of Malvern, Pa., adding New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware to Super’s territory. The purchase of Forge was financed through the sale of Super’s octagon window division. This move enabled management to devote more time to core businesses: the sale of Marvin Windows and Doors to lumber yards and window specialty stores, and the sale of interior door products to The Home Depot.
Change in Focus
By the mid-1990s, however, The Home Depot had become such a large customer for Super that two potential problems arose:
In 1997, Sandy and Doug followed through on their realization that a 100% commitment to the sale of Marvin windows and doors was the future. Super Millwork’s door division was sold to Wing Industries, with both Sandy (part-time) and Doug (full-time) agreeing to two-year contracts to help run Wing. When the contracts expired, Sandy left Wing to devote 100% of his time to what had become Super Enterprises – USA, Inc. In 1998 the Lavitts bought out the MacMillans to become the sole shareholders.
In 1998, with the blessing of the Marvin family, Super opened a location in Alpharetta, Ga. covering most of the state of Georgia. Also in 1998, Super formed its Commercial Division, set up to penetrate the non-residential market segment.
Early in 2000 Super formed its Integrity Division, designed to promote the sale of Marvin’s Integrity product line.
An Unexpected Transition
In July 2000, Sandy Lavitt was diagnosed with melanoma. He died just three months later, on October 15. Sandy’s death triggered a succession plan that involved the movement of his sons Jason and Keith to fill the roles of co-presidents, and Doug MacMillan’s return to Super as executive vice-president. Arlene Lavitt assumed the position of chairman of the board. A seven person executive committee was formed as well to keep Super focused during this transition period. An eighth person, Andy Spinner, vice-president of customer services, was added to the executive committee in 2003.
Early in 2001, Super’s Alpharetta branch expanded into parts of Alabama and the Florida panhandle. Also in 2001, Super’s corporate headquarters moved again, this time a short distance to 126 Spagnoli Road in Melville, N.Y.
In late 2003 Super expanded into the western region of North Carolina and ceased distributing its products in Alabama and the Florida panhandle due to market conditions.
In 2004 Super reorganized its Malvern, Pa. operation, moving the outside sales and operations teams to Cranbury, N.J. and the inside sales team to the Melville office. The Malvern architectural and order entry departments continue to operate in Malvern, Pa.
Today, Super Enterprises distributes Marvin, Integrity and Infinity windows and doors in the following territories*:
Melville, New York Branch
Cranbury, New Jersey Branch
Alpharetta, Georgia Branch
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