Big L Windows and Doors was founded in 1975 by Ed Horbett Sr. Known affectionately as “EZ-Eddie”, Ed had a long background in sales, selling shoes, life insurance, and in the 1950’s, selling storm windows part-time for his cousin George. In the late 50’s Ed started his own company, E-Z Aluminum Mart, in South Buffalo, selling storm windows and doors. The venture lasted 10 years, and then he began a career working for various storm product manufacturers. In 1975, Ed’s employer, Alumo Products, decided they wanted to sell their Buffalo branch and soon after Ed convinced his youngest son, Bill, to join him as he took over the operation. Operating on a shoestring, we dropped the “A” off the sign out front and became Lumo Products. The next year we incorporated, dropped 3 more letters, left the big “L” in the sign, and the rest, as they say, is history.
There are many reasons for our success and longevity, but none is more important than the fine people who have worked with us over the years, who share our passion for “doing the right thing” for our customers. Our customers are extremely important as well, and we are dedicated to the communities of western New York, Buffalo, Tonawanda, Getzville, Williamsville and Amherst. We have all been fortunate to live, work, and play together, and in fact created our slogan to reflect that: “If it’s a window or door, our people care more!”
Here are some highlights of the Big L Windows and Doors journey from 1975 to today:
- 1975: Ed Horbett borrows $10,000 and starts Lumo products. His son, Bill Horbett soon joins him. Their products are storm windows and doors. They stock and custom order storm products that they sell “wholesale” to the contractor trade exclusively. Including Ed and Bill, there are 4 employees.
- 1976: Incorporated as Big L Distributors with Ed as president and Bill as vice president. A new product is added, something new called “replacement windows”, made out of aluminum.
- 1979: Bill is convinced to start fabricating insulated steel doors and the warehouse at 1800 Broadway is expanded. Big L starts fabricating and selling Perma Door steel doors.
- 1980: Innovative vinyl replacement windows are introduced and Big L begins to really grow with their new manufacturing partner, Season-All industries, a window industry pioneer.
- 1983: Bill purchases the company from Ed and is convinced that the company needed to add wood windows to the product line. He makes a call to Marvin Windows in Minnesota and Big L enters the wood window business.
- 1988: Convinced that a showroom was necessary to sell the wood products, Big L expands again at 1800 Broadway with a 3000 SF showroom. For the first time, Big L is open to the public, selling windows and doors to consumers on a furnish only basis, in addition to contractors.
- 1988-1998: Company continues to grow, adding more products and services, doubling the space at 1800 Broadway. Employment now reaches 15 people.
- 1998: A devastating Friday night fire in March wipes out the 1800 Broadway operations. By the following Monday, operations are resumed at a new location at 2727 William in Cheektowaga. With the hard work of the staff, customers, and friends, operation is in full force by summer. The new location, located next to the NYS Thruway, dramatically increases retail traffic, and in late fall of 1998, the company starts to install windows and doors for consumers.
- 2000: Installed sales initiative starts in earnest, door manufacturing is discontinued, and additional staff is added. Big L grows to 20 employees.
- 2006: Bill Horbett Jr. joins company as third generation.
- 2000-2012: Company grows and prospers at 2727 William, nearly tripling sales. Consumer Installed sales now account for half of revenue and company installs tens of thousands of windows in schools, apartments, and commercial buildings in Western New York.
- 2013: Reflecting the transition to ever broadening customer base, Big L Distributors announces a name change to “Big L Windows and Doors”. The company now sells, installs, and services (6) distinctive markets: Remodeling Contractors; New Home Builders; General Contractors specializing in commercial projects; Institutional Customers, apartment owners and management firms; and Homeowners, both installed and furnish only. We employ over 30 people, and we are dedicated to providing each segment the excellent products and World class services they have come to expect from Big L Windows and Doors.