If anyone embodies the notion of endurance, it is John Trainor. For the better part of 20 years in his role as president of Weather Shore Windows Inc., Trainor has consistently worked from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Coming from a large family, Trainor—one of 13 children—grew up in a small fishing community south of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, called Port Kirwan. Trainor explains that fishing was his working experience, albeit short-lived. “I started offshore fishing at a very young age, which I continued for three years—and once I finished this shortened fishing career, I began working for the Canadian Coast Guard,” he says. Trainor then moved to St. John’s in 1966, and has since spent his career striving to expand Newfoundland’s industry.
Weather Shore’s Milestones
1991: WSW is incorporated, begins manufacturing vinyl windows
1992: Commenced production of vinyl windows
1994: Installs state-of-the-art glass fabrication equipment
1997: Becomes registered as part of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada
2001: Opens sales office in St. John’s, Newfoundland
2002: Joins the Eastern Newfoundland Home Builders Association
2006: Royal Spectra Coat is introduced to expand options within the industry
2010: Combines sales office and manufacturing facility to one location
2011: Celebrates 20 years in the window industry
In 1974, he got his start doing construction for the government, and in 1975, he began working with Residential Siding Installers. Then, in 1978, Trainor started his own house-siding business and became one of the first vinyl-siding companies in that region of Canada. In fact, Trainor was the first person to introduce vinyl siding in Newfoundland. “This eventually led me to pursue possible building-product alternatives for homeowners and eventually Weather Shore Windows,” he adds.
From there, the company expanded into windows and doors. In 1986, Trainor, his brother, Gerard, and one other partner, started the first vinyl-window manufacturing company in Newfoundland, called Newfaclime Windows. Then, in 1991, Trainor incorporated Weather Shore Windows while moving the company to a small Newfoundland and Labrador fishing town called Trepassey. “We moved our company there after the closure of the Grand Fisheries, to help create employment in the community,” he notes. In 2010, the firm relocated back to St. John’s, to become more capable in providing enhanced performance to its consumers, while opening opportunities for future growth.
Still located and business-focused in St. John’s, Weather Shore manufactures vinyl windows, and supplies vinyl siding and doors, with 22 employees at peak season and 10–12 during slower times. Trainor says that the company offers its customers quality products and service with the best lead times in the custom window market. “Our customer base consists of building/renovation contractors, building suppliers, and homeowners,” he adds.
Trainor has endured in his industry because he always has felt it was his calling to be a business creator and also to help others through his work. “I believe I was born an entrepreneur because I have always enjoyed a challenge and I despise the word can’t—and I am always looking for better ways to make life easier for others, which is my ultimate goal.”
Another way Weather Shore finds the means of endurance is through strong customer care. Through his many years of experience, Trainor has found that competing with large manufacturing firms makes it very difficult to compete with pricing. “Unlike other companies in this industry, we offer our customers a personalized experience based on their needs,” he says. “Therefore, we have overcome this pricing challenge by offering our clients a personable approach to sales/service, while providing better lead times than other companies.”
Perhaps the most significant factor that has helped Trainor endure all of these years is by simply believing in himself, and feeling that anything is possible if you are willing to spend the extra time necessary to thrive in a competitive market. Outside professional groups seem to have noticed him as well, because Trainor was recently nominated for the 2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. “Also, I would not have gotten to where I am today without my great staff and loyal customers who have supported me throughout the years,” he says. “Our competent sales team offers consumers a personable approach to sales, while our lead times and customer service are superior in the competitive market.”
In addition, Trainor says that he is where he is today because he has an understanding and supportive family that appreciates his unrelenting dedication to the company. “For the best part of 20 years, my day started at 4:00 a.m. and lasted until 8:00 p.m,” he recalls. “Ninety percent of those days would often last until 12:00 a.m. I recognize my family as a huge contributor to my success as a husband, father, and a businessman.”
Weather Shore Windows and Trainor show no signs of slowing down. In actuality, the firm is currently looking at some growth opportunities for the future that will allow the company to expand and offer consumers a wider range of products—like roofing, vinyl window and latex painting, and environment-friendly paint. Trainor’s vision is to make Weather Shore a one-stop shop for external house features (window, pillars, doors, siding, etc). To accomplish this, the company recently renovated its headquarters and moved all operations to one central location. “Consolidation of our operations in the city means we can expand our operations yet again,” Trainor says. “And with these new facilities, Weather Shore Windows’ foundation for growth is firm.”
Trainor still thoroughly enjoys seeing satisfied customers he served 20–30 years ago. “Often, they will send their children to our company to purchase the products they need,” he says. “This truly represents how loyal and appreciative our customers are, which I believe is a huge asset in this industry.” Moreover, he is happy to know that he has made people’s homes maintenance-free for years to come, by introducing vinyl to Newfoundland.