White gold still booming after 30 years for double glazing business in the Meon Valley
IT started as a one-man business operating out of a small barn back in 1989 but this double glazing company has weathered various financial storms to stand firm.
SAJE UPVC, a family-run double-glazing company that supplies conservatories, windows and doors out of its Meon Valley base, is celebrating three decades in business.
Kevin Stallard set up the firm after a career as an electrical engineer which led him to selling machinery.
Kevin, from Warsash, said: ‘PVC has just come on to the market in Germany and Italy. I had a tonne of machinery and I took the opportunity to start my own company called SAJE UPVC, named after my two children Sarah Elizabeth and James Alexander.
‘I had been running the company on my tod out of a small barn when I cycled past a unit for let in Curdridge Lane. I took it and that’s where it really began.’
As the company grew, the firm moved into a unit along Titchfield Lane, before moving to its current home in Mislingford Road, Swanmore in 2008. It now employs 30 people, including Kevin’s daughter 29-year-old Sarah.
Kevin, 66, said he has seen many changes to the industry over the years, with advances in technology leading to triple and quadruple glazing, coloured frames, and various treatments to the glass, as well as housebuilders putting in double glazing during construction.
Despite many double-glazing firms disappearing over the years, Kevin believes SAJE’s honest approach to business is what has set it apart.
He said: ‘It has been a challenge over the years but it helps that we own our own property and machinery. We do not lease anything, if we can’t afford it then we wait. We have good old fashioned values.
‘There is no pressure selling from us, we give our customers a quote then we leave it up to them. We don’t take deposits and our customers know exactly how much they will be paying and what they are getting.
‘Once our customer is happy they pay the final amount. It’s about trust and honest values. Lots of people come back to us 10 or 15 years later – or they recommend us.’
Kevin said he was delighted to still be running a thriving business 30 years later – and put the company's success down to his team, including his life-long friend and managing director Keith Summerfield.
He said: ‘I have great staff and the job wouldn’t be the same without them. They are a great bunch of people.’