Keeping Things Simple Has Kept Wagner’s Home Remodeling in Business Since 1976
By Tim Kolodziej For The Times, Mar 9, 2016
Sam Wagner originally opened in 1976 as the House of Paneling, taking advantage of the big fad of the 1970s — wood paneling. (Remember how it was a perfect complement to shag carpeting, suspended ceilings, and love seats?)
“I hit at the right time,” said Wagner, a 1973 graduate of Beaver Falls High School. “All the guys working at the mill were putting paneling in their basement.’
His father, who was an English teacher in the Ambridge Area School District, saw his son’s immediate success and entered the home improvement field himself by selling windows. A few years later, Wagner took over that segment and was on the fast track to even greater heights — until he lost everything in a fire in 1987.
Not to be deterred, he reopened Wagner’s Home Remodeling a few months later at his current location on Third Avenue in New Brighton. Since that time, he has purchased three properties next door to create the massive showroom that stands today.
Walk through the spacious aisles and you’ll see a variety of popular flooring and carpet brands, custom doors and vinyl replacement windows Wagner’s manufactures. The store is now the place to go for thousands of customers who want to update their homes. As he points to the different brands of carpet, Wagner explains how the demand for his services has grown so dramatically through the years.
It’s counter-intuitive, actually: He believes small is the new big.
“My philosophy? Keep things as simple as possible,” said Wagner, who will turn 61 on April 8. “When I started, my uncle said I had a choice to make in business — either stay small or go big. I decided to have a niche business. We sell only doors, windows and flooring.”
Just windows… Just doors… Just floors…
Wagner’s intense focus on those specific areas has kept his seven full-time employees hustling and generations of customers satisfied. Wagner says his crew does between 500 and 550 jobs per year throughout Beaver County. A smile often creases his face as he drives through different neighborhoods.
“There aren’t too many streets that I can’t say I’ve done work at that house. Or that house. Or that house.”
“This business is all about trust. For years, the thought was that contractors were just above used-car salesmen when it comes to reputation. We’ve worked really hard at treating our customers well and standing by our work.”
Now, his staff is improving the homes of second- and third-generation clients. But not the entire homes, mind you.
Just Windows. Just Doors. Just Floors.