Pictured left to right: Michael Strmac and William Barr
Photo courtesy of Universal Windows Direct
Universal Windows was co-founded in April of 2002 by two long time childhood friends. Both Bill Barr and Mike Strmac grew up and attended Fairview Park Public Schools. As third graders they played on the Patriots TEE-BALL team, developing a lifelong friendship.
After High School both bounced around from college to college trying to discover their purpose in life. They went to school and worked jobs ranging from delivering pizzas to moving furniture. While attending The Ohio State University, Barr got a job going door to door selling windows and he loved it.
After several years of being in different parts of the country the two friends joined a startup Window company that had only 5 employees! After several frustrating years of working there and not liking how their employer treated the customer and the workers both had the entrepreneur spirit and felt they could do better.
Then September 11th happened, and everything changed. In a ten-minute car ride home Barr realized how life can change on a dime and he called Mike who was already itching to strike out on his own. They sat down at The Clifton Diner and formulated a plan.
The conclusion from that meeting was if they where going to be in business, they wanted to create an environment or culture where the customer came first, and the employees enjoyed coming to work. This was the Mission that Universal Windows Direct was born from!
The concern was where were they going to get the money to start up this enterprise? After being turned down for an SBA loan the two turned to their girlfriend and fiancé to help fund the venture! They opened the first office in Akron Ohio, a 350 sq. foot office located above AL’s Pawn Shop and across from a Methadone Clinic with only $2,700 dollars in the bank.
Fast forward 18 years later and Universal Windows Direct has become a household name. With 9 Company owned locations they are now the 9th largest remodeler in North America. The Corporation is headquartered in Bedford Hts. Ohio and they have an additional 8 Company Stores and 30 plus Independent Dealers from San Diego to New Jersey.
With revenue north of 100 million and expansion in their sites the future of Universal has never been brighter.
Mike resides in Hinkley, Ohio with his wife Amy and his 3 children Ryan, Amanda and Avery. He is actively involved with St. Ambrose parish and enjoys golfing and traveling in his free time.
Bill resides in Chagrin Falls with his wife Addy and has two adorable puppies IVY and Grey. He is active in several charitable causes and enjoys the outdoors and traveling in his free time as well.
Visit Universal Windows Direct: HERE