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1912: The Birth of Marvin Windows and Doors

In the early 1900s, George G. Marvin arrived in tiny Warroad, Minnesota, to take a job managing a grain elevator. The area was a booming lumber center, providing pulpwood for paper mills. After the grain elevator relocated, George Marvin saw opportunity and stayed in Warroad to establish the Marvin Lumber and Cedar Company in 1912.

Honest and hard-working, George G. Marvin earned respect across the northern woodlands. He believed in the sanctity of a handshake and often loaned money to farmers and lumbermen who needed to get through the winter when work was scarce. As the decades progressed, George used ingenuity and integrity to start businesses to keep the lumberyard workers busy during the slow months. His invention, a machine that turned scrap lumber into wooden stakes, allowed them to sell the stakes to the state highway department and keep families warm and fed through the long Minnesota winters.

In 1939, George asked his son, William S. “Bill” Marvin, to change his path after graduating from the University of Minnesota, and return to Warroad to become the company’s eighth employee. Though Bill may have abandoned his dream of striking out on his own, he went on to become the driving force behind turning that Minnesota lumberyard into the world-class window and door business that it is today.

Because of Bill’s entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to serving customers and the community, and his ongoing demonstration of leadership, Marvin grew from a few dozen employees in the 1950s, to a few hundred in the 1960s, to more than 6,000 today. Bill immersed his six children in the business from early childhood. They all remember going to the factory with their dad on weekend afternoons, sweeping floors and emptying wastebaskets. Every one of those six children joined the business and has made significant contributions to the company’s continued growth while maintaining the commitment to quality and craftsmanship that continues to be at the heart of the company’s operations. Before Bill passed away in 2009,”Builder” magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th-century building industry.

Today, Marvin Windows and Doors is one of the largest window and door companies that builds every order to a customer’s exact specifications. Marvin was the first company to deliver windows with its own fleet of trucks, a pioneer in the design and manufacturing of round-top windows and the developer of Ultrex, a proprietary pultruded fiberglass that’s as strong as steel. With more than four dozen patents, Marvin was also the first window company to have its entire product line certified by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

The future looks bright for Marvin, as their team continues to push design to its limits. Their newest products include a line of impressive scenic doors that allow architects to seamlessly connect interior and exterior living spaces, and the Marvin Lock Status Sensor, the industry’s first fully integrated, factory-prepped window and door sensor that’s completely invisible and compatible with nearly any home security system. It’s been an exciting century for Marvin and the future looks bright with a focus on innovation, growth and continuing to lead in the quality and craftsmanship that today’s professionals and homeowners demand.