21st May 2024

Thames Valley Window Company Celebrating 40 Years of Customer Service Excellence

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Posted by: tina

Thames Valley Window Company Celebrating 40 Years of Customer Service Excellence

Thames Valley Window Company has been proudly designing and installing windows and doors in Berkshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire, and the South East and beyond for 40 years!

It’s been an incredible journey filled with remarkable milestones, cherished moments, and, most importantly, YOU – our amazing customers, friends, and supporters.
Thames Valley Window Company Celebrating 40 Years of Customer Service Excellence

To kickstart our celebrations of 40 years in the double-glazing industry, we hosted an unforgettable afternoon and evening of celebrations and awards at the historic Farnham Castle on Saturday, 27th January 2024. The event brought together our wonderful staff and their partners, creating a vibrant atmosphere filled with fun, laughter, celebration, and the creation of lasting memories.

Casino Afternoon with cocktails and canapes

Our journey began in 1984, when two hardworking, charismatic, and tenacious brothers, Paul and Mark Schofield from Bracknell, decided it was time for a change in the double-glazing industry. Their commitment and vision laid the foundation for Thames Valley Windows, and we continue to build upon their legacy.

Celebrating 40 years in glazing industry

In the evening, Mark and Paul gave a speech on their journey of Thames Valley Window Company.

Video Transcription:

Mark: … was to make sure that every customer was happy, no matter how long it took or how much it cost, and that’s never changed. Right, I’ll just have your attention for a few minutes. I won’t be long, I promise.

Paul: And you can see what we’ve created from like scratch to this is, you know, like tear-jerking to say the least. And when we started, I was 27, Mark was just 22, and in the charts at the time, there was Michael Jackson, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Culture Club, UB40, Simple Minds. Hell of an era. And we started the company with just youth and enthusiasm and a dream. We had no business plan, no marketing plan, no advertising and no budget. We didn’t know the meaning of the word “no” and failure just was not in our vocabulary. I feel that maybe we’d last five years at a push.

Little did I know that my then five-year-old son, Ryan, would grow to become the MD, and we would be ever celebrating the 40th anniversary here at Farnham Castle. Unbelievable. I didn’t even know I was going to live that long, let alone celebrate… (laughs)

When we started the company, a lot of you were not born and a lot of you were at college or school. We didn’t own a mobile phone. The first mobile phone call was made in Britain a year after we started. There was no internet, no website, there was no emails. The worldwide web, as they called it when it started, was not realised into the public domain until nine years after we started the company. And it’s difficult to imagine a time where we as people could operate let alone a business without social media, the internet, emails or a mobile phone, but this company spans these historic timelines.

Mark: Yeah. Looking back, it is unbelievable. The initial staff was Paul, Helen, my lovely wife, and myself. We very quickly realised that we couldn’t both sell and run the company. I suggested that I run the company, measure all the windows, deal with all the fitting and the customer relations and just leave Paul to sell. We both sold our houses. We moved into smaller properties to fund the business. The first three years were tough. We had little money and lived on a shoestring. I cashed in a savings plan that Sean Moynihan sold me to fund mine and Helen’s honeymoon, would you believe?

Paul: It’s incredible. I mean we started out knocking on doors and I quickly took over. That wasn’t Mark’s bag. And for the first five years, that was our sole marketing. We didn’t do Yellow Pages or anything for five years. And to begin with, in the first few weeks, the first few months, all we wanted to do was get our boards all over Bracknell, and knocking on doors is never easy.

So very quickly, there were boards all over the place. We were strapping boards; we’d go out at the weekends and strap boards up all round the roundabouts at Thames Valley. And so as we were door-knocking, we’d be saying like, you know, “You’ve obviously heard of our company, Thames Valley.” “Oh yeah, we’ve seen your boards and that.” So, out of nowhere, we were starting to make headway.

Paul: And then a year after we’d started,  I was sitting in my car outside thinking I’ve got to find another way of closing good quality deals with customers. I thought we’ve got to get out of this rut and increase the sort of image of our company. So I came up with the idea of a two-hit appointment where I would offer to draw their house. So I’d set up the drawing board, then I’d take a picture of their home, and then I’d draw it, sit in the office where we were at Longshot Lane, the little shed there in the roof, and then I would draw the windows, then go back and then close the deal on the second visit.

And we started to get deals at good-sized detached homes, and within a few months or six months, we recruited our first artist, Janet, who was an art teacher, and she was doing all the professional watercolours on watercolour paper much better than I was doing. And soon, we pulled ourself head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Everybody gets two or three quotes, and we were demolishing them, closing just about everything we were going on. And that basically became our identity for the next 30 years before we had such an incredible showroom. Architecture and glass wasn’t just a statement, it was our heartbeat.

Mark: Yep. We had no idea at the time that 40 years later, we would be here, or that Helen would give birth to our son and 23 years later, he would be one of the top salesmen of this company. As I previously said, Helen was with us from the start, and she’s been with me through thick and thin. She’s been my rock. There have been some very tough, stressful times, but you’ve always been there for me. Thank you, Helen. (applause)

But with thousands of happy customers and a team that’s stayed with us and, quote, into this wonderful company, over two generations that we can all be very proud of.

Paul: Yeah. An amazing journey, with Mark’s brilliant organisational and financial skills combined with my unceasing insanity and productivity. Our joint passions are always treat everyone like we want to be treated ourselves, and for both the people that would work for us and also our customers. And most importantly, the most amazingly loyal, talented and knowledgeable team that have walked this journey with us through 40 years. We’ve built a rock-solid business where nobody really wants to leave and customers return to us year on year.

We both retired five years ago and Mark has become a multimillionaire, and I decided on a more unorthodox approach. If I’d have been more balanced through my work career, things might’ve turned out differently, so thanks for hanging on for 30 years. I know you’ve done well. None of us could’ve done that.

Ryan then took the reins and there was a dawning of a new era of the Thames Valley Window Company.

Mark’s son, Luke, has also proved himself as a great salesman at such a young age, and it’s just an amazing feeling to know that both our sons and a massive team of loyal people, with all of you guys that have stayed with us and have taken what me and Mark started from scratch and built on that and onwards and upwards to a whole new level. A company with strong morals, creativity, ingenuity and a massive depth of knowledge and experience.

Mark: Yep. We’re all here together, 40 years strong.

Paul: So let’s stand and raise our glasses together.

Mark: To us.
Paul: Here’s to the next 40!
Mark: Thank you.

Team members with more than 30 years service
Team members with more than 30 years service

Thames Valley Window Company has been a trusted name in the double glazing industry for 40 years. Word-of-mouth recommendations and the loyalty of repeat customers have driven our success. Your trust and support have been vital to our journey.

Thames Valley Windows 40th Celebration Dinner Dance

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to making Thames Valley Windows succeed. We wouldn’t be here without you!

Celebrating 40 years in glazing industry


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