The Blanck family looks back on three generations of success.
By Andy Reid
Photography by Derrick Martinez
There is a framed copy of a newspaper article hanging on the wall of Adam Blanck’s office. When he decided to join his dad, Stanford Blanck, at the family-run Wallside Windows, he swiped the photo from this father’s office and hung it in his own, just down the hall.
The article has been in the frame for 25 years. It was written when Wallside Windows, originally opened in 1944 by Martin Blanck, Adam’s grandfather, was celebrating its 50th anniversary.
In the article, the writer mentions Stanford’s kids, who sometimes accompanied him to the factory on weekends. Little Adam, just 7 at the time, is singled out — he was already telling people he wanted to join the family business when he was old enough.
“I remember walking around the factory, and I remember coming into work with my dad on Saturdays, hanging out around the offices,” Blanck says. “There are many, many people at Wallside that have been a part of our team for decades and remember me coming in with my dad when I was a kid. I have always wanted to be a part of this.”
Blanck, now 32, has been with Wallside Windows for five years. He is chief of staff of the company, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and works closely with his dad and uncle Stuart Blanck every day to run the place his grandfather built.
“It is a gift to work with family,” says Blanck, who lives in Birmingham with his wife, Lauren. “Not many people have the opportunity to do it, and I am lucky to have that in my life. I have learned so much from [my dad] — how to take care of employees, how to take care of customers.”
The eldest Blanck created the company that would eventually be known as Wallside Windows in 1944. The son of Eastern European immigrants, he grew up in Detroit, where as a boy he sold fruit door to door to help make ends meet. After returning home from a stint in the Army, he launched a small home-improvement company.
In the 1970s, Martin decided to pivot from general home improvement to window installation and repair. The country was suffering through an energy crisis at the time, and Martin saw an opportunity to become a frontrunner in energy-saving vinyl replacement windows.
Martin had no idea what Wallside Windows would become.
“He probably wasn’t thinking about leaving it to my dad or anything — he just wanted to make a living,” Adam says. “He wasn’t thinking about 75 years down the road. He was thinking one day at a time. He had to be a fighter. And that’s the mentality we still have. You have to be scrappy and fight every day.”
Today, Wallside Windows is the leading window installation and repair company in Michigan and Ohio, with 130 employees who can make as many as 650 vinyl windows in one day. The company has completed more than 620,000 window installations to date and was also named one of the Top 100 Manufacturers of 2019 by Window & Door magazine.
“Working with my family has been the most rewarding experience in the world,” says Stanford Blanck, 67. “We’ve built something here. It started with my father. We have great employees. Today, everywhere you go, people say that Wallside Windows is the gold standard.”
Although he always had a desire to join the family business, Blanck knew it was important to test all his options and see if there was another path for him. After graduating from Groves High School, he attended the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and received a degree from U-M’s Law School. He worked in politics for a while, serving in the White House as an advance associate, helping coordinate travel for President Barack Obama and his team, and on the 2012-13 Presidential Inauguration Committee.
But the pull of home proved too strong, and Blanck joined Wallside in 2014. As chief of staff, his responsibilities extend to whatever might need attention on that particular day: customers, marketing, outreach or sales relationships.
“It just made so much sense to come back, and it really aligned with the goals I have for myself — being a leader and having the unique ability to carry on the family legacy,” Blanck says.
As Wallside Windows looks toward the future, the company’s goals are still in line with Martin’s from the beginning: to provide customers with excellent service and the best, most technologically advanced products on the market.
To that end, the company continues to invest in innovative materials, products and technology, like the FlexScreen, the world’s first flexible window screen.
“We want to adapt and make ourselves present for the future,” Blanck says, “while remembering the values and qualities that got us here in the first place, over the last 75 years.”
“I showed an interest in this from a very young age, and it has definitely been a very big part of my life for a long time. It is an honor for me to work here.”
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