What Pella’s 80+ year legacy could mean for your home today


Jorge Echave in front of a truck
Jorge Echave is the new general manager of Pella Alabama. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

I don’t know about you but if HGTV’s Property Brothers thought Pella’s products were cool enough to feature, I want to know more. Those guys know their stuff. To find out more about this company that’s been around for almost a century and what their legacy and products could mean for Birmingham-area homeowners, I reached out to Jorge Echave, the general manager of Pella Alabama and Gene McBride, who’s been a sales rep with the company down at Lake Martin for 35 years.

J.F. Day & Co’s 80+ year legacy in Birmingham and beyond

Jorge Echave at Pella's distribution center in Birmingham
Jorge Echave at Pella’s showroom in Birmingham. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

We started back at the beginning. From 1936, J.F. Day & Co. , based in Birmingham, was the place to go for Pella windows, doors and skylights throughout the entire Southeastern US. Four generations of the Day family worked there, until the family decided to sell when the 2008 financial crisis hit. 

When the original father-son duo went into business together , they sold blinds, screens and weather stripping. Their most popular product was blinds made by Rolscreen Co. of Pella, Iowa. From 1939 until the 1960s, J.F. Day & Co. made their own blinds, but in the 1960s, they reconnected with Rolscreen, now called Pella, and started distributing their entire product line. 

According to Gene McBride, who’s been in sales with the company for 35 years, J.F. Day still exists, but not as a window and door distributor for Pella. The family sold the business a few years after they celebrated their 75th anniversary. 

Carrying on the legacy of the Day family at Pella

Gene McBride
Gene McBride has been in the business for 35 years. Photo via Gene McBridge

“I was with them for 25 years—J.F. Day was a great company run by a great family. It means a lot to me, carrying on their work. There are only a handful of us still with the company they established. I’m the only salesperson who’s still part of it. It’s a special thing. 

The family made me feel like I was part of the family—we all felt like that. Now it feels like we’re carrying on the family legacy of what they started. There’s a sense of pride, keeping it going and wanting to see it continue and be successful like it was before.

I’m in my 36th year working down in the Lake Martin and Auburn area and still going strong. When I started, I was just a kid, and they gave me an opportunity when I was just a kid. I’m grateful for that.”

Gene McBride, Pella

While Jorge Echave is fairly new to the Birmingham area, he says that when he’s out in the community, it’s clear that they way the Day family conducted business meant a lot to their customers, whether they were builders or homeowners. The consistent feeling of putting the customer first and really having a partnership with people, year after year, is part of that legacy, and one that Echave is eager to continue. 

“I feel like I would have been a person who would have appreciated working there as Gene has. It’s so in line with my philosophies of how to treat people and how to treat customers.”

Jorge Echave, Pella

A bit about Pella

I really want this transformation to happen to my home office now. Photo via @pellawindows on Instagram

Pella, like J.F. Day & Co. was, is still owned by one family who is still involved in running the business. Innovation, quality and continuous improvement are three of the company’s most important values. 

In fact, Consumer Reports has rated multiple of Pella’s window units #1, which is a big deal.

Today’s fan favorites at Pella’s Birmingham warehouse

According to Jorge and Gene, these are some of their home improvement clients’ fan-favorites. They also provide professional installation and a limited lifetime warranty to make sure you’re happy with how their products fit in your space.

Rolscreen: blinds built right into the windows

Jorge Echave in front of a Rollscreen window at Pella's Birmingham showroom
If you look really carefully at the top of these windows, you’ll see that the blinds are built right in. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Rollscreen is one of Pella’s original products, and it’s still one of the coolest. If you’ve ever seen windows with the blinds built right in, you know what we’re talking about. Think of all the dusting you’ll never have to do, the strings you never have to worry about getting tangled, and the blinds themselves that won’t ever get bent or broken. 

Energy-efficient windows

Energy efficient window at Pella's Birmingham showroom
Energy-efficient windows look good and save you money. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Pella’s windows and doors can reduce the costs of heating and cooling your home, which is a bonus for anyone who lives in Alabama because hello, hot summers. For five years in a row, they’ve been an ENERGY STAR partner of the year. 

Hinge doors

Hinge doors at Pella in Birmingham
It’s kind of fun seeing what doors look like before they’re installed in your home. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

It’s amazing what a difference a new set of doors can make, whether it’s for the front of your home or inside it.

Sliding doors

Sliding doors at Pella in Birmingham
You can have sliding doors inside your home and leading to the outside. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Sliding doors are so convenient, too, whether they’re there to separate spaces within your home or to help you head out to a patio with ease. 

Whatever home improvement is highest on your punch list at the moment, if it involves windows or doors, Pella can help you get started, carrying on J.F. Day & Co.’s legacy of taking care of their customers. 

Reach out to Pella via their website or call them at (205) 259-1960 to set up either a free in-home or virtual consultation.

Or, you can go visit their Window + Door Showroom in West Homewood at 101 Distribution Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209.

Sponsored by:

Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

Articles: 765