ANDERSON — If you own a home in Madison County, there’s a good chance it has a Surber’s product in it.
“I think we’ve got something like 13,000 houses that we’ve put windows, doors or something in,” said owner Charles Surber.
“That’s a pretty good number.”
The family business is currently owned by the second generation.
Janet and Kenny Surber started the company in 1980 after building a new home and being surprised by how high their utility costs were.
“Their first electric bill was so outrageous that Dad wanted to come up with a way to heat and cool his home more effectively, so we started as a wood-burning stove business,” Surber said.
After being laid off from General Motors, Janet Surber operated the company while her husband continued working at Guide Lamp where he retired after 30 years.
Originally located on 13th street, the business was called The Anderson Stove Shop. After moving to Mounds Road and expanding their product lines, they changed the name to Surber’s Energy Plus.
In 1991, the business moved to its current location on Raible Avenue when the widening of Mounds Road eliminated its parking lot.
Charles joined the business as a salesman in 1994 after serving in the Army for four years.
“My dad had the idea, Mom was a financial wizard. I was able to go out there and spread the message of what we can offer,” Surber said.
He credits his mother for growing the business slowly by reinvesting profits instead of trying to accelerate growth by taking on debt.
The company currently sells replacement windows, vinyl sunrooms, doors, siding and bathrooms.
Along with the legacy of his parents, Charles Surber credits the company’s success to selling quality products, taking care of their customers, building strong relationships with their vendors and using employees specialized in installing each product line instead of contractors.
“I have bathroom installers, they don’t do doors. I have window installers, they don’t do doors. I have door installers that don’t do windows,” Surber said.
“I’ll have a window and door job and you would think that, normally, a contractor that you would hire would go out and do the windows and the doors. We don’t do it that way. I actually have my window crew go do the windows, and then I’ll have my door crew, even if it’s a week later, go do the doors.”
“What can I do more and more for the employees, because in return if you take care of them, they take care of the customer and customer takes care of you,” Surber said.
The coronavirus pandemic has boosted business as people spending more time at home have had an increased interest in home improvement.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to be able to still be working and be able to be busier than I have been in years. So we’re lucky,” said Surber as he noted that other businesses haven’t fared as well.
Moving forward, he’s looking at adding employees to grow the business while staying focused on their current product lines. And if that growth means another move, Surber’s will remain an Anderson company.
“I know that no matter how many employees I have, it will always be in Anderson,” Surber said. “I’m very happy with that.”