Business & Real Estate

Seizing a window of opportunity: Merchant recalls early days in celebrating 20-year anniversary

Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Select Windows Inc. owner Tony Rebagliati, foreground, celebrates 20 years of business in Los Altos this summer. Rebagliati has operated his business since 1997, with help from high school friend Dave Brumley, back.

Longtime Los Altos merchant Tony Rebagliati knows a thing or two about the panes and gains – pardon the pun – of running a small business.

Apparently, he knows a thing or two about longevity as well.

Rebagliati, owner of Select Windows Inc. at 394 First St., is slated to celebrate 20 years in business later this summer. And like so many others, Rebagliati recalled falling into his current occupation by happenstance.

A general contractor by trade, Rebagliati found his niche specializing in window and door sales and installations in Los Gatos and other South Bay cities. During those days, he added, it wasn’t uncommon to have two or three crews working simultaneously on different projects.

“In fact, it was most of my business,” said Rebagliati, who spends his days working alongside his Santa Teresa High School friend, Dave Brumley. “It’s just the way fate sort of directed me.”

His business became so successful, Rebagliati said, that he soon made the decision to open his own retail location. Soon after, Rebagliati opted to open his store in Los Altos after noticing a similarity in demographics with Los Gatos. He opened his doors July 1, 1993.

“Those were the days when you had to be (listed) in the phone book,” Rebagliati said with a chuckle. “It was scary, it was a risk. I was already in business for myself, but I’d never done retail before.”

Two decades later, Rebagliati said he has no regrets about his decision. These days, he said his daily goal is to make “people’s homes as comfortable as possible,” specializing in installations addressing issues such heat gains or losses, UV protection and noise reduction.

Most of the store’s business, Rebagliati said, now consists of working directly with developers building custom homes in the area. That’s a significant change from as recently as five or six years ago, he added, when his sales and installation orders consisted of a 50-50 split between builders and direct service to homeowners. Rebagliati attributed the changes to a struggling economy that has since started to pick up.

“There was a time when we could not even place the orders fast enough,” said Rebagliati, who is kicking off a sale at his store from mid-May through June to celebrate his 20 years in Los Altos. “I don’t see that happening again, but things are still good.”

Through profitable times – and lean times as well – Rebagliati noted that the one constant thread has been the store’s local support.

“Los Altos is a nice community,” he said. “It has definitely supported me and my family for the last 20 years.”

As for the future, Rebagliati has no intention of making changes to something that isn’t broken.

“I’m not ready to retire,” he said with a grin. “I’m just going to keep going. … Why stop a good thing?”

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