Vince Lorenzi knows windows, and he recognized this as a window of opportunity.
The son of the founder of Al Lorenzi Building Products is relocating his main operation from Canton Township to Cecil Township for several reasons, the primary one being proximity to more people.
“We’re moving to the Canonsburg-McMurray-Upper St. Clair area because there is a large population,” said Lorenzi, company president and chief executive officer. “We will be between Route 19 and (Interstate) 79, five minutes from Canonsburg, five minutes from Upper St. Clair, five minutes from Bridgeville, five minutes from McMurray.”
And only 15 minutes from the current headquarters, on Route 844 near the Washington city line.
“We also want to be close to our customers in (the) Washington (area),” he added. “We built up a customer base there over 40 years.”
A Washington/Canton staple since 1975, Al Lorenzi is heading to 55 Mayview Road, off Georgetown Road, and near Hills-Hendersonville Elementary School of the Canon-McMillan district. It will lease a building with 17,500 square feet of space on a 2 1/2-acre tract that includes “one acre of flat land to expand if need be,” Lorenzi said.
The structure, he said, will have three sections: for showroom, offices and sales counter; for window, door and deck display; and for product storage.
Lorenzi said he has an agreement to sell his Canton property to an investment group of local business people, but he declined to provide further details. He said the closing on the property, with showrooms and warehouses on an estimated 10 to 12 acres, will occur within 30 days.
He said his property will be leased to United Rentals, currently on Manifold Road in South Strabane Township. United Rentals could not be reached for comment Monday.
Lorenzi added his business will be out of Canton by March 15. He has a second site, on Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon.
Population isn’t the only factor he cited in this switch. Lorenzi, like many business owners in the region, is downsizing.
“We will have a nice, smaller location,” he said. ”In the last year, we’ve really streamlined our business due to the business and economic climates. We don’t need as much space as we currently have.”
Increasing traffic from the oil and gas industry on a two-lane, mostly rural route where a bridge had been under repair helped forge the decision, as well.
“Traffic has gotten so bad from that,” Lorenzi said. “Eighty percent of our business comes from the South Hills area, and people had to come here with the bridge out, plus all of the oil and gas traffic.
“We certainly welcome the oil and gas industry because they have helped farmers who have done business with us, but the traffic has increased.”
Cecil will be third home for this distinguished building supplies interest. Al Lorenzi, Vince’s father, started Al Lorenzi Lumber Co. in 1975 on Jefferson Avenue in Washington. It moved to its current site in the mid-1980s.
Al Lorenzi taught himself how to make windows in his early teens, a skill he developed by taking apart old sashes at an abandoned farmhouse near his South Hills home.
Al, a Charleroi native, was 16 when he set up a shop in his family’s garage, where he made windows and doors for neighbors and local builders. He died Oct. 20, 2005, at age 72.
His son is having a moving sale that will run through Friday.
Operations at the new location will be similar, but the hours probably will change. Sundays, for the first time in many years, may be part of the Lorenzi equation.
“There will probably be more hours, including a couple of evenings,” Vince Lorenzi said. “We might entertain being open on Sundays. We’ll see what the public tells us, but I think we will be open on Sundays because of the larger population.
“We’re very, very excited about the move.”