WINTER PARK, Fla. — For more than 30 years Ernie Wilding has been selling what he knows best: windows and doors.

“Reason we like laminated glass is that you can’t get through it,” said Wilding, who owns FAS Windows and Doors in Winter Park. “It’s like a car windshield.”

What You Need To Know

  • Ernie Wilding has been selling windows and doors for 30 years 

  •  He says getting raw materials, specifically glass, has become more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Wait times for products have increased five fold since the start of the pandemic, Wilding says

But over the past year, the industry has had its ups and downs.

“We’ve got the orders, we just don’t have the product,” Wilding explains. “Which means we can’t get it installed, which means we can’t turn it in to revenue.”

The reason is due to the manufacturing of glass. 

Rick Keppler, a glass craftsman for 43 years, explained how challenging it is just to start the glass process currently.

“It’s continuous having those furnaces running,” said Keppler, who owns Atlantas Art Glass Studio. “I think with having a shortage of materials readily available, and then having them transported into the glass making facilities.”

And if its not a shortage of materials, breaks in production have also held up orders.

“They have actually shut their lines down twice in the last five months,” Wilding said. “And when they do that, shut it down for two weeks which has been over a month, it puts a real hurt on the industry.”

"Before the pandemic began, the average wait time for a customer was about four weeks, but in the last year it has been a real pain waiting for your product, waiting about five times as long," he added.

The pandemic is the root of these problems, Keppler said.

“It put the brakes on everything,” he said. “There’s no change in it, people weren’t working, companies were shutting down.”

Production problems aren’t just impacting stores, but potential customers as well.

“We have a high demand, obviously the prices go up,” Wilding said. “Our prices are continuing to go up, so people buying today are locking in a lower price."

For prices to come back down, production of glass needs to go back up.

FAS officials also say if people are planning on buying a new window or door with glass, now is the time do it to ensure your order can be fulfilled before the height of  hurricane season, as well as to lock down a price as materials costs continue to increase.