A new era in home security

A new era in home security

For more than 30 years Coral Windows has been supplying high quality windows, doors and conservatories.

And now the Bradford based company has launched an innovative product promising a “new era in home security”.

Its new Coral SmartFrame was launched at the end of December and is described as “discreet smart technology with built-in protection”.

The company says: “Fitted as standard to your new windows and doors is a smart sensor with 24/7 monitoring. When paired with the smart hub, the frame sensor(s) provides instant alerts when the window or door has been opened or closed. With built-in tamper vibration protection, any unusual behaviour will also send an instant alert, and trigger the alarm alerting you of a potential problem.

When leaving your property, the sensor will also send a useful reminder to close any open window(s) or door(s). The smart system connects directly to your home internet and is set up and controlled via a smartphone.”

Coral Windows founder John Valente said: “I think for us and for the industry it is revolutionary. It is something that no other glazing company that we know of in the UK is offering.”

The company prides itself on its innovation and it has a strong record on security. Just seven years after its 1990 launch it went into a partnership with West Yorkshire Police, after months of extensive research and testing of security measures on windows and doors.

Coral Windows developed a new locking system after working with crime prevention and was accredited by the force. The company developed a close partnership with the police, in a move which saw 80 Bradford division vehicles bear Coral Windows branding to highlight the relationship.

“We worked really closely with West Yorkshire police. I think we are probably still the only company who has ever been in partnership with them,” John said. “It was a big achievement, and we were very proud of it at the time.

 “The Telegraph and Argus did an editorial showing all the police vehicles in West Yorkshire with our name on the side of them.”

As well as their focus on production techniques and security they have put customer service at the heart of everything they do.

John was inspired to set the company up because he wanted to give customers a better experience than that being offered by some other businesses.

John said: “I had worked for another company many years before and saw that the service they were giving, and the product, wasn’t what I expected people should get.

“I thought – as you do – ‘Ok, I think I can make changes to things and make improvements to give a better experience.”

The company, which started at Perseverance Mill in Wibsey, and is now based in Coral Mill on Halifax Road, is very much a family firm – involving John’s wife Sharon, both his sons Loreto and Jordan, his daughter Sarah and his grandson Joshua.

John’s fellow director Margaret Oates is not a family member but has been with the company for 17 years and says everyone at the business was friendly and welcoming from the very beginning

“It’s very good working with John – he’s a very good mentor,” she added.

“His door is always open to all his personnel. I can definitely say that he’s a very, very honourable man.”

To begin with Coral Windows supplied the trade.

John said: “We stopped supplying the trade back in 2008 – we wanted to take the products right from our manufacture here right through to our end user so we went all retail.

“We found that a lot easier because you’ve got control. So you know if there’s a problem it’s your problem and you’ve got to deal with it.”

With more than 30 years of experience and knowledge in the home improvement industry the company has built a strong reputation and become an established customer favourite across Yorkshire. It prides itself on providing homes with market-leading products and exceptional customer service.

John said: “One of the USPs we had and we still have is that we’re the only company that we know of that never takes a deposit or a staged payment. So that we do all the work first.”

He said the idea behind this was to give customers peace of mind especially during recessions.

“There were a lot of companies that went bust and people lost their money and lost confidence. So our USP was that we were going to make sure that nobody was ever worried about us. The day they paid their money the job had already been installed and finished.”

The system worked well and the company has retained the same ethos throughout its 33 years.

Margaret reiterated that there were no payments until the customer was satisfied and in addition she said Coral Windows does not have any telephone canvassers.

“We are not the type of company that cajoles you or tries to drag you out of the house to get the deal. All our customers contact coral on a voluntary basis,” she said.

John said every potential customer who approached the company was doing so because of a recommendation or because they had seen them advertised.

“There is no pressure selling – we just don’t have it,” he said.

This, combined with the ethos of doing all the work before taking any payment, has built strong trust with customers.

“We are totally the opposite of how people perceive double glazing companies,” John said.

“I personally wouldn’t give my money to anybody unless I had seen the work done – but unfortunately nowadays kitchen companies and window companies are taking such large deposits that people are exposed – and then the company goes or they don’t fulfil what they promised.”

Margaret stressed: “We like to give peace of mind to our customers that we stand by what we say.”

Even the company’s logo – a coral fish – points to this ethos. Coral fish have a mutually beneficial relationship with coral reefs.

“We look after you, you look after us,” John said. “You get us recommendations and we do the job. And it’s worked. Fifty per cent, if not more, of our work is from recommendations.”

The power of recommendation has kept the company going through recessions, Brexit, Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

Today Coral Windows has about 150 personnel – many of whom have worked for the company for more than 25 years. When John started the business, he knew it would grow – but he didn’t want unrestrained growth.

“The goal was to grow the company to a certain size, but not go massive. If you look at a lot of companies over the years, they come in, they blitz the market, they expand hugely and quickly and then they disappear.

“I knew there was a certain level we could get to and I’m happy with that. Because with us manufacturing our own products I can keep my eye on everything. If you go too big you lose a little bit of control.

“The goal was never to get too big. I feel the size we’re at is – you know the phrase ‘big enough to cope, small enough to care’. That’s where we’ve always been positioned.”

Part of this caring is to offer a complete service to customers, with the full project being handled by Coral from start to finish.

“It’s a one stop shop,” John said. “So, if you come to us we’ll do the planning application from the beginning. We’ll handle it from the planning right through to design, manufacture, installation, the electrics, tiling, and plastering.”

“But we don’t decorate,” he laughed.

Coral Windows has invested millions of pounds in machinery over the last few years and is proud of having so many long-serving employees.

It is also proud of its accreditations, including BSI, Federation of Master Builders, and FENSA.

Coral has been voted top rated service provider by Which? Trusted Trader for its windows, doors, conservatories, orangeries and extensions.

John is a firm believer in having his business independently assessed. The company pays a fee to the consumer protection association BSI which then randomly selects a sample of customers, without any control from Coral itself.

“We like to have that done because it keeps us on our toes,” John said.

Coral is also endorsed by Which and it partners with trading standards.

“We invite ourselves into these situations – it isn’t that they come to us,” John explained. “When you are in partnership with these organisations, they’re quite disciplined with you. They do make sure the consumer comes first and foremost. And that’s what we want to happen.”

Over a number of years, the company has consistently had a high score of 99.9 percent from its own customer sample base.

John said the fact that Coral is a family firm with a close-knit team was a big factor in this.

“There’s obviously a lot of experience here. A lot of people who know what they’re doing and know what the company’s ethos is. We’re also very hands on. There isn’t something that goes on here that we wouldn’t know about.”

Coral is also proud of being a local, Yorkshire firm.

John said: “We cover from South Yorkshire up to North Yorkshire, across to Hull and we’ve got showrooms at Wakefield, Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield and Huddersfield.

“But we don’t want to go too big or go too far, because if somebody rings up and they need something doing we want to be close enough to respond quickly.”

He added: “The warranty we give is probably one of the longest in the industry as well. It’s a 15-year warranty – and the good thing is once you’ve been going for a few years, people know your warranty is worth it. Some companies give a 15-year warranty and they are only here for five minutes, they’re not worth anything.”

Coral is also a long-standing supporter of sport in the area, with a focus now on helping the smaller, more local teams.

“We used to sponsor Bradford City and Bradford Bulls for quite a few years and then we diversified into smaller, local teams that needed a bit of support,” John said.

The Coral Mill head office in Bradford is home to the company’s manufacturing plant and showroom, which is one of the largest in the region.