Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 8, 2008

Echo Windows, Republic Windows – A Puzzle

Who extended credit to the former Republic Windows people, now known as Echo Windows, to buy an Iowa company and factory, while letting them shut down the Illinois factory and lay off 300-some workers? I’d really like to know. Anyone out there savvy enough to do some digging and find out?

Nov. 18, 2008: principals of Republic Windows form Echo Windows LLC.
Chicago Tribune: “People who apparently have ties to the financially strapped Republic Windows formed a limited liability corporation in Illinois last month, Echo Windows & Doors…. Sharon Gillman, who shares an address with Republic President and CEO Rich Gillman, is listed as an officer of Echo Windows & Doors LLC, which was incorporated in Illinois on Nov. 18, according to secretary of state records.”

Dec. 4, 2008: Republic Windows announces closing.
By Mary Ellen Podmolik | Tribune reporter: “Republic Windows & Doors will shut its doors Friday, causing about 300 workers to lose their jobs..”

Dec. 4, 2008 (SAME DAY!!!): Echo Windows BUYS a division of window manufacturer TRACO and a factory in Iowa.
“TRACO has announced the sale of its residential vinyl replacement division to Echo Windows LLC. Echo Windows will assume all TRACO residential vinyl manufacturing and sales operations, and will continue manufacturing TRACO’s Sienna Series and Power Two composite vinyl/aluminum windows in the Red Oak, Iowa, facility, which was purchased as part of the agreement.

MY QUESTION: WHO financed the purchase of the TRACO division by Echo (formerly Republic)? Was it…BofA? In other words, was BofA part of the bamboozle that Republic is playing on it’s workers? Either way, Republic should be ashamed and held liable. And BofA should cough up some dough.



  1. Very interesting…

  2. I’ve noticed everyone talking but Republic and Echo. Why aren’t they answering the basic questions? Is anyone trying to contact them? I would not assume BofA is guilty or innocent yet until I’ve heard from Republic/Echo on financing etc.

  3. Rich, you’re right. There certainly isn’t much I have seen or found out about Echo Windows, LLC, other than what I’ve linked to. Who DID finance them? Was it private Gilman money? Or a bank loan? Don’t know…. Republic provided a time-line of sorts that was made public; I put it in one of my posts. But not a lot of detail.

    MY assumptions are that Republic was doing something shady that would have shafted the Illinois workers – like folding the company without the appropriate severance funds paid to the employees; and that BofA was not acting at least in the “spirit” of the recovery and bailout, which is to EXTEND credit, not tighten it. The tightening MAY have been valid, but my guess is…NOT.


  5. Hey dell…when they ripped you off, did they take your CAPS LOCK BUTTON with them? Just kidding… But apparently a lot of people feel the way you do about BofA. Personally, I’ve had mixed experiences with them – some good, some bad. Once I learn more about this particular BofA transaction, my opinion of them may be the same as yours. Just not in all caps. : )

  6. […] and the UE.  We know that the company had planned to close this shop, take their equipment, and re-open in Iowa as the newly formed “Echo Window and Doors”.  The big question is […]

  7. I am a former Republic Rep. I, unfortunately, am out about $3,000, of which better than half was for out of pocket expenses. Despite this, and the fact that I am out of a job (for the first time in my life) I do not understand the obsession with the Republic failure and loss of 300 jobs. Each and every day there are bigger companies announcing more significant job losses and somehow the target remains on Republic. The biggest loser in this sad story is the Gillman family. They funded the aquisition of this company in ’06 and tried to turn it around. Little did they know they were polishing the brass on the titanic. If we learn nothing else from the big three auto failures, we should learn that unions, though often very usefull, can be the ruination of a company and that debt is the worst four letter word. So, as I sit here deciding which job to take after the first, I am not at all bitter. BTW, the reason that I am choosing my next job is I got down to the business of job search rather than crawl into a fetal positon and whine.

    As for the financing, I believe it was all private. I am certain it was not B of A.

    • Thanks for your comment and input. I definitely appreciate it, as it adds some perspective that seemed to be sorely lacking during the whole situation: that of Republic Windows itself. Gillman himself seemed to be eerily silent. But for good reason, apparently. Check out these links at the end of this reply.

      The good stuff is this:

      …Republic’s chief executive, Richard Gillman, demanded that any new bank loan to help the employees also cover the lease of several of his cars — a 2007 BMW 350xi and a 2002 Mercedes S500 are among those registered to company addresses — as well as eight weeks of his salary, at $225,000 a year.

      I guess his thinking was that if the workers are going to get theirs, then he might as well get his, too! Nice. So, first he shafts the workers of it, then wants to latch on.

      I’m glad you landed on your feet. By “rep,” I take it you mean that you were a salesperson? But I wonder if you were implying that the workers who staged the sit-in were curling up in a fetal position and whining. Because I see what they did as quite the opposite, as admirable. They stood up, not curled up. They demanded their due, they weren’t whining. But maybe that’s not what you meant; I hope not. You probably meant to contrast yourself with people who DO curl up in a fetal position and whine when they get hit with trouble. These workers clearly did not do that.

      Check out this blog post:

      And this NY Times article:

    • There may be an interesting development re Republic of Windows. I’m asking any former employee to write me at

  8. Yes, I was a salesperson for Republic. I guess my point was lost and for that, I apologize. I will attempt to clarify.

    I feel I had much reason to be angry due to the fact that the Company misreprented their financial condition during the hiring process resulting in me passing on another solid opportunity. In addition, the let me go a week prior to closing while I was out recovering from removal of a brain tumor ( cannot make this stuff up, but the prognosis is for 100 percent recovery and it sounds worse than it was). In addition, the last expense checks I received were returned for insufficient funds. Despite all of the above, I have managed to focus on finding employment and have been offered what seems to be a great position. Time will tell.

    I do not think that the management at Republic is without blame. I just feel that they are being wrongly targeted while other, larger companies are slashing payroll at an alarming rate. How did Republic become the face of Greed? I will bet Gillman lost more money than any exec from Sony (who just slashed 5000 jobs). If Gillman asked for such concessions, and it seems he did, he was wrong. It was wrong. However, I still feel he is being wrongly vilified. Time will tell if I am wrong.

    As for the employees in the factory, I applaud their boldness and effort. It was not them to whom I referred. In general, I feel that we are a nation of whiners waiting for the government to do for us.

    Lastly, I do not think it is appropriate that B of A is forced to give a loan to a company that is failing. The employee bailout, for lack of a better term, was really paid by the american taxpayer and I am not sure that is right. The mechanism is in place for this situation through bankruptcy. Employee pay is typically the first thing paid out. Republic did file for chapter 7 yesterday in accordance with the agreement with B of A.

    • WANTED Window sales people/ reps. Sorry to be making lemon-aid out of others lemons but… We are a window company that has always and will always kept more cash than debt. How else do you take care of your employees and your obligations?

  9. While many other companies are laying off in far greater numbers than Republic, there haven’t been reports of those companies denying their laid-off workers the money that was legally due to them (which isn’t to say that they aren’t. The Republic Windows workers bravely took action (at risk of arrest and who knows what else) to demand that Gillman not be allowed to just leave town without paying them. Other companies might be doing the same thing to their workers, but it was the Republic workers who stood their ground, became a media story, and put Republic and Gillman in the spotlight. It’s quite understandable to me why this one company became such a lightning rod for the country’s attention – especially given that Gillman is obviously pulling a fast one…and seems to have gotten away with it.

    There’s strength in numbers – and that’s part of the benefit of a union. But it doesn’t have to be a union, per se. Salespeople can band together, too, to fight for unpaid commissions or unreimbursed expenses. It’s been done. But it’s not easy, sometimes requiring class-action lawsuits against the company, or other actions. It’s difficult, though, when you don’t have a pre-existing “brother- and sister-hood” to organize and plan an action, and when you don’t have a support system that can help you (like the union could help the factory workers). While many people criticize unions – forgetting that it was really FDR’s government that encouraged the formation of unions to offset the strength of corporate and business owner associations that were forming to control prices and profits during the Great Depression – a union (if you were in one; I’m not, and I’m sure you’re not) would assist someone like you get what you rightfully deserve, such as your expense check funds. Without a union, you’re basically on your own. Some people think it’s fine to be on your own…and I’m okay with that. As Fleetwood Mac sang, “You can go your own way…” That’s America, that’s choice. Me, I think having a group helping “the little guy” – the factory worker, the office or hotel cleaning people, the bus drivers – fight for their money is a good thing. Especially since owners of companies always seem to have more power, more money, more resources, and often more laws on their side, to deny me my money.

    Wouldn’t you be worried if you worked for Gillman’s new company in Iowa, Echo Windows LLC?

    Anyway, thanks again for your input, and good luck with your new gig!

  10. One dealer, a previous Republic customer, told DWM magazine, “It [Republic’s closing] hasn’t impacted our business as we are still doing business with them [Republic].” The dealer, who wished to remain anonymous, then confirmed that they had switched their window business from Republic to Echo.
    When DWM called the Red Oak facility an unidentified representative said, “We have no comment at this time.”

    Anonymous?! Wonder why? Do some homework, look out Iowa

  11. Been trying to locate someone I could contact to get a window replaced that now has moisture between the panes of glass?

    I’m in Michigan and not having much luck.

    Thank you

    • I found out today that Traco commerical window division will make replacement window glass for there Traco residential window customers as a good faith gesture as long as you can show your window guarantee. It’s worth a phone call to see if they would do the same for you.

  12. Echo windows will announce on 2/23/09 that it will close its window factory in red oak Iowa putting about 150 people out of work.

  13. I was shocked to hear that the Red Oak facility is being shut down after being purchased just a few months ago. TRACO had the choice of either selling or shutting the site down. They chose to save the jobs and sell the facility. Not sure what bank would give Echo Windows the financing for the facility but now because of idiot decisions, 100 people have lost their jobs.

  14. The private investor was Bill Smith of Smithfield Properties. When he pulled his additional funding last week Echo had to close.

  15. I have Traco windows all through my house and now my lifetime warranty is gone. Traco gave me Gilmans phone number but he has not returned my call.

    Are any warranty complaint Traco customers having any luck with Echo?

    • Contact the FTC and maybe you will get a response. The number is 1-877-382-4357

  16. Who do I contact for Republic windows warranty and or question about Republic windows (telephone number preferred).

  17. If you are a real estate professional, be really careful in dealing with KoRes Corp. in Weston Florida. Tulio Rodriguez & Monica Cataluna-Shand are shysters and look for anyway to steal ones customers. They attempt to steal your client by requesting their contact information and later contact them behind your back to get them to deal with them directly.

  18. I know this web site offers quality based posts and other information,
    is there any other site which provides such things in quality?

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