March 2007

The Tale of Two Hurrricane Proof Cities

Author: Tommy Bastek

This month I had the honor and privilege of sitting down with Don and Mary Lou a.k.a. Lulu Westhoven, owners of Low Country Solar, Storm and Security Window Film. They have been in business for seven years, operating out of Hilton Head Island and Naples.

“Wait a second,” I asked, “Naples, Florida?”

Lulu beamed, “Yep!”

“Well, how many miles do you have on your car?” I asked.

Don chimed in, “We bought a brand new truck Memorial Day weekend and we have 21,000 miles on it already.”

“Why do they do it, and how? I wondered.”

Don, who is originally from the Toledo, Ohio area, was working down in Florida installing window film. Lulu was there from Cape Cod working in the window film industry as well. Eventually business brought them both to Hilton Head. Perhaps it was the romantic enchantment of the island, but they started dating and eventually married. They now run Low Country Solar, Storm, and Security Window Film here on Hilton Head and 3S High Impact Window Film in Naples. Or you might say it [the business] runs them. They work both markets simultaneously year round, but the busy seasons are opposite. This allows Don and Lulu to keep their wits about them, to a certain degree.

Don’s initial attraction to Naples came through his parents who were there for a long time. When business got slow for him, his dad would get him to work down there to keep busy. By operating two separate businesses, the Westhovens can stay busy year round, which helps keep their prices low, Don explained.

Besides the ton of time they spend running their businesses 24/7, the husband and wife work harmoniously without driving each other crazy. How do they do it? According to Lulu, she is boss (As a married man, who am I to argue?) She sets up all of Don’s installations, so she knows exactly where he is at all times. This works out well for her, because even if she’s on the beach, Don thinks she’s on sales calls, she joked. Seriously, they both attribute their success to the fact that they love the business. And since they were working together before they were married, they knew what they were getting into.

In his spare time, Don enjoys golf. And the two of them, when they have it, spend their time together traveling and grilling out.

If you’re unfamiliar with window film, it does just what it promises: keeps out harmful UV rays, withstands winds up to 144 mph, and can even keep thieves from breaking in.

“What about golf balls?” I asked.

“We had a lady who had a golf ball stuck right in the window film. She thought it was so cool she left it there until the glass could be replaced. And it didn’t splinter or crack at all,” said Lulu.

“Sounds like the two of you make a pretty good team; but Don, I still don’t want to see your honey-do list at home,” I said.

“Oh, it isn’t too bad,” said Lulu, “but we do have the dirtiest windows on the block!”

“Don,” I said, “sum up your relationship for me in two words.”

“Busy and satisfying,” he replied.

Although they have tinted film on their windows at home, they clearly see eye to eye.

Lowcountry Solar, Storm & Security Window Film

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