By Thomas Berger
July 5, 2022

The Womble Company celebrates 100 years

Edmond residents Andy & Ainslee Crum, owners of The Womble Company, celebrate 100 years in business throughout 2022.
Andy and Ainslee Crum, co-owners at The Womble Company. (Photo: Thomas Berger)

It’s often been said when God closes a door, He opens a window. 

This ages-old adage speaks of how lost opportunities can often give rise to new ones. It is also the story of The Womble Company, celebrating 100 years in business this year.

According to Edmond resident Ainslee Crum, co-owner of The Womble Company with her husband Andy, the closing of doors four decades ago led to a new approach to business, allowing the organization to be a thriving company, and ultimately saving the business.

Founded by family

Crum’s great grandfather, Murry R. Womble, an orphan, founded the company in Tulsa as a commercial hardware and building supply company in 1922. 

“They sold everything from skylights to gym flooring and lockers to hardware sets and strike plates,” said Crum. 

Her great grandfather’s company even installed the skylight that once sat atop the Oklahoma capitol building to protect the stained glass before the dome was built. The business also sold and installed the windows on Tulsa’s famed Boston Avenue Methodist Church.

The Womble Company began selling commercial steel windows after World War II, expanding in the 1940s and 1950s to add several other commercial product lines. By 1949, the business had grown to cover the whole state, and an additional office opened in Oklahoma City.

In the early 1970s, The Womble Company partnered with Pella Windows and Doors to begin offering Pella products that the company still sells. 

“One of the big things my dad said was critical to this company and its history is that it was 100 percent commercial, and they installed everything. So that was their business model,” said Crum, saying residential work was not a primary part of the business.

A time of uncertainty

The Womble Company Oklahoma City office. (Photo: Thomas Berger)

The Womble Company had just established its current Oklahoma City metro location in the early 1980s when Penn Square Bank failed and the oil bust hit. Many businesses were closing their doors. The Womble Company was left with two dozen installers, significant inventory, and no commercial jobs.

Crum recalls her grandfather saying how the company had to survive for the 26 families in the company depending on him. It was then that The Womble Company abandoned its “commercial only” business model and began selling and installing Pella products for residences.

“What drove my grandfather, uncle, and dad—and what drives us—is the idea of service above self,” said Crum. “The whole idea is not only serving our customers but serving our employees and their families as well.”

Since then, the business has passed to Crum’s father and uncle and eventually to Crum and her husband. It has grown to 76 employees with more than 85 percent residential business.

The new generation 

This year, The Womble Company received national recognition for its sales and service by winning Pella’s President’s Club Award for 2021 as Top Branch Performer in Replacement, despite the recent pandemic challenges.

“It’s not just about the sales numbers; it’s about the service and the excellence of our team and being able to execute, despite all the headaches with supply chain issues, that lead us to Pella’s President’s Award,” said Crum. 

This idea of service inspired the Crums to celebrate a century in business by giving $100,000 to local Oklahoma nonprofits, selecting a different charity each month to receive donations.

The company has long given back to the community, primarily through installing new Pella doors and windows for individuals in need or organizations like The Hope House, a transitional living home, and Fostering Sweet Dreams, an Edmond-based organization that provides bedding for foster children.

Going big to give back

To celebrate their major anniversary this year, instead of just giving away window and door replacements, The Womble Company is providing new opportunities.

“We wanted to come up with other ways to serve throughout the year that don’t require just installing windows,” Crum said. 

Instead, the company has been volunteering, giving donations, and forming partnerships with organizations doing good in the community.

This year, The Womble Company is joining Focus on Home in their annual Design Appétit fundraising event, showcasing tables decorated by interior designers and dinner provided by area chefs. Focus on Home will receive all event proceeds to fund its mission to outfit new homes for women and children transitioning from violent situations or homelessness.

“We’re going to add a new feature to the event this year, a luncheon, and call it Design through the Decades, celebrating the last 100 years of design,” said Crum. 

The luncheon, scheduled for September 8, will feature interior designer, HGTV host, and lifestyle expert Breegan Jane as a guest speaker.

Throughout 2022, The Womble Company also plans to donate to the City Rescue Mission, Infant Crisis Center, Revitalizing T-Town, Cavett Kids, Positive Tomorrows, Susan G. Komen, and Rebuilding Together OKC, among other charities.

“The idea is to create different opportunities to give to various charities that mean something personally to us or someone at our company,” said Crum. 

Continuing the legacy

Andy Crum, Ainslee’s husband and co-owner of The Womble Company, said his love for Oklahoma and the community drives him as an owner.

“Ainslee and I both grew up in Oklahoma. I love Oklahoma. I’ve raised my kids here being a part of the community,” he said. “It gives me a sense of pride in being one of the oldest companies in Oklahoma.” 

Crum said he and his wife’s desire going forward is not only to continue the family legacy but to make it bigger and better.

“It’s about our family, our employees—the people that work for us,” he said. “I think watching their lives be better and seeing them having stability, goals, challenges, and growth with us is the passion.”

Ainslee said running The Womble Company has its challenges like any other business.

“I wouldn’t say that I love all the challenges. But to some extent, I think some of the challenges create opportunities. The way I look at it, just like they did it back in the ’80s when they had to figure out how to make this work, I love the challenge of figuring out how we will make this better,” she said.

“I think at the end of the day, we try to answer the number one question, ‘How do we make it work so that these families have a job and that we can create something bigger than us?'”

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About Thomas Berger

Thomas Berger is the owner of Ciskus Creative, an Edmond-based creative agency focused on creating marketing content for small and medium-sized businesses.

Prior to starting his own company, he worked as the communications/marketing specialist for an Oklahoma City-based office technology company. Former to coming to the Oklahoma City area, he had worked as a career journalist for more than a decade — initially reporting for several newspapers in western North Carolina and northeastern Oklahoma and later as a multimedia journalist for KJRH Channel 2 in Tulsa.

Thomas has lived in Edmond with his wife Alison since 2013. He has a passion for traveling, photography, learning languages, landscaping and coffee roasting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Carolina University.