It may have always seemed a bit absurd, perhaps, for a window and door manufacturer to own a ski resort, water park and golf course.
But for 16 years, Oregon-based window-and-doors company Jeld-Wen has owned the Silver Mountain Resort in Kellogg, Idaho.
“They got into the resort marketplace in Central Oregon in the early ’80s with a resort called Eagle Crest, and just expanded,” says Neal Scholey, director of marketing and sales at Silver. Back then, it aligned naturally with the Jeld-Wen business model: Those who built a house near a Jeld-Wen community, Scholey says, would get a discount on the windows and doors.
But now, despite having one of its best years in decades, Silver is for sale.
Last year, Jeld-Wen went through a maelstrom of business troubles due to the collapse of the housing market: plants were closed, workers were laid off, stock sales were frozen and retirement payouts were cut. For a time, stock given to workers was essentially worthless.
Jeld-Wen’s savior came in the form of a Canadian private equity firm, the Onex Corporation, which bought out much of Jeld-Wen’s business and replaced its executive. But a new controlling interest meant new philosophy, one that wanted to focus mostly on, well, windows and doors. Silver goes up for auction, in a sealed bid auction, next month.
It’s likely, Scholey says, that Silver’s water park, golf course and ski resort could each be purchased by separate owners.
“We’ve had people look at the property say, ‘I’m a ski resort operator, but I don’t know a thing about running a water park,’” Scholey says.
The improvement of the ski area has mostly been on pause since the recession began, but a new owner could change that.
“It’s likely that a purchaser for the ski area will be well-capitalized and do on-mountain improvements,” Scholey says. “There’s a vision in place.”