Frank & Jim’s Inc. has been installing and repairing windows and doors for nearly half a century, based in Pleasantville the whole time.
Still a self-styled mom-and-pop business, Frank & Jim’s is usual in that it isn’t a family business — unless you think of firefighters as one big family.
The business was started in 1965 by Frank Scannapieco, an Atlantic City firefighter. He took on other firefighters as partners, such as James France, who later was chief of the city’s fire department.
The current owners of Frank & Jim’s — David Magill and Michael Quein, both of Galloway Township — joined the Atlantic City fire department in 1973, Magill said.
A couple of years later they started working for Scannapieco on the side, and in 1976 they bought into the business.
Over the next decade, other firefighters came and went in the business, Magill said, and founder Frank Scannapieco left the business in 1990.
“At that point, Michael and I were the remaining partners,” Magill said.
These days, Frank & Jim’s is their primary job, after Magill, 66, retired as a firefighter in 1999 and Quein did the same in 2009.
The firefighter connection continues, though, with Quein’s son, Greg, of Absecon, who is a firefighter at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township and works a couple of days a week in the Pleasantville door and window shop, Magill said.
And a subcontractor who does window work for the firm, Jimmy Marsh, of Northfield, was a firefighter in that city, Magill said.
Stephen Chase, of Ventnor, who runs the shop, is the exception who proves the rule: He’s not a current or former firefighter.
Second jobs among firefighters are common, and online message boards at firefighter sites such as
Firefighters nationwide had median pay of $45,250 in 2010, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics says. Job growth of 9 percent is expected in the decade to 2020, less than in most industries.
Perhaps because of its uniformed-worker influence, Frank & Jim’s takes a very straightforward approach to business.
Magill offered three keys to its lasting success:
- “We try to do things right the first time so people are happy and they’ll refer us to others.”
- The business doesn’t offer “free this or free that” to get customers, “because everybody knows that’s incorporated into the prices.”
- And when Frank & Jim’s gives a price estimate or advertises a price, “that’s it … there’s none of these come-on prices and when you get there they start jacking things up.”
The business also has a reputation for being able to fix many door and window problems, saving customers money over simply replacing with new units, he said.
To that end, it carries a lot of parts, even for discontinued units. So even though storm windows have fallen out of favor (replaced by a decade-long trend toward insulated glass windows alone), Frank & Jim’s still stocks storm windows and fixes most of them too, he said.
The business model has worked for five decades, and the firm is busy year-round and very busy right now. Custom-made screens for sliding doors are popular.
“We’ve made it through good times and tough times, and we’re still here. A lot of others have come and gone,” Magill said.
In the future, there might be room at Frank & Jim’s for another dedicated worker.
“If somebody comes along who is interested, a younger person, we might be interested in taking them on and giving them a future in the business,” Magill said.
Being a firefighter isn’t required, but it probably couldn’t hurt.
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