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The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Stephanie Vanderbilt, owner of Beverly’s Coastal Windows & Exteriors, the Massachusetts Small Businessperson of the Year for 2024. She celebrated this achievement this past weekend at the agency’s awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. alongside fellow honorees from all 50 states.

“Standing among such innovative and driven business leaders has been profoundly inspiring,” Vanderbilt says. “Being acknowledged by the SBA is a reminder that dedication and hard work do indeed pay off, and it encourages us to keep striving for excellence.”

The event kicked off National Small Business Week, an annual event acknowledging the hard work, innovation, and contributions of the country’s 33 million small businesses. The SBA is a federal government agency that offers services, funding, and resources to these entrepreneurs.

Vanderbilt and her husband David launched their business in 2011. As they laid plans for their new enterprise, Vanderbilt was adamant that the business be focused on core values of education, empathy, and service. A former teacher of hearing impaired students, Vanderbilt wanted to organize her new business around the same principles that drove her previous career.

“Once a teacher, always a teacher,” Vanderbilt says.

At the beginning, the company worked out of a small warehouse space, focusing almost exclusively on windows, before expanding into doors, siding, and roofing. “Our customers asked for more,” Vanderbilt says.

As the business grew it moved into the Cummings Center in Beverly, eventually opening a retail storefront in downtown Beverly just weeks before COVID shut things down in 2020. That period turned out to be unexpectedly fruitful, however, as many people stuck in their homes undertook projects to improve their properties.

Vanderbilt says she owes her win to her grit and resilience, as well as her determination to run a compassionate, family-oriented business that deals with customers honestly and respectfully. The company calls its sales staff “ambassadors,” she says, because their jobs are more about building productive relationships than about scoring a sale. She routinely shares her phone number with clients and fields text questions every day.

The company also prides itself on its strong community giving programs. Coastal Windows & Exteriors operates Roofs for Heroes, a program donating both materials and labor to provide free roof replacements for U.S. veterans. The company has also worked closely with Habitat for Humanity, donating $375,000 in products and services over the years, and more than 3,000 pounds of food to the food pantries at the Open Door in Gloucester and Beverly Bootstraps.

It has sometimes been challenging to be a woman in a male-dominated industry, Vanderbilt says, but she has stuck to her values throughout. And it has not escaped notice by customers or the business community.

“She has demonstrated a willingness to go above and beyond to serve her customers in a non-traditional business for women,” says Michael Bevilacqua, vie president of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, which nominated Vanderbilt for the SBA honor. “As a leader of products and services, she has demonstrated that a woman-led firm can be the finest example of small business in Massachusetts and America.”

Learn more about Coastal Windows & Exteriors at