Icy Conditions Bring Atlanta Glass Industry to a Halt … Again

Javier Viac’s dedication to the business he owns knows no limits, as evidenced by his answering the phone on Wednesday morning. Located in the northern Atlanta suburb of Suwanee, Sugarloaf Glass Inc. might have been the only glass shop – or business of any kind – to open its doors as a massive ice storm described as potentially “catastrophic” descended upon the entire metropolitan Atlanta area.

Viac, whose company provides 24-hour service, was joined at the shop by three dedicated employees.

“There’s a little ice out there,” he says, “but we have some fabricating to do here today.”

Sugarloaf Glass was the only glass company to answer among the roughly 30 USGlass magazine tried to reach from the Atlanta area. Most had simply closed for the day, either unable or unwilling to temp the treacherous road conditions for the limited amounts of work that could be accomplished anyway.

Several others, such as Ace Glass of Atlanta, tried to make the best of the situation by forwarding their calls home so that company owners and executives could minimize the loss of business the best they could via the telephone and Internet.

Don Arrington, the president of Atlanta-based D&D Glass Inc., says opening his doors for business was “not an option” on Wednesday.

“No sense pushing the envelope,” he says.

This marks the second time in roughly as many weeks that the Atlanta area has been crippled by inclimate weather. Icy road conditions left thousands of motorists stranded along the city’s frozen highways during the last week of January, many of whom later abandoned their cars along the highways to seek shelter from the frigid temperatures. Atlanta is expected to receive nearly an inch of ice from this latest storm.

It was days before Atlanta was up and running again the first time, although warmer temperatures are expected by the weekend to expedite the city’s thawing out.

But Arrington downplayed any potential long-term affects the weather problems could have on glaziers in the region.

“It’s no problem,” he says. “It’s just an act of nature. It just happens here every couple of years. It just happened to have happened twice this year.”

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