What began as a trickle 50 years ago has cascaded into something considerably bigger at Metropolitan Glass Inc. (MGI). From its humble beginnings of just two employees, the Denver-based commercial glazing contractor had morphed into a well-known name in the industry by the time it recently celebrated its 50th year of business in March.
Steady leadership, a shared vision and a steadfast commitment to only the highest quality work has helped the company weather adversity of all kinds for a half century.
That’s just what MGI founders Donald (Sam) Smith and Gene Goldsworth had in mind when they first decided to band together and try their luck.
“From its inception, the business has been run the right way by smart people who did the right things at the right times,” says sales manager Marty Richardson. “Because of that, we’ve been able to weather all the storms that have come our way and be successful.”
Incorporated in 1964, MGI’s early work consisted of furnishing and installing very simple glass and aluminum products for convenience stores, gas stations, small offices, and supplying thousands of pieces of glass shelving, binning and mirrors for fixture companies. Today, the company provides and installs products for a wide variety of project types, including commercial doors and windows, skylights, decorative and architectural glass, curtainwall and glass wall systems, glass doors and window wall systems and glass storefronts.
The wide range of MGI’s work can be seen in some of the biggest projects in Colorado and throughout the region. Some of the company’s previous efforts include the DaVita world headquarters in Denver, Prologis global headquarters in Denver, ESPN Zone in Denver and the Colorado state capitol among others.
Now with 75 employees, MGI did a robust $15.5 million in net sales in 2013, according to Richardson. It still pales somewhat in comparison to the more than $20 million the company was seeing annually prior to the economic meltdown that crippled the nation’s economy starting in 2008.
But unlike many of its contemporaries, MGI withstood the adversity and continues to stand strong.
“We’re still not quite up to where we were in 2008, but we’re getting back,” Richardson says. “We should be close by the end of this year.”
The company’s expertise has grown exponentially over the years, allowing it to furnish and install glass-related products in complex projects involving high engineering standards, demanding specifications and sophisticated products.
Richardson says that challenges still remain, not the least of which will be to continue seeking the kind of highly-qualified employees needed to maintain the company’s high standards and commitment to quality. The recent economic downturn ravaged the industry, forcing many laborers from the construction and the ancillary industries that depend on it to seek new work altogether.
Richardson sounds confident MGI will continue making the right decisions along the way, much in the same manner it has for the previous 50 years.
“We’ve done pretty good so far,” he says.