Hardware and the Contract Glazier
A Tribute to the Small Guy ...
Let Us Not Forget Our Roots
by John Linder
One of the many reasons I usually look forward to reading USGlass
magazine is for its great editorial content. I know we all appreciate the
important need of the technical articles and the information presented to
keep us all up on the newest trends and latest industry innovations, but I
also think Dez Farnady, Max Perilstein and Paul Bieber bring a lot to the
table with their articles on real life issues and the situations we all
encounter in our businesses. Even that guy Lyle R. Hill does an okay job
every now and then.
I well remember in the October 2003 issue of USGlass magazine a
glowing tribute was given to the Fuldners (then current owners of EFCO)
that reflected upon the past 50 years with EFCO (see October 2003 USGlass,
There have been previous tributes to our industry giants over the years,
but it is seldom I ever see mention of the many s m a l l e r glass and
glazing contractors who constitute the very backbone of our industry. In
our company, the glass and glazing storefront business accounts for nearly
75 percent of our total business sales. This figure includes both the many
small and large glazing contractors, and many aluminum storefront OEMs.
The reason for this is because our company’s roots come from the
storefront industry. My father came out of the Marine Corps in 1948 and
became a glazier with the old Republic Glass and, later, at Downey Glass
with the Penske brothers. He later founded U.S. Aluminum Corp. and I have
many memories of working several long, hot summers as I learned to
fabricate and assemble storefront doors.
THE TOUGH GET GOING
Our company’s new distribution facility in Orange, Calif., is in a great
location. We have many glazing contractors in the greater L.A. area who
come to call on us for product. These are glaziers who possess great
mechanical skills, honed by decades of a hard work ethic and experience.
These hardworking businessmen have ridden the many ups and downs of the
industry and economy, and have persevered. These are the small guys who
purchase and install the aluminum and the glass produced b y EFCO,
Vistawall, Kawneer and many others, thus allowing the industry giants to
flourish and enjoy their success. Without these many small glazing
contractors the business would be sorely lacking, both in survivability
and in its very character. These people are the real giants of our
Our storefront business is quite different from our builder’s hardware
business and in most instances we are able to communicate directly with
the business owner and able to feel a part of our customers’ businesses.
This is one of the few industries where a man’s word is still credible
and has real meaning. It really can be “taken to the bank at the end of
LISTEN WHEN YOU CAN
We spend a lot of time talking with, and learning from, our many old
storefront customers at our company. We value their input and we go to
great lengths to work with them. This should be true for any successful
business: always take the time to listen to your customers and then react
accordingly.” The ongoing success of Calibre, as well as of many other
companies, can be attributed directly to the many small, medium and large
glazing contractors throughout the United States. If we are going to be
paying tributes, then please let us not forget the small guy.
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