Under the Glass
At the tender age of 12, Ted Redlarski ran his first business: a small shop repairing bikes. It was a first money-maker. Later, while still in college (age 19), he became one of the youngest company presidents in his native Poland to helm a construction company.
As 2017 approaches, the name of Ottawa’s oldest, largest and most diversified glass company is taking on new meaning. Centennial Glass is about to enter the second half of its first century – it’s 50th anniversary – and it’s thriving under careful management that welcomes new efficiencies while maintaining quality workmanship and excellence in customer service.
There was a chocolate cake on a side table at the Glass 8 office at the eastern edge of Winnipeg. It said ‘Congratulations, Glass 8’ in blue icing. It was explained that the cake was a gift from a client. Not bad for a Thursday.
When National Contract Glazing’s John Bastedo is asked what’s unique about the company, he doesn’t hesitate. “It’s the people,” the vice-president states firmly. “We have a process to put a job through, with many people involved. Each job is passed on, and this keeps us on top of jobs and also shows contractors we are on top of things, which builds our credibility. We are proud of our excellent track record of project completions ranging from less complex store-fronts and entranceways, to multi-story, multi-phase contracts in both the private and public sector.”
In my previous two columns I told you about Fred Fulton’s early days in Toronto, his beginnings in the industry with Pilkington Glass, the start up of Sealite Glass, and the establishment of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada.
There are many stories out there of businesses with humble beginnings that went on to become major success stories. These stories have some elements in common – hard work, risk-taking, seizing opportunity and forging new ways forward, just to name a few. While some business histories may add in these elements, embellishing here and there, all of these elements and more are truly part of the story of Windsor, Ont.-based Contract Glaziers, which began in 1971 as Windsor Glass.
It’s a tough world out there. Margins are tight, clients are demanding, suppliers can be unreliable and the competition bloodthirsty.
It’s no small feat managing a manufacturing and glazing contracting business in today’s construction market.
It was spring, 1960, in the city of the Golden Boy, the longitudinal centre of North America.
In 2009, Thomas Martini, president of western Canada-based glass fabricator Vitrum Glass Group, realized the potential for aluminum extruded products in the Pacific Northwest and founded Apex Aluminum Extrusions.
Celebrating 47 years of in the glass industry, Border Glass is proud to be a successful, third-generation family-owned business.
Growing into a healthy business is a fine thing, but no one ever said it was easy.
Amid the vineyards in Beamsville, Ont., between Hamilton and St. Catharines, about an hour south of Toronto, sits one of the great success stories in Canadian glazing.
I don’t even know what a regular glass shop looks like,” admits Scotty Cooke. Cooke has some important role at Optimum Glass Studios, but it is hard to tell what it is because no one at Optimum has familiar titles.
So often in life and business, we are tempted by the easy way out. We can always see the right path, the path of integrity and correct action, but so many attractive shortcuts present themselves.
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