Under the Glass
You Bet Your Glass: October 2014
By Frank Fulton
By Frank Fulton
It’s no small feat managing a manufacturing and glazing contracting business in today’s construction market.
It’s no small feat managing a manufacturing and glazing contracting business in today’s construction market. It’s a tough business with no shortage of landmines, challenges and highs and lows, but Tony Menecola, president of Applewood Glass and Mirror Inc., has been winning the battles for 35 years now and has no intention of pulling back. Recounts Menecola, “When my dad, Lorenzo and I started Applewood Glass in 1979, I used to fabricate and install windows and entrances by day and look after the books and try to drum up business by night.”
To celebrate the company’s 35th birthday, Tony and his family threw a very classy evening party in July at their 40,000-square-foot facility in Mississauga, Ont. Daughter Jennifer and Tony’s lovely wife, Eva, transformed a big section of the shop into a lavish banquet hall setting complete with catered hot hors d’ouvres, live music, mood lighting, and a fully stocked bar. Son Anthony schmoozed and helped keep things running smoothly. The Menecola’s entertained about 200 guests that evening and the family was very gratified that so many customers, suppliers, employees, family, and friends came to join in on the celebration. Ennio Rea, the OGMA’s designated spokesman at large, entertained the gathering with some appropriately selected humour and filled the role of master of ceremonies, introducing some local political dignitaries.
The speakers included Steve Mahoney, former councilor, MPP, MP, and one of the front-runners for the position of mayor of Mississauga in the upcoming election, and George Carlson who represents Ward 11 on the Regional Municipality of Peel Council. Applewood was also presented with a plaque from current Mississauga mayor, Hazel McCallion, to commemorate its achievement and contributions to the community.
Tony feels his approach to business has had a lot to do with Applewood’s success and longevity. He manages the business in what he calls a “somewhat conservative yet cautiously optimistic and innovative manner.” Controlled steady growth continues to be the plan going forward. Applewood is coming off the best year in its history in 2013 and will exceed its high water mark in 2015. The company currently supports 50 employees and that number is likely to grow with the business. States Menecola, “This year we are focusing our efforts on investing in new equipment for the shop. We have purchased a double-head mitre saw, three new jib cranes, three new conveyor lines for our unitized curtainwall production, a state-of-the-art computerized silicone pump and are anxiously awaiting delivery of a new CNC profile machine.”
In addition to running Applewood Glass, Tony has been deeply involved with the Architectural Glass and Metal Contractors Association (AGMCA) for the past twenty years, having served as president for two terms and currently filling the V.P. position. He is on the OGATC committee that oversees the training of Glass and Metal Technician apprentices at the OIFSC school, and on the Local Apprentice Committee which monitors the apprentices and ensures they complete their training. He is also on the negotiating committee representing unionized glazing contractor employers.
Looking back over the past 35 years, many projects come to mind but Menecola is most proud of the curtainwall they did for BMW’s flagship showroom in Toronto, a magnificent façade viewed by thousands of people daily. He also takes great pride in the production facility he purchased in Mississauga five years ago and of all the renovations he took on to turn the place into an attractive and finely tuned, efficient operation.
Tony continues to love the business and looks forward to facing the new challenges that arise every day. Thanks to his conservative and detailed approach and relentless work ethic, the future is looking bright for Applewood Glass and Mirror.
Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting. He has been in the industry for 30 years and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org