Adaptability, diversification drive growth for Maryland glass company
Twenty-five years ago, Go-Glass Corp. in Salisbury, Md., started as Salisbury Glass Co. with five employees. Today, the now Go-Glass employs about 90 and operates eight locations in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. -By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter Editor, e-glass weekly
President Doug Linderer attributes much of the company’s success to the management team’s ability to recognize growth opportunities in each market, allowing for diversification.
“We’re highly diversified now, but that happened over time,” Linderer says. “We actually began the business as full-line wholesale and had a retail center. … As the business has matured, we’ve grown into other segments.”
The company expanded into auto, home and business segments, offering products and services from windshield replacement and repair, to custom shower doors and mirrors.
Linderer says he relies on his managers to identify many of these growth opportunities. “Our Salisbury manager, Dreux Campbell recognized the burgeoning heavy shower door market early in the game and has almost single-handedly grown that product segment from nothing to one of our most significant profit centers,” Linderer says.
Go-Glass has most recently expanded into the builder service market, providing flat glass products to residential developers in the area. “Around 2001, we could see that the residential market was really hot. So, we made the decision to have a separate division for niche residential,” Linderer says.
Vice President Jim Hansen led the company to carry products to serve the builder market that is not normally associated with the glass industry, including bath hardware such as towel bars and soap dishes, screen porches and fireplaces, Linderer says.
Go-Glass’ adaptability has become just as important as its ability to grow and change into new segments, Linderer says. So, as the residential market slowed in the last year, the company has been able to switch its focus to other segments to compensate.
Along with adaptability, understanding limitations is critical for a rapidly diversifying company, Linderer says. “We have to be flexible and have to open our eyes to finding niches,” he says. “But we need to make sure we don’t stray too far from our core skill set. We have to take into account our workforce’s capability, and be able to provide training.”
Linderer says he can’t begin to forecast where Go-Glass or the industry will be in another 25 years. However, he suspects that successful companies in coming years will be those that find ways to deal with the industry’s growing labor shortage.
“Successful companies in the future are going to have systematic ways of getting, training and keeping people,” he says.
-By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter Editor, e-glass weekly