30 Years of Top 50 Glaziers
Three decades demonstrate a growth industry
Glass Magazine’s annual Top 50 Glaziers celebrates its 30th anniversary with this year’s report. That’s three decades of tracking the impressive evolution and growth of the U.S. glazing market.
The report was first published in 1992 with the goal of highlighting leading U.S. glazing contractors, ranked by sales volume. Over the years, it has also become a market study and health check for the domestic glazing market, presenting leading trends, growth segments, industry headwinds and more. Here are a few takeaways from 30 years of Top 50 Glaziers.
A growth industry
Three decades of Top 50 Glaziers demonstrate a growth industry. Even in the face of economic setbacks—including the early 2000s recession following the dotcom bubble burst and 9/11, the Great Recession beginning in 2008, and the recent turmoil caused by COVID-19—U.S. glazing market sales continue to trend upward. Consider, in the first decade of the Top 50 report, combined non-inflation adjusted gross sales for Top 50 companies hovered around $1 billion. In this year’s report, combined sales reach $3.8 billion, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels.
More glass, better glass
At the root of the growth in the U.S. glazing market during the past 30 years are design trends for more value-added glass, often in larger sizes, in more places on a building. Glaziers point to increasing demand for high-performance products, jumbo sizes, interior installations, specialty glasses and more. For example, in this year’s survey, 63 percent of companies worked on a project with curved or bent glass, 59 percent worked on a project with jumbo glass, and 44 percent worked on a project with bird-friendly glass.
Back when Glass Magazine launched Top 50 Glaziers, companies were still writing estimates and take-offs by hand. Processes are now online and interconnected across project teams. Additionally, glaziers are adopting new digital tools and software for better project delivery. In this year’s survey, 60 percent of companies report using 3D modeling, and 67 percent of companies report investing in new software during the previous year.
A business of legacy companies
Top 50 captures many of the same U.S. glazing leaders year after year. Two glazing firms have been Top 50 Glaziers every year since the program began: Harmon Inc., which captured this year’s No. 1 spot, and Karas & Karas Glass Co., No. 10 on this year’s list. Giroux Glass has appeared in 29 of the 30 Top 50 Glaziers lists. Haley Greer Inc. and TSI Corporations have made the ranking 26 times, and Ajay Glass Co., 25 times. An impressive 19 companies have made the list at least 20 times.
A note of thanks
Thank you to the glazing firms that contribute to the Top 50 Glaziers survey year after year. It is only with your participation that we’re able to compile this comprehensive market report to present to the wider industry, at no cost. And thank you to Glass Magazine’s Associate Editor Norah Dick, who has been at the helm of the Top 50 report since 2017.