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Some glass businesses bustling, others quiet, in Irene’s wake

Post Time:Aug 30,2011Classify:Industry NewsView:62

While Hurricane Irene was not as severe as many forecasters feared, the storm still packed a devastating punch, killing at least 35 in 10 states as it cut a large swath of damage up the East Coast of the country, according to an Aug. 29 USA Today article. Damage varied in the storm's wake, with areas of Vermont and New Jersey still grappling with flooding, and more than 5 million still without power in several states, according to the article.

Glass companies up and down the coast reported various levels of damage, with some shops already experiencing a pick-up in business as clean-up efforts get underway.

Glass Doctor of Westchester, Rockland and The Bronx Counties, N.Y., experienced about 2 feet of flooding in the shop and lost power. However, power has been restored, and the flood water receded late Sunday, says Paul Tetro, owner. "We were prepared for flooding and expected it. We are located in an area that does flood, so we brought power tools and everything upstairs, and placed glues, urethanes, and anything else perishable, on tables. So, there was no damage," he says.

Tetro says the shop is seeing some business from the storm. "We have had six or seven jobs so far. A couple of patio doors, but mostly auto glass," he says.

Glass Doctor of Virginia Beach, Va., was busy Monday taking down board-ups from businesses. "Before the storm hit, we boarded up businesses to protect the glass from tree limbs and debris," says Ed Cape, owner. Cape said the glass shop location escaped the storm unscathed. "We were lucky here. Power was back by 11:30 today [Monday], and every one of our employees is fine," he says.

Cape expects business to pick up throughout the rest of the week. "Today, we have been getting a lot of calls about tree limbs that have gone through windshields or window panes in customers' homes. I think we'll have a lot of these jobs the rest of the week," he says.

Dwaine McConnell, owner of Clear Vision Glass, with five locations around North Carolina, says his shop was very busy Monday. "We've been getting quite a bit of work from the storm," he says. "We have had more than 20 jobs today on the auto glass side, and commercial has been busy as well, with broken windows in business storefronts." One resort location in Wilmington, N.C., had to shut down because "the storm broke almost every window," McConnell says. "That's a job that we will probably have to bid."

However, not all areas of North Carolina were as affected. David Walker, vice president of association services for Glass Magazine's publisher, the National Glass Association, says he spoke with a member in another part of North Caroline where "they had very little damage, and therefore not much of the needed pick-up in business," Walker says. "Most of what they experienced was rain and power outages."

Walker added that the NGA's offices in Vienna, Va., had not sustained any damage. "It appears we escaped what could've been a disaster, due to weakened intensity of the storm," he says.

While parts of Vermont are grappling with severe flooding, Andrew Goulet of Acme Glass in Burlington said the glass shop was quiet on Monday. "We haven't gotten any extra calls—certainly not the influx we expected," says Goulet, who handles some quotes and installations at the company. "We got lucky, because there's massive damage in other parts of the state."

Things were also quiet at CBO Glass, Alden, N.Y., says John Ryan, vice president of preconstruction. "As of Monday afternoon, I have received zero calls, or complaints, or service calls related to Irene," Ryan says. "Our locations are all up and running, and all our employees are accounted for."

Jim Bald, vice president of Trainor Glass Co., said the contract glazier's locations in Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland had fared well in the storm. "We didn't lose power in Virginia or New Jersey, but we did in Maryland. But, everything is OK and everybody is good," Bald says. "We really didn't have any damage. The power is back at the business and all the job sites are working. We haven't heard of any of our projects that need glass replacements. There are a lot of downed trees and power lines, but nothing more."

To report on conditions at your company post-Irene, and to share photos, email kdevlin@glass.org.

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