Indivisible . . .
Independent Glass Association Celebrates Independent's Day in Orlando
by Penny Beverage
United we stand.
These words have been heard throughout the history of the United States, and particularly in the nation’s last few turbulent months. These words also encompass the spirit of Independent’s Days, the Independent Glass Association’s Glass Show and Convention, which was held April 4-6, 2002, in Orlando, Fla.
The location drew more than 500 attendees and 40 exhibitors for its third annual event and was composed of a number of seminars, networking events and chances for catching up on the latest new products for the industry.
A number of seminars were held throughout the show on ways to fight the larger auto chains as independents. For example, attorney Chuck Lloyd of Livgard and Rabuse discussed both short payments and steering and how to work to avoid each. (See "Steer Crazy" for related story.) Lloyd also sent the crowd into cheers when he announced that Kingston, Pa.-based Diamond Triumph had just filed a suit against Columbus, Ohio-based Safelite.
Likewise, several, such as Gerald Thwart of Dr. Chip in Iowa, gave advice on sales and marketing tips.
Thwart showed a number of the commercials he has run for is business in an effort to create a sense of recognition throughout the community. And, he said it has paid off.
“I go to the grocery store and people say, ‘Hey, you’re Dr. Chip!,” Thwart said.
Tim Smale also shared updates on the IGA’s newest programs, including e-direct bill,™ AmeriGlass™ Saving Club and its brand-new AmeriCare™ Nationwide Guarantee program.
Marc Anderson of the Minnesota Independent Auto Glass Association and All Glass Minnesota also took the podium to tell how fellow members could organize IGA chapters in their home states.
Members of the Auto Glass Replacement Safety Standards Council (AGRSS) were also on-hand to tell about the unveiling of the AGRSS standard and how it would be incorporated throughout the industry. Chairperson Cindy Minon-Ketcherside of JC’s Glass in Phoenix, Carl Tompkins of Sika, who is based in Spokane, Wash., and AGRR publisher Deb Levy offered answers to the audience’s numerous questions about how the standard might affect them.
Finally, a large part of the event focused on the recent Fox News Undercover report on unsafe auto glass installations (see May/June 2002 AGRR, page 24). Both a panel of speakers and participants alike discussed how such a black eye for the industry could be avoided in the future. Speaker John Fransway spoke about his sister, who was killed in a 1999 car crash involving an unsafe windshield installation. In addition to the Fox News report, a large part of the discussion focused on the 2000 20/20 expose on the same topic.
Throughout each of the seminars, attendees all shared one concern—uniting as independents and facing the larger glass chains as a group, rather than as single units.
In With the New
The IGA welcomed its new board president, Kurt Muller, owner of Auto Glass Express in Plainville, Conn., and bid farewell to its long-time president, Donovan Trana, owner of Express! Auto Glass in Muscatine, Iowa. Trana himself warned Muller of what was to come.
“Kurt Muller and his IGA board are going into the jungle,” he said.
In addition the IGA presented the president’s award to Marc Anderson, who played a large role in forming the Independent Auto Glass Association of Minnesota.
“Marc is in the jungle and he’s dealt the tiger a terrible wound,” Trana said. “He’s not afraid to fight.”
A number of companies unveiled new products or displayed off their current offerings.
A.N. Designs, which is based in Torrington, Conn., and is a manufacturer of the UltraWiz blade, promoted its newest blade, the UltraWiz® Stainless Steel Blade. According to the company, its production techniques and heat treating has produced a blade that has a tough, long-lasting edge without becoming brittle. The blades are available in three cut lengths: ¾, 1, and 1 ½ inches.
Essex ARG, which is based in Dayton, Ohio, presented its newest product, the bare metal etch primer, which is chromate-free, with a one-part chemistry. It is applied with a Dauber and dries in 30 minutes or less, according to Dale Malcolm, technical services supervisor for Essex ARG and an AGRR columnist. The primer also has a 2-week open life, but comes in small enough packages that this does not cause a problem, according to the company.
Essex ARG also displayed a vehicle in its booth that it had used for crash testing. The car was a 1997 Ford Taurus with a first-generation airbag. It was crash tested with Essex U-208EP Advanced Cure Urethane at 15 degrees Fahrenheit at 30 mph after 2 hours. The retention of the windshield was 100 percent, according to the company.
Essex ARG's booth displayed a 1997 Ford Taurus with a first-generation airbag, crash-tested with Essex
U-208EP advanced-cure urethane.
AEGIS Tools LLC of Madison, Wis., exhibited its new scratch removal system (KIT1800). According to the company, the kit comes complete with 25 to 50 6-inch scratch removals, a multi-speed polisher for different hardnesses of glass and a number of other tools and pieces of safety equipment.
Equalizer Industries of Round Rock, Texas, promoted its new AC/DC inverter, a portable generator for carrying to job sites and using with electric power tools. In addition, the company unveiled its recently revamped website, www.equalizer.com, which contains its entire catalog in PDF form.
Toledo, Ohio-based Pilkington North America's Bill Georges was on-hand throughout the show to tell interested attendees about the company's new Complete Claims system. The web-based system will allow both insurance companies and consumers to report claims online and schedule their work with a requested shop, or from a list of suggestions.
Left, Pilkington's booth introduced its new web-based Complete Claims system.
Representatives from Madison Heights, Mich.-based Sika Corp. were on-hand to promote the company’s SikaTack®-ASAP. According to the company, the one-part urethane dries quickly, provides a short and safe drive-away time and can be used in numerous locations under various conditions.
Momentum Auto, which is based in Wisconsin, showed dealers an idea for diversification: paintless dent removal. The company gave demonstrations of its technique throughout the show and signed people up for training classes at its facilities in Wisconsin, Missouri and Mexico City, Mexico.
At left, Momentum Auto explains its add-on service idea: paintless dent removal.
Glass Technology of Durango, Colo., promoted its Scratch Hog Mini, a smaller version of the Scratch Hog designed for a glass shop that might want to use it on occasion for its own merchandise (without actually providing scratch removal to the public).
Gold Glass Group of Bohemia, N.Y., introduced a new cavity moulding for 25 new 2001 model vehicles.
Coach Glass displayed an entire RV windshield with out any seams—one piece of glass—to companies wishing to service RVs in a simple manner. In addition, the company discussed plans for expansion.
Coach Glass representatives tell about its unique seamless RV windshield design.
Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries also was on-hand promoting its new GlasPAC LX system, a software program to make ordering glass easier for retail auto glass installers.
Columbus, Ohio-based Glass Medic promoted several new products, including its portable VINette system, a small, portable computer that assists repair technicians in looking up VIN numbers from the road. Paul Syfko, operations manager for the company, also was displaying Glass Medic’s flying bridge kit, which is designed for someone who does a high volume of repairs most days.
Success for All
Those in attendance saw the three-day show as a great success, with full seminars each day and busy aisles each afternoon.
“I thought the IGA show was good and always try to go to that one,” said Russell Poore of Justice Shamrock Glass in Lexington, Ky. “It is always a very informative and interesting show for anyone in our business.”
Mark Borchin of ABC Auto Glass in Sacramento also found the entire event—especially the seminars—successful.
“The highlight of the show is always my main battle right now—retaining margins, listening to the legal and legislative information that’s going on across the nation and trying to slow down or stop the erosion of our marketplace,” Borchin said.
Next year’s event is set for February 5-7, 2003, at the Silver Legacy Hotel in Reno, Nev.
Penny Beverage is the editor of AGRR magazine.
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