Volume 11, Issue 3 - May/June 2009

Field of Vision
from the editor

Good News Ahead
by Penny Stacey

When I wrote my column for May/June 2008 (a year ago almost to the day that I am writing this) the big question on everyone’s mind was, “Are we in a recession?” Well, shortly after that issue was printed, the answer quickly became a resounding “yes.”

As we went through this past fall and the winter months, it has seemed that there has been little good news out there. Everyone is struggling, and everyone, from the largest corporation to the smallest independent shop, is feeling the crunch. We’ve even reported of large industry players such as Belron US and Pittsburgh Glass Works making layoffs in recent months to react to the downward economy (see related story on page 14).

But, as I write this today, I actually am starting to feel a little optimistic. Maybe it’s just the spring weather, or maybe it’s that I’ve heard several good reports recently. Apparently the housing market is starting to level out a bit, and economists are predicting that if the turnaround hasn’t begun yet, it should in the fall. That really isn’t that far away, as we’re already in the fifth month of the year.

So, what’s that mean for auto glass? Well, if the housing market and economy in general rebound, and the credit markets ease up a bit, it means consumers will have more money to spend—on needed glass replacement, repair and even new cars. They’ll be traveling more and we all know that, the more consumers drive, the more chance for auto glass breakage.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to hear some optimism for a change, and am looking forward to the coming months as we watch for the light at the end of what seems to have been a long, dark tunnel.

I hope this issue contains several stories to give you some optimism as well. On page 32, we feature Auto One, a company in Brighton, Mich., which prides itself on innovation. The company truly is a family business that keeps up not only with the latest auto glass trends—but also the latest trends in electronic vehicle systems, detailing and more.

On page 36, we include a special look at new (and old) ways to market repair specifically—including television, radio ideas for optimizing your online existence as a business.

And finally, you won’t want to miss our unique look at shops that have made a giant step in recent years and are now working independently from any networks. In July/August, we’ll be taking a look at the steps required to make this change; if you have experience in this area, please e-mail me at pstacey@glass.com.

Or, if you’ll be at the Independents’ Days Conference and Spring Auto Glass Show™, please track me down there to discuss this, just to say hello or to share your own optimistic story with me.

See you there.

Penny Stacey is the editor of AGRR magazine/glassBYTEs.comTM

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