Volume 11, Issue 6 - November/December 2009

I n d e p e n d e n t ’ s D a y
an iga viewpoint

The Industrial Patriot
by David Zoldowski

In this day and age, the television and watercooler conversations all seem to revolve around being American, whether it is pride of frustration. One of the most popular topics of conversation involves the difference among the United States and foreign countries. Is your car American-made or foreign-made? Do you partake of domestic or imported beverages? What kind of company is building the school down the street or supplying the product used there? Do you have Chinese drywall in your house?

With more and more glass being bought from foreign suppliers and with the largest auto glass retailer being owned by a foreign entity, your neighbor’s auto glass shop might fall on the losing end of the struggle. It all comes down to buying locally in order to make a difference nationally and preserve business here. The profit from dollars spent on glass from foreign companies does not stay here in your local community or even within the United States. At a time when our economy is struggling, support for U.S. companies should be a priority. The ultimate profit from these foreign companies floats right overseas and out of our economy.

“It all comes down to the idea of buying locally in order to make a
difference nationally against an international struggle.”

Recently, we at the Independent Glass Association (IGA) released a Beacon Bulletin about AAA of Michigan’s use of a foreign-owned claims administrator to handle its auto glass claims. This is a perfect example of a foreign company that is benefiting from U.S. business and consumers.

Not only does supporting U.S. companies benefit our home economy and stimulate the lives of our friends and neighbors, it also ensures that we are spending our hard-earned dollars with companies that value the safety and quality of their final product. Local independent shops make their livelihood based around the fact that they continue to do quality work and that a satisfied customer will return when they need to or refer them to a neighbor.

In the history of our industry there have never been as many foreign imported windshields as there are now. I also believe there have also never been as many complaints about the quality and reliability of the windshields being installed in consumer’s vehicles as there are today.

Educating the consumer is our most powerful tool for promoting our local independent businesses. This is where organizations like the IGA come into play. The IGA offers educational materials to provide members to make sure they get the full story about the safety of their families. IGA comic books are an excellent easy-to-understand tool that can be used to explain what is happening at your customer’s insurance companies. Also, simply making a point to tell your customers that your shop has IGA-certified technicians may make them think twice about going to just any shop. Most importantly, take the time to tell your consumer that the profit from your business stays right here in the United States.

As professionals it is our responsibility to remain outspoken about providing quality service to consumers and the best way to ensure that quality service is to invest in the United States.

David Zoldowski is the president of Auto One in Brighton, Mich., and president of the Independent Glass Association (IGA). Mr. Zoldowski’s opinions are his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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