After All This Time …  
1 Years is a Long Time to Love the Glass Industry  
b y P a u l B i e b e r  
n July 1976, a great man named Phil  
Saitta hired me as salesperson for  
C.R. Laurence (CRL) covering Mas-  
sachusetts,Maine,New Hampshire and  
Vermont. At the time, CRL sold razor  
blades, Fletcher glass cutters and the  
basics for every glass shop.  
One day in my first month I was in  
a small glass shop in Boston. An el-  
derly woman walked in with a piece of  
glass wrapped in newspaper. She told  
the owner she bought this 5-by 7-inch  
glass last week, and when she got  
home, she discovered she needed 6 by  
inches. She asked, “Can you put this  
in your glass stretcher? I can’t afford  
a new piece of glass.” He smiled, took  
the glass from her, and I followed as he  
ones that took two days to return just a few of the thousand customers  
calls were going out of business;  
we serviced. My time at Floral rein-  
went to the back room. He turned on Shops that embraced low-E glass forced how much I loved the people  
his belt sander,made noise and quickly thrived; and  
in our industry: the owners, the office  
cut a new piece. When he handed this Shops that wouldn’t adapt to the new folks and the installers.  
to the woman, she thanked him for his  
special care. That was when I realized I  
had the honor of working with a won-  
derful slice of American life.  
energy-saving glass products shriv-  
eled up and died.  
We had our share of problems, like  
any company.We solved most,allowing  
us to grow. We had some fun, too. I re-  
member one time …  
Growth In opportunItIes  
When the constant travel took its A local police detective arrested  
Lessons I’ve Learned  
toll, I became the general manager of  
one of our employees because his  
fingerprints were found at the site  
of a residential break-in. The em-  
ployee insisted he was innocent. The  
next day the detective came back  
and asked where he worked in our  
company. I told him the employee  
worked as a sealer in our IG depart-  
ment. His fingerprints were found  
on the outside of the glass, which the  
police discovered had been installed  
the day before. He was released and  
gladly came back to work.  
Phil taught me more about life than what was then Floral Glass on Long  
the glass industry; we named our first Island. We made insulating glass and  
son Philip in his honor. Phil moved to fabricated glass. Soon we began to  
Los Angeles three years later and sug- temper and then laminate, both of  
gested I replace him as the regional which were the largest lines in the  
sales manager. In 1979 my wife, Elaine, country at their times of installation  
and I moved to New Jersey where I with capacities of 96 by 200 inches.  
worked with 11 salespeople, visiting (Today these are average sizes.)  
just about every glass company in 14  
states. I learned something from every ers who bought low-E from us did  
single shop I visited: more business than those that stayed  
I learned that glass shops with clean in the dark ages. I based giving credit  
At Floral Glass, I saw that custom-  
offices and showrooms did more to many customers on their accep- We had a large customer service  
business than those that were poorly tance of new products, and I knew  
team and over the years, three la-  
dies on our team married glass  
lit and dirty;  
they would prosper.  
I learned that a shop that answered  
the phone quickly took orders, while to beat us for a nickel; they really were  
I met a few bums who couldn’t wait  
continued on page 14  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | June 2017  
customers. I felt like the father of  
the bride each time!  
We had large, indoor truck unload-  
ing bays, some 4 feet deep and 70  
feet long. One day we had a powerful  
rain storm and the bays f ooded,cre-  
We lost power and couldn’t work, so  
we had a contest where we measured  
who could make the highest splash  
doing a cannonball jump into the  
pool. We had a lot of soggy employ-  
ees that evening.  
New Jersey plant,just across the river  
from New York City,and actually saw  
the second plane hit the tower. I still  
get shivers thinking of this.  
Floral’s owner, Chuck Kaplanek, had  
vision in the glass industry. He could  
ating our in-house swimming pool. 9/11 was a tough day. I was at our see two years ahead; we were always a  
leader in product introductions. But as  
he began to see our industry changing  
and consolidating, he knew we would  
need to grow and invest heavily with  
the introduction of soft-coat products.  
Instead, in 2004 he decided to sell the  
business to Oldcastle Glass (now called  
Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®).  
Whats Next?  
To this day, I still think of the people  
and events at Floral. I loved this com-  
pany and our team. There was never a  
Field-tested access control pros that know the biz  
Estimating staff trained to look for hardware compatibility on projects  
Proprietary system that ensures complete quotes on-time, every time  
day I didn’t want to go to work—ever.  
When we joined the Oldcastle Glass  
family, I knew my life was changing  
more than I wanted it to, just like the  
customers who wouldn’t start using  
low-E. I retired in 2005.  
I read, did some traveling and went  
back to college, but still didn’t f nd my-  
self. Elaine and I moved to New Hamp-  
shire in 2006.Friends would call asking  
questions about some glass items. It  
was this dialogue that started my con-  
sulting company. I work about a week  
a month and spend time in my home  
off ce. I enjoy problem solving, work-  
ing production questions, and helping  
with safety issues, knowing I help pre-  
vent accidents. Most of all, though, the  
attraction is working with great people.  
I’m still loving the glass industry. n  
Assistance with hardware submittal packages  
Protech quotes broken down by hardware set and # of openings  
Comprehensive customer service before, during and after the project  
Adams Rite and Sargent exit devices are built for high-traffic openings  
Both have the looks and options architects and designers require  
Rixson floor closers are fully-concealed for optimum aesthetics  
AHS keeps them all in stock – ready to ship the same day.  
Featured Product  
P a u l B i e b e r has 41  
years’ experience in the  
glass industry, with C.R.  
Laurence and as executive  
vice president of Floral  
Easy Exits. Perfect Closure.  
Exit Devices and Closers from ASSA ABLOY  
Glass in New York. He  
is now the principal of  
For more information call us at 855.847.5691  
Got a large project? Send quote requests to:  
Bieber Consulting Group LLC and can  
be reached at  
Read his blog on Tuesdays at  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | June 2017  

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