Safety and professionalism, as much as convenience, is a big part of the glass business. For Express Glass owner Jonathan Russo it is not simply a matter of repairing chips in windshields. He is interested in keeping his customers, whether auto, marine or custom industrial, satisfied to the degree that they will return when needing help or new products and refer his business to their friends, relatives and associates.
“It was my father’s business (which originated from Landry Seat Cover and Glass),” Russo said to explain his origins in this line of work. “My dad took over in 1968, then that is how I got started.”
After becoming a partner, the second-generation glass man ultimately became owner and changed the business name to Express Glass in 1991.
With three locations, the independently-owned operation originated with providing glass for marine vessels and offshore operations, which today along with industrial specialty glass provides more than 40 percent of his work. The company expanded into auto glass replacement, which constitutes approximately 60 percent of its business.
“We maintain and repair boats and cranes,” Russo said. “We do about anything offshore.
Express Glass takes care of the insured driver with auto glass replacement needs. “We probably service 500 to 1,000 people a month between our three locations,”
Customer service is the most important element to provide in glass supply and repair business, because if all goes well for the customer that person might not need a repair again. “You have to have a level of trust with customers so when they do need you they will come back.”
The business owner added that education of employees and consumers are essential as well. “That windshield is not just for you to see through,” he said. “It actually helps you with rollover. It keeps the roof from crushing in. When windshields have to be replaced. It is almost like going into surgery. Safety elements have to do with it.”
Antennas, screen on glass imaging and controls on glass, make replacing a windshield a skill to itself, and a more significant job than popping out and in a piece of glass.
Certified professionals with Express Glass install, repair or replace windows. They undergo continuing education and must keep up on industrial changes. They also remain skilled in their field to insure referral business and remain ahead of the competition.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Louisiana has the fifth highest concentration by occupation of glass repair and replacement employees in the nation. When it comes to occupation representation, auto repair and maintenance are among the highest in the nation as well.
Russo said he is aware of the competition and expects the best performance possible from his employees and himself as they keep Express Glass cruising with jobs both on water and on the roads. the business owner said.