An open letter to glass shop suppliers

Ladies, forgive me. This blog is written from a male perspective. Change the gender references to quarterback/band member, and the metaphor still applies.

In high school, there are two types of girls: the cute head cheerleader and the average-looking girl. Everybody likes the average girl but wants to date the head cheerleader. The average girl has a great personality and is consistent in everything. The cheerleader is always cute, but her emotions run the gamut.

At the 20-year reunion, the average-looking girl has become more attractive, if not beautiful. The cheerleader has gotten fat and continues to dye her hair an unnatural color. The guys start looking at the "average girl" differently than they did during high school. The problem is that they haven't changed the way they treat or interact with her. The average girl is still hurt by the guys' archaic advances and solicitations. The guys need to learn how to interact with her on her terms.

During the boom, aluminum and glass suppliers paid token attention to the average glass shop, but they chased the large commercial glazier. Glass shops had to reach out to suppliers before sales reps would even talk to them. Yet, those same sales reps would appear on bended knee before commercial glaziers.

Now that the boom is over and large commercial glazing jobs are few, glass shops have become more attractive to the aluminum and glass manufacturers/fabricators. The glass shops have small tenant build-out jobs, convenience stores and private corporate jobs; and, in many parts of the country, these jobs are prevalent. It's interesting that the suppliers have "come a-callin'" again to the glass shops.

The problem is that the suppliers haven't changed their attitude toward the glass shops. The glass shops are still merely a "skirt to chase". Come on suppliers! Change your ways. If you won't or can't change, we will find suppliers that really care about us. Learn how to treat us. Use the telephone, not email. Consistently, not intermittently, call on us. Schedule an appointment to see us in person before we need you. Ask us how you can help us (and then truly help us). Make us want to buy from you because of your attitude toward us and the way you treat us.

If you can't or won't change, then go back to your fat, broke, bleach blonde cheerleader! 

The author is president of Evans Glass Co., and chairman-elect for the National Glass Association. Write him at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors. 


AMEN!!  A customer is a customer and should be treated as if they are the only one.... that is what they like.  Being a Customer Service Rep / Inside Sales Rep for some major suppliers, each customer wanted to be treated as if they were the only one....  of course they knew better but when I handled their orders or their complaints, they felt important to our company regardless of the size of their shop.  They even made comments as to me giving more attention to the larger shops and if they weren't a small shop, our company would go the extra mile for them.  I reassured them that "I" treated them as equals.  Some shops complained they never saw or heard from our sales reps, but did business with us because of the "Customer Service" at the service center.  Being on the inside and dealing with them by phone, I always wanted to meet them; to pay them a visit and I finally did when I went on the road with the sales rep... He asked who I would like to visit and I said "My customers".  Funny thing, when we arrived, the customers about fell out of their chairs;  they thought they were seing a ghost... the ghost of our sales rep.

 Good article. I worked for several Glass Fabricators/Distributors in the Midwest over the last 25 years and Ican tell you the level of quality and service has steadily declined. I always told my sales reps that the most important customer of the day is the one you're in front of right now. I worked for a company that has changed it's name a couple times in the last two years. When I questioned the poor quality or service to a particular account, I was told, "oh, they don't buy very much"  

very good story.

As we get more and more into technology. we lose closness of relationships. In every business dealing you will do many jobs well, but on occasion we mess up, we just do. So based on the deposits we make in the relationship then this allows us to make withdrawls.  So take the time, ask questions, communicate, and turn the pnone off or leave in the car when meeting. Or you will go back to work alone.Good thought process as we all need to go back to our roots of doing business...