Reputation drives local glass company's growth

Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012
Darrin Kaan

OLD FOR NEW: Single glazing is replaced with double glazing by Darrin Kaan of Christchurch Glass.

Jake Gillum
SMOOTH-AS: Jake Gillum, a glazer at Christchurch Glass, prepares a wooden door to be retrofitted with double glazing.

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A commitment to quality and service has earnt Christchurch Glass a solid reputation in the marketplace.

So many glass windows and doors were damaged by the February 2011 earthquake that locally operated company Christchurch Glass was kept busy seven days a week for nearly two months undertaking emergency repairs to homes and businesses across the city.

Manager Nick Selfe says the need was so great, the company had to bring in skilled glazers from around the country to assist. "We just did what needed to be done to the best of our ability," he says.

Christchurch Glass continues to repair and replace windows and doors damaged by the earthquakes and is proud to be able to help local homeowners and businesses in this way. It is also proud to have retained its own workforce, despite the uncertainty brought by the earthquakes. "All our staff were very supportive and showed great resilience," Selfe says.

Christchurch Glass is one of the largest glass businesses in the city. Established over 20 years ago, it employs 29 people, including seven who've been with the company for over 10 years. Selfe says the company's success is a result of employing highly experienced staff and providing personalised service to its residential and light commercial customers.

"Our reputation for quality and service is paramount, whether it's as a wholesaler of glass and glazing products, or in servicing enquiries from the public, which we welcome. We have a really good reputation and many satisfied customers in the marketplace, so we get a lot of business through word-of-mouth referrals."

Christchurch Glass offers a comprehensive range of glass products and services. It installs double glazing into new homes, replaces single glazing with double glazing in existing homes and makes and installs shower units, splashbacks, pool surrounds, glass balustrades and laminated glass for fade resistance.

"A new product that we're excited about is painted and printed glass using the first direct on-glass digital printer in New Zealand," Selfe says. "The colour range is huge and the creative possibilities are endless."

Christchurch Glass does all this from its substantial, purpose-built premises in Wigram, which the company moved into in 2005. "Our previous premises on Hazeldean Rd had been added to numerous times over the years but eventually it became too small for us," says Selfe. "Our new premises give us plenty of room to grow."

To complement the factory side of the business, Christchurch Glass has seven on road crews installing its products throughout the city. Selfe says these teams pride themselves on their professionalism and high standards of service.

"They're great with our customers. We get a lot of letters and calls thanking them for their excellent service."

With skilled tradespeople in increasing demand for the city's rebuild, Christchurch Glass is doing its bit by providing apprenticeships to young people.

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"We always like to have at least a couple of apprentices," Selfe says. "We employ them for a year beforehand and then if they prove themselves as reliable and keen, they start a four year apprenticeship and get industry support from the Joinery Industry Training Organisation."

Retrofitting double glazing into existing homes continues to be a growth area for Christchurch Glass. Selfe is delighted that homeowners these days understand the benefits of double glazing and are viewing it as an investment, much like insulation.

He says a lot of homeowners who are having earthquake repairs done are choosing to top up their insurance payouts to have their single glazed doors and windows replaced with double glazing.

"A lot of damaged homes with single glazing are being fitted with double glazing, which is at least something of a silver lining of the earthquakes. It means a lot more families will be warmer and more comfortable now. It's a good thing to be involved in."

- The Press

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