August 2, 2014

THE HUB: Local auto glass company breaks into market

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Co-owners Jason Howe (left) and William Young recently opened Windshield Works. (Observer  courtesy photo)

Co-owners Jason Howe (left) and William Young recently opened Windshield Works. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Shelby Evans

Observer correspondent

When William Young and Jason Howe, managers at a Williston auto glass shop, saw their employer bought out by a national corporation, the two native Vermonters wanted to stay true to their local roots. They decided to invest their 25 years of auto glass experience into an enterprise that would allow them to combine quality with loyalty to community. Hanging out their shingle in January, the co-owners of the newly minted Windshield Works have a mission to serve local patrons with their homegrown expertise.

“We decided there was a nice little local market that had opened up,” Young explained, “so we jumped ship and opened our own shop.”

Windshield Works works on all makes and models, repairing or replacing any glass throughout the vehicle. Young explained that a quality job is defined by proper techniques as well as materials—and both are crucial for safety. The windshield is part of the structural integrity of many modern vehicles, and affects the proper function of the front airbags, so he said they are particular about installation methods and the type of urethanes they use.

“We pride ourselves on selling safety, doing everything exactly as the manufacturer would recommend,” Young said. “Everything is replaced properly and we do not use cheap, aftermarket parts, we use all quality, original parts held to DOT safety standards.”

Guided by a service-oriented philosophy, Windshield Works offers a free customer shuttle for services performed at the shop, or will bring the shop to customers—whether it’s to their workplace or home driveway.

“We really focus on the customers’ needs—exactly when they need the work done and where they need it done,” Young said.

At 6,000 square feet, the Windshield Works shop is able to accommodate large vehicles, handling RVs, campers and even 18-wheelers, which Young noted was a decision that gives the business the capacity to maintain local trucking fleets as well.

Client Rain Banbury—who works for Parallel Justice, a nonprofit project helping victims of crimes—followed Howe and Young to their new venture.

“I’ve sent dozens and dozens of people to Jason and William over the years, and they’ve always done a phenomenal job, the quality and the professionalism,” she said.

Banbury said the quick appointment scheduling, quality workmanship and the fact that the business is locally owned makes Windshield Works a great partner.

“When you need new window glass because you’ve been the victim of a crime, their ability to go the extra mile makes a huge difference,” she said. “To have this local business care about you makes people feel good, and it really turns a negative into a positive.”

Both Young and Howe learned the trade on the job, originally with the now-defunct Windshield Doctor in Williston. Now, Young said, he’s enjoying being at the “top of the game” with the new shop.

“I was always an installer, a technician out on the road doing the work,” he explained. “Now it’s fun for me to do the sales and marketing aspect of the business and to work with local vendors.”

Young said staying local with the business’ parts distributors and other vendors is a priority. He’s also looking forward to providing local jobs for candidates with a detail-oriented approach and willingness to train—as he and Howe did—under the guidance of experienced technicians.

Though the fledgling business is just a two-man crew so far, the experienced owners have an eye to possible future expansion. With their strong community ties—Howe, originally from Colchester and now a father of two in Williston, and Young, a South Burlington native now settled in Essex with his wife—the Williston location would remain the “mother shop.” Business has been good, Young said, and they see the potential for satellite offspring in the Barre and St. Albans communities.

“Expansion is a long term goal,” Young said. “But we’ve had a great response so far, just serving locally.”

Windshield Works is located at 384 Boyer Circle in Williston. Call 802-86-GLASS.

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