Enlisting word of mouth and local connections

2016 Mfg Day tour at Glass-Rite; photo Jane Phillips Photography

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

This October will mark the third year that Albuquerque glass manufacturer Glass-Rite is participating in Manufacturing Day. Steve Hoberg, Glass-Rite’s vice president of sales and public relations, recently spoke about why it’s important.

Finance New Mexico: How would you describe Glass-Rite to someone who has never heard of you?

Steve Hoberg: We’re a manufacturer and installer of windows. As a small company, we also offer other products that we don’t manufacture. We provide a tremendous variety of windows. A lot of our business is replacements, a lot is new construction, and probably 60 to 70 percent of the business is residential work, with the rest in the multifamily sector.

FNM: Tell us a little about your facility and the history of the company.

SH: We’ve got two buildings, located at 808 Gibson Blvd. SE. Our warehouse and manufacturing facility is close to 20,000 square feet and includes a showroom and offices. Depending on the projects we have in progress, we employ about 25 to 30 people. The company was formed in 1984 and my brother Bill (Hoberg) and I purchased it in 1987. We had a couple of trucks and a few saws at that time, making windows even back then. Bill is now the full owner. He took over company ownership in 2011 and I do some of the administrative and sales work. A lot of what I do is public relations.

FNM: The PR work kind of meshes into the tours you give for Manufacturing Day?

SH: We’ve hosted public tours on Manufacturing Day in the past, the last two years, and we will do it again this year. People want to see the manufacturing facility, so we walk them through it and try to have all the equipment operating — our automated glasscutter, frame welder — it’s what people are interested in. They are interested in the equipment and processes we do. We also have groups of students from CNM once or twice a year as well.

FNM: Do the public tours help spur leads and more business for you?

SH: Yes, it’s picked up. We invite housing directors from the Pueblos and multifamily property managers. We’ve gotten some pretty good contracts out of it.

FNM: And you’re now part of the New Mexico True designation. That’s part of your outreach as well?

SH: We just completed the New Mexico True certification in August. People really like dealing locally when they can, as long as they’re not compromising price or quality, so the designation gives us another way to identify our products as being local. Having the certification gives us credibility.

FNM: Do you face strong competition from companies that aren’t local?

SH: We have competition from companies that are much larger and more national than us, that advertise extremely heavily. We don’t have the national advertising allowance that these other companies do, so we have to work hard and make sure our referrals are solid and it’s a lot of word of mouth as time goes on.

To take a  Manufacturing Day tour of Glass-Rite, visit the tour lineup here: https://newmexicomep.org/mfgday/