I started this blog at the same time that I started an online businesswww.GlassShop.com.au. It’s an online glass store that supplies Australian retail customers with glass and mirror cut to size and delivered to their door. During the pilot stage of developing the business I’d often be asked the same questions about working with glass and mirror, so I set up this blog to help my customers and anyone else who needs a hand.
Thinking back to before I started in the industry, I didn’t know where to go to buy glass or that it came in lots of different styles and types. But I do remember my Mum telling us if we broke it we’d have to pay for it! Now that I’ve been in the industry for a while I know that glass comes in a massive range of colours, thicknesses, coatings, edge treatments and is used for just about everything. So where can you buy the stuff?
Years ago glass shops were everywhere, out of these shops your local glazier would fix broken windows, cut any glass you might need as well as process mirrors and maybe a glass shower screen or two for those wealthy enough to afford one. I can only speak from my own perspective, based on what I’ve seen, but this is what I think happened to the small glass shop:
- Insurance companies took over paying for most broken windows, as they wanted to pay less for the glass they encouraged small glass shops to get bigger and drop their prices, in return the glass shops were given exclusive rights to window repairs and stopped doing the smaller glass work.
- Glass shower screens were a great addition to the glass shops repertoire, small companies that weren’t getting as much repair work started specializing in these screens, many grew their businesses through this type of work, with many going on to become fully equipped shower screen manufacturers, which meant they didn’t have the space for doing glass cut to order so they relied on big wholesale companies to supply their glass. As a result, they slowly fazed out supplying glass cut to size. Although there are still some companies who continue to supply glass cut to size, often it’s looked at as a side business, an inconvenience or a way to get people in the door to sell them more expensive, specialty products.
- Some glass shops decided to go the wholesale route, growing into larger businesses by supplying various markets, including: the commercial building market, the new 24-hour repair companies and the shower screen manufacturers. Most of these massive industrial suppliers are not happy to cut a small piece of glass for someone who walks in off the street and given the size of the warehouses required, they are often located in heavy industrial areas, so they’re not very convenient for the average DIY job.
All that being said, there are still good glass shops out there if you hunt around. My advice is to find a small one near you and check that they advertise “glass cut to size”. Don’t buy anything from them unless they sound completely confident in what they are talking about – trust your instinct. It is important to get the right glass for the right job, and this advice is a big part of what you’re buying, not just the product.
So next time you ask, Where can I buy glass and if you are lucky like us and live in Australia, then check out my company www.GlassShop.com.au my aim is to bring a small shop feel to buying glass and mirror online – providing great advice and assistance to out customers – not just great products. We provide all the glass, accessories and information you’ll need to do a professional job at your place.