Industry Members React to Safelite Purchase
January 4, 2013
by Casey Neeley, email@example.com
Members of the auto glass industry met today's announcement that
Safelite® Group was purchasing North Andover, Mass.-based Giant
Glass Co. with strong reactions.
"My opinion is that this will be a continuing phenomenon," says
John Groenhof, president of Service Auto Glass Inc. in Colorado
Springs, Colo. "With the market for auto glass replacement shrinking
due to the economy, [fewer] miles driven, etc., companies will continue
to 'buy' market share through acquisitions."
One industry member, who wishes to remain anonymous, says "I fear
that this industry will fall very soon and all that will be left
for the American people to choose from is chain food!"
"I think this pattern of absolute dominance from a single retail
provider should send off alarm bells for customers and competitors
alike," says Paul Gross, CEO and president of HSG, a third-party
administrator. "Personally, I value competition, so I think that
more is better and less is worse."
In light of the recent news of various acquisitions Groenhof adds,
"Independent auto glass shops need to look at diversification of
product offerings. We are putting a much more aggressive effort
into growing our residential and commercial division."
"I can't imagine it will be long before regulators start to evaluate
the implications this approach has on consumers, particularly the
glass industry's largest consumer: the insurance industry," says
Giant sellers Dennis Drinkwater and Lance Cramer, who will continue
to work with the company under Safelite, expressed satisfaction
with their decision.
"I am proud of the company that my business partner Lance and I
have built," Drinkwater says. "We have a strong customer base and
excellent employees and we wanted both of them to be well taken
care of in the future. We trust that Safelite will take care of
"While much of our growth has come organically from expanding the
company's existing sales and profit base, we've also had various
strategic, targeted acquisitions in the last several years," says
Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Safelite. "We expect that Giant
Glass's clients, customers, business partners and employees will
benefit from our commitment to be the leader in the vehicle glass
Giant is exactly that, a giant in the New England area. According
to its website it has five Massachusetts locations in Peabody, Worcester,
Lawrence, Weymouth and North Andover as well as more than 30 mobile
vans and 54 employees.
Drinkwater is a noted figure in the Boston community and Giant
Glass previously has been a high-profile sponsor for the Boston
This will mark the third major acquisition Safelite has completed
in recent months, including Klein-Dickert
Co. Inc. and Southern
Glass and Plastics, both in November 2012.
Barry Gaughran, president of the Massachusetts Glass Dealers Association,
had not responded to request for comment at press time.
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