Last week, Peter Brown, president of Tiny & Sons, hosted 10 legislators from the Massachusetts state Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business at his shop outside of Boston in Pembroke, Mass.
The group was made up of Senators and House members and included Senator Vinny deMacedo; Representative Carlos Gonzalez; Representative Cory Atkins, chairperson, Committee on Tourism; Representative Ed Coppinger, chairperson, Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses; Representative Josh Cutler, vice-chairperson, Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses; Representative Kenneth Gordon; Representative Leonard Mirra and Representative Meschino.
The primary role of the committee is to connect with local small businesses throughout the state and address their needs. The committee can assist with a wide range of requests from training to grants and permitting. Brown says the committee is very active and visits to businesses are common practice in order to get a first-hand look at needs.
Brown showed to the committee the advancements in windshield replacement tools by removing the windshield from his own personal GMC truck without damaging either. He also spoke about the new technology built into modern windshields such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). He explained to the committee that one of the main challenges facing the auto glass industry as a whole, is that finding skilled labor is becoming more and more difficult. “We have no new blood coming in that have experience in physically taking things apart and putting them back together,” says Brown. He hopes administration can change this trend by bringing more vocational classes back to middle and high schools.
Another issue that was discussed with the legislators is third party administrator’s (TPA’s) tendency to direct customers toward national brands when the customer files an insurance claim and is in need of glass replacement. Customers often don’t realize they have the option to go with the company right down the street.
Brown says it not only has an effect on existing businesses, but it also creates a huge barrier-to-entry for those who want to open a glass shop. “A perfect example is a veteran that came out of the service and wanted to start his own auto glass business. It’s very cumbersome because the system is so restrictive that you have to jump through a lot of hoops,” he says.
Brown spoke highly of the legislator’s attentiveness to local issues and hopes this visit brings about real change in the form of legislative assistance. He hopes that making the legislators realize the importance of these issues first-hand will drive action to bring about resolution.