When a home window breaks, a vehicle windshield is damaged or a commercial storefront needs renovation, a specialist in glass is required. For decades Fort Dodgers and people who do business or live nearby have sought the services of Webster Glass for solutions.
Since Ron Pauly and Dan Sharp launched the business at 1615 First Ave. N. in the 1970s it has been a one-stop shop for glass repair and replacement needs and much more.
The business was purchased from its founders in 2006 by Fort Dodge-based Woodruff Construction. Since Jan. 1 of this year, Joe Tuel, who managed Webster Glass for the three years prior to that date, took the helm as its new owner.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Webster Glass owner Joe Tuel, right, watches as glass technician Kevin Long prepares to cut a piece of mirror to size for a customer recently. Tuel recently purchased the company which is at 1615 First Ave. N.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Webster Glass owner Joe Tuel removes the broken glass from a window frame to start the process of replacing it with new glass.
Tuel said the business handles a wide array of glass issues and needs.
"A little bit of everything," he said, describing the types of projects his team is qualified to undertake.
The clients are a mix of commercial enterprises, homeowners and people who need glass in a vehicle repaired or replaced, Tuel said.
On the commercial side, Webster Glass is ready to help when a new business is launched or an existing enterprise undergoes remodeling. It can handle anything from a window replacement or upgrade to a full storefront installation or renovation.
"The doors, door closers, the window glass, everything," Tuel said, describing the range of services his enterprise offers businesses. "It's the entire package. It's one big opening, and we fill it with glass and doors."
Homeowners most frequently avail themselves of the expertise of the team at Webster Glass when breakage occurs or a window upgrade is desired.
"We do residential repair and replacement of house windows, screens," Tuel said. "We do on-site or repair it in our shop. People can just bring their windows in, or we can go to their house and fix them."
Webster Glass also can handle the glass and mirror requirements when bathrooms are installed or renovated.
"We do mirrors and shower enclosures of all types," Tuel said, noting also that patterned glass for cabinet doors anywhere in a home is also available. "We have a pretty big selection of sizes of mirrors and we cut them to fit. Everything is fit custom. Everything we do is custom-made."
Sooner or later, just about everyone who drives experiences a chipped or broken windshield or side window. When that occurs, Webster Glass can address the problem efficiently and with a solution that is competitively priced, Tuel said.
"We do a little bit of auto glass here in our shop," he explained. "Windshields, door glass, back windows. We do everything here in our shop. It's a more controlled environment with the weather. We don't have to fight that out in the field."
Agricultural clients also will find Webster Glass ready to handle their glass requirements.
"Our focus is laminated glass that we can cut to put in tractors, implement glass, heavy machinery," Tuel said.
Meet the new owner
"I'm from Lehigh," Tuel said, adding that he graduated from Southeast Webster in 1998 and then studied at Iowa Central Community College.
Tuel and his wife, Ashley Tuel, also a Southeast Webster graduate, have three children. Landon is 10 and in fourth grade. Dawson is 4. Farrah is 3. Ashley Tuel is also an entrepreneur. She operates a day care center.
Tuel began his career in the glass business in 2001. He joined Webster Glass in 2006, becoming its manager about three years ago. He said the transition to ownership has been underway for about a year and a half.
Tuel said he is enthusiastic about his new role as the proprietor of Webster Glass, noting that being a small business owner is a challenging change from working for someone else.
"You put a lot more pressure on yourself," he said.
Tuel said he enjoys the work in which his business specializes.
"I like what I do. I always have," he said. "I'm a people person. I like talking to people. It wears on me when people get upset. It's hard to keep everybody happy, but we do our best with that."
Tuel's message for prospective clients is quite straightforward.
"We care about what we do," he said. "That's No. 1. We take pride in our work."
Looking to the future, Tuel said he is bullish about the future of Webster Glass in part because he sees the local economy as on the upswing.
"There are constantly people building, new construction going on," he said. "Fort Dodge seems to be growing and everything seems to be for the better."
Tuel aims to make Webster Glass part of that upbeat story.
"I hope in the future to grow a little bit," he said.
About Webster Glass
The business primarily serves Webster County and the adjacent counties. It currently has six full-time and one part-employee. The business is closed Saturdays and Sundays.
Tuel said innovation and evolution are constant themes in the glass world.
"It's changing for the better in terms of energy efficiency," he said. "There are some good changes with aluminum storefronts and glass."