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USGNN Original StoryCorbin Glass Enjoys 50 Years in Business

After 50 years in business Corbin Glass in Corbin, Ky., is looking forward to continual diversification and growth. The business was founded by J.C. Carr (who passed away in 1993) and today is still family-owned and operated, with Carr's son Jacob serving as president; Jacob's son A.J. serves as the vice president.

A.J. Carr explains that the company was started in the back of an old used furniture company. "He [J.C. Carr] began making glass shelves, mirrors and glass tops. Due to being in such small town it was of great benefit for the furniture company to be able to supply glass without having to go to another source, which at the time was many miles away," says Carr. "Since that time we have grown to service not just retail, but are also the largest glass contractor in Eastern Kentucky. We've completed projects from Florida to New York." Carr says his company only bids about 20 percent of their projects. "We have customers that have traded with us for more than 30 years," he says.

And while Carr says the company does travel for projects, which mainly focus on commercial construction, they have nor lost sight of doing local work, too.

"We still take care of local glass replacements and window glass," says Carr. "We added heavy glass shower enclosures to our business in 2002, and that has really been a good move."

Though the company has seen major growth after 50 years in business, Carr says there have still been hurdles to overcome.

"The greatest challenge by far is the ability to keep this business profitable even through slow times; that's why we have kept ourselves diversified," says Carr. "We manufacturer our own insulating glass, which helps us keep cash flow by wholesaling. We keep an inventory of miscellaneous hard-to- find parts, and other companies call us when they are unable to find something. We are also a metal fabricator, which allows us to make break shapes and metal extrusions for various other construction entities. Cash flow is the toughest part of any business and using our skills efficiently enables us to keep moving ahead."

The company is indeed moving ahead, as Carr says they've recognized several of the growing trends and are taking steps to stay active and involved.

"I see the blast-mitigation market and high-performance glass for more greener projects our next step. We have just completed two battalion offices at Fort Knox and we used blast-mitigated products there," says Carr. "There are several more contracts coming our way in Fort Knox as well as Fort Campbell, and I see us doing more federal work in the future. The use of LEED products is on the rise, too, and I hope to get involved in that sector soon."

With all the work the company is taking on right now they've not yet been able to schedule a 50th anniversary celebration, but Carr says they plan to do so in the next few weeks.

"It will be a cookout and open house for the community with inflatables for the kids. It will offer the opportunity for people to see first-hand our operations inside and out."

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