Santelli Tempered Glass Continues to Grow with Third Location
July 9, 2010

While many companies in the glass and fenestration industries continue to struggle, Santelli Tempered Glass in Monessen, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh, seems to be an exception. The company, which fabricates tempered glass for residential window manufacturers, met a number of achievements over the past year and is continuing to grow. Last fall the company was ranked by the Pittsburgh Business Times number one in the manufacturing/transportation category on its Pittsburgh 100 list (CLICK HERE for related article and in January of this year opened a second location in Ocala, Fla. (CLICK HERE to read more). Now, the company is expanding further and will be opening a third site in Elkhart, Ind. (CLICK HERE to read more).

Joseph Santelli, the company's chief executive officer, says he selected Elkhart, Ind., due to its location.

"It's perfectly located between Toledo and Chicago, both with large residential window manufacturers," says Santelli. "The area [Elkhart] has gone through a major downturn with the rise in energy costs and the fall of the economy. That provided an abundance of facilities that would work for my operation. I looked at more than 30 great buildings from Toledo to South Bend, Ind., and the one that stood out was in Elkhart.

Unlike so many other companies in the fenestration industry, Santelli's business has continued to enjoy steady growth. Santelli says the growth all goes back to automation and speed. He explains that the concept he employs was developed by Lance Porter, owner of All Weather Architectural.

"Before he came up with the idea of taking orders today, tempering all night and delivering tempered glass tomorrow, deliveries sometimes took two weeks to get to the window manufacturers. His philosophy of not touching soft-coated or any glass until it was tempered allowed us to give a finished product that was of better quality than the market place had seen, and within 24 hours from placing the order was much quicker than anyone was delivering," says Santelli.

He continues, "We now know that the production process Lance developed results in the lowest labor cost per square foot of glass tempered. When you can produce tempered glass at a lower price with a better quality and deliver the glass overnight, customers want your product." Santelli explains that it's the automation that makes the process unique. "The glass is cut, laser logo'd, seamed and batched for the tempering furnace without being touched by anyone. The ability to supply tempered with this process has made it possible to expand so rapidly. I am using that process in all three locations."

Speaking of the company's locations, Santelli says he is excited about the growth of his Florida operations as well.

"We just started tempering the first of June and all the equipment has not arrived yet, but we have made sales calls to the area and we are very excited about the opportunities in the Florida/Georgia markets," he says. "We currently have ten employees in Ocala and we will be hiring more through the end of the year. We would like to have 25 by year end."

While having an efficient production process has been helpful, Santelli is quick to point out that that's not the only reason his company has been growing, pointing out that the current administration has been a big driver for the residential window market.

"First there was an $8,000 tax credit for new home buyers to help kick start new home construction and currently there is a $1,500 tax credit for the replacement of existing windows, which continues to help my market."

And as far as future expansions? Santelli does not rule anything out and says if he ever does decide to do so in he will either expand west or farther north.

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