Tulare Glass reflects on 40 years of business

The Jordan family cut the ribbon at the Tulare Glass 40th anniversary celebration on June 28, 2024.(Rigo Moran)

Local shop celebrates 40 years of providing commercial and residential glass services to community, owner reflects on business’ start and accomplishments through the years

TULARE – A recent Friday marked a significant milestone for Tulare Glass, Inc. as the company celebrated 40 years in business.

Tulare Glass, Inc. was purchased by Jim Jordan, Sr. on June 28, 1984. Forty years later, the company celebrated decades of business with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 28, 2024, where public officials and community members came together to commemorate the milestone. Today, the shop is operated by Jim Jordan, Jr., the son of Jordan Sr.

Jordan Jr. continues to keep the glass shop in business and hold the standards his father set for it, which led the company from a two-man operation in 1984 to a company that now employs 12 people. According to him, the secret to success has been hard work, perseverance and dedication to making sure the customer is treated fairly. These goals are clearly reflected in the types of projects Tulare Glass has accomplished that have led to continued growth.

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Tulare Glass celebrates their 40th Anniversary on June 28, 2024. (Rigo Moran)

“It was a small shop, and he saw an opportunity he thought he could build on,” Jordan said. “He was a hard-working guy that always had a couple of jobs going on. From there, he bought it, and that was the year I graduated high school. I was working here right out of high school and going to college.”

Jordan Sr. passed away in 2022 and Jordan Jr. has been the sole operator ever since. The shop is located on 456 N. K St. Jordan’s main focus, even back to the early days in the 1980s, was to enhance commercial development projects. He said that the company has tackled some significant and important projects over the years in which he is particularly proud to have been a part of. 

“The Tulare Library was a pretty big accomplishment,” Jordan said. “It was a rather large project and it was pretty complicated. It was a challenge. We’ve done most of the car dealerships on Ben Maddox in Visalia, Fresno Pacific out on Highway 198, the Dodge dealership, the BMW dealership, a lot of shopping centers.”

Jordan went to school at Fresno State for construction management, and found himself intrigued by the commercial projects because the items are built piece-by-piece, which gives the builder a sense of ownership over the project, he said.

“When I am driving around with my wife, I point out, ‘I did that,’” he said. “I feel like I have left a mark here, whether they are note-worthy or not.”

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(Rigo Moran)

Jordan said the company gets nearly all of its new customers through word-of-mouth advertising. After years of spending significant money on advertising in the Yellow Pages, Jordan said he removed the ad last year and business has not slowed down. 

“I said we are going to back out of this thing and see how the business works,” Jordan said. “If business goes flat, then maybe we will be running back to your door, but if not, you probably won’t be hearing from us again. We aren’t going anywhere. We don’t take advantage of anybody. If we screw something up, we will take care of it and make it right.”

This is especially important for Jordan as a home grown Tulare resident.

“I’m local – I’m a Tulare guy, I grew up here in town, and I always have that conscience about treating my customers right,” he said. “That’s the thing about a small business in a small town. You have to do things right or you aren’t going to be around.”

The reputation for high quality has meant that Tulare Glass has remained busy for decades. Jordan said the only time the business suffered was during the Great Recession. 

“We ran out of work,” Jordan said. “It was pretty awful for a while. That was the only time we didn’t have guys working all the time. Every other time we had enough work to keep everyone busy. A lot of businesses didn’t make it through that.”

Jordan said the secret to getting through tough times was the decision his father made to gradually grow the business rather than trying to grow the business to massive proportions. The business does most work in-house, including cutting glass, building frames and custom-designing projects. These days, most of the work is commercial, but Tulare Glass does provide residential services as well. In years past, they also did automotive glass repair, but Jordan said he has gotten out of that aspect of the business to focus on commercial builds.

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(Rigo Moran)

Jordan sees a bright future for the business, but it will pass out of the family after him. His two daughters have their own careers, with one working as a school teacher and the other owning a dairy with her husband. Jordan said that as much as he enjoys the work, he wouldn’t want his daughters to have to deal with the struggle of running a small business. He said he wants an easier path for them.

Attracting employees is an ongoing struggle for many service sector industries nationwide.

“My biggest concern is labor, lack of labor,” Jordan said. “Finding someone is horrible. It’s pretty much on-the-job training and it takes years to be good at your craft. People don’t like to start at the bottom.”

Jordan added that when he started, much of the work he did was outside and dealing with the weather was something he appreciated because it gave him a sense of accomplishment similar to a work out. It also led to a better understanding of the business and a vision for the future.

“When you learn a trade you have an invaluable tool and you can always go out and get a job,” Jordan said. “I was the young guy out there. I had to do a lot of work to build confidence in people to show them I could do the job.”

Jordan’s story shows how working from the ground up can result in success. Tulare Glass has become a fixture in the Tulare community through hard work, dedication to customer service and a vision for the future.

“You have to make it work,” Jordan said. “You don’t have good stuff all the time. You have to keep doing whatever is out there and get ready for the next one.”

Jordan added that it was his dad’s hard work that got the business going and that it was his father’s persistence that got the business off the ground. He said he focuses on the goals his father set to keep the business successful for years to come.

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