but that is exactly what happened with Jason Neal, owner of American Glass & Mirror located at 2612 Montgomery Road, Huntsville, TX 77340. It all began in Waller, Texas, the place where Jason grew up, and where he and his wife Lisa both graduated from high school. In 1996, at the age of 17, while still going to school, he stumbled onto a job working for a local glass company in Waller. This is also when he and Lisa began dating. “I wanted to take her out on dates, he said, “so I needed a part-time job to make extra money.”
One day, Jason recalled, he got a chip on his windshield, so he took his vehicle down to the local glass company to get it repaired. While the owner was working on his vehicle, Jason asked him, “Hey, you don’t happen to need some help around here, do you?” The owner said he would talk to his partner. After returning for the third time, his persistence finally paid off. The owner gave him a job. According to Jason, this is not something he had planned out; it just happened. “I don’t know why or what drew me to this line of work, said Jason, “I just happened to be there, and it looked interesting.” Working in the glass industry not only carried him through high school and college but 20 years later, added Jason, “I realize it has become my lifelong career.”
After graduating from high school, both Jason and Lisa attended a community college where they received their associate degrees. Jason attended Blinn College in Brenham. While going to school there, he found himself working at another local glass company. Lisa went on to Wharton Jr. College on a rodeo scholarship. Once they each completed their associate degrees, both transferred to Sam HoustonState University in Huntsville. In 2002, Jason received his bachelor’s degree in Business Management, and Lisa received her degree in Marketing. During his time in Huntsville, and while going to school there, Jason again worked at a local glass company. Then, in 2003, he decided to open his own business, AmericanGlass & Mirror in Madisonville, which is home to him, his wife, and their 3 children. More recently, in January 2020, Jason opened his second store in Huntsville.
At American Glass & Mirror, “We are a family-based business, and our number one goal is to have good customer service,” said Jason. “We believe that if the employees are happy, they will strive to make our customers happy.” Much of their business is returning customers, and they often refer people they know to AmericanGlass & Mirror, “which is definitely a plus,” said Jason. Specializing in residential and commercial services, as well as auto glass repair and installation, they are a commercial glass and glazing subcontractor. They currently serve Madisonville, Huntsville, and surrounding areas. “We’ve actually done work all over the state of Texas,” said Jason, adding that they have gone as far south as Corpus Christi, and as far as Austin and San Antonio to the west. In fact, they have even been all the way up to the Texas Panhandle. Their team of professional auto glass technicians have the training and expertise needed to get the job done right, offering quality service and materials, whether it’s replacing an auto windshield or glass and glazing at a residence or business construction or remodeling project. They also offer specialty products: glass vanities and tabletops, custom mirrors, screen porches, and so much more! For a full list of services provided, visit their website: americanglassandmirrortx.com.
When it comes to workload, COVID 19 has slowed them down a little, mostly in getting materials, but according to Jason, for the most part, they are fortunate. They haven’t had to cut back on staff, and they are all still working 40 hours a week. “We already had a lot of work in the books when all this happened, so we haven’t really missed a beat,” said Jason. Our customers are very understanding, and most people and businesses are still welcoming us. Our employees are taking extra precautions by cleaning and sanitizing their workspaces more frequently. The guys in the shop are taking extra sanitary precautions in dealing with customers’vehicles.
Commercial jobs have not slowed down at all, Jason added. “It’s like a normal workday for us. The only thing that has changed are our residential jobs. Some people just don’t want to have people in their houses right now. In some cases, we already have the material to do the repairs, but our customers prefer we wait until this pandemic is over.” On a positive note, “This pandemic has definitely changed our lifestyle,” said Jason. “It has caused us to slow down and take a deep breath. I am actually enjoying it. I get to spend more time with my family.”
A few years ago, Jason said they got on a bandwagon with a group of guys building HamptonInns throughout the Texas Panhandle. “We worked in Childress, Wheeler, and in Perryton. We were literally just a few miles from the Oklahoma border.” Another big customer is Buc-ee’s. When Buc-ee’s came to Madisonville, Jason met with some of their representatives at the job site when they were first breaking ground. Eventually, they were responsible for installing single windows and sliding doors in every Buc-ee’s throughout Texas. “They’ve been a great customer, and we still do all their repairs,” said Jason.
The commercial work American Glass & Mirror does throughout Texas has been a large part of their bread and butter and, according to Jason, they are doing well enough within Texas that he does not foresee having to expand outside of Texas anytime in the near future.
This reminded Jason of a story that reaffirms working in the glass industry was truly his destiny. Several years ago, when he first started his business, Jason was invited to a hunting trip in Colorado. “It was an all-expense-paid trip. I just had to show up.” During the trip, he had the opportunity to hunt with a group of guys and found out one of them owned a glass company. “I met this guy on the first day and discovered he owns one of the largest glass companies in Texas. He started as a one-man show, doing business out of his pickup. Now, he has somewhere between 150-180employees and provides service to some of the largest buildings in the Houston area.” One night, Jason recollected, we were sitting there eating dinner, and I said to him, “You started at the bottom like I did. If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?” His response was, “I would have stayed small with 10-12 employees. You can be a lot happier and still make a good living.” I took those words to heart, said Jason, and God has blessed us over and over again.
Between the two locations in Huntsville and in Madisonville, American Glass & Mirror has a total of eight employees. There are four employees that work in the shop, and another four work in the office.“By 2021, this may change slightly, but for now, between the eight of us, we manage both stores pretty well,” said Jason. “My wife Lisa does all the bookkeeping. After graduating from college and working at the same place for 10 years, she decided she wanted to try something different, so she began working for the company. She really plays a big role, and we exchange a lot of ideas with one another…we make a great team.” We are fortunate in our industry that we’re still working through this pandemic since we fall into the ‘essential business’ category. Given the opportunity to take time off if they need it, my employees have opted to continue working. They were more concerned about our customers and making sure we met their needs and not falling behind.”
In five years, Jason plans to have both stores working at their peak and hopes one of his children takes an interest in the business, becomes involved, and eventually, takes over the business. As for opening another store, Jason says he never would have thought he would open a second store, so you never know. When he was considering opening his second store in Huntsville, Jason said, “I woke up one morning, and I felt like God just put it in my heart, saying to me, “I believe you’re ready for the next challenge.” It all just kind of came together. There was a property on Montgomery Road that was for sale, it had been in the market for over a year, and when I pulled up to look at it, I said, “This is it!” Immediately after he bought it, Jason said there were three other people that came in after him wanting to buy the property. In 5-10 years, who’s to say, I may open another store in Conroe! It’s hard to predict; I just follow my heart.”
Jason firmly believes in giving back to the community and staying connected. They do this by sponsoring various organizations and events aimed at helping the kids at their local schools, whether it’s through little league, the fair, and rodeo, booster club, football, or the school band.
According to Jason, American Glass & Mirror keeps them busy Monday through Friday, but they are closed on Saturdays and Sundays (an emergency call number is available, and someone is always on call) to allow employees to enjoy time with their families. As for Jason and his family, he says on the weekends, they spend a lot of time at sporting events with their kids, since they are very involved in baseball, softball, and rodeo. “Everyone in my family rodeos, except me,” he added. “I am just the designated driver.” They are members of the Madisonville Christian Fellowship and attend on a regular basis. “We really enjoy it there, and our kids love it as well,” said Jason. He has served on the little league board and was president for a couple of years. Something else Jason and Lisa do on the side is “flip houses.” According to Jason, they have been doing this for almost 20 years, and have flipped about 10 houses. Jason does all the manual work, while Lisa handles the decorating, reiterating, “We work really well as a team.”
2612 Montgomery Rd.
Huntsville, Texas 77340
2612 Montgomery Rd.
Huntsville, Texas 77340