Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1944..the Allies are winning the war in Europe, the city’s economy is booming and Richard Hollman opens City Glass on South Calhoun Street.
“His main thing was stained glass-stained and leaded glass,” says Hollman’s granddaughter Kathy Hollman Schweikert. “That was his forte.”
73 years later City Glass is still going strong, still a family owned business and still on South Calhoun Street, though these days stained glass is just one of many offerings.
City Glass cuts glass shelves, doors, table tops and all the other duties a glass shop performs. But the company also sells seasonal household gifts and decorations, builds and repairs screens, offers custom picture and mirror framing and, a growing craze..custom shower doors.
“The shower doors are becoming more creative,” says Schweikert. “People are designing bigger multi-faceted and glass encasing all those. That’s the fun job.”
Kathy Schweikert is one of four Hollman siblings who work here.
“It’s great, it’s great it’s fun,” she says. “We all get along and we feed off each other so we know the next step the other’s going to do, can almost complete sentences if we had to.”
City Glass occupies the same building on Calhoun Street it started in and though a bigger, newer facility would make work easier, Kathy Schweikert says the family’s never considered moving. She says they’re centrally located, love the Calhoun neighborhood and have too many loyal customers nearby.
“We’ll have customers that come in and we’ll say ‘well, my grandfather shopped here’ or ‘my mom and dad always came here so that’s why we come. So we’ve been around for a while.”
City Glass has survived by adapting to changing customer demands and that likely insures the company’s continued longevity. It’s a story made here composed by hard work, clear vision and customer satisfaction. And answering that ever present glass shop question;
‘Have you ever been cut?’ “All the time,” she says. “It’s the nature of the beast. Our shop foreman, he’s a former EMT. That’s very handy ‘cause we can go back and ask him ‘is it butterfly stitches or band aid?’
Eric Olson reporting for ABC21.