May 23, 2023

Glass TEXpo™ ’23 Wrap-Up

By Paul Daniels

It was nice to be back in San Antonio the other week for Glass TEXpo™ ’23. The Texas Glass Association announced that this year’s show was the largest regional show on record, offering more vendors and participants than ever.

Of course, the show floor was crowded with customers and many new exhibiting companies. Hardware companies dominated, along with software, local and national tempering companies. I collected business cards from across the country.

The question most asked by fellow vendors and customers was, “How is business?” Although most said their markets were solid, many were nervous about the rest of the year.

What impressed me the most was the crowd and how well-attended the seminars were. It seemed appropriate that the economy was first on the agenda with an economic update by Nick St. Denis, research director for Key Media & Research. His presentation indicated that construction in the glass sector has slowed over the pandemic rebound, inflation is staying high in the industry, and 2024 looks to be a soft year in most glass business sectors. His charts showed that where you do business and what you focus on will greatly impact your growth.

Another interesting seminar I caught was on shop drawings. The speaker reviewed who’s responsible for the accuracy and mistakes in the shops. This is an area where I did not agree with all the points the speaker made, but we both agree that construction documents and who is legally responsible for each part of the construction process is not often a strong point in your average glass shop. It is important to know who (the architect, general contractor and the company performing the work) is responsible for each part of the project. The presenter gave examples of situations we must be prepared for. I am sure this will be the subject of a future blog.

Glass TEXpo ’23 offered a lot this year for those who attended. The education program was well worth the price of admission. As always, I learned a lot by talking to vendors and listening to customers. Industry events like trade shows keep you updated on the industry, build relationships and keep you close to your customers. Our industry is fortunate to have strong regional associations nationwide that can make industry knowledge and education more accessible to smaller shops with these regional shows. We should support them when we can; it’s good for business.