The early days of Bennett Glass are a bit unknown. That’s not surprising considering that when the company was first established in 1921 Calgary was home to only around 63,000 people, cars were not commonplace on the streets and the city was set to ignite a huge oil boom that would see great expansion in the province. While the company’s roots are not well documented, its managing partner Greg Rutherford can only guess about some of Bennett Glass’ origins.
The details about the company’s genesis are a bit murky, but what isn’t speculation is the success of Bennett Glass over the past century. Gus Peddlesden operated the residential glass company in those early days, providing the growing Calgary population with everything from window sashes to single light glazing to silver mirrors. Later, Peddlesden’s daughter took over and ran the company for another 25 years before selling to Blake Bartel.
In the 1980s, Anders Poulsen joined the company and soon purchased Bennett Glass from Bartel. The company grew and evolved, and while it still served some residential clients, its focus turned predominantly to commercial project as Poulsen brought with him a new vision and direction for the 65-year-old business.
“Bennett Glass used to be a residential company similar to other retail glass shops around town. When Anders joined the company he saw an avenue into the interior commercial market, and he followed it,” says Rutherford.
That path built upon Bennett’s reputation for quality products and service. Instead of trying to compete with cut-rate residential truck-and-ladder companies operating out of their garages, Poulsen established the new Bennett standard in the commercial market with its inaugural PetroCanada head office project in the mid-90s. He capitalized on the booming economy in the ’90s and early 2000s, and these good economic times helped establish Bennett Glass as a leader in the commercial field. Throughout the transition, Poulsen encouraged a culture of quality, high standards and excellence and Greg Rutherford shares that philosophy and priority.
Over the past four decades, the team at Bennett Glass have worked hard to become the contractor’s first choice for both new builds and renovations. As a result, Bennett is proud to serve the diverse commercial interests of Calgary’s growing business community by providing such offerings as office front glazing, partitions and accent walls as well as elevator lobby doors and glassworks in downtown office buildings’ fitness centres.
“We are geared to commercial interiors, so frameless heavy glass doors, fixed sidelite glazing, back-painted glass feature walls, whiteboards, balustrade, and mirror and shower enclosures,” Rutherford says.
On top of these products, Bennett has expertise in sealed unit replacements, small- to medium-sized aluminum projects and door servicing. A few years ago, Bennett Glass started offering clients a free program called Service Plus, which is a customized service program tailored to a building’s maintenance requirements. A Bennett Glass representative tours a building and catalogs the types of glass, doors and hardware that is installed throughout it. Then if there is an issue, like a broken window, faulty door handle or a partition that needs replacing, the team can quickly identify what is needed from the documentation and get the repair or replacement started quickly.
“It’s a way to expedite our ability to help them service their own buildings. It’s also a time saver for us, which is a cost saver for them,” Rutherford says.
It’s important to Rutherford that the company offers the best value possible for its clientele, and the team of around 30 employees are enthusiastically on board to make that happen. The management team is careful and deliberate about hires, seeking positive attitudes and team focus above all else. Bennett Glass employees are dedicated to service and quality, take pride in their work, and are committed to realizing the vision that has made the company a success for 100 years. Many of the staff are long-tenured employees who love coming to work and go above and beyond for customers.
“What makes you good at what you do is that you care and you’re passionate about the work. And if you surround yourself with those types of people, you will be successful,” he says.
Bennett has those types of people in abundance. Staff’s first priority is making sure that clients are completely satisfied and they stand behind their work to guarantee clients are happy. To safeguard its standards, Bennett doesn’t contract out any work. Instead, the company has an amazing group of skilled professionals on staff that work in areas ranging from estimating to safety, drafting to on-site installation.
Bennett Glass is an agile organization, and the team has the experience and expertise needed to allow it to pivot and problem solve to ensure they can deliver any request or requirement that arises during a job no matter how unusual. The high level of service along with the unparalleled craftsmanship has contributed to its portfolio of long-time clients, and over the years many client representatives have taken Bennett with them to a new company when they change jobs. The client base is diverse and Bennett provides glass needs for a number of oil and gas companies, law offices, financial institutions and technology companies. With the current glut of office space downtown, developers are using this time to refresh and renovate their spaces to include fitness areas, amenities spaces and upgraded food courts. New tenants have the luxury of being choosey and will look for higher rated buildings when shopping for leases. This is a great market for Bennett Glass, and the team looks forward to adding more buildings to its portfolio and being part of a rejuvenated downtown core.
“We at Bennett take pride in the fact that we’re contributing to the corporate fabric of Calgary,” Rutherford says.
For 100 years, Bennett Glass has helped build the city’s homes and office buildings, growing as the city grew. And both partners are sure that the company is well positioned for another 100 years of serving Calgary’s glass needs.