By Bill Buell
SCHENECTADY- Tempered glass is better and safer, and for Niskayuna Glass in Schenectady it’s also a lot more lucrative.
Mark Maslanka’s business on Maxon Road Extension is enjoying a rising demand for tempered glass — it breaks into small chunks and crumbles as opposed to leaving dangerous jagged edges — and as a result the company is expanding. After completing a $1 million expansion two years ago, Niskayuna Glass is currently enlarging its facility again, adding another 10,000 square feet.
“Our business has expanded by leaps and bounds since we installed our tempering oven about three years ago,” said Maslanka. “We continue to grow each day, and we’re doing much more with the wholesale side of our business than retail. We’re up to 28 employees, and geographically we’re also growing. We cover the area north to the Canadian border, we go over into Vermont and western Massachusetts, and down to the Tappan Zee Bridge and eastern Pennsylvania.”
There’s no denying, according to Maslanka, the tempering oven is the reason.
“It’s much safer because it breaks up into a million pieces and there are no sharp edges to hurt anyone,” he said. “It actually strengthens the glass.”
Tempered glass is used in shower doors, windshields, outdoor tables and other public places where shattered glass might be a safety hazard. Before Maslanka purchased the oven in 2014, most companies interested in tempered glass had to shop down in New York City, east to Boston or west to Syracuse.
Niskayuna Glass was started up by Corey Gold. The original storefront was on Hudson Street off of Chrisler Avenue in Mont Pleasant. When a fire destroyed the company’s warehouse on Maxon Road Extension in 2002, Gold rebuilt a new facility at the site of the fire.
Maslanka had been part of a glass installation business that had worked with Niskayuna Glass, and when Gold retired soon after the fire, Maslanka and his New Way General Construction group took over.
“We took over in 2002 and built the new building right here,” said Maslanka. “But I had owned the company that did all the installation work for Niskayuna Glass, so I always felt like I was close to being a partner in the business without being partners.”