With nearly 40 years in service, the legacy of Ace Glass is crystal clear

Published 12:08 am Saturday, March 18, 2023

NEDERLAND — Customer service sometimes begins with a phone call.

Cindy Begnaud, secretary and treasurer at the family owned Ace Glass & Mirror, said they have customers who remember their parents coming in and being done right by the business.

“Customer service is just as important to us as giving them a good price,” Begnaud said. “We always laugh and say you’re either a salesperson or you’re an order taker. We’re all pretty much salespeople because our first connection with a customer is usually on the phone. So, if you can, you make a connection with them.”

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The connection leads to the customer being more comfortable doing business with Ace Glass.

It’s not just the phone connection that makes a difference; it’s the attention to what the customer needs.

A person may want a windshield for their side-by-side and is thinking of going with Plexiglass. But Plexiglass, she said, cracks, breaks and scratches easily.

This is where the expert knowledge of the products and customer service comes in.

The best material for this particular case would be acrylic.

Ace Glass & Mirror is headed up by Negnaud’s brother, Mark Stratton and his son Curtis Stratton.

Glass, Mark Stratton said, runs in the family.

Pictured on the front row are Trena Lankford. Middle row, Cindy Begnaud, Mark Stratton and Curtis Stratton. Pictured on the back row are Carl Broussard, Trey Fletcher and Craig Sheffield. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Stratton was following in familiar footsteps when he built Ace Glass & Mirror in 1984 at the age of 26. His grandfather owned Jan Jacinto Glass in Beaumont. An uncle owned Alamo Glass in Port Arthur. Another uncle owned Dixie Glass in Orange.

Mark’s son, Curtis, took the reins Jan. 18, 2020, when Mark was in a motorcycle crash and out of commission.

So when Mark said, “glass sort of runs in my family” he wasn’t kidding.

Ace Glass & Mirror was named the Nederland Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.

“I was shocked, very surprised and very thankful,” Mark Stratton said. “It was awesome. I let my son accept the award. He’s basically the one to take the reins.”

The business offers a number of services from automobile glass to commercial work, cutting window glass to commercial storefront glass and mirror jobs and more.

“We always put the customer first,” he said.

If an employee is working on a car, he tells them to act as if it were that person’s grandmother’s car. Do not leave it dirty. If they are cutting glass for a picture frame, he asks them to make sure the glass is clean before wrapping it and giving it to the customer.

He calls it going the extra step.

Community service

The Strattons don’t shy away from community service. Mark Stratton has served on the Nederland Chamber of Commerce executive board as chairman, as well as other positions.

During the Nederland Heritage Festival, Mark and Cindy worked at the Chamber‘s funnel cake booth where he created four flavors of the sweet pastry. He also worked the Optimist Club booth on different nights selling corn dogs, chicken nuggets and fried cheese.

Both father and son worked the booths, he said.

Glass and mirrors line a shelf at the business. (Mary Meaux/The News)

Future of the glass business

The glass business has undergone a number of changes through the decades that the Strattons have owned the business.

High tech glass is more and more popular. This is for vehicles as well as commercial and residential.

Ace Glass installs a special type of glass in a bathroom where the owner can flip a switch and the glass goes from clear to opaque.

The shop

Glass isn’t the only thing that is sold at the business. Ace Glass also distributes a line of seasoning with humorous names.

The spices and products are made in Lexington, Texas.

“People buy it as a gag gift because of the name on it, and when they try it, they’re like wow, this is pretty good,” he said. “I send this stuff out all over the United States. People buy it here and send it to Oklahoma and they get a big kick out of it and the next thing you know I get an order out of Oklahoma.”

The barbeque sauce, he said, is outstanding.

Ace Glass is also one of the biggest suppliers of Mardi Gras beads in Southeast Texas, he said.

“We are big into Mardi Gras,” Mark said, adding he built seven Mardi Gras floats back in the day.