Absolute Glass Owner Works Hard to Stay in Business
Chris Burchell: "I’m so happy that I’ve been able to survive.”
Carlye Burchell might not be alive today if it wasn’t for her father, Chris.
Chris owns Absolute Auto & Flat Glass on Route 23. He specializes in repairing, replacing, and installing damaged vehicle windshields. Carlye’s car flipped over eight times on Route 80 a few years ago. Her car was totaled, but she walked away from the accident because of the work her father did. The windshield prevented the roof from completely caving in and crushing Carlye.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that doing as good of a job as I did on that windshield saved my daughter’s life,” said Burchell, a Wayne resident and DePaul Catholic High School alumnus. “My work is everything, it’s my livelihood and how I make my living. I owe it to my customers, and to myself and my family, to do the best job I can, with every customer, every day.”
Times have been difficult in recent years for Burchell and his wife Jennifer. They have been at their Route 23 location for almost five years. Business used to be booming and he employed 10 people.
National insurance companies have really affected Burchell’s business. They offer discounted rates because they cut a lot of their vendors a few years ago, including Burchell. Since 2008 he’s laid off seven employees and Hurricane Irene covered his business with several feet of water.
Burchell does most of his jobs on the road now with one of his two trucks. He used to own five.
“You can’t cut any more than we’ve cut,” Burchell said.
Instead of using an adhesive that dries in one hour, he uses one that dries in two and saves more than $100 a case. He uses two or three cases of it a week.
Jennifer said that it is difficult to get ahead, and stay ahead, in the current economic climate.
“Every time you get two steps ahead, you go one step back,” Jennifer said.
Burchell and his wife wait as long as possible before they pay their bills so they can keep as much money in the bank as possible, for as long as possible.
Burchell said he largely relies on world of mouth and repeat customers to stay in business. He often puts off paying bills until right before they are due in order to keep as much money in his bank account as he can, just in case something catastrophic happens.
“The revolving nightmare of just surviving here is just incredible,” Burchell said. “But I’m not a quitter, I’m a fighter and fighters are tough guys, and tough guys never quit.”
Burchell family has strong roots in town. His family has lived here since the 1930s. His mother owned the Olde Turnpike Tolehouse on Route 23 for 25 years.
“It means’ the world to me that I’m here in businesses,” Burchell said. “I’m so happy that I’ve been able to survive.”