Discount Auto Glass

City: North Little Rock
Category: Category II (26-75 Employees)
Year: 2008

The idea for Discount Auto Glass began in Wichita, Kan. Dale Dues, who co-owns Discount with John Smotrilla, drank coffee many mornings with a group of people. One of his fellow coffee drinkers sold his business and opened a wholesale car glass company. The man was successful, so Dues, thought, "I can do this."

Dues and Smotrilla started doing what they knew best.

"Basically, the philosophy was 'We don't know much about the glass business, but we know how to sell things,'" Dues said.

Dues had recently sold a franchise he owned that had locations in Arkansas. He knew Smotrilla through the franchise. The two opened Discount Auto Glass and completed their first sale in January 1999.
"For the first three or four months, it was the two of us and we'd work from daylight to sunset," Dues said.

The company now operates a 21,000-SF warehouse in North Little Rock, employs 30 and has five retail locations in Arkansas as well as another in Memphis. With Dues and Smotrilla both having experience in advertising sales, the company grew thanks to aggressive marketing, Dues said.

The first efforts consisted of fliers, Dues said. The fliers helped Discount Auto Glass expand its wholesale business. After five years, the company decided to begin offering retail, he said. By listing the company in the Yellow Book, retail sales began to grow, Dues said. Television and radio marketing soon followed.

"One month, we did like eight installs, and we thought we had died and gone to heaven. Now we're installing about 60 or 70 a day — anything less than that and we consider it a slow day."
Now the pair are sitting back and watching. The current economic downturn has halted immediate plans to expand, Dues said. But once the economy rights itself, growth will resume, Dues said.

And once that happens, Dues knows how Discount Auto Glass will get its newest location up and running.

"You have to spread the world, because you can't just be sitting by yourself hoping people notice," Dues said.

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