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Through the looking glass

Roseville business finds success in hard times
By: Jon Brines Special to The Press-Tribune
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Some would see the lagging economy as the worst time for a business to grow but just like the Chinese symbol for chaos also represents opportunity, a Roseville business owner is capitalizing on the recession idea of repair over replacement. Longtime Roseville resident Dan Frey is the CEO of the Glass Guru on Cirby Way who turned his passion into a franchise model. “I dream about the business as much as I work it during the day,” Frey said. The dream started in the summer of 2002 with his wife Joy working out of their home. “We both had a dream and we wanted to do it together,” she said. “Once we had employees knocking on the door in the morning and me still in my pajamas, I knew it was time to get our shop.” Within an array of services, Dan found a niche for the Glass Guru of Roseville; fixing failed windows instead of replacing them. “The window fails after the expansion and contraction year after year,” Frey said. “The moisture gets in but not out.” He said window manufacturers want you to believe when the fog shows up it’s time for an expensive replacement. That’s when he developed a new technique to clean the double pane window and vent it for good. “You’re saving 50-70 percent of the cost of replacing (a window) when times are tough,” said Glass Guru restoration technician Frankie Panetta. Panetta has been working with Dan for four years and he said he appreciates having a job with Placer County’s unemployment rate rising to 10.3 percent in February, according to state data. “If I didn’t do this I would be collecting cans,” Panetta said. While Panetta jokes about his chances, Dan has been able to secure his job with eight others by expanding his business into franchises. “For $50,000 or less people can get into a business like this which has the potential to make seven figures in revenue in a six-year period,” Dan said. So far, 29 entrepreneurs in 10 states have bought into his Glass Guru brand name and opened shops including local owners in Folsom, Auburn, Sacramento and Marysville. Dale Cook lives in Portland, Ore. and came down to Dan’s corporate headquarters to explore the business with hopes of opening a Glass Guru in his hometown. “Every house I’ve lived in have had failed windows,” Cook said. “Their unique product interested me because no one else is doing it up there. I want to know the business from the ground up before I enter into a franchise. That’s why I’m here.” Cook rode along with Panetta to a Rocklin home to watch him repair 17-year-old windows that are failing in Mike Dezzani’s home. Dezanni was prepared to spend the extra money replacing the window outright but Panetta told him to hold on to his cash. “It was actually his idea,” Dezzani said. “We didn’t know about it but fixing it without replacing it saved some money.” Dezzani said there is also pride in doing business with a local company. “I got some quotes and he had good pricing,” Dezzani said. ”They were local so we wanted to give the guy from Roseville business.” Dan’s growing family business is now heading into Stockton and Modesto, Washington and Hawaii. “It turned into a family business,” Dan said. “Dad and Uncle Jerry are doing franchise sales for us now. Our neighbor across the street is our shipping department.” Frey said his new dream is making a successful Internet marketing company called PR Pros, which is taking off with clients that include his fellow business neighbors on Cirby Way. “I learned from the school of hard knocks how to train and hire people,” Dan said. “It has worked out.”