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Please note:      

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“ Make  Every  Day  a  Productive  One  ”      

Mike and  Karen  Sweep                                           If  there  was  one  piece  of  advice  given  to  me  that  I  think  was  the  main  influence   and  guide  to  our  business  and  success,  then  this  was  it. Make  every  day  a  productive  one,  my  Dad  would  say  to  me  back  in  the  first  few years  of  business.   It  was  toward  the  end  of  1984  and  I  had  left  my  employment  as  a  glazier  at  a   moderately  sized  firm  and  was  filling  time  working  as  a  landscaper  with  two  friends of  mine.  I  had  resigned  from  the  job  as  a  means  to  escape  recurring  concerns  with   the  owner’s  son  and  was  soon  to  develop  a  desire  to  become  self-­employed.  I  was   newly  married  and  so  discussed  this  with  Karen  and  began  to  slowly  put  together   the  basic  tools  required:                                           *    A  ute  (already  had  one)                                           *    A  glass  ‘A’  frame  for  the  back  of  the  ute                                           *    Ladders  and  hand  tools

A few  easy  going  months  passed,  landscaping  and  doing  the  odd  glass  replacement job  that  came  my  way,  about  one  a  month  if  I  was  lucky,  when,  without  realising,   opportunity  come  knocking.  It  was  January  1985  and  one  of  the  largest  hailstorms  on record  for  Brisbane  had  just  hit.  I  was  over  at  Mum  and  Dad’s  house  at  Chapel  Hill   inspecting  the  minor  glass  damage  to  their  place  and  their  neighbours’  places.   Maybe  a  bit  of  work  here  I  thought  and  so  I  rang  my  landscaping  mates  to  tell  them   I  would  not  be  in  for  a  week.   “A  week?”,    Karen  said,  “that’s  a  bit  long,”  but  I  never  did  go  back  and  so  spent  the   next  four  months  glazing  twelve  hours  a  day,  seven  days  a  week  as   ‘Mike  Sweep:  Glass  and  Leadlight  Service.’  The  storm  was  so  large  and  so  many   people  were  in  desperate  situations  that  many  would  stop  you  in  the  street   to  get  their  window  glass  fixed.  Karen  was  employed  with  an  insurance  company  and   was  supplying  me  with  work  orders  as  well.  The  one  and  a  half  car  garage  of  our  unit   became  a  total  workshop/depot.  After  dinner  at  night,Karen  and  I  would  go  down  to   where  we  had  the  floor  covered  with  carpet,  glass  sheets  stacked  against  walls  and   a  leadlight  repair  table  and  tools  against  the  back  wall.  Out  would  come  the  glass   type  and  size  requirements  for  the  next  day  and  we’d  spend  the  night  cutting  glass   on  the  carpet  floor  then  we’d  load  up  the  ute,  back  it  into  the  garage  and  go  to  bed.


Sunrise I  would  be  up  and  the  next  day  would  begin.  With  Karen  helping  me     onsite  on  Saturdays  and  Sundays  we  worked  every  day  for  four  months  and  then for  five  days  a  week  for  another  three  months  after  that.  I  had  picked  up  some great  clients  during  the  storm,  one  small  insurance  company  and  a  few  real   estates,  and  I’m  proud  to  say  that  we  still  service  their  glass  needs  today.   After  seven  months  came  a  slump  in  the  orders  and  we  had  a  problem arising.  Karen  was  still  at  the  insurance  company  and  so  starvation  was  not  a  factor but,  fortunately,  we  had  saved  enough  money  to  place  a  large  advertisement  in  the   next  yellow  pages  (a  few  months  away).  We  were  also  getting  very  sick  of  cutting   glass  on  our  garage  floor  so  a  month  prior  I  had  asked  my  Dad,  who  was  now  in real  estate,  to  look  around  for  a  shop  we  could  purchase  and  work  from.  

It was  not  long  before  he  had  found  a  cheap  one  with  a  small  house  attached   right  beside  the  railway  station  at  Graceville.  We  went  to  have  a  look.   From  the  outside,  it  was  fantastic  but  why  so  cheap,  I  thought.  Karen  screamed   to  me,  “Have  a  look  through  here.”  The  house  must  have  had  a  fire  inside leaving  major  damage  including  a  hole  in  the  floor,  all  window  glass  cracked  and   two  collapsed  ceilings.    Karen  and  Dad  thought,  huhh  great,  and  I  thought  GREAT!   Work  was  slowing,  we  needed  this  place  and  I  knew  I  could  make  something  of  it,   and  so  after  a  bit  of  time  convincing  them,  we  purchased  it  and  I  began  the   restoration  work.   With  Karen  helping  me  on  the  weekends,  we  repaired  and  renovated  the  house   from  what  it  was,  the  standard  worker’s  two-­bedroom  cottage,  to  a  colonial  style   and  feel.  We  replaced  the  patterned  ceilings,  widened  the  two  bedroom  doorways   to  have  multi-­lited  French  doors  with  fretwork  above.  VJ  built  in  wardrobes  were   added  in  both  bedrooms,  with  Floreal  (a  flower  patterned  glass)  to  all  the  mult-­lited   windows  of  the  house.  The  whole  of  the  floor  was  patched,  two  of  the  walls  were   knocked  out,  opening  up  the  kitchen  to  the  lounge  and  dining.  The  bathroom  was   retiled,  a  new  sliding  door,  shower  screen  and  fittings  added.  The  kitchen  was   gutted  to  fit  a  new  demo  model  from  Mad  Barry’s  and  a  front  door  with  sidelights   was  created.  This  took  up  Karen  and  my  weekends  at  first,  and  then  full  time  for  me.  


After five  and  a  half  months,  the  inside,  painting  and  all,  was  complete.  We  called an  electrician  in  to  rewire  the  house,  and  moved  into  our  first  house,  twelve   squares  including  the  attached  shop  on  19  October  1985.  Eventually,  in  our  spare time,  we  built  a  carport  and  repainted  the  outside,  but  as  the  house  had  a  two  car   garage,  we  thought  it  more  practical  to  work  from  there  and  rent  the  shop  and  this we  died  for  a  further  two  and  a  half  years.  In  addition,  with  the  need  to  look  as   professional  as  possible,  we  soon  spent  all  the  money  we  had  on  a  near  new  truck and  had  an  O’Brien’s  type  glass  body  made  for  it.   Boy,  did  I  feel  proud  or  what! Down  the  track,  over  the next  year,  the  glasswork had  picked  up  from   the  Yellow  Pages   advertisement  and   was  moving  well.   We  were  struggling  to   handle  everything  at  this   stage,  with  me  working  6  days   a  week,  being  on  call  the  seventh and  coming  home  to  do  quotes  and  make  calls  at  night.  Prior  to  this,  Karen  also   had  finished  her  work  with  the  insurance  company  and  was  at  home  with  our  first   child  Tom,  and  pregnant  with  Samantha,  our  second.  She  was  also  looking  after   the  business  phone  and  two-­way  communication  for  me,  and  later  the  shop  at   Graceville  which  we  took  over  as  well.  I  had  to  find  a  retail  place  to  allow  me  to   build  the  business,  put  some  staff  on  and  reduce  some  of  the  stress.  We   purchased  a  second  house,  an  attached  shop  at  Annerley,  in  May  1989,  and  then registered  a  new  trading  name  of  Allglass  and  Leadlight.  The  property  was  in  a   good  position  but  was  a  dump!  The  house  was  in  poor  condition  and  the  shop   leaned  six  inches  from  bottom  to  top  in  two  directions.    BUT  again,  we  needed  it  so starting  with  the  shop  and  later  the  house,  we  spent  a  lot  of  time  and  money  having counters  built,  fake  walls  installed  and  raised  and  restumped  the  house.  We  added a  new  bathroom  underneath,  repainted  outside  and  ..........  and  .........  and  .........   well  you  know  how  it  goes,  but  fortunately  this  time  Karen  and  I  got  a  lot  of  help  from a  builder  etc.   The  business  continued  to  be  stable  but  did  not  grow  at  a  speed  I  was  happy  with (funny,  I  don’t  think  it  ever  has?).  I  had  by  now,  a  real  desire  to  establish  a  more   secure  financial  base  for  my  family  by  building  the  business.  


With myself  looking  after  the  phone  at  Annerley  and  doing    leadlight  work,  one   employee  doing  outside  glass  replacement  and  Karen  back  at  Graceville  looking   after  the  shop  and  business  phone  there,  two  kids  and  pregnant  with  the  third,  left us  again  strained  at  times.  This  really  come  to  a  head  occasionally  when  we  would have  a  two-­man  job  to  do  in  a  hurry  and  so  I  would  ring  Karen  who  would  ring  my   Mum  who  would  race  over  to  look  after  the  kids  so  Karen  could  look  after  the   Annerley  shop  so  I  could  help  do  the  two  man  job.  Probably  one  of  the  biggest   obstacles  we  had  over  the  time,  apart  from  finding  the  work  had  been  to  find  good   staff.  I  was  frustrated  at  times,  but  let  me  say  persistence  has  paid  off  as  today  I   have  a  great  team.   Anyway,  where  was  I,  ahh  yeah,  another  major  upward  boost  to  our  goals  was  in   1990  when  an  ex-­employee  of  mine  advised  me  of  a  glass  business  that  was  in trouble  and  wanting  to  sell  out.  I  jumped  at  the  chance.  It  was  Brisbane  Glass  and   Processing  at  Toowong,  and  if  I  was  lucky,  this  would  be  perfect  as  it  was  in  the   Western  suburbs  and  established  now  for  three  years.  With  this  we  could  close   the  shop  at  Graceville  and  free  Karen’s  time  up  more  for  motherly  duties  and   accounting  concerns  from  home.  It  took  a  lot  of  talk  with  the  business  owner,  I   could  free  him  from  all  his  business  headaches  and  this  all  fell  into  place  in   September  1990.  We  now  had  two  trading  names  and  three  employees  and  after   twelve  months  of  this  we  decided,  to  allow  for  the  growth,  we  needed  to  close  one trading  name  to  work  under  a  more  prominent,  professional  banner  and  logo  with   serious  corporate  colours.  I  chose  one  sunny  Sunday  and  off  I  went  to  northern   New  South  Wales  to  a  quiet  beach  where  I  spent  all  day  producing  the  logo  and   corporate  colours  that  we  still  work  under  today.  

Brisbane Glass  without  the  “processing”  was  the  best  name  but  it  needed  a   slogan  or  two.  Your  Local  Glassman  –  YEAH  –  that  is  what  the  general  public   prefer  –  put  that  in  a  small  font  under  Brisbane  Glass,  give  it  a  large  tick  as  a  sign  of customer  acceptance  and  another  slogan  “that’s  the  one”  at  the  bottom  to  express   those  thoughts  of  the  customer  and  all  that  was  left  was  the  colours.  We  had  to   stand  out  and  been  seen  to  be  different  with  strong  colours  as  the  main  ones  had   been  taken  –  red  and  Channel  7,  blue  and  True  Blue  Exhaust,  yellow  and  Midas,   etc.,  it  pretty  much  left  black,  as  our  background  colour.  This  was  to  be  for  all,  our shops,  vehicles  and  uniforms.  The  lettering  in  the  logo  was  red  and  white.   We  received  many  positive  comments  in  the  beginning  and  still  today  our  vehicles   are  widely  known.    


Over the  next  four  years,  we  continued  with  our  business  plan  with  growth  through service  and  this  enabled  us  to  establish  a  third  retail  and  depot  in  Geebung.   Today,  Brisbane  Glass  employs  thirteen  people  including  Karen  and  I,  and  has   six  Ford  Transit  vans,  one  A-­frame  truck  and  utility.  We  cover  the  entire  Brisbane and  metropolitan  and  surrounding  areas  from  Bribie  Island  to  Ormeau.  We  now service  the  glass  requirements  for  over  one  hundred  and  thirty  real  estate   property  managements,  four  insurance  companies,  approximately  six  body   corporate  management  companies  as  well  as  the  general  public.   If  I  could  just  go  back  to  1997,  because  it  was  here  that  we  were  successful  with  a tender  for  glass  replacement  work  in  Brisbane  for  a  national  insurance  company.   After  advising  me  of  their  decision,  they  also  asked  us  to  service  their  needs   state-­wide  and  within  three  months  we  had  this  structured  and  working.  We  had developed  a  network  of  contracted  glass  companies  across  Queensland  and northern  New  South  Wales  working  as  one  under  the  management  of  Brisbane   Glass.  This  arrangement  supported  small  building  glass  business  within  a  market unapproachable  individually.  In  early  1999,  we  realised  that  now  we  had  a  service system  with  a  proven  record  of  accomplishment  that  was  strong,  solid  and  capable of  being  presented  to  a  national  market  in  need  of  choice.  This  network  of   contracted  companies  in  1999  separated  from  Brisbane  Glass  Pty.  Ltd.  to  allow   the  formation  of  a  new  company  structure  to  take  on  the  national  insurance   company  market.  This  was  to  be  Your  Local  Glassman  Pty.  Ltd. After  forming  a  joint  venture  with  Australia’s  second  largest  automotive  glass   company,  Protector  Glass  Industries,  we  present  a  unique  and  strong  glass  body. Today  with  over  sixty-­five  contractor  company  network  members  from  Cairns  to Hobart,  including  Brisbane  Glass,  partnership  relations  are  established  between insurance  company  clients  and  Your  Local  Glassman  ®  and  glass  replacement work  orders  from  successful  tenders  are  passed  to  our  managed  network  members.   The  combined  networks  of  the  joint  venture  companies  are  made  up  of  individual and  privately  owned  locally  based  glass  companies  in  both  auto  and  building   glass.  Together,  under  joint  venture  management,  they  number  170  making  up   the  largest  glass  group  in  Australia.  Today, in  2000,  this  is  still  all  new  on   Your  Local  Glassman  ®  side  of   things  but  we  are  being  well   accepted  and  the  future   holds  great  possibilities.    


Profile for Mike  Sweep

The Brisbane Glass History 1985 to 2000  

As presented and published in the book " Stars Under the Southern Cross " Bond University 2000.

The Brisbane Glass History 1985 to 2000  

As presented and published in the book " Stars Under the Southern Cross " Bond University 2000.

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