Boynton firm specializes in protective window film for businesses

Steven Sabac became a small business owner early in life. As a high school student, he made extra money tinting car windows for friends and family.

He later formed his own company and moved on to residential tinting.

In 1987, he officially formed Sun Glass Protection Inc. in Boynton Beach. The problem, he said, was "when you do residential film, you're just another name in the phone book. I was looking for something to set me apart from everybody else."

Today, Sabac, 38, owns a patent on Windowlock, a heavy, impact-resistant window film that can be clear or tinted. He now serves the commercial market exclusively.

Windowlock helps protect commercial windows from breaking because of vandalism, like a thrown brick, or storm-tossed tree branches. Metal anchoring around the frame holds the film in place and prevents the glass from falling out or shattering into pieces, which would cause water and debris damage inside.

The Windowlock system is for older buildings not equipped with the latest hurricane-resistant glass. The Southern Building Code Congress International and the Factory Mutual Global Co. -- which certify building products as hurricane resistant -- have approved Windowlock.

Sabac, who runs his business out of his home, has installed the film on hundreds of commercial buildings. He charges from $18 to $22 per square foot of glass. Sabac also markets the product to companies that don't have the manpower to quickly install hurricane panels or shutters on short notice.

Although Sabac has struggled to convince companies that his glass protection is worth the cost, his sales pitch has become much easier after the four hurricanes hit the state this season. Since the storms, Sabac said his phone has been constantly ringing.

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Sabac said he thought business would boom, but he was surprised it took a dozen years for another serious hurricane threat in South Florida.

"Now people are starting to think more about protecting their buildings," said Sabac.

After the storms, Sabac toured much of Florida, inspecting the windows equipped with his film. He said none was blown out. The Civic Center in Escambia County, a county shelter during Hurricane Charley, had no window damage, while windows in neighboring commercial and government buildings were missing or damaged.

Other clients include the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, the Port Everglades administration building and the Fidelity Federal Bank building in downtown West Palm Beach.

In 2001, the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach spent $170,000 on the film for its 9,800-square-foot wall of windows facing Okeechobee Boulevard. Sabac's protection had proven itself on a smaller scale when vandals shot the windows. The glass cracked inside the frame, but the window did not fall out, said spokesman Brian Bixler. He said none of the windows was damaged during Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.

"We're lucky we didn't have any problems because the windows are the building's most distinctive architectural feature," Bixler said.

600450 Boynton firm specializes in protective window film for businesses
Date: 1 December 2004

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