Calgary 'world capital' for windshield fixes

When it comes to cracked vehicle windshields, Calgary rocks. That's according to local windshield repair experts, one of whom insists Calgary is the most lucrative market in the auto glass repair business.

And they say the possibility city road crews might switch to a smaller-calibre gravel won't spare much-abused Calgary windshields.

"Calgary is number one in the world per capita (in windshield repairs)," said Tim Mulrooney, general manager of Cal-Alta Auto Glass, 3927 Edmonton Tr. N.E.

"The only place busier is Denver, but they have a larger population."

Mulrooney said both cities share similar winter climates that produce flying gravel that bumps up their business -- snow followed by quick thaws.

Mulrooney says Calgary boasts 195 auto glass repair shops compared to about 60 in the much larger greater Toronto.

"In Toronto, a busy day is six or seven windshields fixed -- we'll do that before lunch," he said.

"This is also the cheapest place in the world to buy auto glass because of the volume sold."

The staffer at another shop said Calgarians are bigger buyers of auto glass than those in other parts of Canada.

"There's a lot more re-pairs done here than in the Maritimes where they use sand on the roads," said Nova Scotia native Colby Sweeney of Apple Auto Glass, 3420 12 St. N.E.

But they say a city pilot project to use smaller gravel on city roads for several weeks this year won't cut into their business.

"It won't have a great deal of impact -- a small rock will still damage a windshield," said Dave Horrocks of Standard Auto Glass.

But city officials say the move is meant to ensure gravel remains on the roads better, while most windshield damage is done by larger stones not spread by road crews.

And windshield doctors are universal in tagging the major source of the carnage they cure -- Deerfoot Tr., which is maintained by the province.

"Seventy per cent say they got a stone chip from Deerfoot, so all I can say is 'thank you, Deerfoot,' " said Sweeney.

600450 Calgary 'world capital' for windshield fixes
Date: 20 March 2004

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