Glass-cutting business making its mark

Instead of being stuck behind the glass, Roberto "Rob" Cosme, just cuts it.The 43-year-old was suddenly out of a job when the glass-cutting and repair company he worked for closed up shop.

For a short time, Cosme solicited glass contracting jobs, working out of his truck. Then in December he decided his 25 years of glazing experience could sustain a permanent business and rented his own shop and showroom on Leighton Avenue.

"I wanted to stay in the neighborhood and give it a shot," said Cosme, whose company, Atlantic Glass and Mirror, recently was hired by the Strathallan on East Avenue.

Cosme, who moved with his parents to the Rochester area when he was 14 years old, learned the mechanics of glass cutting in high school. He started at an automobile glass company, sweeping the floor, and later earned a position as a glazier, cutting and repairing automobile windshields. He has been working in the glass industry ever since.

Atlantic Glass and Mirror specializes in custom-cutting flat glass for both residential and commercial customers. The work includes tabletops, mirrors and windows.
Investing mainly his own money into the business, Cosme was already equipped with the tools of the trade, and he shopped around for deals on big-ticket equipment like the upright wet sander he uses to cut the glass.

"Brand-new equipment like this can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500," Cosme said.

The bigger challenge would be to make his mark on an industry that already has a large presence in the Rochester area. Each business uses various types of glass, specializing in one or more facets of the industry, including auto, commercial, construction and residential.

Consumers are mostly unaware of the differences, said Robin Neracker, office manager of Northeast Auto Glass.

"It's competitive in the nature of pricing," said Neracker, who helps her brother run the auto glass business. "There are four or five major companies, and as far as pricing, we try to beat the bid of the customer."

When the phone rings for jobs involving the automobile glass, Cosme refers business to Northeast, whose owners he met while networking with area neighbors and business owners.

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