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Glass shortage brings negative and positive impacts to Treasure Valley auto glass shop

Glass producers across the nation have trouble keeping up with the demand needed for things like windshields.

BOISE, Idaho — Supply shortages continue to impact nearly every industry in the nation, including glass. Glass producers across the U.S. are having trouble keeping up with the demand for products like glass bottles, glass jars and windshields. 

This shortage has created both negative and positive impacts on auto glass repair shops in the Treasure Valley.

"I've worked here 13 years and never once have we had a glass shortage like this," said Lauren Brown, the general manager for InterMountain Auto Glass in the Treasure Valley.

Brown said the auto glass shop usually tries to get their parts and supplies from three local manufacturers in Boise, but some materials for vehicles are not always available. She said they have had to get creative when it comes to serving some customers.

"For a while, we had 20 people waiting in line to get their new windshields for them," Brown said. "[We're] ordering from dealerships, getting supplies from Spokane, Wyoming, [and] the Tri-Cities. We're just trying to find those pieces anywhere we can."

The auto glass shop typically serves about 50-75 customers a week, according to Brown. However, since the glass shortage, she said about 15% of glass orders they are tasked with they're not able to fulfill.

"I mean just three minutes ago I had to tell a customer we don't have their glass available and that we'd have to call them as soon as the glass arrives," Brown said. 

For those orders and services they're not able to fill, InterMountain Auto Glass keeps the customers in a filing system. For the most part, they're able to get the materials for newer vehicles, they run into supply trouble when it comes to older models.

Not only does InterMountain Auto Glass have trouble finding the materials but the prices on supplies are also increasing, especially if they have to ship in the glass from out of state.

"Each windshield averages about $50-$90 per windshield that we ship, so if we're not able to get it locally we have to go elsewhere and unfortunately the customers have to accrue that charge," Brown explained.

However, it's not all bad news. Since the shortage is national, InterMountain Auto Glass has customers call and visit them from all over the Western region to look for supplies. Brown said most of the time the shop is able to locate it.

She said this year has been one of their most successful. 

"We love being able to help them out because them going without a windshield for their personal vehicle that they drive every day, I can imagine, is not very comfortable," Brown said.

While this shortage continues Brown asks for people to remain patient and try to continue to shop and support local businesses as much as possible.

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