By Brian Swartz
Weekly Staff Editor
MILFORD, Maine — When glass shatters (or cracks or chips), Bernie Lynch responds.
He owns Viking Glass, located at 35 Main Road in Milford. The full-service glass company handles all aspects of glass repair or replacement — and customers appreciate the many services that Viking Glass offers.
On a recent midsummer morning, a driver pulled her Ford Explorer into the parking lot at Viking Glass and handed Bernie Lynch the vehicle’s keys. The SUV’s owner planned to return in a while; by that time Lynch and Dan Comeau, a part-time employee, had removed the Explorer’s cracked window glass and installed a replacement windshield. The inspection sticker and rear-view mirror were positioned correctly, almost as if they had never occupied space on another windshield.
Chalk up another satisfied customer for Viking Glass.
A 1984 graduate of Orono High School, Lynch started working in the glass trade in 1986. For many years he managed various Portland Glass stores, including one in western Massachusetts; in 1997 he launched his own part-time business, Viking Glass, then based in Bath.
By 2010 Lynch “wanted to be closer to the family,” so he moved to Veazie. That September Viking Glass became a full-time business that Lynch operated from his service van. He then spent time developing a commercial-and-residential customer base in a particular Maine region.
“I saw an opportunity. There was no full-time, full-service glass shop north of Bangor until you get to Millinocket,” he said. “My focus has been Veazie north,” particularly in Lincoln and its surrounding towns, and “I will travel anywhere.”
In January 2013 Lynch leased commercial space at 35 Main Road, Milford, and spent some weeks renovating the space. Today Viking Glass handles “everything to do with glass” at this two-bay facility — and also at a customer’s home or place of business.
“Everything we do in the shop, we can do on site,” he stressed.
According to Lynch, Viking Glass handles “all types of glass-related repair and replacement,” including:
• Automotive glass. “Windshields, door glass, back [window] glass: If glass breaks, we fix it,” Lynch said. “We handle the paperwork for the insurance companies to make it easy and convenient for the customer.”
“We service all types of vehicles,” he said.
Besides replacing cracked or shattered automotive glass, Viking Glass repairs chipped glass. “When you get that rock chip [in a windshield], get to Viking Glass quickly,” he said. “We can repair that windshield and save you money,” especially when replacing a windshield averages $200-$300 and repairing a chip averages $50.
• Building windows. A cracked or broken window can be repaired at Viking Glass or a customer’s home. Lynch indicated that his company can replace an entire window if necessary.
Viking Glass also repairs or replaces glass in commercial entrance doors and windows.
• Window screens. Viking Glass repairs damaged or torn screens.
• Table tops. His company can make plate-glass table tops in different “shapes and sizes” to protect new tables from scratches and stains, Lynch said.
• Household glass. Viking Glass sells and installs glass for shower doors, wood stoves, and such furniture as china cabinets and hutches.
• Windows made from plexiglas and polycarbonate. These materials often appear in boats, storm doors, and other applications.
Since Viking Glass opened its Milford shop last winter, business has been steadily increasing. The company occupies a highly visible location at the intersection of Main Road (Route 2) and Bradley Road (Route 178). Customers are calling or stopping by, Lynch said, and they particularly “enjoy the personal touch.
“When you call Viking Glass, you will be talking to somebody in Milford,” not out of state,” he said. “I own the company; I’m the one who’s going to be doing the work. I care that the job is done right.
“I’ve had many comments from customers” who say that they are “‘glad that you are here,’” Lynch said.