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Live in the Present & Plan for the Future

R. R. Branstrom | Daily Press
Technician Jeff McClinchy works to slice the seal in order to remove a windshield that needs replacing at Brian’s Auto Glass in Escanaba.

EDITOR NOTE: The Daily Press will be featuring a series of articles on local businesses, highlighting their history and what makes them unique. The series will run on a regular basis in the Daily Press.

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ESCANABA — The Escanaba-based Brian’s Auto Glass, freshly settled into its new headquarters on Stephenson Avenue, has already expanded into Iron Mountain and Chatham. Negaunee will also soon see a new location following the acquisition by Brian’s of the assets of two similar businesses in Ishpeming.

All branches offer not just glass repair and replacement for a variety of vehicles but also calibrations for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

The eponymous figure behind the business was Brian Rabitoy, who, alongside partner Eric Hansen, began an auto glass business on Lincoln Road and later purchased the quick lube next door. For a while, the two were combined as Brian’s Auto Glass and Quick Lube. After about 15 years of operation, Rabitoy stepped away.

In 2016, Dan Garcia purchased Brian’s Auto Glass — and only the auto glass portion — from Hansen, who continued to run the quick lube until Pioneer bought it. Garcia continued to lease from Hansen the original space for Brian’s Auto Glass until recently, when the operation moved across town. Garcia remains the president and owner of all Brian’s Auto Glass locations, unaffiliated with the quick lube.

In 2017, Brian’s Auto Glass acquired Chatham Auto Glass, which was a smaller operation; the sole technician from Chatham now works for Brian’s.

In 2020, the company bought a building in Iron Mountain and kicked off a third location.

Just this year, they moved out of the old building on Lincoln Road and built themselves a new home; now, the corporate office and Escanaba shop location for Brian’s Auto Glass are found at 430 Stephenson Ave.

The newest development into Marquette County increases the range of Brian’s Auto Glass, which offers mobile service in addition to on-site service.

“We’ll be the largest locally-owned and privately-owned auto glass company in the U.P.,” Garcia said.

In Ishpeming, the assets of the former Peninsula Auto Glass — which has been closed for a couple years — now belong to Brian’s, as does the well-known Glass Worx. Those two are instrumental in the formation of the fourth location of Brian’s Auto Glass in Negaunee.

Two skilled technicians from Glass Worx will also be joining the staff.

“Those guys are bringing almost 30 years of experience combined,” said Garcia.

The auto glass business of course specializes in the repair and replacement of windshields and windows of passenger vehicles and commercial semis, in addition to cutting flat glass for custom installation on heavy equipment, side-by-sides, and the like. Garcia said they accept all insurances and will process all claims.

Glass for the most common types of vehicles are kept well-stocked. Brian’s receives deliveries twice a week, so customers seeking replacements can call and make appointments. Repairs are generally done quickly; Garcia said people tend to stop by for repairs on a lunch break and get in and out in about 15 minutes.

What customers may find surprising yet convenient is the ADAS calibration service Brian’s Auto Glass offers in three locations — Escanaba, Iron Mountain and Negaunee. About three years ago, Brian’s started providing the service, which saves Yoopers from driving to Wisconsin for that aspect of post-collision repair. More and more cars are equipped with all sort of features like radar, automatic braking, lane departure warning, blind spot warning — systems that require calibration following things like bumper replacements.

Garcia said that Brian’s has a good working relationship with other area businesses and also completes the ADAS calibrations for collision centers.

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