Safelite says it plans no layoffs in Giant Glass buy

Safelite Group Inc. said Friday it has purchased North Andover-based Giant Glass Co. for an undisclosed sum. The sale, rumored for more than a week, was completed Monday, ending 34 years of local ownership by Dennis Drinkwater and Lance Cramer.

“I am proud of the company that my business partner, Lance, and I have built,” Drinkwater said in a statement. “We have a strong customer base and excellent employees, and we wanted both of them to be well taken care of in the future. We trust that Safelite will take care of them both.”

Safelite, which has about 10,000 employees nationwide, said it will keep the Giant Glass name and has no plans to lay off any of the company’s 54 workers or reduce its fleet of 30 vehicles that provide onsite automobile glass replacement services.


Drinkwater and Cramer will stay on under the new ownership, overseeing Giant’s five locations, in Lawrence, North Andover, Peabody, Weymouth, and Worcester.

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“We expect that Giant Glass’s clients, customers, business partners, and employees will benefit from our commitment to be the leader in the vehicle glass industry,” said Safelite chief executive Tom Feeney.

A spokeswoman for Safelite said the company, based in Columbus, Ohio, aims to maintain the Giant Glass brand in the Boston area. Giant is a prominent advertiser at Fenway Park and on radio broadcasts of Red Sox games.

At most Sox home games, Drinkwater occupies what is widely considered to be the best seat in the house — directly behind home plate.

Giant’s image as a local company is critical to success, said Cathy Waters, associate chairwoman of the marketing communications department at Emerson College.


“A company that fixes broken glass needs to be locally focused because it’s something that needs to be done right away,” Waters said.

Giant’s ownership by an out-of-state company could complicate its marketing strategy. “If you need auto glass replacement, don’t be outsourced,” Giant’s radio advertisements urge, ostensibly steering consumers away from companies like its new parent, Safelite.

But the sale to Safelite probably will ultimately not undermine consumers’ perception of Giant Glass as a local company, Waters said.

She pointed to Jordan’s Furniture as an example of another brand that Massachusetts consumers still consider local, even after its 1999 sale to Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., based in Omaha.

Callum Borchers can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.