Coastal Glass shuts down

Jack Hoey

North Charleston-based Coastal Glass Distributors, once one of the largest residential and commercial glass fabricators in the Southeast, accepted its final order Tuesday after more than two decades in business.

The company, which employed about 150 people in its plant off Ashley Phosphate Road, sent a letter to customers Tuesday saying the decision came "after efforts to obtain ongoing financing proved unavailable."

Coastal Glass sold its automotive glass component in 2001 and began splitting its focus between residential and commercial glass. President Jack Hoey declined to say much beyond what he said in the letter but alluded to the real estate market tumble.

"We're a housing product supplier," he said Wednesday. "Obviously, the economy played a role."

The company began as a wholesale distributor in 1986. Hoey became its chief operating officer in 1994 and acquired Coastal Glass with an investment group the next year.

The company sold the automotive glass component in 2001 and built a client base of architects, retailers, manufacturers and glazers. It moved to the North Charleston facility in 1997.

With a state tax incentive package in hand, the company in 2003 built a 31,000-square-foot addition, a new state-of-the-art oven and a new cutting line.

The $3 million expansion took Coastal Glass up to about 180 employees locally. At the time, Hoey credited the Southeast construction boom with the surge in business, according to a report in The Post and Courier.

The company opened another plant in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2007 but closed that operation a few months ago. The Charleston workers learned just hours before customers on Tuesday that their jobs were gone.

"That was when we made our decision," Hoey said.

The company is still working on a plan to help employees move to new jobs, he said.

As for his own business future, Hoey said, "I have not even thought about that yet, but I guess I'll have time to work through it when this is over."

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