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Longtime South Carolina auto glass repair chain sold to Safelite

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Paul Heinauer (copy)

Paul Heinauer's Glasspro chain of auto-glass centers has operations around South Carolina. The company was sold last week to Safelite. Provided.

Glasspro, a Mount Pleasant-based chain of automotive glass repair stores, has been sold to industry leader Safelite.

The deal, which closed Jan. 4, transfers Glasspro's 11 South Carolina locations to the country's largest automotive glass company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

All the stores will retain the Glasspro name, the company said last week. 

Founder and CEO Paul Heinauer has been a familiar face on local television during Glasspro's 23 years in the Lowcountry, promoting his company's services through commercials and news segments and staying active in local philanthropy. 

In a written statement about the purchase, Safelite CEO Tom Feeney said he was "incredibly impressed" with Heinauer's leadership.

“He is a man of great integrity with actions that consistently put his people first," Feeney said in the statement. "It is one of the deepest honors for Safelite to welcome Glasspro associates to our business and to our family.”

Glasspro operates repair shops all across the Palmetto State, including Charleston-area stores in Summerville, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston and Goose Creek. It also operates in cities like Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Greenville and offers mobile services.  

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Before the sale, Safelite owned 21 locations in South Carolina, according to the company's website. 

Heinauer, a Pittsburgh native, started his career with Pittsburgh Plate Glass, or PPG Industries, eventually running a glass distribution center out of Greenville. Heinauer and his wife later moved to Charleston and started a glass distribution company, Coastal Glass Distributors.

In 1995, Heinauer sold that business and opened his first Glasspro shop in North Charleston.  The decision to sell was "far from being an easy one," Heinauer said in a written statement. 

"Through discussions with my family and close friends, I found comfort in knowing our business philosophies align well with Safelite’s, particularly around our mission of serving our customers and taking care of our people,” Heinauer said. 

Heinauer prioritized safety at his Glasspro shops and required all service technicians to be certified by the National Glass Association, a trade organization for auto glass, architectural glass and windows. In 2017, Heinauer was recognized with the Auto Glass Safety Council's top award for excellence in auto glass safety.

Safelite was founded more 70 years ago in Kansas. It is now headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

Reach Emily Williams at 843-937-5553. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

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