Who are you?

Gary Thorn – director and owner – Cube Glass Limited

What does your business do?

We design, fabricate and install aluminium windows, doors and curtain walling systems, mainly for commercial properties but also for residential customers. Lots of architects choose aluminium these days for windows and doors partly because, whether in black, grey or charcoal, it is stylish and looks good, but also because of its strength and longevity.

We do some internal glazing but 99 per cent of our work is with external glass.

Where are you based?

In the Lenziemill Industrial Estate. It’s a great, value for money location as we can access the main motorways quickly and our staff, including me, all stay within a 20 miles radius of the office.

How did you get started?

It was just me in an office in Queenslie Industrial park, in north-east Glasgow, with a computer, mobile phone and a desk. I quickly started to secure work and took on my old colleague, Gary Stevenson, almost immediately. Within ten months, we had a small factory and employed two good fabricators and achieved an annual turnover of £775,000. More importantly we were making profit, providing a good service and getting repeat business from familiar sources. We’ve grown steadily year on year to a turnover of £3m.

What is your background?

I grew up in Stepps in the north-east Glasgow suburbs and attended Chryston High School, then graduated with a BSc degree in building engineering and management from Glasgow Caledonian University. Afterwards, I worked in construction-related businesses before becoming general manager at Insutech.

What is your top tip?

There are five: work closely with your customers, have fun whilst working hard, enjoy life, don’t work every hour, and look after your family.

How long has your business been running?

Since 2011.

Has anyone helped you get started and how?

My father-in-law and my best pal loaned me some money which, alongside some of our savings, let me start the business.

What was your first deal?

I got a telephone call from a long-standing customer of my previous employer, R Mac, a roofing contractor, who said he wanted to work with me regardless of where or who I was working for. He then placed a good order. I called up two major suppliers I had worked with previously at Insutech and asked them to supply my new business. Each gave me £25,000 worth of credit which helped relieve my initial working capital needs.

What was your biggest mistake/or what would you do differently?

Not doing it all sooner.

Who was/is your mentor/or inspiration?

Derek Middleton of Insutech was my mentor.

Where do you plan your business to be in five years time?

We are currently negotiating to buy our own premises and extend the building to accommodate our planned growth over the next five years. The additional space will allow to build a showroom for our domestic sales prospect and also resolve our space issue. We will invest in more productive machinery such as a £135k CNC machine which will improve the speed and precision of our products.