100 Years and Counting: N. Glantz & Son Still Going Strong
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100 Years and Counting: N. Glantz & Son Still Going Strong

Most people don't like to celebrate the annual aging ritual of birthdays beyond the late teens. But it's truly a sign that you're doing something right when your business is having its 100th year celebration.

By Johnny Duncan

N. Glantz & Son thinks of itself as 100 years young, with the best yet to come!

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  • Celebrating a Century
    Up until about 20 years ago, the sign industry was known for stability and longevity. Those who entered our world typically stayed at it, taking pride in their work while producing quality. Things slowly began to change when the desire for instant success without putting in the sweat equity became the priority. Today our industry has a much higher turnover and higher rate of business failures than ever before.

    Thankfully, the giants in this industry are setting a high standard and an example to follow in the art of stick-to-itiveness for those just starting out as sign makers or those already making their mark.

    One of the greats, now celebrating 100 years of service, is N. Glantz & Son. This year marks the 100th anniversary for N. Glantz & Son, a nationwide sign materials distributor. N. Glantz & Son is a full line distributor of digital, commercial and electrical sign supply products ­ offering everything sign manufacturers need to accomplish the job.

    The old storefront in New York City.
    photo credit: N Glantz & Son
    A company doesn't make it a century without providing excellent service, a vast selection, speedy delivery and product expertise. With 21 branches and over 200 employees nationwide, N. Glantz & Son is one of the largest sign supply distributors in the industry. Celebrating 100 years in business and four generations in the family, N. Glantz & Son has been family owned and operated since 1906.

    Joseph Hartman, President and CEO of N. Glantz & Son and fourth generation family member, couldn’t be more thrilled about the centennial: “This is such an exciting time to be part of N. Glantz & Son. This year has been about so much more than looking at our past…the anniversary has really been a launching pad for updating and improving the company in ways that will take us into the next 100 years.”

    How It All Started
    Nathan Glantz, founder of the company, graduated from sign school in 1897. Nathan initially made his living as a sign painter in lower Manhattan in New York City. At that time, the occupation required traveling the city streets by foot to solicit assignments.

    From Left to Right: N. Glantz & Son founder, Nathan Glantz and current owners Davey Glantz, Herbert Glantz and Joseph Hartman
    photo credit: N Glantz & Son
    In order to accommodate his fellow sign painters, Nathan always carried a stock of sign supplies with him. Eventually the demand for Nathan’s sign supplies outpaced the availability of sign-painting jobs and he decided to retire his brush and open a sign supply shop ­ the first of many to come.

    That shop was the predecessor of what has become a nationwide wholesale distribution of a full line of sign supplies. Even with the growth of the company, the emphasis that Nathan placed on accommodating his customers has endured.

    Four Generations of Family
    From Nathan, the business has been passed on to another three generations of the Glantz family: Edwin Glantz, Herbert Glantz and the current President and Executive Vice President ­ Joseph Hartman and Davey Glantz.

    Herbert Glantz started in 1958, as a Driver and took over several years later. Joseph Hartman started in 1984, ran a branch in Toronto, and took over several years after that. Davey Glantz joined in 1995 and Jenny Glantz joined in 2003.

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    Over the years, N. Glantz has acquired smaller companies such as Indiana Sign Supplies, Sign Supplies of Oklahoma, Acme Accessory Company, Neon Sign Supply, just to name a few, that helped to put them in a position to better serve their customers.

    Despite the growth of the company and the many changes to the industry, the family feeling has endured. As one of the company’s “Core Values”, the idea of Family is important in the way Glantz operates its business every day.

    “The future is always challenging,” states Joseph Hartman. “We see, among many things, the flat-screen technology having a potential impact on the industry. In order to keep up with demands, we are striving to stay ahead or at least in tune with these new developments.”

    Industry Leadership
    N. Glantz & Son has been an industry leader over the past century. The company has always been dedicated to the world of signs and sign manufacturers. Glantz family members and Glantz employees are involved with national and regional sign associations. Herbert Glantz was on the Board of Directors of NESA (the precursor to ISA ­ the International Sign Association). Joe Hartman was a Board Member of NESA and two time past president of NASSD (National Association of Sign Supply Distributors). Davey Glantz was past president of CSA (California Sign Association).

    In addition to leadership positions in industry associations, N. Glantz & Son has been a leader in embracing new sign technologies as well. Glantz was a pioneer when neon first became popular; one of the first distributors of the Gerber Signmaker machine; and one of the first to embrace advanced Computer Aided Signmaking.

    The Next 100 Years
    “The customer has become more sophisticated,” states Hartman. “The expectations of turn-around time are incredible now. I have been in the industry long enough to remember when we had to mail the purchase orders to the customer. Now, it is all done at real-time. We will continue to adapt to the changes in order to still provide the best for our customers.”

    N. Glantz & Son thinks of itself as 100 years young, with the best yet to come! The company is stronger than ever, with exciting plans for the future. With a brand new Centennial Edition Master Catalog and brand new website, N. Glantz is poised for the future. Look for expanded coverage, new products and new locations to come.

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