NEW BEDFORD — Servpro of New Bedford President Doug Glassman proudly says that his volume of business has tripled in the four years he has owned the local franchise of the national chain. This past summer, he capped off a move to the former Sam Giammalvo’s car dealership building at 1476 Purchase St., which his team converted some from space into a suite of new offices.
Glassman said he employs about 12, but more in the colder months when there are all kinds of issues with structures including ice dams and broken pipes.
Servpro is easy to spot: The building now is vivid signature green, the brightest splash of color along Route 18.
You have just moved into this building, haven’t you?
Yes. We bought the building in January, and we did a full build-out. The office space around us is all new. We just gutted it out and started from scratch. We moved in at the end of May.
You painted the building green facing Route 18. That really makes a statement.
Yes, that’s one of the best parts. It’s the brand Servpro, the brand awareness and that color pops. So that was something that tastefully done looks good but also grabs your attention as well.
Where were you before this?
We were on Kempton Street. If you go remember back in the day, it was George’s Radiator Shop not far from the health food store at 45 Kempton St.
So you were sort of tucked away out of sight.
Yes, absolutely. It was a great move for us, obviously. A, the visibility we get, but B what we do because the type of work that we do for emergencies, restoration and getting to our customers as fast as possible. We’re right on the highway here so with a snap of the finger we’re on the highway and headed out to cover everybody on the SouthCoast.
You decided to locate essentially downtown as opposed to the industrial park or some other industrial area by the airport.
In my opinion, I wanted to be as close to downtown as we could. I feel like things are getting better and improving, and I want to be a part of it. I want to be down here in the heart of the city.
We do commercial and residential but were really in the heartbeat of New Bedford, and that also feeds out to all the veins that go out to the surrounding towns and communities in the area.
You do restoration. You do the dirty work when something bad happens to people, right?
Right. Think of it as sometimes when everybody is running away from a situation or it’s a mess they want to get to the house of things that are being destroyed, that’s when we’re heading in. So were that kind of restoration first responders, anything from water damage, a pipe breaks or a roof leaks and there seepage, flooding, fire cleanup. It could be anything from a small kitchen fire to complete devastation.
Do you occasionally go into a building and decide it’s not worth it, it’s too far gone?
Typically we can be part of the decisions sometimes, but it really comes down a lot of times to the property owner and especially when it’s an insurance loss. So at times they may deem that kind of thing and there are jobs where we go in and assess it. We bring in an architect, an engineer, and they assess the building. At times a job might not become a job for us because they just might have to tear the structure down.
How do you and your people learn to do what you do?
There are a lot of certifications in this industry, many of our guys have many of them.
I myself even went down to Servpro headquarters in Tennessee. I did aggressive training and I was there a month at one point when I was getting into this myself. Other than that it’s just more of continuing training and continuing to sharpen the skills. There’s a lot of training. The guys were continuously doing a lot of certifications that we have to sustain this industry and stay at the top of our game. There are several people here with a lot of experience.
Is there a concern with hazardous materials, even hazardous materials you might bring to a clean up job. What do you use? Is this proprietary chemistry?
There are Servpro products that we use that are made and created by Servpro. The cool thing is as we go along there the a lot of them that are becoming more natural and all-natural products. So the really hazardous stuff, I wouldn’t say we bring it into homes. We have a few products that are very strong for certain situations, but the majority that we use is very safe stuff like you’d buy off the shelf at a supermarket
As far as the jobs and some of the hazards that we go into and have to deal with in a day-in day-out basis, that’s where we’re heavily trained and follow procedures with personal protective equipment — PPE — follow those procedures and make sure that not only we’re having the safety of the customer but also our own workers as well.
Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT.