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On April 22nd, 1978, Go Glass Design began trading in Cambridge, and 45 years on the company continues to break new ground.

“One of our recent successes is edge-lit glass units,” owner and managing director Tracy Saunders said. “We recently exhibited at Grand Designs at Excel in London where we wanted to showcase how we push the limits of what you can do with glass.”

While Go Glass is a recognised name in Cambridge, the company has a successful online presence thanks to early investment in ecommerce. “We set up our website 25 years ago, which has helped us develop a strong relationship with homeowners, architects and internal designers,” Tracy said. “Now we serve the whole of the UK and into Europe. As a result, we never get bored of developing new products and thinking of new ways of incorporating glass into modern designs. We are even moving into the B2B space, so that we can share all the skills and knowledge that we’ve acquired over the years to other glass professionals.”

Key to this mindset, and its ambitions for the future, is the relationship the Go Glass team has with their suppliers, Tracy believes. Leading up to the company’s 45th anniversary in April, she went through the archives to see how the company began and appreciate its first steps. “My father, who has since passed away, kept a precise record of purchases,” Tracy said. “It is fascinating to see the simple way business used to be conducted. For example, on May 12, 1978, a week after he bought his first glass stock, he placed a £24.27 order for glass cutting tools from Berlyne Bailey & Co – now Bohle – which is a relationship that has continued to this very day!”

Tracy explained that as a local manufacturer of glass products, Go Glass originally employed a team of glaziers to repair broken windows, while supplying other glass products like mirrors. “Today, we are one of the only manufacturers left in Cambridge,” she said. “When my brother Clive Sparkes and I joined the business about 25 years ago, he was interested in the artistic element, while I was keen to embrace technology. And that continues today. By working with our long-standing and trusted suppliers like Bohle, we can continue to grow and develop.”

Tracy said that this is important on a practical level, as well as on product design. “Space is limited in the centre of Cambridge, so we can’t keep lots of stock,” she said. “Working closely with Bohle means we can confidently work to a ‘just in time’ purchasing model. But Bohle has also been instrumental in helping us exploit new opportunities, and create modern glass designs that positively affect homeowners’ lives.”

Tracey was involved in a serious cycling accident ten years ago, in which she lost a leg. A modern prosthesis has returned most of her movement and agility, but she remains acutely aware of the difficulty many people have moving around their homes. Working with Bohle has helped Tracy design glass products that overcome some of these limitations.

“We buy many products from Bohle, including shower hardware, hydraulic fittings, and sliding door systems,” Tracy said. “When we identified a market for low-threshold partitioning systems that could easily accommodate wheelchairs, Managing Director Dave Broxton was quick off the mark in helping us to develop a solution.”

Together with Go Glass, Bohle researched the market and helped design a telescopic shower system that provides easy access for wheelchair users, while providing privacy and convenience. “We now have a five-year plan to develop this market,” Tracy said. “We will certainly target hotels as a starting point, but I know that increasing numbers of homeowners are not downsizing until much later in life because there is nowhere to move to. Instead, they are adapting their living space to accommodate limited movement and frailty, which will include wheelchair-accessible rooms. It’s interesting to think that a £25 order for glass cutting equipment 45 years ago has resulted in a strong partnership with ambitious design aspirations.”

For more about Bohle’s product and service offer, including the latest Home Improvements brochure, visit www.bohle.com, email info@bohle.ltd.uk or call the customer services team free on 0800 616151 for more information.

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