Don Monaco was laid off from a job about 55 years ago. Today, he's on magazine covers.
Don’s Mobile Glass had its beginnings in the back of a 1951 Chevy. Now, it’s a pillar of the Central Valley with branches in four cities: Modesto, Merced, Turlock and Manteca. Along the way, founder Don Monaco changed the way auto glass is sold.
Don, a Modesto native, is the son of a peach farmer who learned independence from his upbringing.
“We were quite a ways out in the country, so we learned to take care of ourselves pretty good,” he said recently.
Don went to Empire Grammar School, but “wasn’t a scholar” because he suffers from dyslexia, a neurological disorder that causes its victims to have trouble with reading comprehension. He left home at 17 and spent three years in the Navy. When he returned, Don went to work for an auto glass company but got caught in a bad downturn of the economy and was laid off.
There he was, married, two children, no job with a 1951 Chevy and a toolbox. He’d noticed at his job that vehicles were backed up waiting for windshields and windows to be replaced. The owners had to bring their cars or trucks to the shop, leave the vehicle, find a way to work, find a way back to the shop where they’d sometimes discover their vehicles hadn’t been fixed. So they’d have to repeat the process the next day until the glass was fixed.
“That was a hassle,” Don said. “That’s a bunch of wasted moves so I started carrying the glass with me.”
He tossed some glass and his tools in the back of his Chevy, called his business “Don’s Mobile Glass” and started making house and business calls.
“I believe I was the first mobile auto glass in the United States,” Don said.
A year later, he bought a used UPS truck. Five years later, he moved into a building. Later, he added a line of residential glass and repeated his mobile success.
“Fifty-five years later, this is where it’s at,” Don said.