A Brief History of Bowling Green Mirror and Glass
Frank Bortel sold his Meat Market on East Wooster Street to go into the mirror business in 1927. Ray Blair (Frank’s half-brother) and Casey Haines came from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Bowling Green to help start the glass business in 1927. Frank Bortel and Ray Blair had Mr. Keller (Builder) construct a building for the glass business in Mr. Orwig’s (owner of surrounding farm area) cornfield on South College Drive. Casey Haines was the glasscutter, Ray Blair did the mirror silvering, and Frank Bortel put up the capital. Casey only stayed a few years, and when The Great Depression hit, Ray pulled out of the business and returned to Fort Wayne where he had a job with Sears.
The Strong-willed Determination
Another group in town also started a mirror company called Art-Craft on Wooster Street, but it failed in 1930. Tom Hauser was the salesman for this company, and after this failure, it merged with the BG Mirror Works, which increased their mirror business. They had a contract to supply rear-view mirrors for Ford, Buick, and Willys automotive factories. The company also made goblets for Marshall Fields of Chicago.
After the banks failed in 1933, Frank refused to declare bankruptcy and moved the business to East Court Street, renting from the Cramer Brothers. The enterprise continued on Court Street until Clarence Dick bought the building for his monument business. During this time Frank also moved his family to East Court Street, close to the railroad, while he put water and electricity into the home on South College Drive. A couple of years later the family moved back to the house on South College Drive. To help pay off his debts during the depression, Frank Bortel sold his home on South College Drive and rented a house on South Main Street.
BG Mirror and Glass specializes in residential and auto glass replacement. Whether you have a wood sash window with broken glass or a cracked windshield we are there to help.
A Growing Opportunity
The Wood County Democrat weekly newspaper had quit publishing their newspaper at 228 North Main Street, and this opened the opportunity for Frank Bortel to rent this building from Doss Taylor, and move the glass business to this location. At the same time the company moved to North Main Street, Frank decided to drop the “piece work for the big companies” and direct their energy into the flat glass and customer service, as well as auto glass and mirrors.
In 1942 Frank Bortel bought a property at 125 South Church Street and moved to this location. He purchased the adjoining property that contained a duplex in 1944 at 121-123 South Church Street. This duplex later became the homes for Leroy and Stanley, Frank’s sons, and their respective families. When Frank died in 1945 his son, Leroy, took over the glass business.
In 1947 Leroy and his brother Stanley had a local builder, Walt Siders, construct a building at the rear of the property at 121-125 South Church Street and moved the business to this location from their North Main Street address. In 1953, Leroy and Stanley added a second story to the building, which is still in use today as the Bowling Green Mirror and Glass Company.
Continuing the Legacy
New owners, Tim Bartoe (Father) and Zach Bartoe (Son), are currently from Toledo, Ohio. Tim Bartoe has over 35 years of glass experience and holds a Master Technician Certification, and Zach Bartoe has presently 3yrs of experience in the glass business. In early 2019 both Tim and Zach were talking with Phil Bortel and Bob Bortel, and in this talk, the hint of Phil possibly retiring was brought up along with the sale of the business. In mid-2019, Tim and Zach presented Phil and Bob with an offer to purchase the company.
In July of 2019, the owners finalized the sale of Bowling Green Mirror and Glass, and Tim Bartoe, Zach Bartoe along Deborah (Debbie) Bartoe, spouse and mother, became the very proud new owners of Bowling Green Mirror and Glass. Their mission is to keep the tradition of a family-owned business going and eventually allowing Zach to become the sole owner.
The business remained at 123 South Church Street. However, at the end of 2019, Floyd Craft, the owner of the building had plans to turn the 2nd level into three one-bedroom apartments. In doing so, the construction became hard to continue the glass business at this site.
In February of 2020, Tim and Zach found a more extensive building more suitable for their needs in bringing back auto glass. The new building location at 1085 N. Main St., between NAPA and the Lincoln Dealership and directly across from Kroger, has been a big plus. Customers have more parking areas and are more visible from the road.
What We Do
For over 92 years of running the family-owned and operated business, Bowling Green Mirror and Glass’s passion for creating glassworks is unrelenting. The company stood the test of time by giving quality service to its clients and loyal customers up to this very day. Their services vary from creating tabletops shelving, residential window glass to commercial glass repair, and repairing and replacing auto glass. Additional to their expertise in handling glassworks is how they cater the more advanced glassware needs which include Lexan, plexiglass and ABD plastics, to name a few. Contact us through this link and get into more details on how Bowling Green Mirror and Glass can help you.