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Queens Week: Success Of Family-Owned Business Is Crystal Clear

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In the following Queens Week report, NY1's Ruschell Boone highlights a family-owned business in Flushing that has found a clear path to success.

No matter how you spin it, Crystal Window and Door Systems is a success story. Fifteen years ago the company was a mom and pop shop but today it's a multi-million dollar company in Flushing with about 350 employees. Crystal makes patio doors, aluminum and vinyl windows, and fiber glass entrance doors.

“We started out in a garage, customers just kept flowing in and it just started growing from there,” says Crystal Window and Door Systems owner Steve Chen.

Chen is in charge of the day-to-day operation, but his father is the company's founder and CEO. In the beginning the Taiwanese immigrant only courted customers in the city's Asian community. These days Crystal's products are sold nationwide.

And the company is planning to expand even further. Officials are now in the process of opening up a factory in China.

“There is a market for American-branded products out there,” says Chen.

And while some of the products are made by hand, most of the work is automated, such as the process of making the vinyl for the windows and doors. The company says a custom machine gives them a competitive edge because it streamlines the assembly process.

“The vinyl powder is stored outside,” says marketing manager Bob Nyman. “It comes through pipes overhead down into the hoppers where it's heated then it's pushed through dyed to form special shapes, cooled in a water bath, and the excreted material emerges that's used to form the frames.“

Then there’s the machine that makes the insulated windows.

“A machine is not like a human where accidents can happen,” says regional sales manager Vincent Grieco. “A machine actually runs and produces a high-quality product.”

It's a quality Chen says he has to maintain while his father is out of the country.

“He's out in China about three weeks out of the month and as long as I don't make any mistake he doesn't bother us,” says Chen, laughing.

Why mess with success?

— Ruschell Boone
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