Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum unveils first commemorative collectible
Cassandra Vivian was getting a private tour of Glassautomatic Inc./Rolf Glass at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center along state Route 31 East in Mt. Pleasant Township recently when she seized upon the business's latest product — a Glacier Glass crafted from recycled wine bottles.
Upon examining the one of the containers, which are encircled with a wavy, opaque design accomplished via the company's diamond-wheel engraving technology, Vivian — president of the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum Inc. — asked a favor of Rolf Poeting, the company's owner.
“Rolf picked this glass up and showed it to me and I just thought, ‘Why not etch ‘Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum' into them and sell them as souvenirs?,' so I asked him to make them,” Vivian said.
Within a day, Poeting's staff at Rolf Glass had produced 20 of the glasses, each of them bearing the namesake of the burgeoning facility located at the In-Town Shops at 537 W. Main St.
“I think the museum is a worthwhile effort of theirs. They're struggling for every penny, and I think it would be nice if they could use our product to help them financially,” Poeting said.
As of Monday, eight of the glasses had sold, Vivian said. Proceeds from sale of the items — which are $10 a piece — will be allocated to the museum's reserve fund to meet ongoing operational expenses, she said.
One of the first people to buy one of the glasses was Jim Enos, 62, of Bear Rocks, who volunteers his time as a docent at the museum.
“They did a nice job on those glasses,” Enos said. “Instead of somebody taking wine bottles and putting them in a dump, they're turning them into something we can drink out of and enjoy.”
Vivian said she may very well ask Poeting about making more of the glasses if they continue to sell.
“Knowing how persuasive Cassandra can be, we just might,” he quipped.
In the fall, the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority offered Vivian and the others pursuing a fledgling glass exhibit free space at the In-Town Shops — the authority's business incubator — through the end of 2012.
The facility opened its doors Nov. 23 and, by mid-December, had logged more than 200 visitors.
In January, the authority permitted the operation continued occupation of the allotted space for an unspecified rental fee, Vivian said. Hundreds more visitors have passed through its doors since, she said.
The board of directors of the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum Inc. is in the process of acquiring its status as a nonprofit, Vivian said.
The attorney representing the group in its pursuit of such a certification is John M. O'Connell Jr. of the O'Connell & Silvis law firm in Greensburg, Vivian said.
County leases additional space to business
Effective May 1, Glassautomatic Inc./Rolf Glass signed a five-year lease agreement with the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. for 12,000 additional square feet at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center for the purpose of expanding its operation.
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
In January, Glassautomatic Inc./Rolf Glass reached a 10-year lease extension agreement at the center with the corporation for 26,000 square feet of space in the confines of the former Lenox Crystal factory, which takes up a total of 156,000 square feet.
Total lease payments for that pact are $715,000.
“We knew at that time Rolf needed additional space to grow,” said Jason Rigone, the corporation's executive director.
With the latest agreement, Glassautomatic Inc./Rolf Glass has grown into a space adjacent to its original operating area,
“One of the improvements was to cut a doorway large enough for a forklift to pass back and forth between the two units,” Rigone said.
The glass etching and polishing company was founded by Poeting in 1981.
After emigrating from Germany as the third generation of his family to sell glass manufacturing equipment, he started his own company, Rolf Glass, which later became Glassautomatic.
In 2003, the company moved from a smaller location in Latrobe to the center.
“We're very proud of Rolf. His continued growth in the glass industry is something we're excited about,” Rigone said.
The county's board of commissioners, who serve as Rigone's supervisors, also share excitement at the prospect of continued development at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center and we support such growth there, particularly in the glass industry, he said.
“We hope Rolf's business continues and results in more jobs for the people of Mt. Pleasant and beyond,” Rigone said.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or firstname.lastname@example.org.