By Robert Flippo
A lot of people are probably familiar with Piedmont Glass. It is a local company that handles glass installation and repairs. The company is run out of a little storefront on Monroe Ave where the front window is covered in colorful paint that proudly proclaims the name of the business.
What some people might not have noticed about that storefront is that there are two painted windows. One is the aforementioned, brightly colored Piedmont Glass window. The other is a slightly more subdued paint job reading “Cim-Con”.
Out of that one office, Bobby Williamson runs two companies. Piedmont Glass takes care of local, individual jobs. Cim-Con works on a much bigger level, handling installations for large scale operations such as grocery stores and office complexes.
It is almost hard to believe that a company responsible for glass installations all over central Oklahoma, ranging from Wal-Mart to OCCC performing arts center, could be run out of such a relatively small location. In many ways though, that is what Piedmont is all about—a small community capable of big things.
When Williamson was looking for a place to relocate his family and start his own business, it was that kind of spirit which drew him to Piedmont.
Having grown up in Wichita Falls, Texas, Williamson always identified more with the small town aesthetic. Even after working all over the country in cities of all sizes, when it came time to look for a place to raise children, Williamson and is wife wanted to live in the country.
“What we were looking for was something out in the country but close enough to a major metropolitan area where you have all the resources and work,” Williamson said.
With those qualifications, the search led them right to Piedmont. The family moved to Piedmont in January 2008 and Williamson started his consulting business. Williamson ran his business from the garage of his home on Cimarron Road, which led to the name Cim-Con, a shortened version of Cimarron Consulting. The beginnings of Cim-Con were humble but intentionally so.
“When we started in 2009, I just wanted one truck and one crew,” Williamson said. “Just me and my oldest son.”
The idea was to do smaller jobs and keep the company small. However, Williamson discovered the market for smaller jobs was saturated with other bidders and he had to revise his plans. He had to start going after higher bids and grow the company in order to survive. Once he did, he found a niche for Cim-Con.
The market for smaller jobs, with bids in the $20,000 to $80,000 range, is so competitive it was hard to get consistent work in that area.
The bigger jobs, with bids over $500,000, mainly get plucked up by larger companies that regularly bid for jobs in the millions.
By focusing on the jobs in the in between range, Cim-Con was able to make a name for itself because the jobs were too big for the small companies but to small for the large companies.
In 2011, Cim-Con got the contract for OCCC’s new performing arts center. That was a large, very involved job that is just now finishing up two years later.
Getting that job in 2011 helped Cim-Con successfully bid on other projects of similar size and cement the company’s mid-range niche. Now, Cim-Con has a full slate, with a slew of contracts to be finished by September. Being busy, though, is a good problem to have.
“We’ve been very blessed and very fortunate,” Williamson said.
Since its inception, Williamson’s company has continued to grow, nearly doubling each year and Williamson expects that it keep doing so for the foreseeable future.
With Cim-Con doing so well, it begs the question: Why even bother with a second company like Piedmont Glass?
“Just to help out Piedmont,” Williamson said. “When I found out what my neighbors were being charged for coming out and doing residential glass we started and it evolved from there.”
That is what it means to have a business in Piedmont, not only being concerned with making a profit but also how to help one’s neighbors. It is the kind of community spirit that is unique to smaller towns and is very much one of the reasons Williamson chose to live, and work, in Piedmont.