By D.K. Christi
Glass may be part of everyday life, from windows to crystal goblets and everything in between. But for Bill Daubmann, glass is the sparkling focus of his expanding, award-winning My Shower Door business, which recently held a groundbreaking for its new facility on Alico Road, headquarters for not only My Shower Door but also Daubmann’s supporting glass manufacturing business, D3 Glass.
“For a small business, this recognizes 15 years of building business relationships,” says Daubmann, who lives in Estero. “Success requires doing the right thing.”
My Shower Door’s community involvement represents a heartwarming part of this family business success story. “The right thing” for the Daubmann family includes a philanthropic spirit which began in the earliest days of business. Daubmann’s young son was battling a critical illness that put him in touch with Make a Wish Foundation, and Daubmann remains a strong supporter of Make a Wish-Southern Florida today.
“When we realized our business had reached a point where giving back was possible, Make a Wish was our charity of choice,” says Daubmann. “We donated to grant a child a wish. One day, much later on, we realized that by coincidence, one of our customers was the father of that child – heartwarming.”
Lesley Colantonio, the organization’s Senior Donor Services Coordinator, calls Daubmann “the catalyst that makes connections to make things happen.”
“An example is the MusicThon we held on 103.9, where callers paid to have their favorite songs played from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” she recalls. “Bill was instrumental in its success.”
My Shower Door and D3 Glass are the result of Daubmann changing his career to spend more time with his once-ill son, Keith, who is now a successful co-owner with his dad and brother, Douglas. However, Bill Daubmann often calls his wife of 43 years, Donna, the “real boss” of the company. This family works, laughs and gives together as a team.
The Alico Road groundbreaking represents the culmination of the dream to bring both businesses under one roof, a major investment including more than $3 million in equipment to ensure efficiency and safety.
“We’ve recently been hiring and expect to hit 97 to 100 employees that include the newly hired installers, warehouse help and general labor,” says Daubmann. That’s quite a jump from the startup in 2003 with three family members who did everything. “Our boys grew up with the business.”
Today, seven Florida retail showrooms and six affiliate stores nationwide give Daubmann and his son Douglas, both private pilots, a chance to fly between facilities — even when it’s in Orlando… “we like being home in the evening.”
While My Shower Door is the anchor business, D3 glass has also had a meteoric rise. The initial idea was to curb the high cost and time lost from purchasing glass in Alabama and having it shipped to Southwest Florida. By 2013, D3 began glass manufacturing. According to Daubman, they broke through the business axiom by controlling the business pyramid to success: price, quality and time.
A funny thing happened on the way to glass…competitors became customers in a positive twist of fate. If My Shower Door lost a bid for installations to a competitor, that same competitor would purchase the glass from D3. That’s called friendly competition – the right thing to do.
A desire to use his business acumen to help young entrepreneurs led Daubmann to coordinate a marketing activity where students were invited to compete in producing commercials. My Shower Door was the setting for writing, filming and editing – and the subject. The competition led to $500 awards for the winner and the winner’s school.
The commercials and the competition received phenomenal news coverage, and the winning entry ran on local television during “The Apprentice” and the NBC2 newscast. Many participants went on to media careers – the perfect ending to a positive experience for everyone.
Daubmann still engages in marketing, writing the lyrics for his business jingles and providing the vision and direction for promotions and events that are carried out by graphics experts. These skills also aid his local philanthropic endeavors. Daubmann’s marketing and networking savvy, and the respect his business has gained, have contributed to many successful events. Mentorship is another way his business gives back.
Awards continue to accumulate: Three years in a row ranked in the “INC 5,000” of fastest growing companies in the U.S. Local and state accolades include “Entrepreneur of the Year,” “Small Business of the Year,” “Family-owned Small Business of the Year,” “One of the 50 companies in the State of Florida to watch” and more.
To the multiple organizations who have benefitted from My Shower Door’s philanthropy, the company’s true sparkle comes from things like shades over the playground at Three Oaks Middle School, sponsorship for the Estero Alumni Association, support of the Estero High School culinary program and “signing day” for college bound athletes.
“Daubmann is exceedingly aware of (community) needs and has stepped forward to help the Estero Education Initiative,” adds Estero Village Council member Nick Batos.
Philanthropy should grow as a business grows, suggests Daubmann.
“At the end of the day, be a business that can be trusted, produce a good product, treat customers the way you want to be treated, provide employees with a good living, and give back to the community,” he says.