Head of the glass: Crystal Window & Door Systems

Since their inception in 1990, Crystal® Window & Door Systems has transitioned from a seven member labor force in a 400-square foot garage to an estimated $60 million company with a state-of-the-art city-block-sized manufacturing facility employing more than 300 workers in Queens – one of the borough’s largest employers.

It was 20 years ago when Thomas Chen – a first generation immigrant from Taiwan and Crystal’s president and founder – decided to take his window guard business to the next level. Already with a vast knowledge of window installation, Chen decided to take advantage of the lack of window manufacturers in New York City and set up his own business.

“Chen is one of the greatest examples of a self-made individual,” said Steven Yu, market manager for Crystal beginning his eighth year with the company. “We were born in Flushing and 20 years later we are still in Flushing. We are an American-born company and we are very proud of that.”

Today, Crystal® Window & Door Systems is one of the fasted growing, minority owned businesses in the New York Metropolitan area and has been a top ranked window and door company in many trade journals. Their 215,000 square foot manufacturing facility produces an array of specialized, custom-created windows as well as the latest in green sustainable design initiatives. These Energy Star® certified products and government incentives were integral in helping Crystal thrive during recent tough economic times.

“In a weaker economy, we actually sold 30 percent more windows in residential units. When commercial real-estate bounced back, we saw a 15 percent increase. Few are able to achieve what we’ve achieved,” said Yu, who explained that it’s been a matter of consumer trust since the very beginning.

In recent years, Thomas Chen has transitioned day-to-day company power to his son, executive vice president Steve Chen, who grew up surrounded by the window business. Under Steve’s management, company sales have grown significantly as Crystal sets the course for the next 20 years in Queens.

“There is a tremendous amount of potential going on here,” said Yu. “Steve Chen is giving young professionals a chance to prove themselves and apply what they have learned. Our motto is continuous improvement.”

Crystal® Window & Door Systems is located at 31-10 Whitestone Expressway in Flushing and can be reached by calling 718-961-7300. For a complete list of products, services and photo galleries, visit www.crystalwindows.com. – Bob Doda


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