Customer Profiles

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Aerial view of Ben’s glass blowing shop, covered with solar panels

Glass Blowing Studio Relieved To Remain Open After Hurricane Ida

New Orleans is known far and wide as a mecca for creative and talented people from all over. Ben D., a resident of 20 years and professional glass blower, bought an Armstrong Steel building to serve as his glass blowing workshop where he makes custom handmade barware for bars and restaurants all over the country.

He spent his first years in the industry working under other glass blowers. As his skill and familiarity with glass as a material increased, he moved on to public access studios, which were very expensive. Eventually, in 2016, he took the leap and decided to open his own shop. In order to house all of the necessary equipment, he decided on a metal building. That’s when he started doing research and preparing to erect a building on his property to serve as a multipurpose shop.

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Ben’s glass blowing studio located in New Orleans

Ben looked into many other steel companies, and after his due diligence, he chose Armstrong Steel over other companies because of reliability, long standing reputation and responsiveness.

“When I talked to people at Armstrong, everyone was really friendly and seemed knowledgeable and just easy to work with; it seemed like they cared. Which sometimes is hard to find these days.”

The building is a single slope 24x48x17/26 on a concrete slab with a bay door to accept deliveries on the street side. The single slope roof allows the hot air to rise to the high side where large vent fans carry it out and away from the building. It serves as both a work space and a storage area for tools and equipment. Ben plans to add a mezzanine above the workspace for storage and to hold yoga classes.

Some folks assume that erecting a building in the middle of an old city like New Orleans would be a challenge, but Ben said he had no issues constructing the building himself. All of the parts were properly labeled, he wasn’t missing anything. This was the first time he had ever erected a steel building before and was happy with the process.

Custom artwork added to the entrance of the shop

When Hurricane Ida hit in Summer 2021, Ben says he was not worried about his equipment stored in the shop. He spent most of his time down the street preparing for the hurricane with his fiancé. When asked what he expected, Ben says that he was unsurprised (but relieved) to find that his Armstrong Steel building had taken no damage despite incredibly strong winds and debris from neighboring buildings that were not so sturdy.

Some of the debris became lodged in a building across the street from Ben’s shop. Luckily no one was hurt, but Ben is thankful to have a metal building rather than traditional construction for this reason.

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The storm did over half a billion dollars worth of damage in the state of Louisiana alone.

“You could hardly even walk in the direction the wind was blowing; it was so, so powerful.”

Thankfully, Ben’s metal building workshop went unscathed. Only weeks after the storm, Ben and his shop were fully operational, turning out custom barware as if nothing had happened.