Published On: Tue, May 14th, 2024

Gary Thorn, owner and Managing Director of Cube Glass


First job: I borrowed £100 from my dad to buy my first paper round when I was 12. A year later, I had bought another two. My first “proper” job was as a trainee building surveyor with the now defunct Property Services Agency. 

When did you join or set up the current company: I formed it as a safety net in 2004. I didn’t start trading it until 2011.

Most useful gadget: My iPhone.

Most useful web site: What would we do without Google?

Favourite business restaurant: Kao Pao, Glasgow, which serves South-East Asian small plates. A great atmosphere.

Business person I most admire: Andrew Carnegie, when you look at the incredible empire he built from his own efforts. He came from humble beginnings, made a fortune and gave most of it away.

Lessons learned in the last 12 months: The biggest lesson has been that not everyone has the same moral compass as you, especially when you need their help.

Best business decision: Definitely buying our own factory and building a showroom to showcase to customers just what we can do for them.

Other interests: Football, holidays, golf, socialising and more football.

Working Location: I operate out of our fully re-furbished 8,500 ft² factory in Lenziemill, Cumbernauld, which has direct access to the motorway network in Central Scotland and the rest of the UK. It’s a great facility, which enables us to manufacture and install new aluminium windows, doors and curtain walling as well as blast resistant and fire-rated products. There are hi-tech CNC machines in the factory and a modern open plan office, complete with air conditioning and solar panels to cut down our energy use.   

Working Day: No such thing as a typical working day, Generally, I’m up at seven to get the kids out to school, then 30 minutes exercise. I’ll pick up lunch on the way to work so I don’t need to go out again. I always walk through the factory and chat to the guys to see how they are and what jobs they’re working on so I get a feel for what’s happening.  

We work in a modern, open plan office which helps the team hear everything that’s going on throughout the business. I’ll spend the day overseeing the team, doing estimates and speaking with suppliers and clients. I tend to work on a bit as I tend to get a lot more done when the phones are quiet.



The past year has seen one of the strongest trading advances on record at Cube Glass, which boosted its revenues by well in excess of £1 million as well as developing lucrative new international partnerships.

Continual innovation, allied to a successful run of contract wins has pushed the company’s turnover to a record £4.5 million in the year to October 2023, up from £3.25 million the previous year. We now hope to consolidate future revenues in the region of this level.

Cube Glass provides glazing systems to a wide variety of clients including architects, main contractors and end users. We fabricate, supply and install aluminium windows (tilt turn, casement, pivot, sliding), aluminium doors (emergency, bi-folding, sliding, automatic) and curtain walling. 

In its now-accepted role as one of the country’s leading precision manufacturers, Cube Glass is also steadily introducing new and international industry-leading products with a view to maintaining its value to the market.

Last year was probably the most exceptional year for Cube Glass since the company was established 20 years ago, driven by new levels in contract size. We’ve had an amazing mixture of projects ranging from replacing screens in primary schools in the Highlands and Islands to large flatted developments and Californian style mansions. 

Positive about the immediate future

I am also very positive about the immediate future, since I know that some larger projects which were delayed or pushed back last year will now go ahead this year.

Another factor is that, while our main competitors concentrate almost exclusively on commercial deals, we also have a strong pipeline of residential work and we are building strong relationships with smaller, high-end architectural practices which specialise in this field.

In domestic work, there is a significant move towards slimmer sightlines and doors with bigger panels and more glass – a trend which is being led by the international partners with whom we now regularly interact.

Cube Glass has had a fruitful relationship with high-end French design and engineering specialist Bel’M, as well as its prestigious existing supplier relationships with industry-recognised specialists such as Senior Architectural Systems, Metal Technology and Schüco.

It has now entered into a partnership with Swiss-owned and Portugal-based Panoramah, the manufacturer of bespoke, minimalist window and screen systems, in which Cube Glass will be the sole supplier in Scotland.

Panoramah makes a unique range of minimalist sliding doors and curtain walling with ultra-thin sightlines at its two factories at Porto in North Portugal. It manufactures its own glass and has invested millions to take its product worldwide.

Largest glass transformers

Panoramah is now one of the largest glass transformers in Europe with a 9-metre furnace and the ability to process double- and triple-glazed units up to 29 m². This capacity has proved critical as glass absorbs new functions and admits irregular and curved shapes.

Panoramah has very ambitious expansion plans. It wants to double its footprint in order to cut down its lead times and, although it is more famous for its sliding doors, its curtain walling is catching up as a main product.

I expect to see other manufacturers respond to the technical challenges raised by Panoramah by introducing their own ranges of thinner sightline glass products with potentially more competitive pricing.

There is no doubt that Panoramah’s is a very expensive system, but there will be clients out there who only want the best and who can afford it and, as people become more aware of what can be done, its popularity will increase.

We are also currently negotiating a partnership with a highly-respected rooflight supplier which will further complement our range of top-quality products.

I started the company because I had always wanted to work for myself. It had struck me that business owners seemed to have a better life than the rest of us. They weren’t tied to a desk or factory floor during business hours and didn’t have to ask anyone for permission to take an afternoon off if they needed to. Now, if any of my team needs time off to attend, say, a school sports day, they only need to ask. They can make up the time off afterwards.

I called up two major suppliers I had worked with previously and asked them to supply my new business. Each gave me £25,000 worth of credit which helped relieve my working capital needs.

My biggest break was getting the first telephone call from a long-standing customer of my previous employer. He told me he wanted to work with me regardless of where or who I was working for and placed a good order.

When we started, it was just me in an office in Queenslie with a computer, mobile phone and a desk. I quickly started to secure work and within 10 months, we had a small factory, employed two good fabricators and achieved a turnover of £775,000. More importantly we were making profit, providing a good service and getting repeat business from familiar sources. We’ve grown steadily year on year.

Selling to main contractor

Principally, we sell to main contractors, like Morris & Spottiswood, Clark Contracts, Hadden Construction and Maxi Construction. I take a risk occasionally by working with other contractors we haven’t previously dealt with, while hoping to build a relationship with them. 

We always put them through a “Cube Glass examination”, however, to test whether we are going to continue working with them. They only pass the test if they pay us on the agreed terms and don’t try to mess us around with deductions from the agreed cost of works. If they are in the “Cube of Trust”, our customers know that we will always be there to have their work turned around whenever they need it, sometimes in six days rather than six weeks. 

At Cube Glass we take care for the environment seriously. We take every opportunity to re-cycle and, whenever possible, re-use the materials we work with.

For example, every offcut or end piece of the glass and aluminium we use in fabrication of our doors and windows is re-cycled locally. We make full use also of the cardboard packaging in which our base materials are delivered by re-using it to pack and ship our own products to customers.

Tel: 0141 255 1625