Family Affair

The Meade Family Enjoys the Best of Both Worlds by Working Together Building for the Future

Article by Michael Beightol

Photography by Stephen Neilson

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

Early mornings on Rand Road, five to six days a week, the drivers in a caravan of trucks ease into traffic with different destinations in mind. Some may head north up to the state line and beyond. Others point south to communities of SW Lake County and other suburbs. Some of the trucks may eventually go to Chicago or the North Shore. No matter the destination, the crews onboard are about to transform homes and businesses with expert craftsmanship and quality products, the hallmark of the enterprises run by the Tim Meade and his family, Reflections in Glass and American Garage Floor Systems.

At the head of these businesses is Tim Meade, no stranger to the contracting industry. As a young man he worked alongside his father, a contractor. Tim founded his own business, Reflections in Glass, nearly 40 years ago. For a couple generations local families have hired the company to install a wide variety of custom shower doors, glass in cabinet doors and mirrors for homes, and all types of commercial store front entrance systems and frameless door systems. The company also expertly replaces broken window glass or foggy windows.

Before the pandemic, Reflections in Glass expanded its product line by becoming an authorized Kohler dealer, offering customers custom bathroom remodeling and products from the venerable company that traces its roots to 1873 in Wisconsin.

The second Meade company, American Garage Floor Systems, was launched in 2008. If you’ve ever been to a Windy City Bulls game at the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates, you’ve seen their flooring work in the concourse lounge. The company installs polyaspartic floor coatings that feature excellent color and gloss retention, and are available in a wide variety of colors. For the Bulls G League team, the logo is imbedded in the floor, too. It is a flooring technology that is UV resistant, as well impact and abrasion resistant. The floor is ready to walk on within six hours, and can be driven on the next day. It is also perfect for basements and laundry rooms, as well as retail stores and industrial spaces.

In 1988, Meade started the company out of his garage in Lake Zurich. As it grew the need for more space did too, so he moved into a store in Lake Zurich and then further grew into a warehouse in the Lake Barrington Industrial Park. Twenty years ago, Tim and his wife Monica (who handles the books) started inviting their adult children to join the business. Monica says the decision to involve the next generation was part of “the logical evolution of the business.”

Like his father before him, son Mike Meade “started working for Reflections in Glass when I was in high school to help my dad.” Over the years as a young man, Mike admits “it was a lot of work. There was so much to learn.

“When I first started, I was just a helper,” Mike explains. “As I learned more, I transitioned into leading my own crews installing shower doors and glass. Now, 20-years later, I oversee all the installers, quote and order new jobs and install on an as-needed basis.”

There’s a reason why Mike’s job has expanded over the years to involve so many aspects of the business: “I hope that my role unloads some of the pressure off of my dad so that he can enjoy more time off.”

Son Jeff Meade has also been working with the company since high school. Jeff started as a helper, just like Mike; now he heads up sales. Every morning Jeff heads out on the road to potential customer homes to do free in-home estimates for both Reflections in Glass and American Garage Floor Systems. He is an essential part of creating new business for the company.

A few years ago, the family enterprise left Lake Barrington to purchase a property on Rand Road in Wauconda, just south of Bonner Road. After extensive renovation of the property, including adding the Kohler and American Garage Floor showrooms, the space has been completely transformed. Most days the first person to great visitors is Mike’s wife, Robin, the office manager.

“When I started here Mike and I had just had a baby and I was able to bring my daughter to work. It was the best of both worlds for me; I was able to work but could also spend time with my little one. In the beginning I was just answering the phones, but also learning about so many parts of the business. Now I am running the routes and managing the office. My in-laws are amazing.

“Working with my husband is challenging at times, but anyone who works with a spouse I am sure would say the same thing,” Robin laughs. “Seriously, though, it really is the best of all worlds.”

Tim and Monica’s daughter, Shannon, is also in the business. She recalls how her dad has been running the business her whole life. “As a child I would love going to work with my dad… he always had candy in his office. While growing up I would help on-and-off, mostly organizing and filing, but never officially joined the company because I moved to Iowa for college and ended up staying there after I earned my degree.

“I recently moved back to Illinois to be closer to my family and joined the business literally the day I moved home,” Shannon says. “It’s been so great.”

Navigating the path between being a father and a business owner can be tricky. Just ask any parent who’s done it. Tim says, “You have to be strong and be able to separate {the business from family life}.” Family is first, and bringing the next generation into the business has its rewards: “I wanted the next generation to join me so that we could build something that they can leave the next generation with.”

Monica agrees that being a parent with children in the business “can be challenging at times but overall, we have made it work.”

What’s next for the Meade family? Robin says she’s excited about the future: “We are focused on expanding and excelling. With so many of us that have been in this industry 20 plus years I feel like our customers are in good hands because so many of us have so much experience. Our customers always remain Number One for us.”

Mike Meade has the final word: “We are always keeping up with new products, styles and technology. I am excited to see the business growing and always thriving. It is awesome to see where it was originally when it began in my dad’s garage to where it is today. I would not change a thing because I feel so fortunate to be able to work with my family.”

Learn more about Reflections in Glass at RIGShowerDoors.com or call 847.744.8176. The website for American Garage Floor Systems is AGSChicago.com and the phone number is 847.744.8518. Both businesses are in Wauconda at 1160 Dato Lane.

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