“It’s constantly being able to look at your industry or market and decide how to change to accommodate need; it’s understanding when it’s time to get off the fence,” explained Pacific Perks Coffee owner Natalie Fairchild.
Pacific Perks is one of six finalists in the 2011 BGA “Fastest Growing One-to-Five Years” segment. The Vancouver-based coffee and catering company is joined by Aadland Dental, Acuity Group PLLC, Hasson Company Realtors – Patrick Ginn Real Estate, Pacific Energy Concepts and Premier Pump andPower LLC.
“With changes in the economy, different niche markets are no longer what they were three years ago. We need to be able to reinvent ourselves in order to continue to have success,” advised Fairchild, whose business grew 52 percent during the height of the recession.
At Premier Pump and Power, a Vancouver-based manufacturer of portable self-priming pump packages, making a conscious decision to “get off the fence” meant committing to long-term investments.
“For us, the business has grown so much you must make investments,” said Premier Pump General Manager Jeff Meiners. “We’ve invested in our fabrication facility, welders and equipment… that was just driven by necessity.”
Meiners said the increasing demand seen at his company in recent years has been fueled by the exploration of natural
gas as well as the oil fields in North Dakota – places where Premier Pump and Power products are used.
Making investments to take advantage of the growing market, Meiners said his company is negotiating a contract on a new, 40,000 square foot facility at Northeast 78th Street and St. Johns Road. The facility, which he said the company would like to move into by August 1, would allow Premier Pump to consolidate four separate locations.
“It (the new facility) sits on about four acres and would allow us to bring everything together and get a little more efficient,” said Meiners.
Having recently moved into a new facility of their own, BGA finalist and screen printing supply company Ryonet is also positioning to take advantage of new opportunities.
“We’re working really hard on exporting,” said owner Ryan Moor, whose company is joined by Westby & Associates and When The Shoe Fits as finalists in the 2011 BGA “Fastest Growing Six-to-Ten Years” segment. “We have a good international consultant that we’re working with; our exports are up 35 percent so far this year. We see that as one of our huge opportunities for growth.”
Moor said Ryonet never really stops when it comes to seeking out new avenues for growth. Currently hovering around the $25 million revenue mark, the company is investing in a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, a new website and additional training for staff.
“We’re working hard on getting rid of any limitations,” he added.
Mike Westby, owner of Westby & Associates, a Vancouver-based consulting firm, offered his take on positioning a business during a downturn economy by describing two different mindsets:
“There are those that hunker down and those that double down,” he said. “We chose to be the latter because I’ve survived enough of these downturns… I’ve seen the companies that hunker down. They don’t come out of it very well because they’re not marketed, they’re not networked and they’re not vibrant.”
Like many of his fellow BGA finalists, Westby said his company has been successful in correctly interpreting new opportunities. The firm has experienced between 80 and 100 percent growth this year in revenues, job creation and in expansion categories.
“When you’re looking out in a visionary way, do you interpret (growth) as a true sustainable opportunity or do you view it as a phenomenon or occurrence? How do you invest in it? In our case, we fully committed to the growth model and it has really paid dividends,” he said.
Joined by Gravitate Design Studio LLC, Mackay & Sposito Inc. and US Digital Inc. as finalists in the 2011 BGA “Fastest Growing Ten+ Years” segment, Clyde Holland, owner of Holland Partners Group, operators of five companies that focus on development, new construction, property management, redevelopment and investments, said that for his company, the path to growth was never solely reliant on correctly observing a need in the market. What made the difference for his company, as he explained it, was the ability to lean on trusted relationships during times of uncertainty.
“Through relationships I’ve had over the last 20 years with institutions, last year we financed eight projects, seven developments, seven joint ventures and one presale,” said Holland. “We partnered with a lot of really good people and we were essentially able to resemble the band [post-recession].
“It’s great to be back,” he added.