Booming biz: Shrinkwrapping stalled construction

A Reno entrepreneur seals big deals.

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Fast Wrap CEO Mike Enos

(Fortune Small Business) -- Mike Enos didn't foresee the recession when he launched Fast Wrap, a Reno company that seals buildings and other very large objects in protective plastic. But after the markets crashed last fall, he was pleasantly surprised to find that the downturn was working wonders for his sales.

The company started out wrapping dry-docked boats for winter, with modest plans to expand into covering patio furniture and RVs. Now nearly half of Enos's customers are recession-hit businesses trying to save money by putting projects on hold or enclosing them so construction can continue through the winter. His 14 employees have wrapped an unfinished control tower at Reno/Tahoe International Airport and the under-construction Ritz-Carlton hotel in Lake Tahoe. Enos charges roughly $1 per square foot, which, he says, is cheap compared with the monthly interest companies must pay on construction loans, even if a project sits idle.

Contractor Mark Barbieri turned to Fast Wrap when a building project had to be mothballed because the prospective tenants had backed out. Enos covered the 25,000-square-foot structure in Lathrop, Calif. so it could sit empty for four months without damage.

"The building had no windows or doors," Barbieri says. "We had installed electrical panels and some air conditioning ductwork, and that would have been exposed. But when we came back, it was just the way we had left it."

Another client needed to store 11 pickup trucks after a wave of layoffs. Rather than paying to store the vehicles inside, the company parked them outdoors and had Fast Wrap enclose them in plastic.

Enos projects more than $700,000 in revenue for 2009, double what the company took in last year. "We didn't see this part of the market," he crows. "And there's still so much opportunity out there."  To top of page

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