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Exporter’s Employees Hand-Deliver Hurricane Protection in Florida
October 12, 2017 Elizabeth Thomas, Business Development Specialist, Office of Small Business

Many of us watched the preparations Floridians made in advance of Hurricane Irma. What was not seen, but what was highly appreciated by the people they helped, were the actions of Eastern Metal Supply (EMS) employees.

Founded in Lake Worth, Florida, by Susie Walsh, Greg Weekes and Glen Magaldi in 1982, the company was guided by three principals: to serve customers profitably through the sale of high quality aluminum products; to provide a healthy work environment for employees; and to make a positive contribution to the communities they serve. Read more to learn how they delivered on principal number three.

EMS’s business model is to sell to distributors who sell to end-users. In the weeks before Hurricane Irma, EMS was furiously filling orders for their distributors when they started receiving frantic phone calls from home and business owners who in the process of preparing their property, found they were missing pieces of their hurricane protection systems. Whether it was components to secure metal sheets, a key to lock the hurricane shutter or a missing storm panel, EMS employees responded in an instant, hand-delivering the needed hurricane protection items to home and business owners in the community, clearly making a positive contribution to one local community they serve.

Several years after founding the company, the team realized an unmet need existed for their protection and security systems throughout the Caribbean, and they had the capability to fulfill this unmet need. With export credit insurance from EXIM, Eastern Metal Supply began offering the same hurricane protection systems and architectural aluminum products available in the U.S. to international distributors. Today, exports provide an opportunity for Eastern Metal Supply to diversify their markets, drive additional revenue streams and make a positive contribution to overseas communities, as well as communities across the U.S.

When asked what advice he would give to other small businesses interested in exporting, Eastern Metal Supplier Co-founder, Greg Weekes, responds:

  • “Do your homework
  • Not every product works in every market
  • You have to find a need and focus on that need”

Fortunately for people in hurricane zones, Eastern Metal Supply does all three.