January 1, 2001

4 Min Read
Times Were Tough


The realization of a self-storage vision

In 1984, Sam Sabri and Boyd "Buddy" Whitney had a vision. They formed aself-storage company in Statesville, N.C., and named it BETCO, originally an acronym forthe "Building, Engineering & Technology Company." (In recent years, however,the company dropped the use of this description due to another company's claim to itsoriginal use.) BETCO's mission was to create a specific and unique self-storage buildingdesign and market it to the industry. It became Sabri's primary responsibility toaccomplish this formidable goal.

Times Were Tough

BETCO's 75,000-square-foot plant and offices in Statesville, N.C.

The timing for such an entrepreneurial venture couldn't have been worse. The country'seconomy was in a serious recession, but that didn't deter the partners. "We had nocontrol over the business climate," remarks Sabri, BETCO's president and CEO,"but we were committed to move ahead with our plans--and we did."

In spite of the economic downturn, the business grew and, in 1989, ground was brokenfor a manufacturing plant in Statesville, N.C. While all manufacturing was initially doneat the plant, two separate sales offices were set up--one in Statesville for theself-storage business, and another in Bluffton, S.C., for the international division. Thisdivision was the responsibility of partner Whitney, who directed sales of poultry andswine houses in more than 40 overseas markets. Five years ago, the division began to offerlow-cost housing for third-world countries.

More Growth With More Products and Services

BETCO's new 75,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Bryan, Texas.

The company soon offered an array of products and services, including the constructionand shipment of components on BETCO's own dedicated fleet of trucks. The company prosperedin the '90s, but business was primarily relegated to the eastern states. The reason wassimple: logistics.

"We wanted to expand our business, but it didn't make sense to sell buildingcomponents far from the source of manufacturing because shipping costs would beprohibitive," explains Sabri. "At one point, we considered building a warehouseout West, but realized a better idea was to build a manufacturing facility instead. Thisplan would provide our customers in the area with all the services we offer on the EastCoast." That's exactly what happened in 2000.

The Texas Expansion

After considering several options, the company chose Bryan, Texas, as the new plantlocation for two reasons: First, the location gave BETCO a centralized base of operationsfrom which it could sell and service customers in the southwestern United States. Thesecond reason was the close proximity to Texas A&M University, the largest engineeringschool in the country. It could provide a source of talent that would allow BETCO tomaintain its commitment to research and development.

Construction of the new 75,000-square-foot facility began in the spring of 2000, andwas completed in late summer. The manufacturing capabilities mirror those of theStatesville plant, using the latest technology in equipment and systems. The only productsnot being manufactured in Texas are roll-up doors.

The Introduction of Doors and Hallways

New door and hallway systems were manufactured beginning in 2000.

The year 2000 held more change and promise for the company when management made thedecision to begin manufacturing door and hallway systems. (Until this point, BETCO hadmanufactured all self-storage building components except doors.) A significant investmentof time, personnel and money was committed to build the new door plant in Statesville. Itwas a business decision that completed BETCO's line of products.

"With the inclusion of doors and hallways to our product mix, we can now positionourselves as a one-source provider, offering a complete line of self-storagecomponents," says Terry Huber, BETCO's chief operating officer and general manager ofmanufacturing. "In addition, we decided to market our product to all potentialcustomers, not just those who buy other BETCO self-storage building products. We aremaking our systems available industry-wide because we want to give all viable self-storagecustomers a choice--let them know there is another player in the market offering a qualitydoor and hallway system."

Another Successful Year

BETCO's manufacturing facility for roof panels, exterior and interior walls, columns and headers.

In spite of the largest program of capital expenditures in its history, BETCO continuesto prosper. Fiscal year 2000, which ended in August, marked the company's 16th year inbusiness and another record-breaking year of growth. "With all the growth and successof our company," says Sabri, "the challenge to management and employees alike,is to make sure that quality continues to be our benchmark, and that dedication to ourmission remains foremost in everyone's mind. If we pay attention to these things, we'llcontinue to be successful."

For more information, call 704.872.2999; www.betcoinc.com.

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