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Times Were Tough

The realization of a self-storage vision

In 1984, Sam Sabri and Boyd "Buddy" Whitney had a vision. They formed a self-storage company in Statesville, N.C., and named it BETCO, originally an acronym for the "Building, Engineering & Technology Company." (In recent years, however, the company dropped the use of this description due to another company's claim to its original use.) BETCO's mission was to create a specific and unique self-storage building design and market it to the industry. It became Sabri's primary responsibility to accomplish 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's economy was in a serious recession, but that didn't deter the partners. "We had no control 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 broken for a manufacturing plant in Statesville, N.C. While all manufacturing was initially done at the plant, two separate sales offices were set up--one in Statesville for the self-storage business, and another in Bluffton, S.C., for the international division. This division was the responsibility of partner Whitney, who directed sales of poultry and swine houses in more than 40 overseas markets. Five years ago, the division began to offer low-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 construction and shipment of components on BETCO's own dedicated fleet of trucks. The company prospered in the '90s, but business was primarily relegated to the eastern states. The reason was simple: logistics.

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

The Texas Expansion

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

Construction of the new 75,000-square-foot facility began in the spring of 2000, and was completed in late summer. The manufacturing capabilities mirror those of the Statesville plant, using the latest technology in equipment and systems. The only products not 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 the decision to begin manufacturing door and hallway systems. (Until this point, BETCO had manufactured all self-storage building components except doors.) A significant investment of time, personnel and money was committed to build the new door plant in Statesville. It was a business decision that completed BETCO's line of products.

"With the inclusion of doors and hallways to our product mix, we can now position ourselves as a one-source provider, offering a complete line of self-storage components," says Terry Huber, BETCO's chief operating officer and general manager of manufacturing. "In addition, we decided to market our product to all potential customers, not just those who buy other BETCO self-storage building products. We are making our systems available industry-wide because we want to give all viable self-storage customers a choice--let them know there is another player in the market offering a quality door 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 continues to prosper. Fiscal year 2000, which ended in August, marked the company's 16th year in business and another record-breaking year of growth. "With all the growth and success of 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 our mission remains foremost in everyone's mind. If we pay attention to these things, we'll continue to be successful."

For more information, call 704.872.2999;

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