At its peak in 2007, Blox Building Systems employed over 50 people and enjoyed a solid reputation as a major player in the regional modular housing market. In order to handle the new projects being presented by its Philadelphia partner, Blox made significant upfront capital investments, leveraged its assets and significantly invested in training programs for the skilled workforce required for the proposed projects.
However, as with many companies involved in the building trade, business suffered and debt accumulated during the Great Recession. By 2012, Blox retained only 10 of its original employees.
Undaunted, and with SEWN's help, Ken George and his son, Ken George, Jr., began the process of reinventing the business. First, SEWN assisted the owners in rebuilding the business' financial structure. Thanks to the assistance of the World Trade Center (a SEWN partner on Team Montco), a Canadian investor appeared and negotiations began anew with the major debt holder.
With an established working capital line, the debt burden rebalanced and vendor agreements restored, Ken recreated his organization's infrastructure. SEWN helped Ken to negotiate the severance of the former partnership and the creation of a new partnership connected to a very successful organization in a very viable marketplace. The new business is called Steel River Building Systems, and is already a big hit in its new market segment.
The high quality modular units produced at the Pottstown manufacturing site have performed very well in the rugged conditions of the Canadian oil fields. With a strong service reputation, Steel River, Inc. is on track for rapid growth.
Additionally, SEWN's layoff aversion program is assisting Ken with the creation of a comprehensive business plan, a revised marketing strategy and several new financing options to better manage market fluctuations.