Austin Dealer Says ’08 and ’09 Represent Record Years, Despite RecessionJuly 2nd, 2009 | Category: Industry News
For most window film manufacturers, distributors and dealers, 2008 represented a challenging year. With a recession in full swing, to date, 2009 has shown promise, but equally difficult circumstances. But Jeff Thompson, owner of Austin, Texas-based SUNsational Solutions, says both have represented record years for his company, despite economic conditions.
“Last year our sales were the best,” explains Thompson who has been in business in the Austin area for approximately eleven years. “My wife and I have been doing this for almost 23 years with our two companies.”
Thompson is originally from Indiana. In 1986, he and his wife, Tracy, opened a chain of stores in Indianapolis, offering a variety of automotive, aviation- and marine-related products and services. Though his company offered everything from graphics and gold plating, to glass replacement and repair, Thompson’s specialty was security window film for automotive, commercial and residential applications. Eventually he says his heart settled on this category.
In 1998, Thompson relocated to Texas, and soon thereafter, Sunsational Solutions was launched. The company’s specialty remains in security window films. In 2008, Thompson moved his company to a new location, just outside of Austin, with additional space and resources, then followed in 2009 by opening a new sales office in San Antonio.
“We had been searching for a new location for about a year before we found this location,” Thompson explains. “Actually it is a block away from where we were.”
Thompson says, despite the times, his company’s business expanded in 2008 and 2009, necessitating these moves.
“We were in our old location for four years and we were renting two storage units to keep everything in stock,” he explains. “The office space had three desks per office and we were a little crowded to say the least. We had issues with parking all of our service vehicles as well.”
But the company’s expansion was about more than just adding storage and office space. Thompson says he also seized the opportunity to redesign his company’s layout.
“Our new office is actually in two buildings,” he says. “The front office is for the office and sales staff, and it’s in a retail-like location. Our warehouse is in another building that allows us to bring in two of our service vehicles each night.”
The company’s volume increased to the point that it had to add additional staff as well.
“This year we have hired two additional sales people bringing the total to four,” Thompson says. “We have added service personnel this year and I am training the ultimate green installer.” At press time, Thompson was excited about training and sending a specialized “green” installer into the field.
“We strictly do residential and commercial work these days, with the primary focus of reducing utility costs,” Thompson explains. Thompson says in addition to film, his company has added a number of products and services in the insulation category. His “green guy,” Jonathan, is currently working on his LEED certification.
“I’m going to be opening up my books here soon, as well, because I’m going to be working on a residential LEED certification,” Thompson explains. “When it comes to LEED certification, a building has to earn a certain number of points. Window film can be part of that process. That obviously includes solar films, but we believe that it could include decorative films as well.”
Despite his company’s recent growth and success, Thompson feels there’s still a great deal of business to be had and expects to expand even further in the coming years. And the green movement is a big part of this dealer’s plan.