CEO Q&A: Servpro sees results from prime New Bedford spot

By

NEW BEDFORD — Servpro of New Bedford President Doug Glassman proudly says that his volume of business has tripled in the four years he has owned the local franchise of the national chain. This past summer, he capped off a move to the former Sam Giammalvo’s car dealership building at 1476 Purchase St., which his team converted some from space into a suite of new offices.

Glassman said he employs about 12, but more in the colder months when there are all kinds of issues with structures including ice dams and broken pipes.

Servpro is easy to spot: The building now is vivid signature green, the brightest splash of color along Route 18.

You have just moved into this building, haven’t you?

Yes. We bought the building in January, and we did a full build-out. The office space around us is all new. We just gutted it out and started from scratch. We moved in at the end of May.

You painted the building green facing Route 18. That really makes a statement.

Yes, that’s one of the best parts. It’s the brand Servpro, the brand awareness and that color pops. So that was something that tastefully done looks good but also grabs your attention as well.

Where were you before this?

We were on Kempton Street. If you go remember back in the day, it was George’s Radiator Shop not far from the health food store at 45 Kempton St.

So you were sort of tucked away out of sight.

Yes, absolutely. It was a great move for us, obviously. A, the visibility we get, but B what we do because the type of work that we do for emergencies, restoration and getting to our customers as fast as possible. We’re right on the highway here so with a snap of the finger we’re on the highway and headed out to cover everybody on the SouthCoast.

You decided to locate essentially downtown as opposed to the industrial park or some other industrial area by the airport.

In my opinion, I wanted to be as close to downtown as we could. I feel like things are getting better and improving, and I want to be a part of it. I want to be down here in the heart of the city.

We do commercial and residential but were really in the heartbeat of New Bedford, and that also feeds out to all the veins that go out to the surrounding towns and communities in the area.

You do restoration. You do the dirty work when something bad happens to people, right?

Right. Think of it as sometimes when everybody is running away from a situation or it’s a mess they want to get to the house of things that are being destroyed, that’s when we’re heading in. So were that kind of restoration first responders, anything from water damage, a pipe breaks or a roof leaks and there seepage, flooding, fire cleanup. It could be anything from a small kitchen fire to complete devastation.

Do you occasionally go into a building and decide it’s not worth it, it’s too far gone?

Typically we can be part of the decisions sometimes, but it really comes down a lot of times to the property owner and especially when it’s an insurance loss. So at times they may deem that kind of thing and there are jobs where we go in and assess it. We bring in an architect, an engineer, and they assess the building. At times a job might not become a job for us because they just might have to tear the structure down.

How do you and your people learn to do what you do?

There are a lot of certifications in this industry, many of our guys have many of them.

I myself even went down to Servpro headquarters in Tennessee. I did aggressive training and I was there a month at one point when I was getting into this myself. Other than that it’s just more of continuing training and continuing to sharpen the skills. There’s a lot of training. The guys were continuously doing a lot of certifications that we have to sustain this industry and stay at the top of our game. There are several people here with a lot of experience.

Is there a concern with hazardous materials, even hazardous materials you might bring to a clean up job. What do you use? Is this proprietary chemistry?

There are Servpro products that we use that are made and created by Servpro. The cool thing is as we go along there the a lot of them that are becoming more natural and all-natural products. So the really hazardous stuff, I wouldn’t say we bring it into homes. We have a few products that are very strong for certain situations, but the majority that we use is very safe stuff like you’d buy off the shelf at a supermarket

As far as the jobs and some of the hazards that we go into and have to deal with in a day-in day-out basis, that’s where we’re heavily trained and follow procedures with personal protective equipment — PPE — follow those procedures and make sure that not only we’re having the safety of the customer but also our own workers as well.

Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT.

Original Story Here

Entrepreneurship for All celebrates one year in the SouthCoast

By

NEW BEDFORD — Say you’re at home in the city or surrounding towns and you’re hungry for a meal from a favorite local restaurant, but they don’t deliver and you don’t feel like picking it up. One of life’s irritating little challenges, right?

Soon, you might not have to worry about it — two New Bedford business owners Got Chew.

Ryan Caton and William Gilmour, working to launch their Got Chew food delivery service, were the top winners at EforAll South Coast’s All Ideas Pitch Contest and one-year anniversary celebration Friday at the Quest Center. The event was held in the Groundwork collaborative work space and drew an enthusiastic crowd, who heard pitches from eight entrepreneurs trying to win startup capital for their ideas.

Caton and Gilmour took home $1,500 split between two big checks: one for $500 as the “fan favorite” — attendees voted by text message, with live results projected onto a wall — and $1,000 as the first-place selection by a panel of four local judges, all with business expertise.

Gilmour is a 25-year-old sales associate for Comcast. Caton is a 26-year-old surveyor for Vivint Solar. The two Got Chew co-owners said they’d use their winnings Friday to develop a website and marketing materials, connect with local restaurants and spread the word about their business. They plan to add a 20-percent surcharge on top of the order price, calling the fee comparable to the tips customers would pay had they actually gone to local restaurants.

Gilmour and Caton said they hope to serve New Bedford and surrounding towns.

“We’re going to need a lot of drivers,” Gilmour said.

They were just two of several business or project owners who gave pitches Friday. Second place in the contest went to Temistocles “Tem Blessed” Ferreira, who won $750 to develop illustrations for “Planeta Blu: The Rise of Agoo,” a graphic novel he’s creating for teens. He described the story as “an epic adventure,” starring inner-city youth who struggle to save humanity and the animal kingdom from an evil world-conqueror named Zander.

“Think of it as ‘The Hunger Games’ meets ‘The Jungle Book,’” Ferreira said.

Third place went to Diana Painter, who won $500 for Miss Pockets, her idea to sew hidden pockets into women’s dresses and garments that were made without them.

“We make the pockets out of recycled material from thrift store clothes,” Painter said, adding that the cost could be $30 for a pair of pockets sewn into a customer’s garment, with matching fabrics.

Other ideas pitched Friday included Cycle Composting company, a pick-up composting service proposed by Caitlyn Kenney; Smart Joints, an industrial pipe innovation proposed by Abel Jimenez; The Collective, a community performing arts center and cultural hub proposed by Kevin Mitchell; an expansion of The New Bedford Book Festival, by Steven Froias; and Donna Motta’s Kalm Communications, a marketing and communications consultancy for businesses and professionals.

“We are so excited about the energy of the crowd tonight, and the diversity of ideas,” EforAll South Coast executive director Shelley Cardoos said.

EforAll South Coast is funded by a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and is a local expansion of the EforAll model in Lawrence and Lowell. A new location is planned in Lynn.

Friday night’s event was EforAll South Coast’s fourth pitch contest over the past year, with a total of $2,750 in prizes given away at each one. The next pitch contest is Oct. 20 in Fall River, with an application deadline of Oct. 7. Applications are online at www.eforall.org.

Cardoos said several pitch contest entrants also have participated in EforAll South Coast’s business accelerator program, which has graduated 20 businesses and awarded $35,000 in startup funding over the past year.

EforAll South Coast’s summer accelerator program celebrated its graduates Sept. 7. The next program begins in December, with applications online and due Oct. 25. The program offers resources over a year, starting with an intensive three-month period.

Cardoos said all 20 businesses that have gone through the program are “still in process” of developing and moving forward. Many attendees at Friday’s pitch contest were past participants, reflecting the system of shared support that Cardoos and EforAll South Coast program manager Jeremiah Hernandez have cultivated.

“I’m really happy to see how far along we have come in one year, and how much of a community we’ve been able to build within our EforAll network,” Cardoos said.

Cardoos described simple goals as EforAll South rolls into its second year of operations.

“Just keep going strong, reach out to new businesses and make sure that everybody knows about this resource,” she said.

Follow Mike Lawrence on Twitter @MikeLawrenceSCT.