Business news from the Fredericksburg region.
Local firm grew during downturn
BY BILL FREEHLING
A Spotsylvania County-based company is among an exceedingly rare group of building-supply businesses that have actually benefited from the Great Recession.
Mid-Atlantic Vinyl Products, which is headquartered on Commonwealth Drive off U.S. 1 near Cosner’s Corner, has taken advantage of the recession to purchase equipment and plants at greatly reduced prices from competitors that have gone out of business. The company has also hired experienced team members who formerly worked for competitors, and obtained new customers.
Mid-Atlantic makes vinyl railing, fencing and columns for porches, decks and backyards. The company’s growth slowed some in the early part of the recession but has since hit record highs achieved during 15 years of business, said owner and President Luke Curtas.
In the past couple of years Mid-Atlantic affiliates have purchased a recycling plant in Maryland that is one of the company’s largest material suppliers and a second manufacturing plant outside Tampa, Fla. The company also has a distribution center in Rockledge, Fla.
The 66,000-square-foot Tampa-area plant, which Curtas purchased late last year for about a quarter of what it cost to build, has allowed Mid-Atlantic to supply its growing Florida customer base in a more cost-effective way. The company now employs about 100 people, including about 60 at the 60,000-square-foot Spotsylvania plant.
Mid-Atlantic sells its WeatherWise-branded products to wholesalers who supply contractors throughout the East Coast. Among its largest customers are ABC Supply and Norandex. The company also sells directly to customers online. It doesn’t do installations.
Curtas moved to the Fredericksburg area 32 years ago after finishing high school in the Tampa area. His father was in the lumber business, and in 1988 Curtas and his wife, Kim, started a local company called Thoroughbred Fencing.
A few years later Curtas started thinking about adding vinyl products to the mix along with wood and chain-link. The product was just as strong and attractive as wood, but it was far easier to maintain. He incorporated Mid-Atlantic Vinyl Products in 1997, and in 2003 sold Thoroughbred Fencing.
At first Mid-Atlantic Vinyl purchased finished materials and assembled them on-site. In 2007, Mid-Atlantic purchased extruders and started manufacturing its own vinyl materials. That same year the Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognized Mid-Atlantic as one of the state’s fastest-growing businesses, and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce named Curtas entrepreneur of the year.
About 83 percent of the material that goes into the company’s fences, rails and columns is from recycled vinyl siding and windows. Curtas has a subsidiary company called Regency Polymer Materials, which operates a recycling plant in Belcamp, Md., that processes scrap into powder and ships it to Mid-Atlantic Vinyl.
Curtas is considering additional plants down the road in Ohio and northern Georgia, and the company plans to start manufacturing vinyl decking by early next year. Parts of the Spotsylvania plant operate 24 hours a day, five days a week.
A religious man, Curtas attributes the company’s success to God as well as to an efficient operation with hardworking employees who put customers first.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405