LancasterThrivingFallWinter2017 - 13

FAILING FORWARD NUGGET #5: REGROWTH

FROM DEVASTATION TO SUCCESS

F

ire can be beneficial. Wildfires-at least, those that do
not grow out of control-can benefit the ecosystem by
cleansing the forest floor of underbrush and debris,
nourishing the soil for new growth that provides habitat and
feeds wildlife.
It's a good reminder for Rich Broadbent.
The president of Bench Dogs, a manufacturing company
based in Denver, Pa., is talking about facing his share of
fires-literally and figuratively-in the 12 years he and his
partner have owned the company. The story that emerges is
one of regrowth.
"It's just: Keep going," he says of the company that has
grown six-fold on his watch. "I don't see any end in sight."

ACQUISITION
Bench Dogs designs, engineers and manufactures custom
store fixtures and point-of-purchase displays for large
clients, such as Treasury Wine Estates and Owens Corning,
throughout the United States. The company recently
expanded to manufacturing custom case goods for general
contractors, primarily in Lancaster County.

Incorporated in 1995 as Acorn Manufacturing and based in
Lebanon County, it rebranded to Bench Dogs two years ago
when it moved to its current 100,000-square-foot facilities
not far from the Turnpike interchange with US-222.
Its current owners, Broadbent and Bob Bunting, purchased
Acorn in 2005.
"We were very much looking at manufacturing," recalls
Broadbent, an engineer by trade who has a background
in manufacturing from his time at Baldwin Hardware, in
Reading. "The marketplace that Acorn was in was a multibillion dollar marketplace, and Acorn's revenues were
basically a rounding error."
That meant plenty of room for growth, particularly in an
industry less at risk of offshore competition. While working
for Dorman Products, Broadbent spent plenty of time
overseas researching manufacturers.
"Metal products," he explains, "ship fairly well, you can break
them into parts and put them together fairly easily. Wood
parts, particularly-not your Ikea-style wood parts, but your
higher-end wood parts- they need to go together, that
makes a lot of cube, that makes a lot of cost." Plus, he says,
store fixtures and displays are often the last thing a company

LancasterChamber.com

13


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