LancasterThrivingFallWinter2017 - 14

PEOPLE: PATH TO THRIVING

thinks about when bringing a product to market. Design and
production windows are too tight to work overseas.

hardware and some fashion.

"There were definitely some slow times there in the first year,"
Broadbent admits. "We didn't take over the company with
the greatest backlog." But they did not let any of the firm's 19
employees go as a result of the acquisition.

"Being a smaller company trying to weather the storm, it
didn't really take too much to get us out of it," says Todd
Shertzer, vice president of sales. "We had a very lean
workforce, so we weren't out there trying to feed this
massive beast."

Soon, business picked up. The company grew in each of the
first four years under new ownership, driven by recurring
business, which went from about 5 percent to nearly half of
its revenues.

Emerging on the other side, the company could see the
silver lining in all the economic pain. They had become
more efficient and had diversified their client base. Plus, a
number of competitors did not survive.

Then the global economy burned down.

Acorn was hiring again, building infrastructure to support a
larger business. By 2015, the company was ready to rebrand
as Bench Dogs, and the owners were looking for a new,
larger facility.

GREAT RECESSION
The Great Recession hit in 2008 and Acorn's
revenues shrank.
"When you're taking on and learning a new business
and new marketplaces, and you've got a lot of families
dependent upon you for their livelihood, there's a lot of
pressure in there to ensure that you keep things going in the
right direction," Broadbent says.
The new owners agreed: They are in this for the long term,
so they never expected to make all decisions about profit.
They continued to invest in the business, bringing on a new
designer who would help make the operation more turnkey
and attractive to new clients.
They also diversified, expanding from a heavy focus on
flooring to new areas like financial services, building

14 | LANCASTERTHRIVING! | Fall/Winter2017

Then the old factory burned down.
FIRE
Broadbent remembers the call-at 7:20 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2015.
"I got the call from our director of operations," he says. "As he
put it, it seemed bad." The old facility was built in the 1950s
with low wood-truss ceilings and hardwood floors. It had no
sprinklers or access to public water. "I just knew that if there
was a fire, it was going to be tough to stop."
The building-and everything in it-was destroyed. Workers
found the computer server 40 yards away from the
computer room. Equipment at the new facility consisted of a
few things in the maintenance department and a drill press.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LancasterThrivingFallWinter2017

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