Specialty Fabrics Review April 2022 - 28

[ PERSPECTIVE ]
After that, he says, the company
began to run like a well-oiled machine.
" From phone call to finished product,
it's a smooth, well-defined path, " he says.
Navigating through
the pandemic
For Keeler, the COVID-19 pandemic
threatened both his business and his
personal life. He was able to secure
an " essential business " ranking so he
and his crew could avoid layoffs by
making personal protective equipment
(PPE) gear.
PROJECT SNAPSHOT
Keeler also established a Vancouver
Island subsidiary called Clear
Advantage PPE that serves two
purposes. While it generates more PPE
products, it also helps cut through the
COVID-related red tape that can ensue
when Keeler crosses the border to see
his Canadian wife. Though the couple
has been married three years, and each
has dual citizenship, she remains in
Canada for the country's health care
benefits, while he lives in the U.S. to
be close to work.
Throughout the pandemic, Oyster
Creek continued making marine products
in anticipation of future demand.
" No one knew when this pandemic
was going to end, so we concentrated on
where we want to be when it eventually
does end, " Keeler explains of his
business strategy.
Riding the wave of demand
It was fortunate that Oyster Creek kept
moving full steam ahead with marine
fabrication because Keeler describes his
sales as " through the roof " as affluent
clients continue to embrace boating.
His primary customer base?
Custom boat manufacturers, boat
brokers and high-end boaters based
in northwest Washington or the state's
San Juan Islands.
" These are million-dollar boats, "
Bimini boats
" It's hard to nail down a specific project that I'm really proud of, but I am
proud of the lace on bimini tops I build for Munson Boats, " says Keeler of
his work with the Burlington, Wash., welded aluminum boat manufacturer.
" I have to design framework for forward-facing biminis that can stand
up to high speeds and not blow apart or shake in the wind. Each one is
custom and has to be made to accommodate different setups like davits,
cranes, dive winches, and so on. Most of the boats they build are for
industrial use, so that has to be taken into consideration when designing
and building a strong frame and top. "
28 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / April 2022
Keeler confirms. " The custom builders
we work for are years out on their
orders. Talking to dealers and brokers,
they've never seen anything like this, "
Keeler says. " We're now scheduling six
or seven months out, where normally
it would be closer to three. "
While others in the industry have
complained of lengthy lead times on
materials, Keeler says Oyster Creek has
had few problems securing the goods
it needs.
" We've had a few delays, but for
most larger projects we book so far out

Specialty Fabrics Review April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review April 2022

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