Fiberglass Specialties, Watertown, SD

While exploring the need to expand his business, owner of Fiberglass Specialties in Watertown, South Dakota, Bob Snell, avoided a new construction project and solved his problem when the building next door came up for sale. Assisting Bob in his endeavor was a lending partnership between Reliabank in Watertown and First District Development Company via the SBA 504 loan program.

Bob Snell started Fiberglass Specialties in 1992 out of his garage. Fiberglass Specialties is a job shop of fiberglass parts for its customers who require a fiberglass component to their finished product. Products Fiberglass Specialties manufacturers include: fiberglass trailer floor coating, miscellaneous fiberglass repairs, and a fiberline fiberglass service and utility truck bodies.

Prior to the expansion, Fiberglass Specialties operated out of one 15,000 square foot building in southeast Watertown. In the picture above, the original Fiberglass Specialties building is the building on the left, which looks like two separate buildings, but is joined together. Due to steady growth, particularly with the utility truck body business, Bob Snell was exploring his options to expand his building space.

Bob’s existing building is set up as a tunnel operation with the work flowing from the front to the back of the building where the finished product is shipped out or picked up. With the truck body business, which wasn’t Bob’s original intention for Fiberglass Specialties, Bob found himself and his team handling their regular products through the production line, but with the truck bodies being so large, they were literally an elephant in the room. In order for Fiberglass Specialties to keep the work flowing smoothly and also, to be able to take on more truck body orders, where his business is seeing growth, Fiberglass Specialties needed more space. A solution to this problem arose when Bob learned the neighboring building was up for sale. This building, which was the former home to a gymnastics gym, would offer Bob an additional 8,400 square feet for his operation.

In total, Bob’s project for the expansion of his existing business included the purchase of the existing neighboring building, renovations to convert the building from a gym space to a manufacturing facility, new equipment, and the refinance of the original real estate loan for his existing building, which utilized SBA’s refinance with expansion option.

Right now, Fiberglass Specialties makes all products on an as-ordered basis, but Bob would eventually like to mass produce the utility truck bodies. Upon completion of renovating the building purchased, Bob has moved the utility truck body production completely into the new building.

Fiberglass Specialties is on track for another great year of business. Keeping up with staffing and ordering additional equipment at the right times are the two main growing pains Bob has been experiencing as of late. With the additional building purchased and remodeling completed, Bob has crossed one item off of his to-do list!

FDDC wishes Bob and his team at Fiberglass Specialties many more years of growth and success!

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