Shift to ‘cool roofs’ lifts profits
SEBASTOPOL — FlashCo Manufacturing, a fabricator of roof-penetration details with integrated flashing designed to trim installation time and enhance waterproofing, is doubling the size of its headquarters plant in a move to Santa Rosa.
FlashCo (707-824-4448, flashcomfg.com) solders sheet metal and heat-welds plastic roofing membranes to roof-penetration parts such as vents for plumbing and exhaust and ports for utility wiring to add flashing. Roofing contractors that buy the assemblies from distributors can save as much as a half-hour per penetration on the job.
Started a dozen years ago focusing on homebuilding, sales slowed dramatically in 2006 with less construction, so the company shifted to the commercial reroofing market and to developing products for increasingly installed plastic or rubber single-ply membrane commercial roofs.
“Five or six years ago, it was one of the saving graces of our company,” founder and President Greg Morrow said of the move into single-ply roofing accessories. “Perhaps we would have been down to one or two locations if we were primarily in the metal side of the business, and plastics would have been a missed opportunity.”
Currently, soldering sheet-metal products for residential and commercial markets makes up 60 percent of FlashCo’s sales, and heat-welding plastic parts with membranes for single-ply roofs is about 40 percent and growing quickly.
While sales of sheet-metal products has been flat, those of plastic assemblies has been growing quickly and lifting FlashCo back into the black, according to Mr. Morrow. Revenue grew 22 percent in fiscal 2011, ended in March, and is set grow by 23 percent to 24 percent this fiscal year. FlashCo started to became profitable again in the first quarter of fiscal 2011.
After starting in 7,800 square feet at 1452 Industrial Ave. in Sebastopol in September 2000, FlashCo opened a fabrication shop in Woodland, Wash., in 2004 then one in Kingman, Ariz., in 2006, moving it three years later to Chandler in the Phoenix area. The Pacific Northwest shop doubled in size to 9,000 square feet last month, while the scale of the Chandler plant is being halved to 5,500 square feet.
FlashCo in late February started moving its Sebastopol plant to a south Santa Rosa multitenant industrial property once occupied by Hosokawa Bepex. The company leased 16,000 square feet of shop space at 170 Todd Road and 2,500 square feet of offices at 150 Todd.
For the larger Santa Rosa shop, which currently employs six fabricators, FlashCo likely will hire two more. The company has 30 employees, with about six to eight in the other two shops.
The company also has distribution hubs in Denver, Salt Lake City and Raytown, Missouri.
Single-ply roofs are factory-made composite sheets of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC), thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) or a rubber-polymer such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). Heat-reflecting, insulated “cool roofs” are a type of single-ply roof and have been provided for in the energy-related Title 24 of California’s building code since October 2005.
For the past six years, FlashCo has been focusing on up-and-coming TPO single-ply roofing, which is being increasingly used in the Bay Area, California and the South to reduce summer energy bills for air-conditioning.
FlashCo now is private-label maker of accessories for three of the four major national manufacturers of such membranes. FlashCo acquires the membranes then combines them with parts purchased wholesale from building-supply companies.
Representing FlashCo and property owner Todd Associates, LLC, in the Santa Rosa lease deal on Dec. 12 were Bill Faherty, Joel Jaman and Jim Sartain of Keegan & Coppin/ONCOR International.
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