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SANTA ROSA -- With the resurgence in road and bridge building, tunneling activities and rehabilitation work on storm sewers and water systems, the phones are ringing at The Barricade Company, one of Northern California's largest manufacturers of traffic and trench-construction safety equipment.

The Barricade Company (tbcsafety.com) offers public agencies and private contractors a complete line of above- and below-ground safety equipment, warning devices, cones, aluminum and steel trench shoring, flashing light beacons and -- of course -- barricades and many other categories of high quality supplies listed in its comprehensive 34-page catalog.

Founded by the husband and wife team of Robert and Jennifer Pitts in a refurbished chicken coup in 2000, TBC today employs 18 people, has three crane trucks, two flatbeds and two office locations.

[caption id="attachment_76689" align="alignleft" width="384"] Owners Robert and Jennifer Pitts are surrounded with some of The Barricade Company's many construction safety products in their 34-page catalog. (image credit: Gary Quackenbush)[/caption]

"In the early years, Rob would get up at 4 a.m. to make all of the deliveries in an old pickup truck with a trailer and come back to the office to handle sales, make our products and manage four shop workers during the rest of the day," said Jennifer Pitts, president, chief executive officer and chief financial officer.

The company offers manufacturer-direct wholesale and retail sales, rentals and service as well as custom products made in its welding, fabrication and sign shops. Based at 3963 Santa Rosa Ave. in Santa Rosa, the company has a second location at 2255 McKinnon Ave. in San Francisco.

"Our business has grown every year since we've been in business, except for one flat period at the close of the recession," Ms. Pitts added. "Annual revenues are between $3 million and $4 million and growing."

She said 2013 is shaping up as a huge growth year.

"We used to have an inventory surplus; however, at times demand has been so high we've almost run out of supplies," Ms. Pitts said. "Things are moving so fast these days, we have adopted a just-in-time business model."

Mr. Pitts is general manager and the person in charge of day-to-day operations, including manufacturing and delivery.

"A lot of our competitors buy their goods out of state," Mr. Pitts said. "We make half of the products we carry, enabling us to modify them to meet changing customer needs and regulatory specifications at the local level."

Woman-owned and -operated, The Barricade Company holds various certifications as a Women's Business Enterprise, Small Business Enterprise, Local Business Enterprise, as well as certified with the Human Rights Commission of the city and county of San Francisco and the California Public Utilities Commission.

Most of the company's operations are conducted within a two-hour drive of its offices. However, the firm's founders are willing to go wherever large projects can be found, such as the Highway 101 Willits bypass and road work in Sacramento and the Central Valley.

"Trench shoring, for example, is a critical business that can't wait, as is the need for temporary and permanent traffic signage when a project is about to begin or end," Mr. Pitts said. "With more public works underway or in various planning stages, we want to be in a position to respond quickly as needs arise."

While smaller than many of its rivals in other parts of the state, The Barricade Company has been able to compete by developing solid, lasting relationships with the organizations it serves, and by having a keen knowledge of the industry combined with a ready willingness to meet and exceed expectations, according to Ms. Pitts. 

"We are flexible and can adapt to changes within the market. As a mass quantity, small-scale producer, we are big enough to handle large volume customer needs with the attention of a small business to quality service and superior products," she said. "We take pride in our local business involvement and support the Made in the U.S.A. philosophy."

In 2010, the company entered the special-events market to offer customers a large inventory of crowd-control, parking, temporary lighting and signage solutions.

Ever expanding and looking outside of the box, Ms. Pitts formed Country Party Rentals, a separate business co-located at the firm's Santa Rosa location, to provide the tables, chairs, linens and tenting needed for hospitality-related events.

"We would like to have another TBC location in the south or East Bay in the future," she said. "Today our focus is on our two existing locations with no immediate plans for a third. This may have to wait until our kids are ready to take on an expansion program. We want to keep TBC as a family-owned and -operated enterprise."