Habitata Building Products – St. Louis (Where are they now?)
Update: June 21, 2017
The University of Missouri’s International Trade Center intern program worked with several companies in the spring of 2017 to provide real-world export research, including research for BDP client Halcyon Shades, Richard Goellner, president.
The Halcyon student team spent months researching possible new markets, visiting multiple times and analyzing hundreds of countries for business friendliness, IP protection laws, population, GDP, growth in that firm’s product line and a host of other criteria.
The team then presented before Halcyon executives.
Here’s what Goellner thought about the center and the final report [1 min].
We first reported on Habitata Building Products, makers of Halcyon Shades, in 2013. This firm set up shop in an abandoned grocery store in a formerly abandoned St. Louis neighborhood, bringing good American jobs back from Mexico and transforming a neighborhood. (Read the original story about Habitata.)
President Rich Goellner assumed Habitata/Halcyon’s presidency in August 2013, and quickly discovered the company was hemorrhaging money and in danger of losing a key federal contract. The website was also totally inadequate, its marketing materials outdated by at least a decade and its distribution strategy woefully ineffective.
Goellner discovered the resources of the BDP, specifically MO PTAC and the Mid-America Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (TAAC), a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration matching grant program that helps manufacturers in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas fight back against foreign competition.
A subsequent TAAC grant allowed the firm to redesign its website and marketing materials. And the savvy Carolyn Jones, MO PTAC procurement specialist, helped Goellner redesign the firm’s capability statement, essential to federal contract inquiries, and better understand the procurement process.
“Because of her help, we were able to secure more than $200,000 in General Services Administration business and maintain our contract,” he writes, adding:
I filled out the short survey you sent me, but I felt it didn’t reflect how beneficial the help from PTAC has been. This year has been the largest in terms of sales to the government. Our biggest sale by far was in October to the Tip O’Neil Federal Building in Boston. Before that, we had already surpassed our previous year’s sales with a number of government orders. We finished out the month of December by making the shades for the air traffic control tower at Dover (Del.) Air Force Base. Thank you for all your help!
He also sent this testimonial to Jones of MO PTAC; Donna Leonard, TAAC director and Rebecca Nace, TAAC assistant director:
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the assistance, guidance, patience and tutelage you’ve all provided me in the last year. Because of your help we are currently profitable, and have hired five new employees this year. Thank you again for all your help!
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