Great story about a small company making big fans.
Forbes’ Karsten Strauss writes:
Within a year of launching the HVLS Fan Co. back in 1999, Carey Smith began the process of changing the company’s name to Big Ass Fans . Why? Because that’s what his customers were calling it. “We would answer the phone and say, ‘This is the HVLS Fan Company,’ ” remembers Smith, smiling behind his neatly trimmed beard. “ They would inevitably pause and say, ‘Are you those guys that make the big-ass fans?’ ”
They do indeed make big-ass fans – their largest is 24 feet in diameter and starts at $4,850 – and today those fans hang from the ceilings of stores like Target and Whole Foods, and factories run by Boeing, Coke and Amazon. “
Throughout your day,” says Smith, 62, whose business cards proclaim him “Chief Big Ass,” “most of the things you touch have been either manufactured or boxed for distribution under our fans.”
But the industrial and commercial cooling-fan industry isn’t the gold mine you might expect. Last year Big Ass, privately held and based in Lexington, Ky., took in $165 million in revenue, up 35% over 2013, and its gross profits were an estimated $74 million–not a huge number for a company that thoroughly dominates its market.