As catastrophic hurricanes increasingly ravage the United States, the need for weather protection services is at an all-time high. Founded in 1982 by Susie Walsh, Greg Weekes, and Glen Magaldi, Eastern Metal Supply (EMS), based in Lake Worth, Florida, seeks to provide people with the assistance needed following a devastating storm. EMS started with just 5 employees and has grown to employ nearly 800. Its single Florida location has also grown into fourteen nation-wide service centers and manufacturing facilities, totaling nearly 1.5 million square feet. These locations focus on the distribution and fabrication of aluminum extrusions and sheet products.
The EMS business model is based on selling their high-quality aluminum products to distributers who then sell them to end-users. These products include everything from secure metal sheets to the keys necessary to lock hurricane shutters.
Years following the establishment of their company, Walsh, Weekes, and Magakdi realized that there was an untapped market for their protection services and security systems in the Caribbean. Although they had the capital and tools necessary to fulfill these unmet international needs, international sales provided several new financial risks to the company.
EMS obtained EXIM’s export credit insurance in 2017. The insurance protects EMS from the political and commercial risks of buyer nonpayment. The company was able to expand their market and provide its aluminum products and hurricane protection systems to international distributors.
EXIM's insurance enables EMS to diversify their market size, increase profits, and provide positive contributions to international communities. The agency has supported $2.5 million of EMS's international sales since 2017.
When asked what advice he would give to other small businesses interested in exporting, Eastern Metal Supplier Co-founder, Greg Weekes, responded "Do your homework. Not every product works in every marker. You have to find a need and focus on that need.”