Thunder Bay designers 'fabricating' their niche.
Infinity Profile and Design owners Danny Fedun, 31, and Samuel Solly, 29, started their business out of Thunder Bay after leaving jobs at Northland Superior Supply Co. Ltd. and Daycon Mechanical Systems.
Fedun was head of the engineering department in Thunder Bay before Northland moved the business to Winnipeg. Responsibility for purchasing, dealing with the shop environment and handling clients were downloaded to the Thunder Bay satellite office, making Fedun's job more diverse.
Solly was living in Vancouver taking on the same responsibilities at Daycon.
"For all we were doing and all we were learning in these satellite offices, we might as well be running our own company," Fedun says.
Both are sure they could have been scooped up by other fabrication businesses in the area but they wanted to create their own niche. Creating a fabrication and manufacturing business profiling and designing products was where they wanted to make a mark.
Using a three-dimensional design software program and Computer-Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines, the duo now provides services to innovators, engineers, other fabrication shops and mobile service companies. The software program allows "us to work out 95 percent of the bugs before we manufacture."
The profile portion of the business involves the use of a CNC Plasma Cutter, punch presses and brake press machines. Water-jet-cutting jobs are contracted out to a small business in Barrie, Ontario.
Recently, Infinity trademarked a product called Shop Worx. It will be used as a trade name, allowing clients to bring a product to market. much like the Mastercraft brand at Canadian Tire.
Ideally, Solly and Fedun started the company to create jobs in the northwest because "Thunder Bay has a real problem with young people leaving the community."
In pursuit of their dream, the Confederation College graduates encountered roadblocks from government and financial institutions unwilling to provide financial support without a list of relatives to co-sign.
"But I am taking the risk here, not my family," Fedun says. He refused to proceed through the mountain of red tape.
"We finally got really disgusted, turned around and financed it ourselves. It was the least amount of roadblocks and the most amount of flexibility and we started from scratch."
They started with one shape-cutting plasma table in a section of the family garage. Once demand picked up they moved to a 1,000-square foot shop and are now in a 5,000-square foot facility on Bailey Avenue, at the formers Daycon home.
With a list of 75 clients, Infinity's growth has increased 1,000 percent over the first year.
Creating a niche in the marketplace became a very powerful statement in the community. Youth can create their own future in Northern Ontario, even their own environment Fedun says.
Learning to be a businessperson on top of a technical guru poses periodic challenges. After all, dealing with the technical components of business is where they feel most comfortable. But the more they can keep a finger on the pulse of customer needs, inventory control, accounting practices and growing the business, the better the chances a business has in succeeding, Fedun says.
By KELLY LOUISEIZE
Northern Ontario Business
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|Title Annotation:||TOP 5 YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS|
|Publication:||Northern Ontario Business|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2005|
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