Owner of Southside business Concrete Repair Specialist David Gordon put everything into starting his business, and then the worst happened-Sept. 11, 2001.
His wife and current business partner Sharon Gordon said that, in addition to the fear most every American citizen felt during the time following the terrorist attacks, there were worries about the business climate.
“We had never had anything so violent [in our lifetimes],” Sharon said. “[Sept. 11] impact[ed] the stock markets and business and just the unknown. Starting a business during an unknown situation is very scary. You’ve put your life savings into this.”
But the business-which offers a range of concrete installations, such as custom patios, driveway and pool decks, and dock and warehouse repairs-made it through the unknown.
David focused on the commercial side of business, such as work at Little Debbie, Sharon said.
And then came the Great Recession.
“The commercial side really slowed up,” Sharon said.
So she asked her husband about the possibility of focusing more on residential work, which the business hadn’t done much of.
Sharon reasoned that, with the crash of the housing market making homes harder to sell, there would be more people who needed to remodel.
“That’s where we had to reinvent ourselves,” she said.
And focusing on residential work got them through the recession-doing smaller commercial jobs and moving business to focus on about 80 percent commercial work.
Now, the business is more of a blend of commercial and residential, Sharon said.
The couple wanted to be a part of the Southside’s reinvention, so they bought and renovated a building at 2201 E. Main St., where they have five employees now, including themselves.
Their crew has 50-plus years of concrete experience, Sharon said. They do find it difficult to find more skilled employees, in part because it’s such a specialized business.
But Sharon and David would like to add another crew and grow the business, she said.
The team recently did the floor for Channel 3’s station renovation. Now, leading up to summer, the business’ focus is on pool decks.
“We are booked up with people who want to open their pool, who want to get something going by Memorial Day,” she said.
Many people don’t realize that their concrete can be repaired instead of replaced. It can save up to two-thirds of the cost, Sharon said.
It’s also important to have a sealant on the concrete to protect it from weather. Freezes and thaws damage concrete, she said.
Sharon said she and David are giving back to the community and helping support other businesses, and she hopes residents who can support their business will do so.
“We know that in Atlanta and Nashville and even South Carolina there are concrete people out there that are huge,” she said. “It’s a lot cheaper because they have more guys, more equipment, and they will come down and underbid us. But there is a local source, so if you can support us, do. We’ve got the equipment.”