Janel Crowe’s husband, Chris, worked for 12 years as a union plasterer. After the 2008 recession, he found he had a passion for restoring cars. While working to redo the body of a 1937 Chevrolet, he began searching for a faster way to strip metal during the paint prep process.
Janel and Chris, along with business partner Jim Fatino, invested in a new technology called a dustless blaster. The dustless blaster provides a cheaper, faster, and cleaner surface restoration, whether used on antiques, classic cars, furniture, or commercial/industrial equipment or structures. Together they formed Eco Blast, LLC in July of 2015.
Before starting their business, the Warren County Economic Development Corporation recommended that Janel speak with the Mid Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Des Moines for business advice. Janel soon connected with SBDC Counselor Jan Owens Bruene and Jan helped the partners develop a business plan and financial projections for banks, as well as thoroughly reviewing the basics of starting a new business. On the recommendation of the SBDC, Eco Blast began working with the Iowa State University Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS), to develop the idea of government contracting for their restoration projects.
Janel describes her experience working with the SBDC as, “Great! Jan was very knowledgeable. She really put things into perspective and guided us through the start-up process. She helped us complete phase one of our process.”
The partners at Eco Blast hope that phase two will concentrate on the commercial aspects of the business, including a commercial space, contracting, and commercial structure and equipment.
Janel currently works full-time as owner/operator of the company along with her husband, Chris, who is President, and Jim Fatino, who is Vice President. From January until April 2016 the company was able to bring in enough revenue to begin covering expenses. The partners market their business through social media, Google ads, door-to-door flyers, and networking with colleagues in the industry.
To learn more about this eco-friendly surface restoration company, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ecoblastiowa.