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Company Successfully Transitions to B2B Business with $1 Million Contract
Nearly went bankrupt as a government contractor after government shutdown
"We believe we are an example of how our community can transition from a reliance on government contracting to a diverse business model," said David Heiby. "And we do mean community. From government officials, to chambers of commerce, to business partners, to our faith community, to family and friends, we could not have made this transition without their help and support."
AUTO-GRIP began as a subsidiary of Beltway Supply Inc., which the Heiby's founded as a Woman-Owned Small Business in August 2006. BSI partnered with other businesses that needed a WOSB designation to win a government contract. BSI's business model was simple: target state, local and federal governments because they would always have money.
Then, in 2012, sequestration loomed and government agencies slowed or stopped spending. In October 2013, the federal government shut down for 16 days. BSI nearly went under. At about that time, family friend Gerry Cooper, owner of an Asian sourcing company, mentioned he had a tool he wanted to import from China into the United States. He asked the Heiby's to join him in the endeavor.
In February 2014, AUTO-GRIP became the international distributor of AUTO-GRIP tools. Two years later, it incorporated as a stand-alone corporation.
The AUTO-GRIP locking pliers, with its patented locking mechanism, quickly self-adjusts and locks on thick and thin objects without the need to turn a knob. It saves time and energy for homeowners, do-it-your-selfers, tradesmen and contractors. Until now, the AUTO-GRIP pliers could only be purchased online. But now they will be available in Advance Auto Parts and Carquest Auto Part stores across North America starting the fourth quarter of 2017.
Among AUTO-GRIP's employees are clients of Brain Injury Services in Springfield, Virginia. AUTO-GRIP also partners with E-TRON Systems Inc. in Lorton, Virginia, which employs adults with intellectual disabilities.
The AUTO-GRIP® hand tool line is distributed by AUTOGRIP, INC., a Springfield, VA, USA, business, and operates under a license to develop and market a full line of automatic pliers under the name AUTO-GRIP.
TEQ CORRECT is a trademark of Advance Auto Parts, Inc. a Roanoke, VA, USA company and used with permission.
Tom Pfeifer, Consistent Voice Communications