Businesses That Doubled Down in the Recession

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – King Remodeling had been in the business of helping New Jersey families fix up their homes for more than 50 years by the time Richard Brody decided to buy up the store in 2005. At the time, King Remodeling’s business was a little sluggish, but Brody, who had previously run a small food services company, felt confident the company had a bright future.

Less than two years later, the recession hit.

“We purchased the company at absolutely the wrong time, right at the end of a period where the economy as a whole looked great,” said Alex Brody, Richard’s son and the head of sales and marketing at the company.

During the following few months, the store’s staff watched as similar home supply companies throughout the state suffered from dwindling consumer demand and were forced to cut costs or simply shutter their business altogether.

But rather than view this as a sign to lay low and cut their costs, King Remodeling did what many companies around the country were too scared to do: invested more money in the business.

“The overarching philosophy we had at the time was that a lot of the companies in our industry had gone out of business, and we felt that somebody was going to come along and take that market share,” Alex said.  “So why not us?”

In the middle of 2008, the company got its chance to do just that. The Door Gallery, a chain in New Jersey that sold doors for 20 years, was going out of business. Brody decided to take a chance and buy it, expanding operations.

“We took on their rent and their utility costs, and took on all their employees. Our monthly expenses easily doubled,” Alex said. “It was a gamble because we were taking on more costs without knowing what would happen.”

Until that point, King Remodeling operated just one store in a suburb outside Newark, but this purchase provided access to three more stores across the state, which the company hoped would broaden its customer base.

Sure enough, the company has begun to see an improvement in sales. Profits are up by 80% this year compared with 2009 and, according to Alex, it only continues to gain momentum from month to month.