Luncheon rewards road crew

Luncheon rewards road crew

MARK I. JOHNSON – STAFF WRITER
September 18, 2010; Page 01C

NEW SMYRNA BEACH — NEW SMYRNA BEACH – There were hot dogs on the grill, cold drinks in the cooler, chips in a bowl, cupcakes heaped with frosting. And “thank-you’s” were served up as well Friday morning outside the Historic District Bike Shop (Canal Street Tire & Tube) on West Canal Street.

For more than a year, residents, businesses and motorists have put up with construction barrels, traffic congestion, drainage problems and the torn-up asphalt and concrete known as the West Canal Street streetscape project.

Friday was a chance for some of those affected to express their gratitude to the workers from Thad Construction of Daytona Beach for their effort to minimize the road work’s impact on the neighborhood.

“They are a pretty good crew of guys,” said bike-shop owner Hugh Waters, who co-hosted the party. “They were pleasant and fun.”

The streetscape was the brainchild of New Smyrna Beach officials to rehabilitate the entrance into the historic downtown business district, according to Khalid Resheidat, assistant city manager and, then, public-works director.

However, when city officials learned the Florida Department of Transportation wanted to upgrade stormwater-drainage systems under the sidewalks bordering the two-lane roadway, they approached the state agency to explore a joint project and an agreement was reached.

Construction on the projected $2.3 million effort between U.S. 1 west to Myrtle Avenue began in September 2009 and was expected to be completed in 365 days, which has been extended by three months. That can’t come soon enough for Ruth Ann Rose, owner of Ruthy’s Kozy Kitchen restaurant on West Canal Street.

She said in the first five months of construction she saw a $30,000 drop in her business and lost 20 percent of her regular customers.

“They have just about put me out of business,” she said by telephone Friday afternoon.

Unlike some of her neighbors, Rose said construction conflicts such as the contractor working during Bike Week (her busiest time of the year) and installation of a handicapped ramp at her front door have created problems.

“I also expected them to keep (the street) clean and make it look like the businesses were open, not closed,” she said. “I never expected (the construction) to go on for more than a year.”

Waters said he had unanticipated difficulties as well, such as drainage problems causing several floods into his shop at the corner of West Canal Street and Myrtle Avenue. But, when he contacted the construction firm about the issues, he got prompt responses, as did his landlord Lois Tipton, who co-hosted Friday’s luncheon.

“It was a real pleasure working with them,” she said.

Trey Sizemore, co-owner of Thad Construction said, while hearing complaints during such projects is the norm, when affected people go out of their way to thank his crews for their efforts it is “very much appreciated.”

“This is a wonderful thing,” he said while fixing himself a plate of food. “Such pats on the back are few and far between.”

Cutline: Photo 1: Trey Sizemore, one of the owners of Thad Construction, the contractor on the West Canal Streetscape project in New Smyrna Beach, digs into the food presented at a thank-you luncheon put on by some of the residents and business owners along the street Friday.

Photo 2: Co-owner of Thad Construction Trey Sizemore, the contractor on the New Smyrna Beach West Canal Streetscape project, talks with property owner Lois Tipton during a thank-you luncheon Tipton and other residents and business owners threw for the construction crew Friday.

Photo 3: Construction on the West Canal Streetscape project in New Smyrna Beach likely will continue through the end of October, city officials said Friday. That puts the project about three months past due. (found in Southeast Volusia edition)

News-Journal/ MARK I. JOHNSON

Have foam, will travel (Article)

Image by Hugh Waters

Article Courtesy of Daytona Beach News Journal

AUDREY PARENTE – STAFF WRITER
August 4, 2008; Page

Correction: *A story on Page 1 of The Volusia/Flagler Review on Aug. 4 incorrectly stated the name of the company now marketing foam-filled tires for lawn mowers, golf carts and wheelbarrows. It is Edgewater Mower & Small Engine Service.

A new twist to a family-owned, lawnmower-parts distribution business is propelling Edgewater Power & Small Engine Service through hard economic times into a busy future.
In addition to selling 35,000 different blades, motor and garden tool parts worldwide, the local company is providing a new product on the premises at its 301 Mango Tree Drive plant.

The site is one of only a few worldwide offering “flat-free” foam injection in tires for everything from lawn mowers, wheelbarrows and golf carts, to airport shuttles, mobility scooters and other small vehicles.

The ultra-lightweight polyurethane foam injection is good for slow-speed use up to 50 mph in 36 inches and smaller tires.

“Between lack of rain and the economy, it has been bumpy for the past 2 1/2 years, so we were looking at adding new products,” said Jim Poland, 66, who heads the Edgewater company. “One problem lawn equipment has is tires breaking down, and this product maintains tires to last four times as long as regular tires.”

Poland said doing the foam injecting seemed like a good idea.

“The initial investment in the machine and chemicals was $40,000,” said Jim’s son, Chad Poland, the third generation to work in the family company.

The foam injection operation is a sort of science-fiction looking machine that spews dangerously hot, expanding white foam that hardens as it cools. The lightweight foam gives tires the feel of being filled with air without the worry of flat tires, a technology usually reserved for rugged industrial use.

Arnco, a California company, developed and patented several flat-proofing products used by manufacturers like Ingersoll-Rand, Bobcat, Caterpillar and others. They are working on technology for military Humvee tires.

But as for their newest foam injection product for smaller wheels, Arnco operates production sites in California and Ohio, and provides the product through a certified dealer network.

For 15 years, Edgwater Power & Small Engine carried molded-type flat-free tires from an Arnco subsidiary, Carefree Tire. Those tires are made in limited sizes and for specific uses.

But Bill Horay, a spokesman for Arnco in California, said less than 2 million molded-type tires exist. But, “there are tens of millions of possible applications” for the new product. Injected foam has a lot more flexibility without investment in new molds, so smaller quantities are justifiable. Plus the foam is lightweight for inexpensive shipping.

“The company (Arnco) made products we sold, but then they said, ‘Why don’t you go the next step?’ ” said Poland, so he took a trip to the Ohio plant to look into the injection technology and bought the machinery.

Then he sent a longtime employee, Damon Baldecchi, 36, to California for training.

Chris Daum, general manager of the Carefree Tire arm of Arnco, said Poland has a lock on the after-market products for lawn and garden industry.

For that reason Daum said he is “hoping (Poland) will branch outside of Florida and take over everything east of the Mississippi and supply that entire industry” with the flat-free foam tires.

Daum, based at Arnco’s California office, said sales representatives in the East have been told, “If you want this process done, we hope you go through Edgwater Power & Small Engine.”

The Edgewater company started nearly 50 years ago in a van, with the late Bob Poland bumping along U.S. 1 selling lawnmower blades, motor parts and wheels.

“My father ran a garage in Staten Island, but he met and married my mother. She was from here and they eventually moved here, bringing me and my older sister along,” said Jim Poland. “They ran a garage and gas station in Edgewater but after a few years started working on lawnmowers.”

That was before delivery companies like United Parcel Service and FedEx shipped products, so parts were delivered by the railroad line or by truck, Jim Poland explained.

“Dad had a hard time getting parts for the mowers, and he found a source where he could get them in bulk,” Poland said. “Other lawnmower shops in the area asked if he would sell them wheels and blades.”

That’s when Bob Poland set out in his van selling his stock, but after a while he tired of the road and sold that part of the business to a partner.

At that point Bob’s son, Jim Poland, had been out of the country working with his wife, Pat, for Saudi Arabian Airlines for four years.

“When we came back, the partner was ready to retire, so he sold us the (distribution side of the) business,” Jim Poland said.

Bob Poland died at age 91 about a month ago.

The Edgewater company – now operated by Jim and his sons, Chad and Kent Yancey “Kyp” Poland and Kent’s wife, Maryann Poland – has grown to fill a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, with clients in North and South America, Spain, Italy and South Africa.

Hugh Waters, 49, of New Smyrna Beach, who runs an online catalogue selling molded airless tires, now has added the injected tires from Edgwater Power & Small Engine to his line.

Waters said sales are doing well.

“(Molded) airless tires are trending down, while the foam injected is trending up,” Waters said. “There is more demand than there is product and I am currently backlogged.”

Back in the Edgewater Power & Small Engine Service injection room, Baldecchi already has one new helper. He said there is “a growing awareness that flat free has become available to the end user.” He is servicing walk-ins, as well as larger orders, and the company expects to expand with the need.