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Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Carole Bellon, owner and president of Bellon Industries

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To what do you attribute your company’s consistent annual growth rate despite the current economic climate?

We experienced a slight downturn during 2009, but other than that we have consistently grown. We are always looking to buy other companies, develop new products and diversify products. We used to just provide awnings, and now we manufacture winter shelters and industrial products. We also offer repair, storage and cleaning services.

Where do you turn to find inspiration for your business?

Bellon Industries is a part of other associations in addition to those for the specialty fabrics industry—IFAI and AMAQ—because basically businesses all face the same challenges. We all have to get money to expand. We have to find new customers. We have to keep our employees. We may have trouble with government or city bylaws because they won’t issue a permit for something. I recently read an article on a company that was growing tomatoes without pesticides and I read the whole story—the way they started out and the way they finished, and what the challenges were. Sometimes I find tips for running my own company by reading articles outside the industry.

Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine.

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