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Specialty Fabrics Review interviews Gary Barners, co-owner of Tropical J’s

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Your company has a good track record with repeat business. To what do you attribute that?

I don’t know how many times we’ve received calls from people saying: ‘We had this guy on the job and he won’t answer his phone and the job’s not done and we’re in trouble.’ Then they turn to us. You’ve always got to be available to your customers. Treat your customers well, and they come back.

How do you design awnings and structures to stand up to the salt, sand and wind of island weather?

The rust issue has been our biggest problem. Powder coating doesn’t necessarily solve it, so we’ve gone to epoxy coatings that are electrostatically applied, which works beautifully. There are very few coaters here, so we do the coating ourselves.

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

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