Great Lakes follows tide

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Friday, April 1, 2005

WEST SENECA, N.Y. - Right on the heels of experiencing marked growth in 2004 over the previous year, Great Lakes Building Systems has purchased a new building to expand its operations.

In 2004, Great Lakes, a full-service fire and security firm, recorded sales 44 percent higher than 2003. John Wojdan, president of the company, attributed the double-digit increase to a number of factors, including the decision to enter the fire suppression market as well as adding security products from Bosch.

“The expansion with the suppression and the breakthrough into Bosch brought us success,” he said, “and the acceptance of being the premier fire protection business in town.”

To assist with the company’s drive to stay on top of business, it purchased a 7,000-square-foot building in Buffalo and plans to begin moving in mid-April.

“The new location will allow us the flexibility to grow,” Wojdan said.

The space, which has 5,000 more square feet than its current location here and is located two miles away, allows the company to set up a larger warehouse as well as a recharge workshop for suppression systems. It also offers the company additional room to expand into, if needed.

It was due to customer demand that the company added fire suppression systems to its list of services in 2004.

“We just kept getting more and more calls,” he said.

Now, that section of the business accounts for 15 percent of the company’s work.

Wojdan said the suppression market is unique since common suppression projects, such as computer rooms, have become smaller due to advances in technology.

But that doesn’t mean the opportunities in the market are shrinking. Great Lakes, which was launched in 2001 and currently employs 21, recently completed a suppression system for a large telecommunications equipment space.

The company is just as involved in the security space. William Blanchard, vice president of the company, sees CCTV and access control projects dominating that side of the market.

“I think staying abreast of newer technologies clearly keeps us in step or a step ahead of the competition and helps us achieve success,” Blanchard said.

Wojdan said the company, which currently counts its business as 50 percent fire work and 50 percent security, will continue to succeed by focusing on servicing its clientele.

“Service is a priority with me,” he said. “Existing customers are our lifeline.”