Idaho native son Tom Saurey received the coveted 2004 Rocky Mountain Entrepreneur of the Year Award Thursday evening June 24. Saurey took home top honors in the Manufacturing/Retail category for his construction company TUFF SHED, Inc., which he founded in his hometown of Rexburg, Idaho in 1981.
Now in its 24th year, TUFF SHED has grown into the largest storage building and garage manufacturer in the United States, with 1,000 employees and 39 factory stores servicing 27 states nationwide. Besides the factory stores, TUFF SHED’s distribution network includes 22 company-owned retail stores mostly across the Western United States, and nearly 700 Home Depot locations across the country, including ten stores in Idaho.
After establishing TUFF SHED in Rexburg, Saurey moved the company’s headquarters first to Salt Lake City in 1984, and then to its current location of Denver in 1986. In those early years, Saurey focused the company’s efforts on establishing a customer base and reputation in the West. Since then, the privately held TUFF SHED has expanded eastward across the U.S. adding locations via new store openings and acquisitions of rival building companies.
“Our goal is to be national,” says Saurey when asked about future expansion plans. “That’s not bad for a company started with only a pickup truck, a friend’s garage and a borrowed Skil saw.” In his acceptance speech Thursday evening, Saurey credited the people around him for the company’s success. “It’s all about the people here that come to work every day and get it done. TUFF SHED is really about the people.”
TUFF SHED’s sales of $80 million in 2003 made the company the largest storage building and garage manufacturer in the United States. Revenues are expected to continue growing, with the acquisition of competitor Wood Master Building Company in February of 2004, plus the opening of three new TUFF SHED manufacturing facilities earlier this spring. Midway through year, TUFF SHED is on pace to hit its projected 2004 revenues of $130 million.
TUFF SHED products include the original wood back yard storage shed, larger commercial storage buildings, garages and carports. The PREMIER product line includes many different styles and sizes with the ability of custom configurations. All Premier Series products include an industry leading seven-year-warranty. At a lower price point and still readily differentiated from the competition is the SUNDANCE SERIES, with this product line of sheds sold exclusively through The Home Depot stores. All products are delivered and built by trained TUFF SHED builders, usually in a day’s time. Sundance Series products include a five-year-warranty. Quality, American made steel carports of infinite sizes and applications are available at TUFF SHED retail stores and Home Depot locations, and carry a one-year warranty.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award honors entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, hard work and perseverance have created and sustained successful, growing business ventures. The year-long program culminates with the National Awards Ceremony, hosted by Jay Leno, during the month of November in Palm Springs, Calif. The Entrepreneur of the Year program, founded and produced by Ernst & Young, originated in 1986 in Milwaukee, Wis., and is now entering its 18th year of recognizing successful entrepreneurs.