Riverside Fence recognized for growth
That Wilton’s Riverside Fence Company was recently added to Inc. magazine’s 500/5000 fastest-growing private company list is no surprise once one sees the hand-worked craftsmanship filling the company’s basement production center.
Rob Kaye, the owner of Riverside Fence since 2006, said during an office visit on Thursday that one of the many secrets to his company’s success is its on-site production of quality fencing structures.
“We manufacture all of our wood product right here in our shop,” he said. “There are very few fence companies that do their own manufacturing, but we do. We have total quality control, and we can match any fence style.”
Most other fencing businesses, he said, order their wood prefabricated from outside distributors. This leaves customers to “deal with whatever they get,” Mr. Kaye said.
“When they don’t make their own panels, they have to deal with whatever anybody ships them,” he said while inspecting wood panels in his shop. “You’ll get a lot of knots, or old gray wood. You get a lot of problems. One of the first things here to set ourselves apart was to do our own manufacturing. It all comes back to being able to service your customer properly.”
Mr. Kaye purchased Riverside Fence after a long career in apparel merchandising for events such as the U.S. Tennis Open Championship. Unlike many small businesses that were founded just before the 2008 economic collapse, Mr. Kaye has directed Riverside toward consistent, year-to-year company growth.
“When I first started, we had eight employees, and we ran three installation crews. Now we do our own manufacturing, have 33 employees, and run nine installation crews,” he said.
That growth has not gone unnoticed on the national level, with Riverside being named the 2,596th fastest-growing private company in the country by Inc. Magazine in late August.
While Mr. Kaye attributes much of the growth to his company’s attention to hand-wrought detail, he maintains that his employees are the greatest impetus for Riverside’s success.
“You never realize the real potential for a company until you are running it,” he said. “What I found here was very, very strong personnel within the company. You interview them all as part of the buying process, but you still have to really hope for good help. That’s not a problem here. All of my workers really excel in their area, and really care about the work they do.”
The Inc. award, which is given to growing businesses that have been open for three years and make a certain level of profit, is a great marker of Mr. Kaye’s employees’ dedication to the company, and its product.
“It truly is a testament to the hard work our employees put in year over year,” he said, “as well as the quality construction and workmanship for which we are known and that our customers have come to expect.”
This honor, Mr. Kaye believes, will help continue to increase Riverside’s total market share in the area.
“What it does for us, is that it gets the word out there more about who we are. People will get the chance to learn more about the company,” and what makes it special.
“There is still room for growth,” he continued. “There is market demand for our service. What we really have to do is find good, quality people to add to our staff. The one thing I will not do for growth is to sacrifice the quality of our personnel. If I don’t have the people and infrastructure to back us up, I can’t imagine expanding.”
Another perk of Riverside’s custom wood fence design is its ability to repair existing fences, and make last-minute changes to client requests.
“If you have damage to your fence,” he said, “you can come to us, and we can match it up. Other places will say ‘this is the closest we’ve got,’ and you’re stuck with what they have.”
Because they manufacture all of their product right in Wilton, their turn-around time is unbeatable for repairs or last-minute requests, Mr. Kaye said.
“If we’re on the job and you decide you want to add a few more fence sections, we can usually do it in our shop the next day. Other places will have you waiting anywhere from two to three weeks,” he said.
In addition, custom manufacturing gives the Riverside team the ability to take complete quality control over its product. Many fences, Mr. Kaye said, rot quickly because their horizontal support is too thin.
“Fences rot because water sits on the horizontal rails. Other companies use wood that is too thin. We use 2x4s, so it takes much longer for those boards to rot. When it comes down to it, we build our fences to last,” he said.