Some folks dream of the bright lights while others will make great sacrifices for the peaceful lifestyle found in a rural community. Traditionally, manufacturers gravitate to industrial centers where they can benefit from the proximity to support services, especially if they plan to export products worldwide. Well, High Country Fusion bucked that paradigm by blending their global business with a small-town atmosphere in rural Fairfield, Idaho.
High Country Fusion was formed in 1994 by Steve Wilson and his step-son, David Hanks, to provide fused high density polyethylene pipe (HDPE) in all shapes and sizes. The two had been working together for a similar company that had been sold, so they decided they would take on a new challenge of starting their own business.
On a vacation in central Idaho, the family fell in love with clean air, recreational opportunities and slower paced lifestyle. So in June of 1994, Wilson and Hanks moved High Country Fusion to Idaho. After a short stay in a small, rented shop in Hailey, the company settled in their current location of Fairfield, Idaho. With the help of an SBA 504 loan, High Country was able to build an 8,000 square foot warehouse and office.
“It was a great decision for us to locate to Fairfield,” said Wilson. “No doubt, the decision went against conventional wisdom, but it really created the ‘How can we work together’ culture that defines our company today.”
In 2003, High Country secured a second SBA 504 loan to expand their Fairfield facility by an additional 5,000 square feet giving them nearly 24,000 square feet of total space. And of course, as the firm’s revenues increased, so did their employment as the High Country’s activities were supported by 18 people.
Although High Country had participated in projects worldwide, the firm’s primary focus had been domestic customers. In 2010, they were invited by an Australian client to open a facility to support the expanding liquefied natural gas industry. Since that time, High Country’s export revenue has increased over tenfold. The company has completed projects in almost every continent and has worked in hard to reach locations such as Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia.
In order to support their rapid export growth, High Country secured an SBA Export Line of Credit in 2012 that allowed them to offer payment terms to international clients.
“We are confident the future is bright at High Country Fusion especially in the area of exporting,” said Wilson. “We have a great team with over 50 employees. When people ask us why we stay in Fairfield, I always offer the same response - because we can.”