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2019 Rhode Island & New England Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year - PuroClean Disaster Restoration Services

Christopher Sanford opened PuroClean Disaster Restoration Services in 2007, PuroClean specializes in helping residential and commercial clients recover from damage caused by fire, smoke, water, sewage, mold, and other contaminants. Sanford is a veteran of the United States Navy, where he served on active duty for over seven years as a Surface Warfare Officer and continues to serve in the Navy Reserve.

Since its beginning in 2007, PuroClean has gone through four large-scale
expansions to accommodate growth. Initially, Chris ran PuroClean out of his father’s garage before quickly moving to a 1,200 square foot warehouse. By 2013, Sanford moved the company into a 3,600 square foot shop. It became apparent that this still wasn’t enough space, and he soon acquired an additional 1,200 square feet adjacent to his existing unit. After completing the inaugural class of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses in Rhode Island, Sanford gained the confidence to make his biggest move yet.  In 2018, Sanford approached Bank Rhode Island and CDC New England in hopes of acquiring the capital he would need to finally purchase his company’s permanent headquarters. Sanford secured a $525,000 SBA-backed 504 loan that allowed him to purchase a new 9,500 square foot headquarters, which will support PuroClean’s current operation and will give it plenty of room to grow.

“The SBA backed loan gave us the capital to purchase our new Rhode Island headquarters, which is an awesome space, which is a key piece of taking our business to the next level.  We now have the space to separate our office space from our warehouse space, and we have the space to setup our contents division as a separate entity so it can focus and excel. The space makes our employees proud to come to work and we are thrilled to show it off to customers, referral sources, and vendors; it is a physical statement that PuroClean is built to last.”

 While the business has continued to grow and flourish, it wasn’t always that way. From 2007 to 2010, PuroClean thrived, growing annually and developing key customer relationships. That came to a screeching halt when, in August of 2011, Sanford was mobilized by the Naval Reserve as part of Operation Noble Eagle. Chris would spend 18 months on active duty, leaving behind his new bride and business venture. Upon his return in March of 2013, the business revenue had decreased by 61%. Chris faced the daunting task of righting the ship or closing the doors and returning to the Navy. Unwilling to accept defeat, Chris dug in and turned the tides on PuroClean’s situation. Since his return in 2013, the
company has grown by 296%, drastically expanding its services and tripling its staff.

“I knew by staying in the Navy Reserve my ‘ticket’ would eventually be punched and I would be recalled to active duty for an overseas mobilization; since 2001, that is a guarantee for all members of the Guard & Reserves.  I deployed was activated for over 18 months, 13 of which I was deployed to Uganda.  I naively thought I could complete my Navy job during the day and work on PuroClean at night, but that idea quickly faded away. My team back home did the best they could but without me present to drive sales, our volume fell off significantly.  Due to perseverance and teamwork, we have turned it around and today thrive.  I enjoy leading this organization in Rhode Island, and thank all employers who not only support but go above and beyond to take care of their employees when they are called away to serve; our service
members have plenty to worry about when they are in uniform: whether or not they have a job when they get back should not be one of their worries!”

For his entrepreneurial excellence and honorable military service, the U.S. Small Business Administration has selected Christopher Sanford as the 2019 Rhode Island and New England Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year. 


Company Name: 
PuroClean Disaster Restoration Services
Providence, RI