Pelham business owner keeps roof over his head

As the country-wide recession has lengthened, many business owners have chosen to cut losses and shut down. For Charles Squires, owner of Custom Engineered Products in Pelham, that was never an option.

“I like eating,” he said.

So Squires adapted. After his manufacturing business was hit hard, he sat down for a brainstorming session with his employees. Two of his men also had roofing experience, so Squires decided to give it a shot, and CEP Roofing and Repair was born about four months ago.

“There was no guarantee of any automotive stuff coming in, so we got together and decided, ‘Let’s try this,'” he said. “We’ve done very well. We’ve been fortunate to have enough to do.”

It took some legwork, however. At first, CEP Roofing employees simply drove around the area looking for damaged roofs and knocking on doors. After a couple of customers, though, people found out.

Squires said his men have worked on eight roofs, and the work keeps coming in. While there are other roofing businesses in the area, Squires said CEP Roofing offers an advantage most don’t by guaranteeing the work for a year. That’s been enough for word to get out and keep his men busy.

“We did this out of desperation,” Squires said. “We’ve got to do something to make a living.”

Out of Squires’ original six employees, five work for the roofing company. He said he wanted to help his employees get through the recession, and he knew he’d need their help to get through himself.

“They don’t have jobs either, and I wasn’t going to make any income standing here waiting for the phone to ring,” he said. “We needed to find something else. We found this, and we’ll find something else.”

He said even when the economy gets better, he plans to keep both businesses running. He’s worked to train other people how to perform the necessary tasks to run his manufacturing business so they can step in when necessary.

However, Squires isn’t finished yet. He’s interested in getting involved with concrete work, which he has experience with from building his own home.

“We’re expanding, trying to do more,” he said.