Pro Blast Technology: From garage start-up to industry leader

What does Pro Blast Technology have in common with the likes of Apple, Disney and Google?  Each of these businesses grew from humble beginnings—in garages.  Owner and CEO Joe Godwin originally started Pro Blast Technology as a one-man operation to earn extra money on weekends and off time.  Much like his more famous “garage startup” counterparts, as the years went by Joe's part-time side job grew into a full-time business.  As the business grew, so did the need for additional space.  A few years ago Pro Blast had outgrown its second location and Godwin began to think big.  He approached GRSB business banker Wayne Bruns with his idea, Wayne helped Joe and his wife, Nikki, create an expansion plan for a larger, more efficient facility.  

“One of the primary benefits of working with GRSB is that they are a locally owned bank with real people to talk with,” Godwin explained.  A GRSB customer since 1996, Joe recalled how he first heard about GRSB. 

“I remember asking a lender in a chain bank to borrow $5,000 to start my business, and they looked across the desk from me like I was asking for $50,000!  After the conversation, not only did I not get the $5,000, I left simply feeling like a number.”  After the incident he spoke with some friends in the area and GRSB was recommended as the bank to visit.  “Within one week I moved all of my accounts to GRSB and had my $5,000 in hand to get started.” 

In 2013 Pro Blast moved into its current location at 800 Pellet Avenue in Keewatin just north of U.S. Highway 169.  The new facility has not only expanded their production capabilities but also allowed for an expansion of their working hours and, as a direct result, their workforce.  Joe explained the rationale for the investment. 

“With this new facility we were able to greatly increase our capacity and efficiency,” explained Godwin.  “By utilizing recyclable media in our sandblasting process as well as bake and cure processes in our painting, turnaround time for projects is much shorter than using conventional methods.”  Godwin added that the new building is capable of handling multiple shifts, whereas the previous facility in Pengilly allowed for only one shift per day.  This increase in available operating hours leaves open the possibilities of adding a second shift and new employees to the payroll.  “The 21st century facility also allows us to achieve two main priorities: worker safety and adhering to the increasingly strict environmental laws,” Godwin added. 

Pro Blast Technology continues to provide mobile sandblasting and painting services for those projects unable to be moved to their facility, including log and cedar-sided homes.  In addition to these services, Pro Blast provides the area's only polyurea and spray foam application service. 

The new space is considered the largest and most high tech sandblasting, painting and specialized coating facility of its kind north of the Twin Cities, pretty good progress for a “garage startup.”

   

Top: Nikki & Joe Godwin with Wayne Bruns at the loan closing for JN Properties.  Bottom: Groundbreaking ceremony for Pro Blast Tchnology's new site in Keewatin, MN.  Pictured are GRSB President & CEO Noah Wilcox, Nikki Godwin, Joe Godwin, Derek Bostyancic from Northern Industrial Erectors, and GRSB business lender Wayne Bruns.

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