Beth Hinton, Owner —
In the 1980s, my family enjoyed running a thriving housekeeping and cleaning business with clients in Vail, Colorado. As the company grew, we signed very lucrative contracts with the Charter at Beaver Creek, The Hyatt Regency in Beaver Creek, The Vail Racquet Club, and the Vail Spa.
We quickly learned that hospitality clients needed carpet, upholstery, and drapery cleaning. My brother, Scott, purchased a carpet cleaning van and started a carpet cleaning business to meet the needs of each customer. It was a great way to grow the business with a minimum investment.
Water extraction and structural drying were often two issues that came with carpet cleaning. Extracting water and doing structural drying led to Scott’s buying a Restorx franchise. The new business could market residential and commercial fire, water, storm, and mold damage restoration services. After the earthquake in 1994, Scott successfully acquired a contract with the Northridge Mall in California, completing a million-dollar-plus drying project. With the remarkable success of that contract, after the Northridge Mall project was completed, Scott sold the carpet cleaning business and the Restorx franchise.
In December 1994, my mother and brother, Stan, purchased Restorx. We kept the business local with a service area in the Rocky Mountains for a short time. Later, we expanded nationally to “chase” storms and provided large loss commercial service. In 1996, we changed the company name to USA Drying for national jobs.
As a family-owned business, everyone had to do every job function to operate the business and provide services for our clients. My jobs included doing all the billing, having my CDL, driving the trucks, setting up job schedules, managing job projects, making sales, and taking on marketing responsibilities. Traveling to North Carolina, Florida, South Dakota, Ohio, Minnesota, Seattle, and numerous other states, we provided support and services for large commercial water damage jobs. In 1998, Belfor Property Restoration company bought USA Drying.
After the Belfor purchase of USA Drying, Wade and I owned an HVAC company. While running the HVAC business, we started a carpet cleaning and restoration company. In June 2004, our family packed up and moved from Leadville to Penrose, Colorado, and jointly purchased an indoor arena with a bar and restaurant. After six short months, we realized we were a little out of our league and decided to leave the entertainment business to be back in the restoration industry. This led to our decision to start First Choice Equipment Sales and Service.
We started out selling and distributing new equipment to small and medium-sized businesses, and Wes Williams placed the first order for air movers for CJB Restoration in Canada. Our business was up and running and still going strong today. When we started the USA Drying, there was a handful of Cat teams. Now, numerous companies are chasing large commercial loss jobs.
At First Choice Equipment Sales and Services, we have built strong partnerships with our manufacturers, Phoenix Restoration, XPower, CEP Power Distribution, LEX Products, and Air Force Filter. The restoration industry is very popular, and selling equipment to restoration companies has advantages. For example, when we realized how much equipment was broken in the industry, we expanded our services, adding repairs as a client benefit. First Choice is different from competitors because we will travel to the affected areas and work with restoration companies to keep their equipment up and running — especially on high-profile jobs. Our company values are excellent service at any hour, which means we will travel anywhere necessary for our client’s needs — even if this means responding nationwide when needed. First Choice is the go-to company to call for restoration equipment after high-profile natural disasters.