Business

Growth means new old offices for Big Ass Fans

Gina Sidwell worked the front desk in Big Ass Fans' building on Winchester Road, which the company had vacated a few years ago before expansion warranted the shuffling of locations.
Gina Sidwell worked the front desk in Big Ass Fans' building on Winchester Road, which the company had vacated a few years ago before expansion warranted the shuffling of locations.

Despite the recession, Lexington-based Big Ass Fans has grown. And grown. And grown. So much that the company has had to move back into a building on Winchester Road that it vacated a few years earlier.

The company, which numbers 150 workers compared with just more than a 100 or so a couple of years ago, recently began moving its sales and marketing staff. They had been crammed in at offices on Merchant Street, off Leestown Road, but are now back to the aging facility on Winchester that had been for sale.

"We've seen pretty significant revenue growth, which forced us to be able to look at more manufacturing space," said Al Barlow, chief marketing officer. "Since we manufacture over at Merchant Street, we said the only space we've got is where the sales and marketing folks are."

The company has been busily renovating the older building on Winchester and will occupy about two-thirds of it, Barlow said.

"We think there is room for us to expand further in this building, which we're already making plans to do," Barlow said.

But it's not a long-term solution. "Looking at projections, this building is going to be insufficient for us before too much longer," he said. "We've got a year or two, I think, at least."

The company does have unused land at its facility on Jaggie Fox Way, where it conducts research and development, but Barlow said leaders haven't yet decided if they want to build a new facility there.

He said the growth is coming from all the company's segments. The industrial segment has seen expansion as companies begin to once again spend.

"People are still looking for ways to save energy and provide comfort," he said.

The company's commercial segment, which focuses on fans in public spaces, has also seen a boost.

And the residential line that began in March is "starting to see some good lift" from an advertising campaign that includes architectural and home magazines, as well as national newspapers.

"Big Ass Fans is doing everything right," said observer Bob Quick, president of Commerce Lexington. "It's exactly the mix we like to have in our portfolio of corporations here in town.

"And I tell you, I think their future is extremely bright."

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