Fire At Fiberglass Pool Factory Fosters Friendship

Friendly Competition

About two years ago, fire ripped through the LoneStar manufacturing plant in New Braunfels, Texas, causing $2 million in damage before firefighters from several surrounding communities were able to douse it.

Company owner Chris Owens vowed to get the charred plant back in business, knowing he could count on his loyal employees to pull together and make it happen by the busy building season that was just a few months off.

More than a thousand miles away, Curt Prystupa, president and founder of Sun Fiberglass Products, heard the news and immediately knew what to do.

"Chris Owens is a good guy, and I don't have an axe to grind with my competition, so I called him," he recalls. "I said, 'Hey, Chris, if you need any help, I've got some spare equipment you can use.' So we worked together and I helped him a little bit.

"I told him, 'Nobody knows what you do more than I do. And we don't really compete with each other anyway. He's 1,200 miles away. Plus, I know if I ever needed help, he'd be there for me, too."

Owens, who got the plant back up and running in about four months, appreciated the help and said he'd happily return the favor.

"We've got a lot of respect for each other," Owens says. "He's got a really good thing going in Kentucky and Florida."

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