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Article Co-Working Student

With Help from The Hurt Hub, New Owners of Elite Roofing Raise the Roof

Last December, co-owners Mick Koster and Ross Erickson acquired Elite Roofing, a small roofing service started in 2012 by Scott and Laura Himler. Koster and Erickson—who both left behind executive roles in corporate America—saw an opportunity to elevate Elite Roofing to the next level.

Along with investor and alternative energy expert Don Miller, Koster and Erickson wanted to continue the company’s commitment to exemplary craftsmanship and first-rate customer service, but expand the company’s product line. “We saw an opportunity to expand and scale the company by bringing in modern processes and technology…including adding in solar solutions to offer a turnkey solution for customers,” writes Koster, a former executive at Lowe’s Home Improvement, headquartered just down the road in Mooresville, NC. “We are strong believers in the opportunity residential and commercial solar energy offers long-term, and most companies are focused on either vertical almost exclusively. We believe that a roofing company that can address both solar and roofing customer needs will be more successful.”

The company also hopes the solar energy line will not only revolutionize the roofing industry, but will cultivate consumer accessibility to alternative energy. 

While some startups have struggled to stabilize because of the ongoing pandemic, Elite Roofing was fortunate to be classified as an essential business. “We’ve benefited from roofing and construction being considered an essential service since day 1.  Roofs still leak and people need to keep them in working order, so we have been able to continue operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Koster notes.

Accordingly, the company has used the summer to redesign their brand. With the help of Gig-Hub student consultant Brie Burrell ’23, the company updated their brand to complement their recent expansion. “Brie is an extremely talented individual that led the design and execution of our new Elite logo, color palette, and brand guidelines…She worked with us on understanding our brand positioning and growth plans, and then developed a number of creative designs and multiple iterations that did an excellent job of communicating our company’s key services.”

Elite Roofing also worked with Matt Cuddy—former Program Coordinator at The Hurt Hub and current owner of Third Cup Creative, a web design studio—to redesign the company’s website. “It was a seamless transition between Brie’s brand work and Matt’s technology and web design development that took our web presence from a liability to major asset,” Koster notes. 

For Koster, Gig-Hub was a mutually beneficial collaboration. The program provides startups an avenue to discover “talented, driven individuals [who] are hungry for some real-world projects to expand their skill set and gain some valuable experience.” On the flip side, working with Burrell and Cuddy gave Koster the rewarding opportunity to “pass along” the skills he’s learned from his career in marketing and software development. “It’s been a great mentoring opportunity for me…With over 25 years of marketing, software development, and new business development experience, it was fun to be able to pass along some of the insights and skills that I’ve learned developing multiple brands and consumer experiences.” 

Elite Roofing operates out of The Hurt Hub, which Koster praised for providing the space and community necessary to fulfill their mission of revolutionizing the roofing and alternative energy market in the Carolinas. “While it’s been a little abnormally quiet the last few months, the sense of community and engagement with other members has been great to see where we can help and learn from each other,” Koster notes. “Each and every day I see more evidence of how truly small our world is, and it’s great to make new connections, share experiences, and build relationships with such a vibrant community.  Our decision to locate in the Hurt Hub@Davidson was a great one, and we couldn’t be happier with the experience so far.”

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Startup Student

Interview with Izzy Moody + Nelly Turnage: Founders of Bryan Skinwear

Interview with  Izzy Moody and Nellie Turnage , Founders of Bryan Skinwear

Tell me about your business, Bryan Skinwear. Can you describe it in 2 sentences?

Bryan Skinwear offers a solution for skin imperfections and blemishes made specifically for men. Our simple and discrete products create a clean complexion in seconds and guarantee an effortless and attractive appearance. Our mission is simple: to give men the clear confidence they need to look their best!

How did you first get involved with the The Hurt Hub@Davidson?

When we first decided to start Bryan Skinwear, we asked friends and family for advice on where to even begin. We were told that The Hurt Hub at Davidson has many great resources for entrepreneurs, and they were right! There are so many resources from workshops to the mentorship program that we didn’t even know existed. As soon as we found out about everything the Hub offers, we immediately applied to the mentorship program to get involved!

What initially drew you to our mentor program?

Without any experience starting a company, we were lost on where to begin. When we came across the mentorship program on the Hurt Hub@Davidson’s website, we thought it seemed like a great opportunity. In our initial meeting before getting accepted into the program, everyone was very welcoming and excited to help us! We are so grateful to be a part of the program and cannot wait to see where it takes us.

How have your mentors helped shape your venture? 

The mentors have really been a huge help. After our initial meeting before entering the program, the mentors urged us to create a business plan. This made us really think about what we want to achieve and how. Then, once we were introduced to Daryl and Joe – our current mentors – we were able to go in with a more concrete plan and hear their feedback. Recently, we have been discussing our prototype with them and what changes we want to make before mass-producing it. They have been very helpful giving us contacts and resources to use along the way. We cannot thank them enough for their help and we look forward to continuing to work with them.

Has Bryan Skinwear made any major pivots or progress due to COVID-19?

Bryan Skinwear has faced both pivots and made progress due to COVID-19. When the virus first hit, we were in the process of finding the perfect product by ordering samples. This process took longer than expected because many private label manufacturers closed or their samples were on backorder, causing a delay. On the bright side, we used the extra time off of school we had to conduct more market research and create marketing material.

What’s one thing you think everyone should know about you but probably doesn’t?

We are both members of the Davidson Field Hockey team, which we think gives us an extra competitive edge!

What is one fun fact or exciting thing about you two?

We were both born in Colorado, where Nellie still lives. We also met by chance at a recruiting event years before we ended up going to Davidson together. It’s crazy to think that now we have a business together!