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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Serving wildland FF's

    By TAMERA MANZANARES
    Fort Collins Coloradoan
    FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - Fourteen years ago, former
    firefighter Diane Felix spent 12 hours a day sewing radio harnesses
    for wildland firefighters.
    Those long hours marked the beginning of The Supply Cache Inc.,
    a home-based business Felix started with firefighter husband Jim
    Felix for part-time income so she could stay home with their
    children.
    Now owners of a major firefighting gear company with six
    employees, the Felixes recently broke ground on a
    11,000-square-foot building in Fort Collins.
    The building, which will house stock of more than 200 types of
    firefighting clothing and equipment, is a long way from the living
    room where the Felixes started The Supply Cache.
    "We took a leap of faith and said let's try this and see what
    happens," Diane Felix said about starting the company with her
    husband, whom she met at a firefighting course he taught in 1987.
    Jim Felix, the company's president, still fights fires part time
    for Larimer County Emergency Services. He began his firefighting
    career in 1984.
    While dating, the two wanted to give each other practical gifts
    but had a hard time finding specialized clothing and equipment that
    would make their jobs on the fire lines easier.
    Realizing that other seasonal and part-time firefighters had the
    same problem, the couple put Diane's retail experience and Jim's
    business skills to work in forming The Supply Cache.
    The company started with a one-page brochure, but it wasn't long
    before the Felixes began outsourcing the radio harnesses to outside
    manufacturers. They also added specialty equipment from other
    vendors to their ever-growing mail-order catalog.
    "Having Jim in the area is wonderful because he's always got
    the latest and greatest stuff," said Dave Mosier, wildfire program
    coordinator with the Larimer County Sheriff's Office. "It offers
    great ability for local firefighters to try out stuff and access
    some of the newest stuff that's out there."
    Mosier said the General Services Administration provides
    government firefighting agencies with basic equipment, but
    individual firefighters typically don't have access to the GSA.
    He said most of his summer on-call firefighters - about 100 -
    get their personal gear, including packs, helmets, goggles and
    headlamps from The Supply Cache.
    The Felixes' intent in starting the company was to provide a
    one-stop shopping experience for firefighters needing gear, but
    some of their biggest customers are federal agencies such as the
    U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the
    U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, Diane Felix said.
    Jim Felix declined to comment on the company's sales last year,
    but he estimated the business' sales revenue has grown about 30
    percent each year since it started in 1991.
    The company donates all of its proceeds from certain T-shirts
    and gift items to the Boise, Idaho-based Wildland Fire Fighter's
    Foundation, which raises money for the families of firefighters
    injured or killed on the job. The Northern Colorado Education Fund
    is another Supply Cache beneficiary.
    "It ties in the complete circle of serving the community," Jim
    Felix said. "We really started the company to serve the individual
    firefighter and that (donations) is just a part of it."
    In addition to the hands-on expertise of Jim Felix, who tries
    out much of the gear while fighting fires, customers like that The
    Supply Cache stocks everything in its warehouse for quick delivery,
    Diane Felix said.
    It's not uncommon for the company to ship orders directly to
    crews at major fires, she said.
    Jim and Diane Felix managed The Supply Cache from their home
    basement until 1998, when they rented about 5,000 square feet of
    warehouse space at their current location in Fort Collins.
    They expect to move into their new building, which is being
    built by R.C. Heath Construction Co., in early September. The new
    facility will cost about $900,000 to build, Jim Felix said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    The Supply Cache Inc.: http://www.firecache.com

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Lots of props for the supply cache!

    I was just up at their warehouse a couple weeks ago buying a new pack and some brush pants.

    Great customer service.

    I'm glad to see they're doing so well and look forward to checking out their new location!

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber ramseycl's Avatar
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    I have had great luck with them. They are always very friendly and helpful. Got to meet with some of them at the fire academys in New Mexico and Arizona.

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