Some business strategies are simple: If you want to increase sales, you need to sell more to existing customers, add new customers to the mix – or both.

But, according to a report in the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette, some strategies are easier said than done.

Five years ago, Goldshield Fiberglass was cranking out exterior shells for recreational vehicles as a division of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc. Then the bottom dropped out of the economy. Fleetwood, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, was in no position to order more fiberglass.

A private equity group saw potential in the Fleetwood brand and its fiberglass operation but decided each business needed to stand on its own. With that move, Goldshield was freed to woo new clients.

Now, Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV Inc. is Goldshield’s sister company – and customer. And Goldshield is flourishing. The Decatur factory has doubled its workforce in the past three years as sales have grown by 80 percent.

Jeff Newport, Goldshield’s general manager, forecasts growth of 15% a year each of the next three years. The company doesn’t release revenue figures.

“We were two very different businesses,” he said of Goldshield and Fleetwood. “By separating ourselves from Fleetwood, we’re hoping to open ourselves to other RV markets.”

But the manufacturer isn’t limiting itself to supplying the RV industry. Goldshield has established relationships with the large truck makers, including Navistar International Corp., and bus manufacturers. And the company has branched into some less obvious directions.

Fiberglass is used to make the tubes patients slide into when they have an MRI test. The sturdy substance is used to create the pools that aquaculture farms raise fish in and the fast-moving cars on theme-park rides. Fiberglass is also molded into the underwater apparatus that shoots water upward in decorative fountains.

Goldshield now sells to all four industries.

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