Area business gets jump start from parade, recent award
A series of events over the last year have seen Chris Hansen, of New Richmond, and his business partner Steve Faacks’ new business, Gorilla Dumpster Bags, take off like they could have only dreamed of.
“What really launched us as a company was being in this year’s Fun Fest Parade here in New Richmond,” said Hansen. “It was the first parade we had been in and, along with working with the New Richmond Chamber, really helped us spread the word about our services.”
The company started up in May of this year, but has been in the works for the past few years, Hansen said. The company’s offices are currently located in Eau Claire, but its service range extends from Hudson to Eau Claire and about 15 miles north and south of Hwy 94.
“It took us about two years to get the design right, figure out how to engineer the bags and to find someone to produce the bags for us,” Hansen said. “Business has been good lately and we have been getting calls from all over the area for our bags. We really hope to expand across the river next year and offer our services there as well.”
The second event that really helped give Gorilla Dumpster Bags a jump start was The Idea Challenge, an Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp. program. Hansen and Faacks took first place in the Idea Challenge. The grand prize for placing first was $5,000, which Hansen said they company is hoping to use to purchase a baler to help recycle the bags.
“We took first place out of 150 entries into the competition, and we feel a lot of pride over that accomplishment,” Hansen said. “The EDC has been really helpful after the fact as well. We worked hard on the presentation and showing our product and got a lot of really good feedback and critiques by the judges.”
Hansen said he and Faaks started the company from an idea the pair had in order to make throwing away debris from construction and demolition projects easier for everyone. Where regular dumpsters and traditional disposal services rely on metal dumpsters that are heavy, lack flexibility, have limited placement options and take considerable time to order and set up, Gorilla Dumpster Bag are large, yet light-weight recyclable bags made of a 100 percent recycled polypropylene materials. The fabric is weaved so punctures from items such as nails don’t spread. The metal stands the bags are placed in are heavy duty, yet leave much less of a footprint behind when compared to traditional methods.
“For the most part, traditional dumpsters have a way of damaging people’s driveways or lawns when they are placed and being removed,” Hansen said. “Our product makes all of it a lot easier. Twenty percent of the bags that are used can be reused. And if the bags are too damaged or dirty to be reused, they can be recycled.”
The bags can hold more than two tons or six cubic yards of debris. Once a bag is filled, the company picks up the bags with a truck that uses a hook to cinch and load the bags for disposal. A relatively small truck can pick up eight of the bags, which limits mileage and lessens fuel usage. Gorilla Dumpster Bag has an inventory of around 22,000 bags and 75 frames.
Hansen has 20 years of experience in the disposal and recycling industry, while Faacks has over two decades of business acquisitions and management experience. Within the company, Hansen handles the operations side of the business with Faacks taking care of the business side. Hansen moved to New Richmond in 1989 and graduated from NRHS in 1993.
Currently, Gorilla Dumpster Bags dumps its collected debris at the Seven Mile Creek Landfill in Menomonee, while they wait for the Roberts Advanced Disposal facility, where the company has a contract, to reopen after burning down earlier this year.
The custom designed bags are produced, and ordered in bulk, from a manufacturing facility in China. Hansen said the company looked all over the United States and closer to home for a company that could produce the bags the way he and Faacks wanted, but only the company in China would allow them the flexibility with the design they needed.