By Melissa Keogh
A Riverland business that manufactures environmentally sustainable products for the building and construction industry has taken out the top spot in the Fast Movers 2018 program.
Berri-based Enviroclad was awarded the fastest growing business ahead of 24 other finalists on Friday, May 25.
Co-founder Tony Vallelonga accepted the award along with nephew Ryan and says the company was born from a business idea sprouted with brother Frank in 1983.
The pair was supplying expanded polystyrene (EPS) packaging to local fruit growers when they decided they would start their own factory and make their own material.
They bought two EPS manufacturing machines and constructed a factory in Berri before their customer base began to expand outside the Riverland into other regions.
EPS is a lightweight cellular plastic material that is renowned for being termite resistant and flame retardant, making it ideal for use in the building and construction industry.
It’s used to make insulated panels, rendered fence systems, insulated roofing and wall systems, and is popular in the construction of cold rooms, freezers, and piggeries, as well as residential and commercial buildings.
Enviroclad is a part of the Valls Group and was established as a standalone business in 2014.
It has since gone on to experience a 298% increase in revenue in the past three financial years and employs 20 people across its Berri headquarters and another manufacturing facility in Orange, NSW.
Tony says the majority of its customer base is across the Riverland, Sunraysia and rural Victoria.
However, Enviroclad also exports a small amount to China.
“We do export a little bit to China, but a lot of it goes into Adelaide and rural Victoria, so we draw a recent radius around us,” he says.
“Our customer base is growing as well, which is excellent. The advantage of being here in the Riverland is that we’re close to regional Victoria and Adelaide.”
Tony’s nephew and managing director Ryan Vallelonga says his advice to other burgeoning enterprises is to hone their product before taking it to market.
“When the business first started, we didn’t want to get into the market without a quality product, we had to be confident we had the highest quality service and product,” he says.
Ryan says another key to success is learning to rely on other regions outside your hometown.
“My advice is that you have to consider transport and freight costs,” he says.
“With our business in Berri we can’t rely on the Riverland as our core, so we go into other areas such as Port Lincoln, Adelaide and Mildura.”
The family duo says the Riverland’s lifestyle offerings are one of the main reasons they choose to do business from the Murray and Malle region.
They say Enviroclad’s success is due to the dedication of their employees.
“We have a great group of staff and without great staff we’d really struggle to meet our needs and demands,” Tony says.
“We’re really thankful of our staff and our customer base.
“From day one you have to believe in your product and be prepared to put in a huge effort, you will have a rollercoaster of bad days and good days.”
Enviroclad took home $49,600 worth of prizes, including $10,000 in cash from Statewide Super, as well as training and services from some of SA’s top companies.
Fellow building business Elite Building and Renovations came in at second in Fast Movers 2018, while high-speed internet provider Uniti Wireless took third place.
The annual Fast Movers program, presented by BDO SA and Brand South Australia, celebrates the state’s fastest growing and most innovative small to medium enterprises.
Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen commends all finalists for their significant growth which delivers economic benefit to the state.
“Each year Fast Movers helps to create passion, enthusiasm and exposure among our fastest growing companies and we are excited to the future of the program,” she says.
For the full list of the Top 25 Fast Movers for 2018, see The Advertiser’s SA Business Journal on Tuesday, May 29.
Header image: BDO SA managing partner Rudy Pieck, left, Brand South Australia CEO Karen Raffen, Enviroclad founder Tony Vallelonga and managing director Ryan Vallelonga, and Statewide Super business development manager Debbie Sterrey.
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