Polar Shades expects sunny days ahead
Local manufacturer turns hobby into diverse business brand
Steve Mevius, owner of Polar Shades, a sun control products business that he opened in 1994, stands outside of his company’s corporate offices located on East Sunset Road in Henderson. —— Courtesy of Trosper Communications
January 14, 2013Steve Mevius was a manager at American Airlines on Sept. 11, 2001.
"9/11 had a dramatic impact on the airlines industry, and I got burned out in my job as a manager," he said. "I decided to chase my dream of building my business into something larger."
Mevius' dream was to turn a hobby business called Polar Shades into the international brand it is today.
Established in 1994, Polar Shades manufactures, distributes and installs interior and exterior roller shades and sun control products. The company has partnerships with more than 1,000 dealers worldwide.
"I started Polar Shades with my father as a side business, because I could see that there was a basic need for sun control that wasn't being met in the Las Vegas Valley," he said.
Mevius said the experience he gained as a manager with American Airlines helped him tremendously as he developed his business. Most of his early clients came through word of mouth as he and his father, Art, ran Polar Shades from his home.
In 2003, Mevius bought a 3,000-square-foot building and converted it into a manufacturing facility. By 2005, he had purchased several of the surrounding buildings and expanded his warehouse to 7,400 square feet. His business continued to grow, and the next year, he moved his operations to a 21,000-square-foot facility located at 520 E. Sunset Road.
"Panorama Towers was one of the first big projects we did after moving to Henderson," Mevius said. "This is a very business-friendly city, and it has been the ideal place for us to grow and develop."
Mevius saw the overinflated real estate prices of the mid-2000s as an ominous warning of a potential economic downturn. Sensing a contraction in the retail end of his business, he began to focus on manufacturing shades.
Mevius said that the increased business that he created through manufacturing offset the losses that the company sustained in retail sales from 2007 to 2011.
"Diversification and a lack of debt saved our business during the economic downturn," he said. "Now that things are turning around, we are operating on all cylinders. Our retail sales are getting stronger, and we are the preferred manufacturer for shade distributors all over the world."
According to Mevius, Polar Shades is currently at capacity in the manufacturing of shades. The company recently has purchased an exclusive piece of equipment that will enable the company to reach its goal of producing 300 to 500 sun control products per day in the future.
"We are very passionate about what we do, and we build the best shades in the industry," he said. "I can't describe to you what it feels like to see your shades being used at the Opryland Resort in Nashville or at the Pebble Beach golf course in Florida."
Polar Shades employees 38 people, who are primarily family members. Art also supervises All Seasons Retractable Screens, a recently established sister company that provides retractable screen doors to dealer networks nationwide.
"There are employees who have been with us for almost 10 years," Mevius said. "We believe in paying our bills on time and doing the right thing."
For more information about Polar Shades, call (877) 260-6110 or visit polarshade.com.