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Open house allows Southern Field Maintenance to show off new digs


Sept. 11, 2010 at 4:11 a.m.

Ida and Juan De Los Santos flip through photos of the fire Southern Field Maintenance experienced nine months ago. The husband-wife duo attended a Friday open house the company hosted to show off its new facility and show the public that it's still in business.

Nine months after a blaze swept through Southern Field Maintenance, the company's new building was packed with people eating, visiting and celebrating its new digs.

Southern Field Maintenance hosted an open house last week to show the public it's still in business.

"We've arrived, so to speak," Shilo Monney, the business' owner, said. "We're so excited to be up and running and not have to deal with all the turmoil that was around the fire."

Friday's event included a barbecue lunch, giveaways and a ribbon cutting by the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

Southern Field Maintenance was a strong company before, and it likely became even stronger after experiencing such a difficult year, Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, said.

It's exciting to see things turn around.

"This company has been through some challenges, and to watch a phoenix rise from the ashes is truly an exceptional thing," he said. "I'm just phenomenally pumped for you. I don't know how else to say it."

Southern Field Maintenance's incident was a two ladder truck fire, a "big uh-oh" in a city that only has two ladder trucks, said Vance Riley, the city's fire chief.

"We are tickled to death to see a business come back from a two ladder truck fire like that," he said, "because most of them don't."

Monney presented $1,000 to the fire department's trust fund. The gesture was a tangible way to show the company appreciated all the department did to help, he said.

"A handshake and a pat on the back is nice, but when it comes down to it, they need money," he said. "We felt like that's what we needed to do."

Although it took some time to get into the new building, Monney said the company was up and running about three days after the fire took place. A competitor lent out some workspace, he said, and the company later rented a spot.

It's good the company is back in its own place, he said, adding the fire presented certain benefits, such as allowing him to build a larger office and to bring on additional employees.

The company also recently purchased Victoria Welder Repair, LLC.

"We're here," he said with a smile. "We're better than we were before."



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