PHOENIX - A Phoenix-based company is proving there is money to be made in the shade and they're showing us how they can help keep all of us safe from the sun.
"I was born here in Arizona and playing basketball, playing outside all the time.. 110° - 118°.. it's just part of the life.. being in the sun," said Rudy Martinez, president of Shade 'N Net.
And in the Valley of the sun, shade is a necessity. That's why it's the perfect place to manufacture shade structures and canopies.
"It's a no brainer. The spans that we can get.. you know, we can get 60 to 70 foot span with just four columns, said Martinez, who has been at it for 26 years.
"Nobody would buy it. They just didn't think the material would last in the sun. It got to the point where I was going to the car washes and auto dealers and they would buy them once in a while just for street appeal," said Martinez.
"But the school districts, parks and rec, I literally tried to give them away just so I could get some structures up so they could see how they would function.. how they would work.. and they would take them for free."
The shade netting is made with high-density polyethylene material. It allows heat to escape, keeping anyone and anything underneath it up to 20 degrees cooler, with added protection from the sun's UV rays.
"I would just tell people, let me manufacture the structure, install it, and if you like it, in a month's time, pay me for it. If you don't, I'll take it down. You'll never know it was here."
Pretty soon, people started to realize it works. Nobody ever wanted to take it down. Martinez says they always called back, wanting more.
"We can make anything. It's just about if it can get permitted or not."
Shade 'N Net has come a long way with canopies and sails installed in nearly every Arizona school district -- and more than 100,000 shade structures installed around the world. Each one is custom built, which takes time, so Martinez suggests ordering early.
"The cable tension systems look nicer, they're functional from a shading standpoint and a lot less expensive, so those selling points, I think you'll see increased usage over the years."
If you have an idea about a product made in Arizona, you can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share your story.
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