911 Safety Equipment

A lifelong dream. That's what owning a successful business was for Pennsylvania native Daniel Silvestri. With help from the Temple University Small Business Development Center (SBDC), that dream became a reality with 911 Safety Equipment.

With 15 years of experience in the safety industry, Silvestri set out in 2001 to become a distributor of emergency equipment. He discovered the Temple University SBDC from a prior work contact and he quickly contacted them to help grow his business. The SBDC provided the necessary guidance to help Silvestri's venture get off the ground.

Now located in Norristown, 911 Safety Equipment provides a full range of safety equipment and products for firefighters, EMS, rescue workers, and homeland security personnel. They also have a cleaning division that cleans and repairs equipment with a 72-hour turnaround time.

As a result of SBDC assistance, Silvestri turned 911 Safety Equipment into a business that now employs nine full-time employees. They have contracts with municipalities and military outfits all over the world. Store traffic has increased 400%, and sales grew from minimal amounts in 2001 to just under $3 million in 2004.

Back in 2002, with his basic business structure in place, Silvestri was interested in learning more about how to tap into the $2 billion government contracting marketplace. The SBDC helped him prepare the necessary financial statements for a successful loan package that would support the possibility for future government contracts. He was also interested in moving the business from the office in his garage to a retail location.

The SBDC identified an opportunity for 911 Safety Equipment to move into a HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone – an SBA initiative aimed to help create jobs in urban and rural communities). HUBZone certification increases the chances of winning government contracting jobs, and after the SBDC helped with that process, they worked with 911 in the detailed world of government procurement.

With expert help from the Temple University SBDC, 911 Safety Equipment won several Government contracts, including one to provide uniforms for the City of Philadelphia fire department.

After receiving its HUBZone certification and obtaining several government contracts, Silvestri began to look at other methods for increasing 911 Safety Equipment's sales, including boosting customer traffic to the store in Norristown. The Temple SBDC helped with 911's marketing efforts, including the creation of an identity package. The creative services team at the SBDC helped the company design a logo and letterhead. They also helped him launch a national advertising campaign to promote the business.

    • 911logo

The 911 SE logo developed by the Temple University SBDC.