By Brooke Sherrard
Clint Housh started his side business, Southern Iowa Gutters, about four years ago when he recognized a need at his day job.
Housh is store manager at the Centerville Lockridge, which sells hardware, lumber, farm supplies and clothing.
“We do a lot of projects through Lockridge’s, and people would get to the point where they need gutters and they couldn’t find anybody to do them,” Housh said. “I saw an opportunity there.”
Housh observed there was more work than the crews working on gutters could do.
“They must have been real busy because they couldn’t get to them real fast, and we kind of run into that too this time of year,” he said.
At the time Housh had little background in gutters, but he hired Derrick Wray, who was experienced in the area. Housh now has a crew of three employees who hang gutters in a 60-mile radius of Centerville.
Their first job was to put gutters on 27 cabins at Honey Creek Resort.
“It has just kind of taken off from there,” Housh said. “We saw an increase in sales of about 15 percent every year.”
Now the company has done the gutter work on more than 600 houses, Housh said, including many new houses at Lake Thunderhead and Lake Sundown.
Recently Housh expanded the business model of Southern Iowa Gutters when he participated in a housing rehabilitation project in Seymour in April and May.
The Chariton Valley Planning and Development Council administered the rehabilitation of six homes in Seymour through the Community Development Block Grant, a federally funded housing rehabilitation program.
“The homeowners that participated were able to benefit within the low to moderate income guidelines,” said Nichole Moore, executive director of the Chariton Valley Planning and Development Council. “We provided rehabilitation to the houses to the health and safety standards of the Iowa code.”
Southern Iowa Gutters subcontracted with Moore Home Improvement on four of the homes. Housh applied for a small business loan from the Appanoose Economic Development Corporation’s Revolving Loan Fund to cover costs until the government grant money came through.
“When you’re waiting on government money it takes a little bit, so they helped us to buy the materials, and it will hopefully help us so that we can do more projects in the future with other small towns,” Housh said.
Housh said he employed an additional four people during that project.
AEDC Executive Director Tod Faris said the AEDC saw this loan as an opportunity to help Southern Iowa Gutters expand its business model.
“For the most part they were doing gutters, but here they were starting to do more things, some handicap accessibility and construction-type projects, so that took extra money,” Faris said.
Faris said the local contractors wrote bids providing more rehabilitation to the homes within the financial constraints of the grant than contractors from farther away might have done.
“[Housh] was really taking pride in the fact that they were going in and trying to maximize all the projects they could do and still come out ahead business-wise,” Faris said.
Southern Iowa Gutters offers residential and light commercial gutters along with gutter guards and gutter screens to help keep leaves and debris from clogging gutters and down spouts. Its 5-inch or 6-inch gutters come with a one-year warranty and are available in more than 50 colors. The company also offers gutter cleaning.
Southern Iowa Gutters can be contacted at (641) 895-0578.