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A brave, new town is rising in Southwest Florida. The first home models are open at Babcock Ranch in Charlotte County—the world’s first solar-powered town—and the eco-centric community will be years in the making.
Cape Coral-based Architectural Metal Flashings is seizing the vast, long-term opportunity of this nearby development, which plans to ultimately have 19,500 homes and 6 million square feet of commercial space. Architectural Metal Flashings became a preferred Babcock manufacturer by the developer, Kitson & Partners, by passing stringent Florida requirements proving its roofing components can withstand the pressure and uplift of sustained hurricane-force wind.
“It’s a big deal for us and for the builders selected to work at Babcock. Everything has to be approved,” says Architectural Metal Flashings Vice President of Sales and Operations Darla Betzer Bonk, whose husband, Jeff, owns the company. The company fabricates products such as vents, drip systems, wall trays and roof panels, in addition to custom flashings.
The company became incorporated in May 2017. The Bonks transformed a former production studio into a 10,000-square-foot, high-tech warehouse with 2,000-square-feet of office space and opened its doors in August. Bonk says they invested in customized, state-of-the art machinery that is capable of fast production, and began manufacturing in October.
The Bonks weren’t familiar with the Babcock project when they settled into the North Cape Industrial Park but quickly caught up to speed with the bidding requirements and pursued the Florida Building Commission’s Florida Product Approval System rating evaluation, which included onsite inspection. The Bonks are members of the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association and have five other employees.
Owner Jeff Bonk grew up in the roofing business. His father, Scott D. Bonk, is a consultant on national roofing projects for large resorts, such as The Ritz-Carlton and Marriott. “My husband says he grew up on a roof,” chuckles Bonk, noting her husband went on to become an estimator and general manager at regional roofing companies. “Coming from the roofing side, he knew that there were only a few manufacturers, and they had the corner on the market. He knows metal like the back of his hand and said, ‘I can do this less expensively and also provide good customer service,’” says Bonk, adding that they filled a fabricating void so now installers in the field no longer need to wait a week for out-of-town deliveries, which slows projects.
Both of the Bonks grew up in Lee County, and they chose Cape Coral because of its proximity to Interstate 75, so they can easily reach customers from Marco Island to Babcock Ranch.
“We have found it is very friendly for us to be in business here,” she says. And there is room for expansion. “We have a long-term plan to be part of Cape Coral and the business community here.”
2659 NE 9th Avenue
Cape Coral, FL 33909
(239) 221-0123 or (866) 541-3910