By Rebecca Mullins
Sept. 18, 2013. Tommy Sofield is a successful business man who resides here in Boone, but he’s come a long way since he first set foot on our mountain soil.
Many of you will recognize the name, as he provided the lead gift for the $50 milllion Sofield Indoor Practice Facility at Appalachian State University. He is also president and owner of U.S. Buildings, Carport.com and up until recently U.S. Chemical Storage.
He attended Appalachian State University on a football scholarship back in the 1970s. During his sophomore year while still attending class and playing ball, he opened a sandwich stand called Yoggies which made and delivered sandwiches to on campus locations. He graduated in 1976 with a business degree and two more Yoggie stands, one at N.C. State University and one at Mars Hill College.
Following college, he began working as a salesman for a manufacturing company. In a few short years, he hired sales associates to work under him and made enough money to buy out the manufacturing company.
Just seven years after he graduated college, Tommy Sofield started U.S. Chemical Storage, a company promising to make safe storage facilities for hazardous and chemical materials.
By 2003, the company had grown so large that it was exceeding its space in Boone, and had to move to Wilkesboro, where its main facility still resides.
“We wanted to keep it in Boone, the problem was we didn’t have the facilities in Boone to house it,” said Sofield.
This company that Sofield built from the bottom up has now serviced well known agencies and companies such as: NASA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, US Air Force, US Navy, US Postal Service, Lowes, GE, Google, BP, NBC, Craft, Campbell’s, Tropicana and Walt Disney World.
Baird Capital and their portfolio company Justrite had been requesting meetings with Sofield about U.S. Chemical Storage for a number of months before he met with them. The company wasn’t for sale, but about four months ago, he decided to see what they had to say.
Justrite works internationally in indoor chemical storage, whereas U.S. Chemical Storage works nationally in outdoor chemical storage.
On Sept. 12, Sofield announced in the Wilkesboro manufacturing facility that U.S. Chemical Buildings will now be under the ownership of Justrite.
“I decided it was really a good fit for them and for us,” commented Sofield. “They’ll be distributing worldwide rather than just nationally.”
U.S. Storage was also promised that the manufacturing facility would remain in the area.
Even with the relinquishment of U.S. Chemical Buildings, Sofield is being kept busy with U.S. Buildings and Carport.com.
Tommy Sofield started out just like many of us and has grown to be a successful entrepreneur. Just like Sofield, we each have a chance to follow our dreams and make it big.