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Start-up fills need through cool technology

A new start-up company has been inspired by the old marketing adage “find a need and fill it”. In fact, the young entrepreneur at its helm is taking it quite literately.

Travis Johnson, the president of Cold Patch Bahamas, aims to fix the potholes plaguing roadways and parking lots throughout the country. Johnson launched the new company at the KFC Mackey Street parking lot yesterday.

“My company is being formed to attack every pothole in The Bahamas,” he told listeners at the launch.

“Not only do we want to fix potholes quickly, we want to fix them properly, with the right material.”

Although not the first company in The Bahamas to offer pothole fixes, Cold Patch will employ a new technology that does not require the hot asphalt currently used to fill potholes locally, according to Johnson. He said he put two months into researching the best cold patch system for the country’s climate – one that can stand up to the Bahamian heat and flooded streets as well.

Studies by U.S. State Department of Transportation scientists and engineers on the effectiveness of the product will be available on the company’s website in the future, according to Johnson. The product implemented by Cold Patch is one of a number being tested in seven states there, he said, adding that the science points to savings in the long run.

“In a nutshell, this method is quicker and easier, so it will create less interruptions, and it also lasts longer,” Johnson told Guardian Business yesterday.

The entrepreneur is targeting the government, commercial, and residential markets for the Cold Patch service.

While public roads and commercial parking lots are perhaps obvious markets, he told Guardian Business that there are many apartment complexes and even homes that he felt would want to take advantage of his company’s service.

Johnson has applied for a grant under the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture’s Self-Starter program, and has taken on the consultancy team of a well-known success story from that program – Bahamas Striping.

Under the process Cold Patch will saw-cut a hole with a clean 90-degree angled edge around the target pothole. The hole would then be compacted with quarry limestone and filled with about an inch-and-a-half to two inches of the sealing material. Johnson said the company would be following the Ministry of Public Works’ standards for government roads, and that he expected the company to be fully qualified to fill potholes on government roads in “very short order”.

Johnson told Guardian Business the company was in the process of qualifying itself to bid on a $1 million government pothole-fix contract now out to tender, with a deadline for bid submissions of next week Tuesday.

Cold Patch would be hiring at least three young, currently unemployed men to start, according to Johnson, with more possible depending on the business’ success.

“If the demand is great, we imagine we could have two or even three crews operating around Nassau and the islands,” he said.

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