Solo Cable Solutions co-owner Matt Smith knows what starting over is like. “I was a welder at National Steel Car in Hamilton for six years,” Smith said. “On Dec. 23, 2001, I was laid off along with about 2,000 others. “I went back to school at CDI College in Hamilton to be a network technician. I always wanted to start my own business and deal with customers.”
Brantford’s Solo Cable Solutions, co-owned by Smith and his wife, Leslee, provides satellite television services for Calgary-based Shaw Direct, the installation of fibre optics, telephone systems, wiring and numerous related services.
The company provides its services to residential, commercial and industrial customers, in addition to completing projects for public utility companies.
After graduating from college and launching Solo Cable Solutions out of his home, Smith moved his company to a facility on Spruce Street in Paris. At that time, it employed 10 people.
Three years ago, Solo Cable Solutions moved to its current facility on Henry Street in Brantford. The company now has more than 30 employees.
“Satellite television is the core of our business,” Smith said. “But we also do fibre optics for Brantford Hydro, in-office and in-home structure wiring, phone systems and work for Norfolk County Power.”
The long road to the growth and success of his business did not come without financial risks and obstacles, Smith said.
“I went with my plan of action to receive local business funding,” he said. “They said it wasn’t a viable business and it would never work.
“I maxed out everything I had and set up shop in my home on Mary Street. We worked from home for about six years. I remember sitting in my basement with a single landline and a $100 fax machine. We had nothing and it’s amazing how it has taken off. In the past three years, the company has tripled in size.
“Did I ever think this would go from a grey Windstar van with a ladder rack welded to the roof to this? Never.”
Smith said providing excellent customer service is his main priority.
“With Shaw Direct, there are no contracts, no service fees,” Smith said. “We re-train our customers to expect better customer service.”
Smith’s wife, Leslee, said Shaw Direct places much trust in Solo Cable Solutions to install and service its products.
“Shaw Direct trusts that when we bring our guys in, they don’t have any worries about it being done properly,” she said.
Shaw Direct is currently offering a promotion through the company, with a satellite television package starting at $29.99 per month for three months.
Solo Cable Solutions has gone national by completing work in Manitoba, Quebec and across Ontario.
“Right now, we have four employees in Pinawa, Manitoba, who are changing the town from Shaw Cable to Shaw Direct,” Leslee said.
Smith said his employees and their families are truly valued by the company.
“We are passionate about what we do,” he said. “I feel very responsible for the 32 people that come in here everyday and a lot of them have families that rely on us.”