On the road to $100M: A partnership for the community and the road ahead

"Banks don't like to work with construction companies." That's what Daren from Dryco heard time and again and that's a stressful message to receive! Many companies, Dryco included, succeed and thrive with the help of a great banking relationship.

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Greater Bay Area,
Central Valley

For Daren Young, it all started at the end of a shovel. Shortly after high school, he was putting in long hours as a day laborer for his father’s paving company in Fremont. But when his father realized he needed a hand, Daren stepped up. Soon after, in 1985, when his father was ready to retire, he launched DRYCO and, while they made $750,000 that first year, they were profitable. 

Daren’s new endeavor quickly gained a reputation for doing quality work on driveways and school tennis courts. One day, after impressing one of his residential clients with a job well done, he was asked if he’d take on a bigger job — the client’s business. Thus DRYCO expanded to commercial clientele. As Daren puts it, “If you drive on it, walk on it, or play on it — that’s what we do.”

A journey of expansion, and trust

Expansion meant the need to literally and figuratively cover more ground, which demanded loans. But loans from corporate banks, it turned out, were hard to come by, particularly when someone in a distant skyscraper at one of those banks makes the decision to avoid working with contractors. That’s when Daren turned to the one bank that was willing to better understand DRYCO’s needs — Fremont Bank.

Daren saw it as a natural fit. After all, he was born in Fremont, and many of his projects were located in the region — a region to which both he and Fremont Bank were, and remain, deeply committed. Plus, a successful DRYCO would be a win for the community.

Sandra, Daren’s wife and the company’s first bookkeeper, agreed. She saw the move to Fremont Bank as vital in DRYCO’s continued growth. “Our goal was 15% growth each year, which we felt was a reasonable percentage. Fremont Bank was always working with us to grow our line of credit as the need might arise.” With the help of Fremont Bank’s strategic planning, DRYCO went from less than $20 million dollars in revenue their first year with Fremont Bank to $110 million in 2023. They now plan to hit $150 million in the next five years.

More than numbers

But their partnership has never been just about the numbers. Over the years, as DRYCO expanded from asphalt to concrete (and, yes, there’s a difference) then to handrails and fencing, new facilities were required. So when it came time to potentially expand to the adjacent property, Fremont Bank President Andy Mastorakis didn’t simply put a rubber stamp to a loan. He took the time to walk the 7-acre grounds with Daren to get a first-hand look at the land and to get a clear picture of Daren’s vision.

“You’re just not getting that from any other bank. They’ve been with me through all this growth. Now, we do a lot of work for customers like Tesla, Amazon, Google and Apple.”

And while the company has enjoyed consistent growth, it hasn’t come without its challenges. After all, concrete and asphalt — and everything that goes with them — is a seasonal business. Typically, the inclement weather of the first quarter brings with it a predictable slow down. So DRYCO relies on Fremont Bank’s patience and understanding of the industry’s perennial obstacles to help them, with a business line of credit, during the year’s ebbs. Fortunately, the personal relationships that have been fostered over the years, particularly with Fremont Bank Vice President Alexis Kleinhans, allows for a true commitment to weather any storm. Alexis knows DRYCO’s operations and what it takes to ensure every day is business as usual. It’s a bond that works more as a partnership than simply a banking association.

The road ahead is strong

A true family business, Daren’s sons Skylar and Hunter have now come on board. Over the years, they’ve been instilled with, not just a strong work ethic, but an entrepreneurial spirit. And the commonalities between DRYCO and Fremont Bank aren’t lost on Skylar. “There’s a nice parallel. Fremont Bank is also a family business — we consider them a part of the DRYCO family. They’ve been with us through every up and every downturn in the economy.”

Fortunately, throughout DRYCO’s history, those ups have greatly exceeded the downs, a fact that has afforded DRYCO the opportunity to give back to their now 350 employees — a staff that includes multiple families. “I feel like that goes with being a family business,” says Hunter. “If the company is doing well, you’ve got to let the staff know it, and express it to them — truly show your appreciation.”

Shared commitment to the community

That appreciation is equally reflected in DRYCO’s and Fremont Bank’s shared commitment to the community. “Like us, their commitment to giving back to the community is huge,” Daren explained. “Fremont Bank Foundation is often involved in the things that are important to me in the community.” That high level of community involvement plays no small role in what makes the partnership between DRYCO and Fremont Bank so successful, and so special. 

Any strong partnership begins by recognizing any business’s potential. It isn’t simply a guessing game; one doesn’t draw straws, flip a coin or roll the dice. It’s about understanding the industry, researching the market, and embracing a one-on-one relationship with the client that informs a deeper knowledge of what drives them. With DRYCO, Fremont Bank saw a clear path to success. One that’s led to stronger — and certainly smoother — connections throughout the region.