Moving effort: Firm out to change construction industry

Phil Castle, The Business Times

John Fay oversees Låda Cube, a company that manufactures demountable walls. Fay recently relocated the headquarters to Grand Junction (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

John Fay believes the construction industry is overdue for the kind of technological advances that have transformed other industries. His company could lead the way.

Fay founded and oversees Låda Cube and an operation that’s developed demountable wall systems that can be quickly assembled and, if needed, disassembled, moved and put back together.

It’s a concept Fay says offers flexibility in customizing and reconfiguring spaces to meet changing needs — but with none of the time, expense and waste of traditional construction and demolition. Moreover, the walls are as aesthetic as they are functional and look anything but movable.

Fay recently relocated the headquarters of Låda Cube to Grand Junction to bring his business and family back to the area in which he grew up. 

Given the burgeoning interest in his company and products, Fay expects to soon increase the size and staffing of the operation in the Grand Valley and elsewhere. “We’re on the precipice of some massive growth.”

It’s the latest development in a series of events Fay attributes to faith. “It’s just been this crazy journey of miracles.”

Fay grew up in the Grand Valley and graduated from Central High School. He attended Colorado State University, where he studied history and competed in track and field.

Fay went on to attend graduate school at Adams State University, where he studied psychology and counseling.

He worked in a series of positions as a school counselor, youth pastor, child care caseworker and foster care coordinator. At the same time, though, he says he had other interests. “I just had this passion for entrepreneurism.”

He says he considered a number of possible businesses. He ultimately decided on a venture to supply walls that come apart and can be moved. He founded Låda Cube in 2013, naming the firm after the Swedish word for box or barn.

Fay says the first prototype that was developed was “junk,” He developed a second and improved prototype working out of his garage, and the design since has been refined more.

The mechanical fastening walls are designed for repeated use and are constructed with what Fay calls cassettes that fit between steel pillars and corners. The walls come with insulation, electrical channeling with outlets and plug-and-play attachments for integration into any space. The walls can be assembled using only a few tools.

What Fay calls skins are attached to the walls and available in various acrylics, woods and metals. The skins are easily changed to offer different finishes and looks.

Låda Cube made the long list of candidates for the World Architectural News awards in 2015.

Fays says he started selling his walls in 2015. “I realized I was creating a whole new market that never existed.”

Låda Cube was selected as one of the top 50 companies for the Startup Grind 2017 Global Conference. In 2018, Låda Cube was selected to participate in the Telluride Venture Accelerator, a program for startups.

While a factory remained in Grand Junction, Fay moved the headquarters of Låda Cube to California in 2018. 

But in 2019, the company received a $250,000 grant from Advanced Industries Accelerator Program. The program was created in 2013 to promote advanced industries in Colorado by increasing access to capital, accelerating commercialization, encouraging public-private partnerships and creating strong infrastructure. ProStar Holdings and Mountain Racing Products in Grand Junction also have received grants through the program.

Fay says the grant motivated him to think about expanding his operation in Colorado. He says he considered Castle Rock, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins and Montrose before committing to relocating the headquarters to Grand Junction.

While he experienced an urge to return home, Fays says he’s also eager to grow his business in a place he believes is on the verge of becoming a tech hub.

He says he expects to eventually need a building with 100,000 square feet of space and will hire 80 to 160 people over the next year. Employees working in California have the option to relocate to the Grand Valley.

Fay says he expects growing demand for Låda Cube products for office, retail, residential and other uses. That includes interest from such companies as Facebook, Marriott and Tesla.

Fay also anticipates the company will need an additional three or four locations in the United States. Moreover, he says he’s looking into the construction of a manufacturing facility in South Africa that would position the company to expand into foreign markets, including Europe.

Fays says he’s excited about what he envisions as a tech revolution for the construction industry as well as the potential for Låda Cube to lead the way.

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