From left, John Marratt, Mayte Peck of ACE, Meredith Given of SunTrust, and Ashley Marratt note the booming growth of Red Coat, which was named ACE’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” in the commercial division for 2013.
Red Coat Services services as the state’s only company specializing in bed bug detection and eradication, using insect-detection dogs and pesticide-free, “green” heat remediation.
“Consumers and businesses alike do not have the real information when it comes to bed bugs,” said Ashley Marratt, who operates the business with husband, John Marratt. “General pest control aggravates the problem with pesticides and DIY methods are useless to fully eliminate a problem. We don’t use a sprayer or toxic chemicals – just heat, so our work is ‘green,’ and it’s guaranteed to work.”
Until recently, bedbugs were largely an unpleasant relic of a bygone era, but increased global travel and pesticide resistance have reintroduced to them public areas and, increasingly, private homes. The Marratts had worked with service dogs since 2000, training them to sniff out drugs, explosives, firearms, and other contraband. When widespread bedbug infestations started making news in recent years, the couple realized another skill set of her four-legged colleagues: insect detection.”We were sitting on our front porch, brainstorming about environmentally responsible ways we could enter this market,” John said. “It was during the credit crunch, though, and four banks turned us down, despite our impeccable financial ratings.. We heard from other business owners that getting ‘no’ was typical. So we turned to ACE.”
Added Ashley: “The day we acquired our beagle, an insect-detection dog was featured on the front page of USA Today, so I knew we were on to something.”
Sade, the beagle, has proved as effective and industrious as she is adorable. “She’s small and discreet, so we can take her into hotels and other businesses without drawing attention to the reason we’re there,” Ashley said.
Red Coat covers the entire state from its Brookhaven office, and the Marratts said they are poised for even more growth, with an expansion of services and staff additions.
“The banks didn’t have the vision to see what we could do with this idea, but, fortunately ACE did,” Ashley said.