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Business Profile

Inland Fastener Company

At around 4:00 a.m., Keegan Fulton pours the day’s first cup of coffee, taking a long breath or two because he knows he’ll be running the rest of the day. When you’re just weeks into launching a new company you’ve been dreaming about for years, there’s not a lot of time to linger.

So Keegan exhales, and dives into the details of the purchase orders in front of him. Next, he’s in the truck — still long before light — headed to his warehouse, where he’ll assemble and check and double-check each order. By 6:30, he’s on the road, headed toward a customer’s jobsite or manufacturing plant with the supplies they need to keep building, selling, and growing. From that first stop, the day is a whirlwind of deliveries, visits with current customers, and meetings with prospective customers.

In the evening, after Keegan and his wife Kirsten enjoy the bedtime routine with Henry (age 3) and Theo (age 1), it’s time for the company’s accounting department to take over, recording the day’s transactions in detail. Oh, that’s Keegan, too.

“Yeah, it’s pretty busy right now,” he says, laughing a little after describing his day-in-the-life.

As a small business owner (of Inland Fastener Company in Coeur d’Alene), Keegan is betting on himself, and also on other business owners wanting to keep their dollars in the Idaho panhandle. As a small, local “David” going against the giant, publicly traded fastener “Goliaths” he used to work for, he knows he has to be hands-on with customers, knowing and understanding the literal nuts and bolts of their respective industries.

After graduating from Washington State University in 2009 and building expertise ever since in the fastener and industrial supply field, Keegan knew he could someday launch his own company. That someday became 2017, after a lot of dreaming, planning, and long talks with Kirsten. It’s a leap of faith, but so far, he’s landing on his feet by focusing on service and relationships.

“That’s what I love: the collaborative and social aspect with other local businesses, keeping them stocked up with exactly what they need,” he says. “As a business-to-business, locally owned company, it’s all about providing a level of service my customers can’t find elsewhere.”

Today Keegan is at Silverlake Manufacturing, where customer Michael Kinzer is using fasteners from Inland Fastener Company to fabricate aluminum decks for truck beds, customizing them to haul snowmobiles, motorcycles, and ATVs to and from outdoor adventures throughout the Northwest.

Both Keegan and Michael are customers of the Spirit Lake INB. For business owners who are woven together by mutual support and a common love of the region, INB is a great fit.

“A huge part of my business identity is about the higher level of service I can provide as a small, local company right here in North Idaho,” Keegan says. “Why would it make any sense for me to go with a giant national bank from the East Coast?”

He adds, “Plus, Tracy Hall, my INB banker, has been so helpful with everything. I walk in, and everyone there calls me by name… that’s the same level of service I work to provide my customers.”

A year from now, the growth Keegan is working toward will bring about new challenges: employees, expansions, plans for the future — and perhaps a bit more sleep and some savings for the Henry and Theo college fund. As Inland Fastener (and the Fulton family) grows, INB will continue to be there to help Keegan put it all together.