By DANIEL SUTPHIN
Despite the damage done by Hurricane Charley (2004) and Irma (2017), some homes in Charlotte County still do not have proper storm protection.
That’s what Harris Bowers, CEO of Forcefield Hurricane Protection Systems, has seen in his last 15 years in business.
“Folks are purchasing homes year round, some of which have no protection,” Bowers said. “Many (old and new homeowners) find the need to make upgrades like hurricane panels, which can be heavy, difficult and very time consuming for the homeowner to deploy in time for the storm.”
Tuesday marks the 15th anniversary of Charley’s landfall, and to commemorate, Forcefield will be hosting a private grand opening of its new location in Port Charlotte at 2265 Tamiami Trail (across from Lowe’s).
“The problem that we have had is in terms of education (for hurricane readiness),” Bowers said. “We have a high turnover of people in this community, constantly coming and inevitably leaving. The population changes every year and a lot of people who live here now, were not here then ... people have short memories.”
Bowers started the company soon after Charley. At that time, he said there weren’t enough options for homeowners to protect their homes.
“Purchasing hurricane protection is not like buying a pizza,” Bowers said. “Consumers (need to) take their time to evaluate the products and actually see exactly what they are getting,”
After Charley, Bowers said he interviewed three different companies and was disappointed by the quality of the products and the firms’ lack of knowledge and professionalism.
“(People) should have the opportunity to see what the real differences are between our products and others and to operate them hands on so they can make the most intelligent decision for their own investment,” Bowers said. “Making a wise choice can help the consumer having to replace an inferior choice five years down the road.”
Previously, the business operated out of a business suite at 1931 Tamiami Trail in Port Charlotte.
“At Forcefield, we build many of our products to military specifications, which makes us a good choice for hospitals, nursing homes, hurricane shelters and schools,” Bowers said. “Charley changed Charlotte County and Punta Gorda forever. People are looking for a reliable company that they can count on, not one that is here today and gone tomorrow.”