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By Paul Lonardo
Nu-Look Sealcoating Company, the Smithfield-based full-service asphalt paving and sealcoating experts, are celebrating their milestone 30th anniversary this year. No doubt you’ve seen the trucks and their company signs posted on lawns besides freshly paved driveways since 1987 and Nu-Look continues to serve the community and its customers with the same professionalism and personal care that has been their trademark since the beginning.
Nu-Look was founded by two childhood friends, David Passarelli and David Harris, both graduates of Smithfield High School. Their partnership began shortly after Harris was discharged from the military. He had been working for an excavating company when he approached his friend, Passarelli, who was in manufacturing industry, about going into the construction business together.
“There was a lot of competition in excavation at that time,” Harris says, “but we saw that there was easier access into the market through sealcoating, so that’s the direction we decided to go.”
They began with little more than an old commercial van and a five-gallon pail. It was just the two of them at first, with another contractor lending them a hand on occasion.
Their big break came after they sealcoated a local driveway and became concerned about the job after a heavy rain later that same night. They went back to the job the following day and decided to reseal the driveway just to be sure it came out right. When the homeowner returned at the end of the day and saw the second application, he was impressed by their effort. It soon turned out that the homeowner was the president of Warren Oil, a company that owned all the Dairy Mart stores in the region. The man proceeded to invite the two young entrepreneurs to his office in Providence and told them that he had a job for them. In fact, he gave them a whole string of Dairy Mart parking lots to seal, all as a result of the integrity he saw in the way the men ran their business when they sealcoated his driveway.
“This gave us the ability to purchase an actual sealcoating tank and get our company off the ground,” Harris says. “So that was a big break for us, and we were really very fortunate.”
Trials and tribulations notwithstanding, things only got better from there, and the business partners ended up purchasing some local real estate, firmly establishing their company on eight acres of land in Smithfield, which includes an office and a 12,000 square-foot shop. What started out as a weekend-only business had quickly grown into a full-time operation, sealcoating residential driveways in the local community.
“Our mission has always been to do the right thing in this business,” Harris says. “If we do a job, we’re going to do it right. That’s the bottom line.”
Considering all the fly-by-nighters you see in this business, whose aggressive tactics include knocking on doors, Nu-Look’s approach may have taken a little while to get the company firmly established, but in the long run doing the right thing and holding their work to a high standard of quality has paid off. Today, Nu-look has earned the kind of reputation that keeps them busy year-round with a vigorous work schedule. While the company has continued to grow every year since being established three decades ago, their goal is to not grow beyond their means or to compromise the service they provide to their customers.
“You see companies all the time that grow too fast and actually lose their handle on doing what they do and getting the work done right,” Harris says. “So our staff works together to make sure we keep ahead of our schedule deadlines, and when we take on more work we make sure we are able to handle it.”
Nu-Look covers all of Rhode Island, nearby Massachusetts and Connecticut – all in all about roughly a twenty-five-mile radius. Harris says this parameter just gives them the opportunity to be more competitive and more efficient.
Nu-Look employs about thirty people and works just about year-round. They actually do more full paving than they do sealcoating. They operate with two pave crews, two sealcoat crews and one pickup crew.
“We work until about the New Year,” Harris says. “So we pave until about January every year, which will give us about three months in the shop. We keep about a half dozen people on doing mechanic and maintenance work. We also keep the office staff on. In the winter, we do some corporate plowing, as well.”
Harris runs the business operation, while his partner, David Passarelli is out in the field running the pave crews.
“You hear people who say they specialize in one thing, but in the same breath will list ten different things they do, which makes it the exact opposite of having a specialty.” Harris adds, “With us, we really do specialize with asphalt, and asphalt services. Do we do other things at Nu-Look? Certainly. We do a bit of excavating, and we do a little with concrete work, but our specialty is new asphalt and asphalt maintenance. Basically, everything having to do with driveways and parking lots, whether it be paving, line-striping, or crack maintenance.”
Nu-Look feels that no job is too big or too small, and are happy to take on both commercial and residential paving and sealcoating.
For more information or to get an estimate, contact David or his staff at (401) 232-0795 or visit them online at www.nulookinc.com