- June 15, 2022
- Posted by: Aly Lawson
- Category: Success Stories
Written By Letty Alvarez
Small business background
Border Tactical is a uniform and tactical supplier for first responders, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Law Enforcement personnel, and the active lifestyle public. Jonathon Harmon, with support of his mother Mary Harmon, took over the retail store in Imperial Valley, CA in 1991 and still prides himself on being a local- as well as family-owned and -operated business always ready to serve the community.
With the addition of their new General Manager Chanel Chastain, they have expanded their offering to include uniforms, personalized uniform fitting, activewear, tactical gear, and law enforcement patches; plus, they are now equipped with a fully functional, state-of-the-art indoor firing range. Additionally, they now offer a variety of safety, survival, and first-aid workshops for the general public. Those outside of law enforcement personnel can furthermore acquire not only all the necessary sporting equipment but also the mandatory training on safety protocols.
Challenges the company faced
Chastain said: “I believe our biggest challenge was that our first contract was inherited from the previous owner of the business. We were not given any insight as to how he came up with the original pricing justifications or what the process entailed. It wasn’t until two years after we inherited the contract that we were even supplied the Scope of Work from the federal contracting officer. At that time, we had no idea what we were contractually obligated to aside from just the use of the range.”
With zero contract experience, Border Tactical continued to fulfill on their inherited contract and transitioned all government vendor registrations due to the company ownership change.
No easy task even for an experienced government contractor.
Taking action as a team
The business learned about the Procurement Technical Assistance Center through the Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center, where Frank Luna – a procurement advisor for the San Diego, Orange, Imperial PTAC – had an office space to conduct official PTAC business while in town.
“Frank has helped us understand what the technical and management approach for a proposal meant,” Chastain said, “and how to draft a response and complete it for the federal government.”
From there, they leaned on any state or locally funded programs to learn how to run a small business.
“I was basically a sponge willing to take any class or training offered,” Chastain noted.
Results with PTAC on their side
Luna also helped them navigate DHS’ Customs & Border Protection Border Enforcement Contracting Division proposal from beginning to end. Pricing became a major concern for Border Tactical since they had never priced or had been part of pricing a multi-year agreement. Using the existing award as a baseline, plus market research on past awards, they realized DHS had been extending pricing year to year without annual cost-of-doing-business increases. At the time of their new bid submission, the submission’s pricing was almost double of the prior award.
The PTAC advisor assured Border Tactical their pricing was correct, plus became instrumental on assisting in writing their Scope of Work for this bid. Luna’s confidence in the company gave them the reassurance they needed to submit both a fair and competitive offer.
On March 9, 2022 Border Tactical was awarded the contract with three option years and with the annual escalators. Chastain shared how she’s highly satisfied with PTAC’s consulting, especially since the business has been awarded several contracts totaling over $751K.