Nick Pugh saw an opportunity to start a business based on a revolutionary idea: to be the nice guys in the hunting industry. He founded Texas Silencer Company with his childhood friend Seth, and based on the way their business is booming, nice guys finish first. We sat down with Nick to learn more about his inspirations, what he tells fellow entrepreneurs and how he saves on electricity.

What inspired you to be a business owner?

My childhood friend-turned-business-partner Seth and I were both hunters and saw a particular niche in the market that wasn’t being filled. I thought, “Silencers don’t look too complicated to make (as it turned out, that was a naive assumption on my part). If we had a company with nice guys, we’d probably do pretty well.” After about 18 months of intense research, we put together a business plan and presented it to investors as a health and safety benefit for hunters and sports shooters. We ventured into a growth rate exceeding any other industry in the U.S. over the past 10 years – close to 1,400%.

How is electricity critical to your daily operation?

We use machine techniques that exceed aerospace standards and we count on increasing demand, so it’s expensive if we’re down for a day. We never want to be put in a position of chasing somebody if we have a problem.

How does TXU Energy help you run a smarter business?

Everything TXU Energy says they’ll do, they do. That may seem trivial, but sometimes getting a vendor to do what they tell you they’re going do is like pulling teeth.

This year we needed to make some upgrades to our facility’s power grid over Memorial Day weekend. I contacted TXU Energy that Thursday to get a disconnection. I had no idea when the electricians would be finished but knew I’d need a reconnect right away, which could have been a hassle on a holiday. TXU Energy coordinated directly with Oncor on our behalf every step of the way.  

When you have the fortitude to put Texas in the name of your company, you’re adopting everything that Texas means: honesty, integrity, dignity, a quality product, a hand shake and a fair deal. I like to think we have that in common with TXU Energy.

What’re your favorite energy saving practices?

We put a reflective barrier on all our roll-up doors and make sure our building’s insulated and doesn’t bleed cold air. We also run air conditioners at a certain temperature so that there aren’t wild swings trying to cool the facility down, which helps with energy efficiency and production quality.

What advice would you give a new business owner?

Do the research. Find out what works, what doesn’t work, why the industry grows, and everything there is to know about the industry and your competitors.

How do you plan to use your TXU Energy Business Cash Rewards?

Since Seth and I are best friends running a business together doing what we’ve loved to do since we met in the ‘80s (hunting, fishing, hiking and camping), we’ll probably go to Shot Show, an industry trade show in Vegas to continue our research.