Every big company has its start.
Some businesses start from an idea to make a better product, which is the case of Johnnie Stoker, the founder of the Henderson-based K2 Energy.
In 2006, Stoker wanted to change the way batteries were made in the United States. His company started in the Henderson Business Resource Center, a business incubator that assists startup companies, before growing into its headquarters at 1125 American Pacific Drive.
Stewart Graham, vice president of operations, said the company grew from the research and development side and began offering customers a product within six to eight months.
"By 2007 we had products to send to our customers," Graham said.
K2 Energy makes lithium iron phosphate batteries, which address four issues in lithium technology: safety, life, power and the environment.
"We make energy and power cells," said Lysle Oliveros, marketing manager for K2 Energy. "We also make a larger battery that replaces the lead acid battery with 30 percent less weight."
Oliveros said the difference between the energy and power cell would be equivalent to a distance runner, the energy, and a sprinter, the power.
"One is for duration and can last a while," Oliveros said.
Oliveros said batteries at K2 Energy last three times as long as other batteries and are environmentally safe.
"You think of the typical lead acid battery, made of lead and acid," Oliveros said.
Those components, Oliveros added, can be harmful to the environment if disposed of incorrectly.
"Ours is lithium iron phosphate," Oliveros said. "Iron and phosphate are just minerals."
Stoker said because the company's products last longer, fewer batteries should end up in landfills.
K2 Energy has a diverse clientele base from around the world.
"A bulk of our contracts come from military, the medical field and storage," Oliveros said.
Graham said K2 Energy picked up a contract about a year ago to work with California utility companies. The company has provided a boom truck, a utility vehicle with an extendable arm mounted to the roof used to operate on things such as telephone lines, with its technology.
Graham said the company continues to develop more technology-driven ideas for the future.
"We have some exciting breakthroughs we hope to launch in the next few years," Graham said. "They will be a real game-changer."
As much as the company is proud of its technology advances, another K2 Energy accomplishment was surviving economic hardships.
When the company started, Graham said, it had only two employees.
"Now we have over a hundred people," Graham said.
While its headquarters is in Henderson, K2 Energy has two factories in China where the battery cells are built. The batteries then are sent to the headquarters, where the rest of production occurs and quality tests take place.
Stoker said he hopes to open a facility in Henderson that could handle 100 percent of the production needs.
"This will not only bring jobs to Southern Nevada, it will bring a technology sector to the city I don't think we have," Graham said.
For more information, visit peakbattery.com.
While some companies have a basic idea, other businesses, such as pediped footwear, begin out of necessity.
Pediped, which also is Henderson-based, started when Angela and Brian Edgeworth had their first daughter Caroline in 2004.
"We were looking for shoes that were comfortable and stylish for her," Angela Edgeworth said. "The only thing on the market at the time was more of a sock."
The ideal shoe was something that was soft on the sole, comfortable and healthy for her feet. Since Edgeworth couldn't find anything, she made a prototype that fit her specifications.
They showcased their shoe at the California Gift Show in Los Angeles, a convention where new merchandise is displayed, to see what people's reactions would be. The idea grew into a startup company.
"I thought if had 20 stores that carried us by the end of the year it would be considered a job well done," Edgeworth said.
Instead, about 350 stores carried the product.
"Then it grew to 1,000," Edgeworth said. "It expanded quickly."
Edgeworth said pediped quickly outgrew its manufacturing facility that produced 1,000 pairs of shoes a month because it was getting orders for more than 25,000 a month.
"Our customers are a loyal bunch," Edgeworth said.
As Edgeworth's children have grown, so has her line, which features more than 120 designs.
The product is broken up into three categories: the originals for children up to 2, Grip 'n' Go for children 9 months to 3 years old and Flex for children 1 to 8 years old.
The company's most recent development is an athletic line.
"This is new for us and doing well so far," Edgeworth said.
This fall, Edgeworth said, pediped plans to launch a winter boot that is cold weather and waterproof.
In 2013, the company plans to add a women's line. The brand is three years in the making.
"Tons of parents and moms kept asking when we would make a shoe for them," Edgeworth said. "We think we can deliver on that."
Edgeworth said they probably won't add a men's line.
"You never know," Edgeworth said. "Men are just a lot harder to market to."
The product is assembled in China and shipped back to the Henderson headquarters. From there, pediped completes orders from its warehouse.
The company ships to about 45 countries from Canada and the United Kingdom to Singapore and China. There are nine storefronts in China.
Nationally, pediped is sold in department stores, children's boutiques and specialty stores. In 2010, pediped opened a storefront in Henderson next to its corporate office, 1191 Center Point Drive.
"We used to sell our product in a store called The Shoe Box before it closed," Edgeworth said.
Pediped kept getting requests from locals to open a location.
"They would call and ask if they could buy from our corporate headquarters," Edgeworth said. "We would have to turn them away."
Edgeworth was worried they didn't have enough products to warrant opening a store. But the demand kept growing, and the shop opened.
Edgeworth plans to open a second store at Town Square Las Vegas in 2013.
In the next few years, the company is looking to open 20 to 25 stores nationwide.
For more information, visit pediped.com.
While they might not have started in Henderson, other companies have set up in the city.
Ethel M Chocolates, which operates at 1 Sunset Way, opened in 1981.
Forrest Mars Sr. retired to Henderson and created Ethel M Chocolates to honor his mother, Ethel. Mars brought the recipes his mother produced in her kitchen in Washington starting in 1911.
The company offers products true to the original recipe along with new treats.
The factory is also a tourist destination, giving about 700,000 people a year a peek inside the chocolate-making process.
Ethel M is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and has tours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information, visit ethelm.com.
Ocean Spray, which has a factory at 1301 American Pacific Drive, was started in 1930 by three cranberry growers. The company started with a canned jellied cranberry sauce and moved on to make juices, including its original cranberry juice cocktail.
Ocean Spray opened its Henderson plant in 1994 to assist in manufacturing and warehousing its products.
William Garcia, the plant manager, said the Henderson base produces juice blends to distribute to the Southwest, including California, Arizona and Colorado. The concentrate for the juice is shipped to Henderson, where it is mixed, bottled and packaged.
"It's about a two-hour process from beginning to end," Garcia said.
The plant has the capacity to bottle 10-, 12-, 15.2-, 60- and 64-ounce containers.
"But the 64-ounce is our bread and butter," Garcia said. "It is about 80 percent of our business."
Garcia said the company also has an alliance agreement with corporations such as Tree Top that allows the companies to work together. For example, Ocean Spray will send its concentrate to the Tree Top plant in Washington for distribution to that region, and Tree Top will send its product to the Henderson plant for distribution to the southwest United States. Ocean Spray has the same agreement with Nestle, Garcia said.
For more information, visit oceanspray.com.
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at email@example.com or 387-5201.