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Chris Claybrook is no stranger to serving and protecting those around him. With a background in military and law enforcement, he purchased EF-5 Shelters in July of 2022 to continue pursuing his passion of offering safety and security to his community. EF-5 Shelters has over 30 years of experience in building and installing tornado shelters for Texas Panhandle residents.

Chris came to the SBDC in 2021 looking for guidance and assistance as he was seeking to purchase EF-5 Shelters from its founder. Chris worked closely with Shane Groff, SBDC Business Consultant, on completing a valuation and business plan. He was able to successfully purchase EF-5 Shelters in July of 2022!

We caught up with Chris to learn more about what EF-5 Shelters is up to and what advice he has for other small businesses.


Year started: EF-5 has been in business in the Texas Panhandle for over 30 years, I purchased the company from the founder in July of 2022.

How did EF-5 Shelters get its start: EF-5 Shelters got its start over 30 years ago in the Texas Panhandle. My passion has always been to protect and serve in anyway I can which is why I chose my previous jobs in the military and law enforcement. I became interested in purchasing EF-5 because I wanted to continue offering safety and security to my community and also to leave a legacy for my children.

Favorite memory in the business: So far my favorite memory is bringing my daughters out to the shop and seeing their faces light up with excitement at the thought of owning a business. That memory is part of my “why."

Most rewarding part of running a small business: Creating something that can be passed onto my children and their families.

Hardest part of running a small business: The hardest part of owning a business is for me to remember that there are employees to do some of the work. I have a hard time trying to do a lot of the work myself and not delegating. 

How does the business get to positively impact your community: EF-5 is able to offer our community a sense of peace and safety from the threat of tornados by providing the shelters we build and install.

Biggest challenge in the business: The biggest challenge in my business is time management.  I struggle to manage my time between my wife, kids, and business at times.  It is something that my wife has to help me with a lot.

What makes EF-5 Shelters different from your competition: EF-5 is focused on providing a product and service that leaves our customers absolutely satisfied when we leave their homes.  We focus on providing exceptional customer service before during and after the purchase of our shelters. It isn’t just about financial gain.

Best tip for others in business: I would say to others to remember your “why” for going into business in the beginning, and to not let yourself become overwhelmed with the things beyond your control.

Favorite current podcast: My favorite current podcast is “Unashamed” by Phil Robertson.

If you had to pick one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be? Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cherry cheesecake for dessert.

Visit EF-5 Shelters' website and keep up with all that they're doing on Facebook!

EF-5 Shelters
Chris Claybrook

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