FREELITE, which began in Tucson in 1977 under the name "Desert Living," was not founded by businessmen. We were seven friends in our twenties, well-educated but naive, with big ideas and varying levels of carpentry experience. We were not particularly money-driven, and we were poorly capitalized, but we were resourceful and we were persistent. Our goal was to build an organization that would provide a livelihood for ourselves and for others while materially impacting our customers in a beneficial way. The company was to be a vehicle for making a mark on the world. We quickly learned that it wasn't easy to start and sustain a business. We tried landscaping, and then greenhouse building, and made very little money in those early years. Eventually we stumbled on a new product, skylights, that was just coming into vogue, and we were able to ride the wave of a new trend in home improvement: opening up interior spaces to natural light. More
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