- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

WILMINGTON, N.C. (AP) - Summer is the high season for Dry Corp., an innovative Wilmington company that’s all about keeping things, well, dry.

It’s the season when kids get out of school and become active - active enough to sometimes break an arm.

The company’s Dry Pro products seal up those casts, with a sleeve forming a vacuum to keep out the water, explains former podiatrist Roy Archambault, head of the company he started in 1998. It’s something that saves vacations and trips back to the hospital for new casts.

Summer is also the active season for beach- going, surfing and paddleboarding. The company’s Dry Case products help protect smartphones and other devices from the splashings they inevitably get and enable their active use in wet environments - swimming and diving, for instance.

The combination of innovative products and the company’s culture of collaborative ideas and camaraderie are the ingredients for success, said Archambault, called Dr. Arch by his staff. That success was enough to earn the company small business of 2013 by Business North Carolina magazine.

In winter, Dry Corp. employs 15 plus three interns from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In summer, that rises to 30, and Archambault says the total grows every year.

Tucked away in an old warehouse near the Military Cutoff Road entrance to Landfall, some of the company’s winter staff work away with garage doors open to the chilly air. Here is where the products see final assembly and storage.

It’s also where each product is tested up, said Corey Heim, the company’s chief operating officer.

Dry Corp. makes its own molds. Pumps and other parts are assembled on site.

“We have a latex dipper,” Heim said. “We send companies molds and they dip the molds and then send us the rubber boot that comes off it. We put the cap, valve and pump on it.”

Up the stairs is an enclosed board room - an old table seating perhaps a dozen. There, Dr. Arch and Heim explained their two-pronged approach to success.

Archambault said he didn’t start out to make a waterproof sleeve.

“Another person and myself both did a lot of surgery” and needed to keep the sites clean and dry, he said. “It was mainly for our own patients, to keep stuff clean and dry.”

A good idea, Archambault said.

“The Internet had just come out,” he put the product up, “and it just took off,” Archambault said. “We make our own molds. We have PICC line and IV line covers - a nurse suggested it.”

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