Patience and Persistence Key to Potential $2 Million Sales Growth

There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Anything that results in sustainable growth requires patience and persistence. But the payoff can be substantial. That’s the lesson learned by Black Cat Wear Parts, a company that started working with CIRAS four years ago and is now poised to see increased sales of more than $2 million annually. 

A Black Cat Wear Parts employee, right, instructs a high school student during a job shadow event. They are using a vertical CNC mill to slot and drill a snowplow blade.

Black Cat Wear Parts manufactures and distributes high-quality wear parts for the construction, mining, and road maintenance industries. In 2018, their DeWitt, Iowa, location identified a market that would allow them to grow using existing assets. 

“There were several OEM producers of snow removal equipment in the Midwest region,” said Josh Daniel, plant manager at Black Cat Wear Parts. “So, while our location was originally established to better serve our single largest customer in the construction industry, there were local opportunities to gain market share in a different segment of the business.” 

Daniel reached out to CIRAS for assistance in understanding whether the market adjacency made sense for Black Cat Wear Parts. CIRAS project manager C.J. Osborn researched the contractor-sized snowplow market and provided a snapshot of his findings to Daniel. That led to Daniel’s participation in a strategic marketing boot camp sponsored by CIRAS and the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce in 2019. 

CIRAS project manager Paul Gormley led the boot camp Daniel attended. Now available on-demand and online, the camp helps participants understand marketing best practices and offers step-by-step instruction in developing and documenting a strategic marketing plan. Daniel also received personal coaching from Osborn, who helped Daniel follow up on leads as well. 


“Through the boot camp, I was able to learn how to use important tools like research and analysis, strategic development, and tactical implementation,” Daniel said, adding that the tools were critical in helping Black Cat Wear Parts move into an adjacent market. 

Patience, persistence, and a partnership with CIRAS paid off almost from the beginning. Daniel reported that the project has grown annually. In 2021, new sales were about $440,000 and employee headcount increased by 2 people. The company has also been asked to submit a production sample that could lead to $2 million in new sales annually. 

Daniel credits CIRAS with helping Black Cat Wear Parts move successfully into the contractor-sized snowplow market. 

“The team at CIRAS has been great to work with, going back to our first project in 2016,” he said. “Whether it’s just lending an ear or helping me find solutions, they’re always quick to respond and have been a pleasure to work with.” 

For more, contact C.J. Osborn at or 641-840-0505.