Business name: A-1 Security Metal Fab Inc.Owners: Debbie and Patrick Thomas. Address: 6123 N.E. 63rd St.What the business does: A-1 is a welding shop that specializes in ornamental iron railing, fences and light metal fabrication. The company also is a distributor for a generic aluminum railing system. A-1 is a licensed contractor in Washington and Oregon.How has the economy affected your business: The business took a huge hit, longtime employee Jim Evans said. He said the business started with two people in a garage. Business increased every year and hit $1 million in sales after nine years and four years ago achieved $2 million in sales. But, Evans said, two years ago the bottom fell out and sales dropped to $700,000. Employees were cut from 10 to five.Greatest challenge: Before the economy turned, Evans said business was booming and the biggest challenge was keeping up. One of the metal company’s clients was selling more than 1,000 homes a year, which in turn resulted in A-1 getting a lot of business. They had to turn away customers because their facility wasn’t large enough to produce more. Now the biggest challenge, Evans said, is finding work. There is almost no new construction. He said the company used to be backed up for six months and now it is about six weeks.What’s ahead: Evans said the company has always paid 100 percent of medical insurance for employees, including their families, but now is worried they might not be able to continue that practice. The company is concerned about future taxes and what is happening in the housing industry. Evans said there is one positive for his company: there will always be dry rot in this area and he has work replacing the damaged wood with steel.Year established in Clark County: July 7, 1985.Employees: Five. Telephone: 360-696-2722.Fax: 360-696-9521.E-mail: [email protected]: No.Hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.