Bunker Mentality Makes One Texan Rich and Famous.
Clyde Scott didn’t expect to be so busy or so popular. He started building underground bunkers during the Obama administration for clients who feared the government would try to take away their property and their guns. But the election of Donald Trump has only increased business by bringing him a new set of clientele - Californians and New Yorkers afraid of nuclear war. “This is really our first year, since Donald Trump has gotten into office, that we‘ve had liberals coming out of the woodwork to protect themselves,” the 38-year-old Texan said. “Business went out the roof, I’d say 500 to 700 percent in one month.”
The change has not gone unnoticed. Scott and his Rising S Company (named for Jesus Christ, “the rising Son”) have become famous. Scott and his Dallas-based manufacturing plant have appeared in major newspapers and network television. His multi-million dollar bunkers with lap pools and gun rooms have become subplots for popular TV shows like Showtime’s “Billions.” Tabloids even reported he’s building a bunker for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, something Scott won’t talk about. “What’s really important about having your shelter is the secrecy of it.”
The idea of building bunkers which can survive a nuclear bomb was supposed to be only a niche business for Scott, who already made a decent living building storm shelters. It started eight years ago, when a woman asked him to build a really big storm shelter. “I’m like, ‘What do you mean ‘really big?‘ She’s like, ‘I want it 40 feet in length.‘”
Scott realized that wasn’t a shelter, that was a bunker. “Before I finished that one, someone else had ordered one. Before I finished that next one, someone else ordered one.” Scott eventually took $3 million from his storm shelter business to create the bunker business.
Nuclear war was always coming
Building survivalist bunkers fits Scott’s personality. “I was raised as a prepper,” he said. “Nuclear war was always coming.” He remains concerned that war is imminent, that an attack will take down the grid, that stores will soon be cleared of food and supplies, and that people will then turn on each other. “We are the longest living government in the history of the world without a complete collapse, the United States,” Scott said solemnly. “It’s our time.”
It’s also his time. Rising S has a backlog of work stretching more than a year. “I’ve put in more tunnels and underground bunkers than El Chapo.” The most popular bunker he sells measures 500 square feet and costs $125,000. It’s set 11 feet underground and topped by four feet of dirt and one foot of concrete. Inside are bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, large pantry, along with an air filtration system, solar power, hidden doors, reinforced locks, and water purifiers which connect to an underground tank. Everything is off the grid, and everything is made from stainless steel.
Scott said his biggest mistake was not expanding quickly enough. “I woke up one day and I told my wife, ‘I really need to buy a new machine--it was for breaking metal--but it’s $40,000.‘” He wasn’t sure he should take the risk. His wife asked him about his backlog, and Scott told her he had four months’ work. “She’s like, ‘Then why wouldn’t you buy it?‘ I was like, ‘I don't know, I’m scared every day that business isn’t going to grow.‘”
Last year Rising S did $9 million in sales.
$10 million elaborate underground man caves
The most expensive bunkers he builds are often vanity pieces for their wealthy owners. “I’m working on one right now in California, for example, that you pull into a metal building, you hit a button, and the elevator lets your car down and you drive into your shelter.”
Scott recently sold a $3.5 million bunker that measures 5,500 square feet, and he’s currently negotiating with a celebrity to build one worth more than $10 million. These bunkers are elaborate underground man caves. “I’ve done a shelter for a dentist, and the entire theme for his bunker was to literally go hide from his wife and get drunk.”
Rising S employs 25 full-time workers in two facilities outside Dallas, and the company is starting to build bunkers for overseas customers. Scott said he’s been offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to franchise the business, but he’s turned the money down, preferring to retain complete control. “This is supposed to save someone’s life. If it doesn’t do its job, the casualty is going to be death.”
There’s only one thing which Clyde Scott believes could slow business: a peaceful world. “The more politicians talk, the busier I get.”