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Dream Teams

Joining forces with a supplier can be a boon to business on both sides.

This story appears in the June 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Katharine Kent founded The Solar Store 10 years ago, the company worked mostly on upgrading existing homes to . "Originally, we were almost 100 percent retrofit," says Kent, 49. "We were dealing directly with the homeowner."

Things began to change for the Tucson, Arizona, company four years ago. Homebuilder Pulte Homes had just bought land in a Tucson subdivision where a mandate required the company to outfit the 1,500 homes it planned to build over five years with solar heating and electricity. Pulte needed a supplier's help to install the solar equipment and learn how it works.

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