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Keith Hillen has started plenty of businesses since he created a detailed plan for his life at age 14.

But even though the life plan has unfolded much as the founder of E Complete, LLC envisioned it when he was a teen, he hadn’t made allowances for a fast-growing company that would grow from a dinnertime conversation.

Prep And Save was planned as an online business. But sales from an obscure retail location on Linda Way in a Sparks industrial neighborhood have kept the little company so busy that its management just recently flipped the switch on a Web site.

The retailer’s niche: Supplies that folks need to prepare for survival in case of natural disaster, terror attacks, or severe financial crisis.

It sells MREs (meals-ready-to-eat) and canned foods especially prepared for many years of shelf life. Ingenious water storage containers and purification gear. Solar-powered chargers and generator systems. The $89.95 Apocalypse Deterrence Kit that combines a knife with a machete. And that most indispensible piece of modern-day survival gear: Rolls of duct tape.

Since the launch of Prep And Save as a traditional retail outlet in September, the business has done “exceedingly well,” says Hillen, and the company expects to get into overdrive now that it is online. The business grew from conversation around a table at a holiday party, he says. An employee’s spouse had recently read “One Second After”, a novel by William Forstchen that deals with the effects of electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States.

As the staffer recounted tales from the novel to a transfixed group of employees, Hillen began contemplating the business angles.

“Most people haven’t sat down and thought about this,” he says. Today, after sitting down and thinking about it, Hillen is a strong believer in the need for Americans to prepare.

For him, Prep And Save is part business, part missionary endeavor to spread the word. And he’s not one to worry much about how a new business fits into some logical growth of E Complete LLC, the online division of Complete Business Systems International, Inc. of Upland, California. The company has been a wholesaler and distributor of a variety of business and consumer products since 1983. Its’ Shoe Inn unit has grown fast as it sells an efficient way to get shoe covers on the feet of workers in clean rooms and other sensitive environments.

Another unit operating in Sparks, Restored Living, is an online retailer of aids ranging from canes to amplified telephones for seniors and people with disabilities.

Yet another CBS company, Enviroblind in Anaheim, sells roll-up security shutters and sunscreens.