In 2004, the Hiltons (Big50 2003) closed their Kansas remodeling business and moved to Florida. They both worked for a local remodeler for a few years but were laid off in February 2008 due to the market downturn.
They then spent six months helping set up a direct-sales division for a lighting company. In July, they researched purchasing a Case franchise, but with banks tightening lending, they were not able to secure a loan. “It’s a great organization with great people. We just could not make the numbers work,” Troy says. Instead, they decided to start another remodeling company, and they set up an office for New Leaf Construction with a storefront and small warehouse space. They plan to start with small projects and handyman work. “We’re concentrating on making alliances with real estate agents and banks,” Troy says, noting that foreclosure rates are high, and banks will need to prepare houses for resale.
Real estate agents have told the Hiltons that they are selling more houses — but for less money. “The agents say buyers are getting [houses] cheaper, so they have the ability to fix them up and need turnkey work,” Candi says.
Since 35% of the houses in Naples are second homes, future plans include capturing that market with design/build services. Click here to read the blog about the Hiltons' first six months of setting up a new company. —Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.