Cathy and Rich Gaspar know well that their personalities set the tone for their team. Before Rich (seated, left) founded the company, which specializes in high-end kitchens and baths, and before Cathy (seated, right) joined it in 1990, each slaved under dysfunctional bosses. Now, the owners believe that by nurturing employee relationships and by treating staff as leaders who deserve respect, they forge a workplace where everyone—customers and suppliers included—celebrates achievement.

“We really end up being family with our clients,” Rich says. Employees, too. Gaspar’s main superintendent recently told Rich why he stays when with his skills he could work anywhere: “Because you let me do my best.”

Further helping drive Gaspar’s crew are fun projects, which range from $50,000 to $700,000. Cathy makes them more interesting through her interior and architectural design. But she also brings business sense to design. “I understand the client’s budget and stick to it,” she says. Her husband says he’s game for any project—as long as it makes fiscal sense. “But there’s gotta be smiles,” he says. “If there’s no smiles, there’s no benefit.”