Mark Franko (left) and Louis LaFratta (center, with minority owner Dave Gunter on the right) were sole proprietors of separate companies when they met, and over the following months, they found themselves working together (to help each other out with their workloads) so often that it soon made sense for them to officially join forces and open a new business together.

Franko brought his experience in masonry and concrete, while LaFratta had a more extensive background in renovation. The pair were joined the following year by Rick Farinholt, who owned a local cabinet shop (Farinholt has since retired). In their first year, they did around $350,000.

From those humble beginnings, a successful and diverse remodeling company has emerged, and the company plans to hit $10 million in volume in 2006.

In addition to residential remodeling —which constitutes more than 80% of their volume — and the cabinet shop, the company has a handyman division of sorts called FLF Services. It came about as an outgrowth of their remodeling. “The very first job Louis and I did,” Franko says, “the client told us to keep the key to the house,” because there would be more work to do. “Over the years, we've collected quite a few of those keys.” Franko stresses that it's a bit more than a handyman service. “We get into a lot of long-term conversations with homeowners,” he says, explaining that what starts out as a service call often becomes a substantial remodel years down the road.