Chris Ettel (right) and his father-in-law, Chancey Walker, started VB Contractors in 1988 as a home building company. However, their business plan changed somewhat as undeveloped land in their area became increasingly scarce.

“We made a decision early on that we wanted to stay right at the beach,” Ettel says. “A lot of beach builders ventured inland; we changed our business model and evolved into remodelers.”

The company still builds new homes and even does one spec house every year or so, but remodeling accounted for more than half of the company's volume in 2005. Ettel anticipates that this percentage will only continue to grow in coming years as some homeowners with whom VB Contractors already has a relationship call on the company a second time. “We're already remodeling some of the houses we built years ago,” he says.