Jeff Happe (right) and his father, Fred (center), began doing a mix of plumbing, roofing, and remodeling work 20 years ago without much of a business plan in place. But after a successful direct-mail marketing campaign got things rolling, the duo has since built a reputable — and profitable — business.

A few years after the company's inception, Jeff's younger brother, Ray (left), was hired as an estimator, and the company moved out of Fred's garage and into its current office space.

These days the company does about 60% commercial remodeling, but its bread and butter is still residential work. “In 2006 a tornado ripped through here and we were running as many residential remodels as we could handle,” Jeff says. “We were pushing our favorite jobs all year and our margins reflected that.”

In preparation for Fred's retirement, the company recently hired a production coordinator to oversee construction (the company usually runs 30 to 40 jobs at a time), giving Fred “the freedom to come and go as he pleases,” Jeff says.

Fears of a down market in 2008 haven't yet made their way to Happe & Sons Construction — the company is already outpacing its 2007 figures.

- Chris Keimig