People who see him on a jobsite sometimes ask Bob Little if he’s there to lend his son Gage a hand. He tells them yes, “about 60 hours a week’s worth.” The Little family is synonymous with renovation and building in Port Townsend, a historic town two hours northwest of Seattle.
G Little builds a broad range of projects and is well-known for providing exacting in-house craftsmanship. To deliver that, the company maintains a staff of carpenters who do all of the framing, finish work, and set the doors and windows.
In addition, G Little supplies cabinetry from its in-house cabinet shop (while also offering the option of three different cabinet lines it represents).
Little, 66, says that he has no intention of walking away from the building business. “I love it. It’s kind of what I do.”
- Committed to providing family wage level employment for the skilled local carpenters who take its jobs in hand. “We don’t go out and get a bunch of work and hire people to do it,” Bob Little says. “We are the opposite of that. We have a level of work we can manage with our staff and keep them working year round.”
- Spends a lot of time educating prospective clients, i.e., carefully qualifying clients through its design and budgeting process. “The worst thing we could do is lead you down a path where the project is $1 million and you only have $500,000. That’s not healthy for anybody.”
- Has developed a highly specialized niche building “floating homes” and is currently working on its fourth. This started when a client who lived on a houseboat in Seattle contracted for a 4,000-square-foot custom home that was 80% glass and asked G Little if the company would consider building him a floating home as well. The current project features 10-inch thick walls and a window below the water line.
- Is active in an NAHB-sponsored Builder Twenty group, where Little says he found it “quite eye opening” to realize that of the 20 companies represented, “only three have a crew” and the rest have gone to project management and all trades.