Kleinco Construction first felt the effects of the economic downturn on the commercial side, which in 2008 made up 35% of the companys business. President Ken Klein says that the local economy has stagnant business and retail industries, with 1,000 manufacturing jobs lost at a glass plant that makes patio door replacement glass and auto windshields, and at a steel plant that makes rebar for the construction industry.
“Until we create jobs, we will live off the stimulus,” Klein says. “It’s an artificial demand that is unhealthy. If we can create jobs, that will be an extremely good thing. At that point consumers will start to gain confidence.”
Home values in Tulsa, Okla., have not substantially declined, but many homeowners — even those with cash in the bank and good home equity — are reluctant to move forward with projects.
Klein is adjusting, as he has in past recessions, by streamlining production, hiring more subcontractors, and using technology to do work more efficiently. He’s also looking into social media as a less costly way to market.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.