Charlie Gallick went to school for graphic design and owned a printing company before starting are modeling business in 1989. His design sense is evident in an award-winning portfolio that constitutes just one piece of a broader strategy for toughing it out in one of the nation’s most competitive remodeling markets.

Evolving with his clientele is another key element of Gallick’s success. In Loudon County, Va., where home values have sharply declined, Gallick foresaw the downturn before it hit and “started tightening the wheels,” he says. He established a companywide plan to reduce overhead expenses while continuing to expand his knowledge base and marketing reach. His new green certification, for instance, will help clients save money on home-energy and maintenance costs. A handyman division accommodates demand for smaller projects such as window replacements.

And a concise marketing plan is resulting in more and stronger leads, as well as careful follow-up on all prospects and clients. Home shows, a referral incentive program, and savings coupons for past clients are all part of Gallick’s understanding that “we have our ups and downs, like any company,” he says, “but we know how to get through it.”

- Leah Thayer