Baystate Services Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Baystate Services Inc. (BSI) began in 1988 as a small wall covering contractor in Massachusetts. Jeff Snyder and Donna Leonardo founded BSI, which soon diversified by adding painting and floor-covering services before taking on major renovation projects in New England.
“That’s when we changed the name from Baystate Wallcoverings to our current name,” says Janice Russo, vice president of finances at BSI. “Primarily we are doing major hotel renovations, although we still have a small painting and wall-covering division.”
According to Janice, what makes BSI different from other contractors is that the company has been in operation for over 25 years. “We have gotten into the niche of hospitality renovation,” she says. “On top of that, while most hotel owners still sub out every little thing, we have put it all together to offer the full package. We have strong relationships with our strategic partners who perform electrical, plumbing, furniture liquidation and anything else needed to complete these contracts.”
With over two decades of experience, the BSI team has gotten used to working on schedules that allow hotels to continue operating while the construction is taking place. “We have it down to a science,” Russo notes, “Phasing through floors and blocking them off when we need to. This business is a lot different from other general contractors building a new structure or working in an unoccupied building. Our clients are still able to generate revenue while the renovation is going on. Sometimes we have to hire multiple crews to get a project done on schedule, but we will do what it takes to have the least impact on our clients’ business as possible.”
BSI subcontracts out all trades for its projects, therefore, the team relies on a network of trusted subcontractors across the country. “It depends on the location, because we complete projects throughout the United States,” Russo explains. “There are some national contractors we work with frequently, because they have a presence like us in the United States, otherwise we go with smaller local contractors and suppliers.”
Russo goes on to note that when BSI began, the company worked almost exclusively in Massachusetts. “Then we spread out into more of New England,” she continues. “Now we have completed projects throughout the United States. We have worked as far as Texas and Minnesota, although we haven’t branched out to the West Coast yet. I think that will come eventually.”
According to Russo, the company has several projects in the works. “We just finished a 1,100-guest room project, the largest we have ever done,” she continues. “That was the Copley Marriott in Boston. Right now, we are working on a hotel project in Westchester, N.Y., for Renaissance. We are doing a full guest suite renovation, as well as the public areas, including the lobby.”
Maintaining a Market Share
The economic downturn dealt serious blows to the hospitality industry. BSI struggled for a few years, but Russo says things are turning around and her team is on track for growth. “The economy tanked and really hit our revenue a few years ago,” she explains. “We had a huge dip, but our revenues are back to where we were before the downturn. Owners in the hotel industry, in order to keep up their brand reputation, have to renovate. It really affects their image if guests are unhappy with their accommodations. That forces the properties to renovate.”
Additionally, according to Russo, people were not traveling as much or staying in hotels throughout the downturn. “Hotels were not generating as much revenue,” she explains. “Many properties put off renovations, which has now resulted in an influx of business.”
Therefore, Russo and the team continued to diversify. “We recently started a new general construction division and we are working to increase that client base,” she continues. “When the economy slowed down, the hotel industry followed, which directly affected our volume of business. We want to diversify so the business is not so specific to the hospitality industry, although that is still our main revenue source. We’re trying to find other ways to supplement that.”
Therefore, BSI has begun renovating assisted-livings properties. “We have established relationships with management companies that own 20 to 30 properties, providing them the same services offered to the hospitality industry,” she continues. “This is the new division that will offer us new sources of revenue.”
All in all, Russo says the market is much better than it was only a few years ago. Relationships are a constant priority and the team has built strong partnerships with major hotel brands across the United States. Baystate Services Inc. is undergoing major growth as the team continues to provide leading professional renovation services to a growing number of customers.
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