Case Studies

Blue & Associates Inc.

Meeting the construction needs of the fast-growing Austin market

Headquartered in the country’s fastest-growing city, Blue & Associates Inc. (B&A) is a design/build general contracting and construction management company committed to helping clients around Austin, Texas, meet the needs of a booming market.

Working primarily in the commercial construction market with a niche in the retail sector, B&A is helping to build the restaurants, shops, and mixed-used developments required to serve the estimated 1,000 new residents who choose to call Austin home each week.

Blue & Associates Inc

Founded in 1999, the company works throughout Central Texas with occasional forays into markets as far afield as Florida and Nebraska for longstanding clients. While projects outside of the Lone Star State once encompassed as much as 30 percent of B&A’s work, B&A has since decided to primarily stick to its hometown where there is more than enough work to go around. “Things have slowed down in other parts of the country, but not in Austin,” says Thomas Jay, president and CEO of B&A.

As a provider of comprehensive construction services, B&A specializes in new construction, remodeling/repair, project organization, drawing and design consultation as well as permit management bid process initiation/supervision. The company is fully equipped to handle every step of a project from subcontractor selection and contract negotiation to scheduling control, administration, accounting and reporting — standing behind its work well after the last truck has left the job site.

A place at the table

While Austin is known for its vibrant live music scene, it has earned equal acclaim for its rising profile as a destination for foodies. “There are a lot of fun restaurants popping up, as well as new eateries sponsored by different chefs; we’re seeing a lot of that,” says Thomas.

B&A has leaned into this trend in recent years, developing a specialty in the construction of restaurants for a number of regionally beloved chains such as P. Terry’s Burgers. The company completed their first P. Terry’s location in 2011 and has since built five more throughout the Austin area. “That’s a popular Burger Stand down here and it’s just going gangbusters,” says Thomas.

Other notable food and drink destinations that B&A are proud to have in their portfolio include Uchiko, a Japanese farm table concept by James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef Tyson Cole; Thundercloud Subs, a very well received, local sandwich shop that gives back tremendously to the local community; and Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, a wine and cheese market and eatery that is very popular among the foodie network.

On the retail side, B&A found success in its partnership with Sheplers, a Texas-based clothing company selling western wear and cowboy boots. B&A completed 11 projects for Sheplers across the U.S. before the company was purchased by rival Bootbarn in 2015. B&A worked to quickly establish a relationship with Bootbarn, and has since completed nine projects for the company.

The acquisition of Sheplers by Bootbarn reflects an overall trend toward smaller retail locations that Thomas has seen gain traction as of late. While Sheplers new retail locations were usually as large as 20,000 square feet, the typical Bootbarn location was half the size at just 10,000 square feet.

“Retail is getting a little smaller and more condensed,” says Thomas. ”Coupled with E-Commerce many retailers are moving to smaller spaces to save on overhead”

A bright horizon

B&A has established a reputation as a general contractor that knows how to respect a deadline. B&A prides themselves on getting projects completed on time and on budget, reducing scheduling headaches for clients and ensuring their repeat business.

This approach is reflected right down to B&A’s choice in subcontractors, who are chosen in large part for their ability to adhere to a strict timeline. “We typically try to align with a team that we feel is advantageous to the way we like to run projects, which is pretty fast and efficient,” Thomas says.

The current construction boom has led to a dearth of qualified local subcontractors and workers in Austin in recent years.  “Typically we’re hiring seasoned veterans, but we’ve hired quite a few younger people who have the ability to learn and develop skills essential to the philosophy of B&A” says Thomas.

In response to the robust local market opportunities, B&A has added to its workforce in recent years with plans for further expansion in the near future. “The goal is to grow by staffing up accordingly and upping infrastructure,” he says. “Human Capital is one of the greatest resources at the present time”.

Thomas credits the unprecedented growth in the local market as a factor that is allowing B&A to take on larger and larger projects. Thanks to a strong reputation in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities and a niche in just the types of businesses looking to locate there, Blue & Associates Inc. will maintain its status as a leading general contractor and construction management company in Austin, Texas.

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