Case Studies

Dave Fox Remodeling Inc.

Mutual Success through Complete Employee Ownership

The designers, salespeople and remodel installers who work for Dave Fox Remodeling Inc. (Dave Fox) truly enjoy coming into work every day. The culture at the Columbus-based company is unlike many others in the industry because of the hands-on, 100 percent employee ownership and cooperation.

Dave Fox’s 31 employees combine to deliver skilled residential remodeling and interior design, working to ensure mutual success. “Our company culture is attractive to people,” reveals Gary Demos, president of Dave Fox. “We have a great reputation in this area, and people want to work here.”

Demos joined the Dave Fox team in 1993 after many years of running a business. “When I was just 19 years old, I founded my first company,” recalls Demos. “I ran it for about 13 years until I decided I was ready for a change and moved my family to Portland, Ore. We stayed out there for about four years before coming back to Columbus. Columbus is my hometown; I always knew I wanted to come back eventually.”

A Close-knit Company Culture

The strong-knit community and overall company personality at Dave Fox is shared amongst all employees. “We make it a priority to have company events, as well as gatherings outside of work; we’re all very close,” adds Demos.

The idea for employee ownership began with company founder and namesake, Dave Fox, who established the business in 1982 and retired in 2005. “When Dave retired he knew he wanted the company to continue beyond him,” shares Demos. “He didn’t have family that could take over, so he wanted to leave it up to his trusted employees. We started out with about 66 percent employee ownership in 1997. By 2003, we had a 100 percent employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).”

Demos reveals the ESOP not only fosters a collaborative company spirit, but also has tax advantages for employees. “Essentially, the ESOP is also our retirement plan,” he explains. “The employees pay normal income tax on their wages, but there is no tax on their stock value until they take the money out. The company pays no federal tax since all of the profits eventually end up in the retirement plan or in wages. For example, we have to undergo an annual valuation, but for the most part it’s a better investment for everyone. As a result, we have very little employee turnover.”

Service, From Beginning to End

Dave Fox services the greater Columbus area, specializing in the high-end residential design-build arena. “We provide design expertise and quality on the construction side,” details Demos. “We’re easily the largest design-build firm in the area and we truly provide a beginning to end service ideal for new homeowners.”

From major kitchen and bathroom renovations to basement finishes and room additions, Dave Fox has the home remodeling bases covered, taking the headache out of finding the most appealing design and products for the job. The company was even recognized by the National Association of Remodeling Industries (NARI) for a whole house remodel in 2012.

Dave Fox won the NARI award for assisting Patty and Terry Jones with their 20-year-old home in Ohio’s Wedgewood community. According to the NARI press release, Patty knew she wanted to brighten the home, doing away with the heavy oak trim and cabinetry. “I knew I wanted white because the kitchen was so dark and uninviting,” she admits. “We had to turn the lights on even on a bright, sunny summer day.”

The couple went with white cabinets, an island, subway tile for a backsplash and a light gray granite countertop. “I wanted it to feel crisp, clean, bright and cheery,” she says. Bryce Jacob, vice president of Dave Fox, explains how the company’s designers helped the Jones’ create the kitchen of their dreams.

“If you go with a dark floor and dark cabinets, well that’s going to make for a dark kitchen,” says Jacob. “Light cabinets require less light; you’ll instantly have a brighter space to work with even if there isn’t a lot of natural light hitting the room.”

In addition to white cabinets, Dave Fox’s design team has noticed more homeowners are moving toward lighter granite, quartz or even marble countertops, replacing heavy brown or reddish granites that have long been the shade of choice.

Operating as a one-stop shop for quality home remodels has given Dave Fox the competitive edge needed to survive a troubling economic situation. According to Demos, the outlook for the next few years is positive. “In 2006, we did about $6 million in revenue with 50 employees,” he reveals. “We’re back up to that number now with just 31 employees; I think that tells the story. The last 12 months have been really good, sales are coming in and our crews are busy.”

The Dave Fox team continues to provide trusted design-build installations based on a foundation of cooperation. Additionally, the company’s employee stock ownership plan enhances a collaborative spirit where everyone is part of each Dave Fox Remodeling Inc. success.

Published on: July 2, 2013

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