Case Studies

D.L. Poulin Inc.

Committed to quality construction and client relationships in the Northeast

In 1974, Dave Poulin founded D.L. Poulin Inc. (DLP). Dave grew up in the construction industry, learning and working alongside his father for many years before setting out on his own. Over the last 40 years, DLP has become one of the most trusted contractors in the Northeast United States. Based in Brunswick, Maine, the business employs 20 people and serves as a general contractor on a wide range of commercial projects in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont and New York.

Brent Poulin, Dave’s son, president and current owner, took the reins in 2014. He has worked full time at the family business since 1987, during the summertime throughout his youth. “I grew up in this business,” says Brent. “My grandfather was in residential and light commercial construction and my father started the family business. I have always been around the construction industry in one way or another.”

DLP has maintained a philosophy of providing quality projects on time and within budget. Using this approach, DLP has completed hundreds of successful projects over the years. While DLP has worked in the public sector, most of the company’s work now consists of private commercial work. The company’s target market includes large chain retailers, gas stations, restaurants and banks, among others.

Recent work

The company’s recent work includes everything from small tenant fit-ups to new ground up construction manufacturing plants. DLP has attracted repeat business from major chains and developers, resulting in a portfolio as diverse as the business’ capabilities. From the early days up to the present, the team has constructed unique, high-quality buildings that leave an impact on clients and end users.

In the late 1980s, DLP built a landmark fast food restaurant in Freeport, Maine. Freeport is known mainly as the home of iconic brand L.L. Bean, but has in recent years become a shopping mecca for the Northeast. Quaint Victorian-style buildings dot Main Street and of course, the new McDonalds had to fit the scene.

“This restaurant was designed to fit right in with the local architecture,” Brent explains. “This is the only McDonalds of its kind and looks, from the outside, like a small, classic New England-style home.” The only hint that there are Big Macs inside, of course, is a small wooden sign displaying the iconic golden arches.

In the 1990s, DLP took on the construction of a border station between Vermont and Canada. The large project includes a customs border house to check materials moving in and out of Canada and the United States. Scope of work involved a station through which cars and trucks pass through and check in with agents. In addition, there is a warehouse for the customs operation, as well as a wastewater treatment facility for Border Patrol.

Other projects under the team’s collective belt include dozens of commercial projects. DLP has built a majority of the Applebee’s restaurants in Maine and New Hampshire. In 2012, the company built a Red Robin in Scarborough, Maine, and is currently building another in Manchester, N.H.

“Our biggest client right now is Cumberland Farms,” says Brent. “We have done 55 remodels and 10 brand new stores for the chain in the last three years. We are on Cumberland Farms’ preferred contractor list.”

Building relationships

DLP’s staff mostly consists of project management professionals, although Brent says his team also includes some skilled carpenters. The rest of the work is trusted to a group of proven, reliable subcontractors. “We have very important relationships with our subs, especially when the job is out of state,” Brent elaborates. “We get a lot of referrals and put together teams quickly. We have a network of prequalified subs in New England.”

Relationships are a theme for the business. DLP strives to build lasting connections with clients and strategic partners alike, a quality that keeps a steady influx of work for the team while allowing the company to provide consistent value and quality. These partnerships have kept DLP ahead of other contractors, even throughout the recession. Brent cites the team’s connection with Cumberland Farms as one of the major contracts that have kept his crew busy as the recovery drags on.

Of course, the company would not be able to build and maintain these relationships without a strong team. “We have a very talented staff that knows the business well and do what they need to do to get the job done,” he explains. “I like seeing their pride in their work and pleasing the client at the end of the day. When you love something, it is not really work. We enjoy the challenges that keep this industry interesting.” As the market picks up, the company has no major plans to expand; however, has no intention of slowing on the delivery of quality projects, either. D.L. Poulin Inc. will continue on a steady trajectory, providing consistent quality and professionalism on each new endeavor.

Published on: July 21, 2014

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