Case Studies

E.B. Norris & Son, Inc.: Helping Set Cape Cod’s High Standards

  • Written by: E.B. Norris & Son, Inc.: Helping Set Cape Cod's High Standards
  • Produced by: E.B. Norris & Son, Inc.: Helping Set Cape Cod's High Standards
  • Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Exquisite craftsmanship and an exceptional level of detail have comprised the framework of E.B. Norris & Son Inc.’s (EBNS) success since 1923. Known throughout Massachusetts for its high-quality, high-value homes, EBNS routinely finds itself featured in the pages of some of the nation’s most prestigious publications, including Architectural Digest. With a loyal clientele that has come to expect nothing but the best, the company has thrived amidst nationwide economic woes and amassed annual revenue of $10 million in 2010. The firm set itself on track to perform even better in 2011, building on 88 years of continued excellence and maintaining relationships valuable in ways well beyond dollars and cents.

“We’ve got a lot of nice work lined up this year,” says Craig Ashworth, president and owner of EBNS. Ashworth joined the company in 1971 as a kid fresh out of school, and grew to be a part of the EBNS family thanks to the son of the founder, Brad Norris, and a group of highly skilled carpenters taking him under their wing. Through their tutelage, Ashworth rose quickly through the ranks to become Norris’ successor.

“He was kind enough to give me the opportunity to prove myself as a 23-year-old kid, and I will always be grateful for it,” says Ashworth. “Everyday, I come to work knowing that I have to earn it.”

Earn it, he has. Ashworth continues to build on the success of his predecessor by providing New England region residents with the very best in design project management, renovations, maintenance, concierge service and custom furniture. “We do it all,” he says proudly.

Building Cape Cod Dream Homes

The firm is based out of Osterville, Mass., which is located in Massachusetts’ famed summer-vacation destination Cape Cod. Across this peninsula of beautiful beaches and quaint towns are some of the finest and most luxurious shingle-style cottage homes in the country. Appropriately, upscale summer properties are EBNS’ forte, and the firm helps maintain and even enhance the area’s reputation for homes showcasing an aesthetic of tasteful old-world style residences. The company’s impressive resume includes a wealth of impeccably crafted houses and wine cellars that have garnered EBNS universal acclaim.

Ashworth says he owes much of this success to the trusting and lasting relationships that EBNS has formed over the years. He explains, “We have a very strong network of people. You know what I think the strength of the company is? The people that we have and the relationships that we have. When times are bad, you don’t dump good people. It’s all about making sure everybody gets utilized and remains inspired.”

A Necessary Change

EBNS has been around long enough to have seen the end of the Great Depression, World War II and many economic recessions. The firm is nothing if not resilient. However, the collapse of the housing market starting in 2008 may be its toughest challenge yet.

“It has been an ugly period,” says Ashworth, referring to the recession that has slashed the company’s yearly revenue down from a pre-recession peak of $25 million. “A few people made out alright, but on a whole it did more damage than anything possibly could.”

Although the firm took a significant hit, Ashworth believes the recession was a necessary change for a country and housing industry that has long been building on shaky ground. “This is just a correction,” explains Ashworth. “We were building on a false, shoddy foundation created largely by irresponsible lending and bad policy. Anybody paying attention knew it wasn’t going to last indefinitely.”

With over 40 years of experience in the industry, Ashworth is not phased by this newest set of obstacles. “This is the third or fourth dive I’ve seen since ’71,” says Ashworth. “We’ve gotten through them before and we’ll get through them again.” He even anticipates growth in the coming years.

“I think that Americans, particularly baby boomers, are not prone to making long-term sacrifices and I think that second homes are really going to start moving in the market again, in desirable areas,” states Ashworth. “They’re starting to sell now at some greatly discounted prices. There is a huge initial inventory and an even larger shadow inventory. I think there is a great potential in renovating and remodeling in the near future.”

As markets recover E.B. Norris and Son Inc. continues to build on its success, maintaining solid numbers thanks to the leadership of Ashworth and the determination and attention to detail of the company’s expert team.

Published on: March 5, 2013

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