Case Studies

F.W. Brown LLC

Integrity and efficiency in Northeast general contracting

With a 75-year history of the Brown family’s involvement in construction, F.W. Brown LLC has established itself as a premier general contractor serving all six New England states. Headquartered in Norwich, Connecticut, F.W. Brown has reached a level of success due to its mission of providing customers with the highest level of construction services at the lowest price. The company is able to do this by employing motivated, flexible customer service-oriented employees who add a personal touch to every project that F.W. Brown completes.

Francis W. (Bill) Brown Sr, served in the United States Naval Construction Forces (NCF), known colloquially as the Seabees, in the Pacific in World War II. Upon discharge, he worked for his uncle Pat for a time until starting his own company in the late 1940s called The F.W. Brown Co. With a niche market in the residential and commercial sectors, Bill’s son, Bill Brown Jr., joined the company in the early 1960s and soon after was followed by his siblings Paula, Richard and Robert. Through successful projects and well-established relationships, the name F.W. Brown became well-known throughout the region. In the early 1990s, Bill Sr. retired and Bill Jr. founded F. William Brown, LLC, which became known affectionately as F.W. Brown in honor of Bill Sr.

Since its inception, a third generation of Browns: Kristen, Melissa and Bill III have continued the Brown family tradition of personal service, quality construction and competitive pricing. “Bill Sr. taught his family the importance of family, honor, generosity and humility,” says Russ Ellington, business development manager for F.W. Brown. “These lessons are what separate F.W. Brown from other contractors.”

Gaining partnerships

In the competitive world of the construction industry, contractors must find a way to gain an edge on the competition. The ability to complete projects on time and under budget is an asset that F.W. Brown presents to every client and project. “With every project, we drive a very tight and fast schedule,” says Ellington. “We don’t ‘change-order’ anybody. It’s really all about building trustworthy relationships with each client.”

With a strong focus on commercial work, F.W. Brown has created a niche within the past five years performing retail work. “We’ve been doing a lot of tenant fit-out and grocery store construction work,” says Ellington. “It’s been a combination of new construction and renovation work.”

For the past four years, F.W. Brown has completed numerous projects for Big Y Foods Inc., a grocery store chain based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Based upon the supermarket’s satisfaction with F.W. Brown’s performance, Big Y agreed to make F.W. Brown its exclusive contractor for all construction projects for 2015. “We initially reached out to them and mentioned that we were interested in working with them and showing what we could do,” recounts Ellington. “They gave us a small pharmacy remodel job and we completed it beyond their satisfaction. We continued to complete progressively bigger jobs for them and eventually came to an agreement that we would be their exclusive builder for 2015 and we plan on signing a contract with them for 2016 as well.” In October 2015, F.W. Brown signed a contract to build a retail plaza that will be anchored by a 60,000-square-foot Big Y grocery store.

In addition to its partnership with Big Y, F.W. Brown maintains a steady workflow throughout the retail market. In the fall of 2015, the company completed a 52,000-square-foot grocery store in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, along with a 26,000-square-foot Total Wine outlet store in Milford. “We are also currently completing our fourth remodel for Rite-Aid drugstores,” adds Ellington.

An expanding target market

2015 has proven to be a year of growth for F.W. Brown. Flood Panel LLC, a company based in Jupiter, Florida, that manufactures commercial building flood mitigation systems, has selected F.W. Brown as its exclusive New England and New York representative and dealer. “That is an aspect of our business that has really expanded in the last 12 months,” says Ellington. “Through a lot of programs with the New York City Housing Authority, we have become very invested in New York City. We have approximately $5 million in flood mitigation work that we’ve been awarded.”

Continued manageable growth is what F.W Brown plans for the near future. The company is expecting to double annual revenue within the next five years. “As long as things continue to go well and we are managing the growth, we will continue to expand,” says Ellington. With its partnerships with nationwide retail companies, F.W. Brown will be able to expand its geographical footprint as well. “That really excites me,” adds Ellington.

With a focus on efficiency and customer service, F.W. Brown LLC will remain a leader in commercial general contracting as it pursues new markets and territories.

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Spring 2018



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