Honors Contractors Inc.
Honors Contractors Inc. (HCI) celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2012. The general contractor, headquartered in New Port Richey, Fla., has carved out a niche in completing shopping center renovations and interior retail build outs.
Since its founding, the company’s reputation as reliable and proficient grew HCI’s business quickly. Don Bowen, president and owner of HCI, reports the company has worked on many new retail and recreation centers throughout Florida, as well as being a preferred contractor for companies like Walgreens and Room To Go Showrooms.
In 1978, Bowen grated from University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in building construction. He began his career with Hawkins Construction in Tarpon Springs. Working for that company, Bowen helped lay a foundation for the business and was instrumental in its growth as vice president of construction management.
When he started HCI, Bowen brought with him years of experience and a network of local and national development and architectural firms. Having these relationships from the start of HCI helped Bowen quickly establish his company.
The commercial general contractor works with a network of subcontractors to perform all the work on projects while a staff of 12 employees help oversee operations. Bowen explains it has become easier to use a set network of tradespeople because subcontractors have become more willing to travel. While general contractors prefer working with the same handful of subcontractors, subcontractors also find it easier to work with people they know and like, according to Bowen.
In addition to using subcontractors and overseeing new construction or remodel projects, HCI works with clients on site development, design build, project management and interior build outs. HCI started its business working on interior build outs and that sector continues to be extremely important to the company. Typically build out projects involve customizing space to fit a specific client’s needs.
From Historic to New
HCI has worked on a range of projects that include new construction, specific retail projects and even historic remodels. Regardless of the project, HCI staff works closely with the customer to achieve specific goals.
One of Bowen’s favorite projects was a remodel of a historic building in Oldsmar. The original structure was built in 1910 and served a variety of purposes through its lifetime. HCI worked with subcontractors to maintain some of the old details of the 10,000-square-foot, two-story building. While maintaining some history, the company also achieved LEED certification on the project upon its completion.
Another memorable project for Bowne was the new construction of Oldsmar’s library. “It was like building the Taj Mahal,” he jokes. HCI worked with the city to build the structure from the ground up. The 15,000-square-foot space features high vaulted ceilings, detail-oriented interior design, a large atrium and an exterior terrace with dark wood beams and exterior fans.
Both these projects vary greatly from HCI’s retail jobs. The company has a number of repeat retail customers for new construction or interior build outs. HCI has been a preferred contractor for Rooms To Go, an affordable home furnishing store. The company has built retail showrooms in Wesley Chapel, Orange Park and Kissimmee.
Good Reputation Means Good Business
The residential market in Florida took a hard hit when the economy took a downturn. Bowen feels the residential sector continues to suffer, but the commercial side has remained steady.
“We’re lucky,” he says. “We haven’t had to go out and solicit work.” Bowen points out that HCI has a lot of repeat clients. If the company needed to go knock on doors for work, he would, but that hasn’t been necessary.
HCI is busy for at least six months out with ongoing projects, which has been comforting to Bowen. He does find himself awake at night thinking of all the estimating he does for each project and what’s next. “I try to stay out of the project management,” says Bowen. “But I worry about keeping a handle on what’s coming next. What jobs are in the pipeline and juggling personnel to keep everyone busy.
“You can’t look too far down the road,” he continues. “It’s really depressing at times, but it’s also upbeat. You’d like to be optimistic, but you just don’t know.” Bowen can’t really predict what is going to happen with the economy and how that will affect his company.
Bowen does see commercial lending loosening up in Florida. “We’re rolling with the punches,” he says. “It’s like playing a ‘wait and see’ game.” But even though the economy makes the future of the company uncertain, Bowen remains hopeful that Honors Contractors Inc. will continue to grow based on reputation alone.
For more information about Honors Contractors Inc., please visit: www.honorsgc.com
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