- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Kyle Gahm
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
In 1972, Craig Lloyd and his wife Pat founded Lloyd Companies (Lloyd) as a small property management firm responsible for a single multifamily complex. Since then, the South Dakota-based company has evolved into a full-service property management, real estate, construction and development company that remains family-owned and -operated.
“We now manage about 3,200 apartment units and approximately 1.2 million square feet of retail space in Sioux Falls, S.D.,” shares Chris Thorkelson, chief operating officer and vice president of development for Lloyd. “Although we’ve gained more properties and expanded significantly our customer service remains the same. Even if a client calls us six years down the road about a job, we’ll take care of them because that’s what builds long lasting relationships and recommendations.”
After a decade with Lloyd, Chris has learned that the company’s dedication to customer care stems from family values and ownership. “We started out small and we’ve remained small in our mentality,” he explains. “I joined the company about 10 years ago when Pat Lloyd, my aunt, approached me and gave me the opportunity to grow with the company.”
Since joining Lloyd, Chris has worn many hats. “I went to college in Madison, Wis., for engineering,” he recalls. “Once I graduated I wasn’t sure what to do, so I joined the family business. I started in concrete, then finish carpentry, followed by estimating and project management. I worked my way up to vice president of construction -basically I’ve swapped titles more times than anyone in the company, but I think I’m pretty fortunate to be where I am now.”
Proudly Serving South Dakota
Lloyd remains in its home state with the company’s corporate headquarters in Sioux Falls. “We have about 150 employees, and we generally serve a 60-mile radius of Sioux Falls,” reveals Chris. The company prides itself in strong relationships with many longtime clients and vendors throughout South Dakota and firmly believes in giving back to the community that’s made it successful. “We have a good set of core values at Lloyd,” adds Chris. “Everyone wants to be a part of the success and we like to give some of it back.”
Lloyd is just as committed to every project as it is to the Sioux Falls community. “Most of what we work on or manage we also end up owning; so it’s very much a vested interest,” explains Chris. “85 percent of our work is either owned completed by the company or a percentage of it is.”
“The hotel and hospitality and retail markets are big for us right now,” continues Chris. “We’re also involved in commercial office space and apartments. Our strength is in different divisions and the ability to take a project from start to finish while creating some sustainability within management.”
While Sioux Falls continues to make improvements, Lloyd has established itself as a trusted developer, manager and contractor. “One of the most interesting jobs we just finished is a 124,000-square-foot office building downtown that’s right along the river,” shares Chris. “We redeveloped an old lumber yard while incorporating LEED silver certification components. We try to go for LEED when we can, but usually it’s a long, tedious certification process.”
As part of the same development, Lloyd has delivered a 136-room hotel with 10,000 square feet of convention space. “We also broke ground in July on another downtown project,” reveals Chris. “It’s 86 units and runs along the Philips to Falls area in Sioux Falls. This is all part of the city’s improvements to the east bank of the river known as the Green Way. We easily have a dozen downtown projects lined up and about 25 others in the works.”
With a great deal of construction and development underway, Lloyd relies on a network of trusted subcontractors. “We subcontract out about 98 percent of what we do,” notes Chris. “We typically don’t utilize subs unless we know them and we get our competitive edge by putting projects out to various trades and letting the good ones go for the bid.”
Chris admits getting a familiar face on a project has been a challenge through the recession. “Right now the city is at its highest permit value in history, so it’s been a little challenging to get the subcontractors we’d like to see on our jobs,” he says.
“We’ve felt the downturn, but I think we felt things a little later than other parts of the country,” continues Chris. “2009 and 2010 were pretty difficult. Stimulus packages and the $8,000 tax credit for new homes didn’t do us any favors, because we don’t build homes. Getting people in apartment units is a challenge as well because more people went back to live with their parents or joined with roommates during the downturn.”
Chris admits Lloyd had to get a little creative to turn a profit during the economic pinch. “We had a strategic discussion to decide what opportunities exist or will after the recession and who’s investing,” he explains. “We took on more government jobs and government funded nonprofits. We also started doing tax credit projects and neighborhood stabilization jobs through Build America. We had to find unique financing and be a little craftier than other companies.”
Despite the downturn, Chris reveals Lloyd has expansion in its sights for the next couple of years. “We want growth, but manageable growth based in hard work and calculated risk,” he says. “We’d like to hit 5,000 apartment units and 1.5 million square feet of commercial and retail space by the end of 2017.” Lloyd Companies continues to support development throughout South Dakota as a trusted source for property management, real estate and construction for over 41 years.
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