Case Studies

National Commercial Builders Inc.

Raising the bar in construction

When Sheldon Oxner began his career as cabinet salesman, he never imagined that he would eventually be the owner of a successful construction company. After leaving his sales position, Oxner started working for himself performing residential remodeling, which eventually reached into the commercial sector. With more than 30 years of experience in the commercial construction industry, Oxner operates National Commercial Builders Inc. (NCB), a general contracting firm located in Lenexa, Kansas.

A traveling success

With projects completed in 36 states, NCB has found success as a traveling general contracting company. The team at NCB is comprised of 20 full-time employees, with nine staff in the office and the rest in the field as superintendents. As a firm providing construction services, the company generally hires subcontractors who are local to the building site location. “When we travel to a project we don’t advertise ourselves as this big company from out of town,” says Oxner. “We want to hire locally as much as we can.” NCB does maintain a network of subcontractors who are able to travel with the company when necessary. “Our success comes from our ability to travel and find the right subcontractors for each job,” says Oxner.

Unlike the majority of general contractors, NCB does not follow the public bid route for work. “Almost all of our business is through word-of-mouth, referrals and negotiated business,” says Oxner. “We don’t go out and chase business in a different town just because there is a project there. We travel because a client has asked us to go to a certain market.” NCB has ventured to Florida, Rhode Island, and California with many stops in between.

National Commercial Builders Inc.Traveling has always been a way of life for Oxner. Since he was a child, Oxner has viewed every excursion as an educational opportunity. “One of the reasons I enjoy it is because I get to meet new people and see how people do things in different parts of the country,” explains Oxner. “You meet some great people in the industry along the way that help to create successful projects.” Thanks to the ability and willingness to travel, NCB has established professional relationships all over the country.

A nationwide portfolio

With projects completed throughout the U.S., NCB has established a niche market in the entertainment sector building more than 200 theater screens across the country along with its retail, restaurant and hotel business. The company has built more than 200 restaurants, several moderate priced hotels and every type of retail project.

“When we first started, the first commercial projects we did were mostly restaurants,” says Oxner. “We eventually grew from that and started doing retail space.” With more than 35 years’ experience in construction, Oxner has learned all he knows about the industry from taking on new and interesting projects. “We do all types of jobs,” says Oxner. “The theater business is one that has worked out well because we’ve made some great relationships over several years.”

Currently, NCB is working with Alamo Drafthouse on new construction and remodeling projects. Alamo Drafthouse is a movie theater company which combines the cinematic experience with food and beverage service. NCB is currently constructing facilities for the company in Omaha, Nebraska, and Corpus Christi, Texas. “Alamo Drafthouse is a very unique company,” says Oxner. “They do a lot interesting stuff and make it a lot of fun.”

Oxner says that working with Alamo Drafthouse has been one of the more rewarding projects his company has been involved in. “It’s the only theater chain that actually franchises so they have different owners,” explains Oxner. “We’ve now worked with four of them. They’ve all been really good people and I’ve enjoyed working with all of them.”

Maintaining success

With a sales background, Oxner has utilized his people skills to establish relationships. “This is a people business,” says Oxner. “We work as a team and look to work with people who are team players. I certainly always have a sense of what we have in the works. I’m also confident in my ability to secure those jobs.”

Oxner does not see retirement anywhere in the near future. His enjoyment of the work he does and the people he performs it with has helped to maintain his passion and interest in the industry. “I don’t think I’ve ever been driven by the money,” explains Oxner. “I continue to do this because I love doing it. I love the relationships I’ve built with clients and vendors throughout the years.”

With a backlog of work for the next two to three years, Oxner believes good days are ahead for NCB, as well as the entire construction industry. Driven by strong principles of excellence, National Commercial Builders Inc. is on track to maintain steady growth in the coming years.

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