Case Studies

Richard & Richard Construction Company Inc.

That Personal Touch

Richard Woolsey founded Richard & Richard Construction Company Inc. (R&R) in 1991 as a small tenant improvement (T.I.) contractor. The company has since expanded with a T.I. division, a restaurant division and a division for ground-up construction, but R&R’s humble approach remains steadfast. The R&R team aims to convert one-time customers into longtime clients by providing personalized service and a diverse selection of construction capabilities to realize the client’s vision for the right price.

“We believe that a satisfied client is the best marketing tool, bar none,” says Richard Woolsey, founder and president of R&R. “We aim to delight our clients, not just satisfy them.” Woolsey’s belief has defined the company since its founding, and has helped R&R generate a loyal following of commercial clients and ultimately led to further opportunities in ancillary markets like multifamily residential and education.

R&R is based out of San Marcos, Calif., and works most often on projects from the states southern border as far north as Ventura County and into the surrounding desert region. The company also maintains licensing in Arizona, Nevada, Utah and North Dakota to be able to follow opportunity wherever it arises.

Company Converts

R&R’s 45 employees are capable of providing general construction, construction management and design-build services with a heavy emphasis on value engineering. The team notably employs a number of LEED Accredited Professionals and has completed several LEED-certified buildings over the years, allowing buildings to get the green treatment even if the owners don’t plan on pursuing green certification.

Though R&R’s skill sets may be broad, the company has remained intentionally close-knit over the years, which Woolsey feels gives the team better control. “I went to work at one construction company straight after graduating from Louisiana State University’s construction program and witnessed the company grow from an $80 million company to a $300 million company,” says Woolsey. “In all honesty, I wanted to be closer to the people who actually build.”

As luck would have it, Woolsey’s penchant for a close-knit work environment positioned the company to adjust quickly at the onset of the economic downturn. R&R got lean, keeping on its core management staff throughout the past few years, which has helped the company remain competitive and prepare for further growth. On the other hand, keeping a diverse selection of reliable subcontractors in play has also been a large part of R&R’s strategy. The broader selection affords R&R the ability to pursue contracts of all shapes and sizes without putting too much strain on any one subcontracting partner.

“Everyone who works with us is just very dedicated,” reflects Woolsey. “It’s because of the hard-working culture they engender and their efforts over the past few years that we are here today, stronger than ever.”

R&R’s recent portfolio attests to the company’s stability throughout the economic downturn as all three divisions have remained active. The company’s ground-up division is currently completing work on The Quad, a new student housing development for California State University San Marcos. The project is structured as a joint venture between the university and property development company Urban Villages LLC. The public-private partnership was structured so as to increase the university’s housing capacity without using taxpayer money or impacting the university’s financing capacity with unnecessary debt.

The project entails the construction of five separate four-story buildings, which officially broke ground in August 2011 and are scheduled to complete in 2013. The development will add almost 600 beds to the university’s housing system along with retail space on the ground floor for ancillary retail and commercial operations like restaurants, laundry services and convenience stores. “Those spaces are still speculative at this point, but they’ve been designed to accommodate whatever businesses make sense for the campus,” adds Woolsey. The complex has also been designed with energy efficiency in mind as is targeting LEED Silver certification.

Staying Busy

R&R is simultaneously rebuilding one of San Diego’s landmark seafood establishments. Point Loma Seafood started out as a small fish shop in 1963 and gradually expanded into a landmark restaurant for Shelter Island, which was last renovated in the 1980s when it tripled in size.

“It’s definitely one of the more interesting projects we have done this year,” remarks Woolsey. “It involved the construction of a model lighthouse and a lot of outdoor, Oceanside decks.” Once remodeled the restaurant will have 11,000 square feet of space, but traditionalists need not worry as the renovations are exclusive to the building’s façade and no changes are being made to the restaurant’s menu.

R&R’s restaurant division has also picked up many restaurants, including work for Phil’s BBQ restaurant, which is quickly becoming a chain restaurant in Southern California. “This location will be the fourth in Southern California and there’s still a line out the door every night of the week,” laughs Woolsey.

In the next few years the R&R team will continue to focus on growing its existing divisions without losing its individualized personal touch. The R&R team is already pursuing a few mixed-use developments and a possible project with a fixed-base operator next to San Diego International Airport. No matter where the company finds its next opportunity, however, the company is positioned to pursue growth responsibly without ever losing sight of what has made Richard & Richard Construction Company Inc. successful in the first place: personalized service.

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