Woodside Homes of Arizona
“It’s been a fight, but the battle has made us tougher,” shares Paul Kroff, president of Woodside Homes of Arizona (Woodside). Paul is referring to what nearly brought about the end of the Salt Lake City-based homebuilder. When the housing market collapsed in 2008, Woodside entered bankruptcy and faced the possibility of closing its doors for good. However, the company has made an amazing comeback and is now on track for steady growth.
“The corporate-level company was founded in Utah in the 1970s,” notes Paul. “We continued to expand throughout Arizona, California and Nevada in the 1990s, growing into the third-largest private builder in the country before the downturn. However, from 2008 to 2010 we were in bankruptcy and on the verge of losing everything.”
A Miraculous Turnaround
With the impending recession, Woodside faced an enormous challenge and had one choice: sink or swim. “We had to focus on our core markets, which are the greater Phoenix area, Utah, Nevada, Texas and California,” explains Paul. “We also made strategic purchases that became the anchor projects critical to keeping us alive and remaining profitable. We took on some broken projects that had gone into default. We resurrected and built them out and those key purchases have allowed us to continue to move forward.”
After nearly losing it all, Woodside made an impressive turnaround. “We’re now in 10 different communities within Phoenix, including some of the highest profile master-plan developments in the area,” shares Paul. “In 2010, when we were just paying off our debts and coming out of bankruptcy, we did 109 closings; the smallest our division has done to-date. This year we will close around 200 homes in Phoenix and we’re now growing at about 30 percent per year. It feels great.”
Woodside operates from its Mesa, Ariz., location and employs approximately 32 professionals. According to Paul, it’s a team of good people who have made the difference. “For us to successfully make it through that process is a tribute to the people on the ground managing the day-to-day operations of the company,” he adds.
Reestablishing Markets and Better Design
Now that Woodside can finally breathe a sigh of relief, Paul says the company is focused on maintaining its reputation for quality and building Better by Design. “Even back in 2000 to 2005- when we were doing about 300 to 400 homes per year, which isn’t a huge percentage of the Phoenix market – our reputation was much greater than the number of homes we built.”
Paul is proud to note that Woodside continues to uphold the company’s motto: Better by Design. “The Phoenix market tells us our homes are superior from the interior design to how the homes live,” he continues. “We implement a strategy where buyers come into our sales office and select their own interior finishes, from cabinets to flooring and tiling; we call it the ‘Inspiration Wall.'”
Woodside’s buyers can rest easy knowing they really can’t make a mistake in their selection. “They can be assured their home will not only look great, but also stand the test of time, because we have a team of designers who preselect the best products on the market,” explains Paul. “This process gets customers emotionally involved in the home design process early on, and we’ve found it builds repeat business. From their first entry-level home to a second-time move up, many of our customers are Woodside customers for life.”
Another benefit to Woodside’s design process Paul notes is the company’s ability to deliver a finish price from the beginning. “Traditionally, customers come in and they select their carpeting or fixtures and other custom finishes, but what they don’t know is how much extra they’re adding to the overall price tag,” he adds. “Our sales agents can offer a finished price right from the Inspiration Wall to the homebuyer, which is helpful in making purchase decisions.”
If there’s a product Woodside doesn’t offer, Paul says it’s no problem. “We’ll take the time to research the idea and price it out so we can offer it during the original construction process,” he shares.
Focusing on the Future
Woodside’s process has earned the company reputable standing in the Phoenix and Mesa markets. “DMB, a large master-plan builder, recently opened a highly anticipated master-plan community in Mesa,” reveals Paul. “Woodside was one of seven builders invited to participate. We offer two parcels and two different product line ups. Over 6,000 people attended the grand opening. We’re very excited to be a part of this development.”
With opportunity on the horizon, Paul notes Woodside is ready to focus on the future, learning from hardships. “We’ve done bigger volumes in the past than we’re doing presently, so I know we’re capable of more,” he says proudly. “We’re looking forward to the resurgence of the housing market and gaining ground again.” Woodside Homes of Arizona has made a strong comeback, emerging out of the recession as a better entity with an exciting future.
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