New company focuses on mid-size remodeling

Posted: Tuesday, March 07, 2000

Diane Pearson says it was easier arranging for renovation of the State Office Building than her own bed-and-breakfast.

Pearson, owner of Pearson's Pond Luxury Suites & Spa off of Back Loop Road, said she had been trying for months to interest local contractors in her $80,000 remodeling job, which she wants largely done before the kickoff of the tourism season in late April.

But contractors were on vacation, slow to respond or expressing pessimism about the timely delivery of needed materials, she said.

``When you have a couple million dollar job, you have a bigger stick,'' she said, reflecting on her stint in the Alaska Department of Administration.

Frustrated, Pearson finally hooked up with Alaska Renovators, a new firm that's focusing exclusively on mid-sized remodeling projects.

Alan Wilson and Chris Stahl, owners of Alaska Renovators, said that they are passing up large construction jobs so that they can develop a niche for medium-sized projects.

It's an underserved market, with homeowners often unable to get a phone call returned, Wilson said.

``Everybody's looking for that big job or meal ticket that's going to get you six months of work.''

Alaska Renovators and Pearson recently came to an agreement on a variety of work at Pearson's Pond, including a new entryway, new garage roof and facade, a solarium and a water garden.

``They're definitely serving a need,'' Pearson said. ``That responsiveness, I'd say, is the thing that's going to get them the jobs. . . . I want it done, and I want it done now, and I want it done right, and I want it done on budget.''

Alaska Renovators will return a call within 24 hours or pay $24 to the would-be client, he said.

``Our goal is to run a professional company that responds to calls in a timely manner and exceeds the expectations of our customers for an efficient process, friendly service and quality workmanship,'' Stahl said.

Wilson is phasing out his existing business, True Blue Construction, and Stahl has finished a contract to start up Don Abel's installed sales division.

Wilson said that remodeling projects can be more satisfying than new home construction, both for the contractor and the client.

Clients often can't visualize an entirely new home, and some disappointment inevitably comes with the final product, he said. But by completing a remodeling project, a contractor can ``make their dream come true,'' he said.

``It's not all about money,'' Wilson said. ``It's really what you want out of your work: Do you really want to enjoy your work, or do you just want to go to work and bang nails?''

At this point, Alaska Renovators doesn't have a storefront, although Wilson said he's eyeing the Lemon Creek area for a possible summer opening.

While nationally some franchises have been targeting smaller jobs, Wilson hopes that the launch of Alaska Renovators discourages their expansion in Juneau.

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