A small contractor serving vacation and second-home owners in communities near Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains isn’t waiting for its market or the economy to get better.
Rinehimer Construction, a 10-year-old builder and remodeler based in Pocono Pines, Pa. (pop. 1,000), raised its profile in July when it opened Historic Downtown Business Square, an office complex near the popular Lake Naomi Club resort, which bills itself as “the other Hamptons,” and supports the Lake Naomi and Timber Trails neighborhoods.
Aside from this being Rinehimer Construction’s first storefront, it brought into the complex three other tenants—Marshall Sabatini Architects, Erb’s Landscaping, and E-Z Mountain Rustic Furniture—that potentially could support its construction and remodeling activities and marketing.
“We saw an opportunity in a bad economy to create convenience for weekenders who own homes here,” says Michael Dembinski, who joined the company in May as its vice president.
“There have been design/build firms, but I haven’t seen a builder and architect combine as separate companies,” adds John Marshall, a partner in Bryn Mawr, Pa.–based Marshall Sabatini Architects. He owns a home in Pocono Pines and sits on its development review committee.
While it isn’t exclusive, the one-stop-shop arrangement can’t hurt Rinehimer in a market where four local builders compete for an average of about 20 custom home starts per year. And early on, this office combination has been paying off, at least in leads. Dembinski recalls a customer who came into the office to buy furniture. “I gave her the architect’s card, and we may have a shot at building an addition on her home.” Rinehimer Construction has also gotten requests for work involving log details from customers who purchased log-made furniture from E-Z Mountain.
Marshall’s Pocono Pines office had lined up eight remodeling contracts even before Downtown Business Square opened officially on July 24.
Most of Rinehimer Construction’s recent work has been high-end renovations, but Dembinski expects more new construction to come its way because of this office setup. His company is targeting custom home projects above $250,000 (exclusive of land costs). Marshall is also eyeing lot-rich Pocono Manor, where he thinks there’s demand for the traditional, Adirondack designs his firm favors.