We hope that you enjoyed a nice time with friends and family during this holiday season. For us the break was both refreshing and very needed. As we turn our sights to our 30th year in business ahead of us, we are optimistic about the year to come.
Looking Back on 29 Years…
I had an opportunity recently to view some old photographs of our early years in business. It was twenty years ago that Todd and I joined forces to recreate his then ten-year old carpentry/general contracting business. There were just the two of us with a few guys working in the field. We did everything- sales, production, project management, ordering and accounting. We look like teenagers in photos, Todd had hair and both of us had no wrinkles on our faces. In our early 30’s at the time, we were still kids in my view with unfettered ideas about how to run a remodeling business that could harmoniously join the best of two worlds: design and construction.
For our first five years together, we worked nearly every day. Most nights and weekends you could find us in meetings, in the studio, or grabbing dinner at 8:30pm somewhere in town after meeting clients. When our first child was finally born in that fifth year, not much changed for us as we simply brought the baby with us everywhere we went. Our toddler spent his early years at work with mom and dad, the baby swing was a permanent fixture in my office and was my primary baby-sitter.
We set out together to create a “new” company made up of energetic people who would combine their talents and serve people to create the beautiful homes they desired. Our mentors, a small but very successful husband and wife owned kitchen and bath remodeling business in Duluth Minnesota asked us…why would you want to grow your company beyond what the two of you can design and build yourselves, do you really want to spend all your time managing people? Maybe we were naïve, maybe our idealism served us well. Our goal was to create something bigger than just the two of us for the benefit of everyone.
Our company enjoyed rapid growth for six years, until the fall of 2008 there were a few unfortunate changes. We lost Todd’s dad, who ran Jurs’ Auto right next door to our studio, and by the following year our company went nearly in half due to the recession. We spent several years after that building back up, the remodeling industry’s “recovery” was a slow and painful process.
Little did we know, the hardest part was still ahead of us. In early 2011, our business plan served us well when I was diagnosed with cancer during my second pregnancy. Working through chemo up until the time our daughter was born in spring of that year, our team carried us through the next twelve months of medical treatments as Todd stood by my side holding our company and our young family together through every bit of that difficult health challenge. While we were focused on building a company that took care of everyone else, our company was able to take care of us during our time of need.
Fast forward now 20 years. In 2022, Advance Design will celebrate 30 years in business. A lot has happened during this time. Todd’s original company Advance Builders was truly an old-fashioned handshake business. Put together some plans along with a written construction plan, sign on the bottom of the page and go. No nonsense as it was, things have changed a lot, but this is the kind of guy Todd still is and will always be.
Twenty years later, I think we have reached our goal. A self-sustaining company led collectively by a team of dedicated individuals that make up the core team. Albeit the process is a bit more detailed, Common-Sense Remodeling serves to do everything humanly possible to eliminate the traditional pitfalls of remodeling, giving clients the peace of mind that their project is in competent hands from the beginning of design through to the final warranty item. Over the past 29 years, thousands of ADS clients have reaped the rewards of our carefully cultivated system.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges. When you’ve run a business for this long, you’ve seen a lot. We’ve learned to ride the waves of growth as well as persevere through times of sometimes painful learning. I would be lying if I told you that it has been easy and there aren’t still sleepless nights. Quite the contrary. When you are a business owner, you never really rest on your laurels admiring any accomplishments for long. There’s always so much to do.
2021 Was A Challenging Year…
Although many on our team were able to take some strategic time off to rest and recuperate over the holidays, quite a few in our field continued to work overtime through the past few weeks as requests for new projects remain strong and our field has continued to be backlogged with plenty of work to be completed.
In the middle of the pandemic, no one knew what to expect going into 2021. Like many other industries, the construction industry experienced massive challenges this past year. Changes in lifestyle that have driven home renovations thought originally to be temporary have now become a way of life. The demand for renovation products combined with all the Covid challenges has put an unprecedented strain on the product supply chain. Expectations for the immediate availability of technology in appliances, wood and building products, as well as accessories and fixtures has been and is still higher than any time in modern history.
Lack of qualified workers from construction to manufacturing and shipping has put a strain on timelines for availability of both product and labor. Seen all across our industry, project delays stemming from lack of carpentry talent as well as trades such as plumbing, electrical, and every specialty trade remain incessant.
2021 was filled with the types of challenges we have never seen in 30 years in our industry. We have spent the year learning what we can expect, figuring out how to handle it, and finding ways to get through it. And in a very challenging year, we managed to pull off some amazing renovations! To stay updated with what our team is working on, follow us on Facebook.
Looking Forward, What Can We Expect?
I wish I could tell you I had a crystal ball and could predict exactly what will happen in 2022. In all our years of business, we could never really predict what would happen for certain in any year. I always like to say, “First quarter is like a box of chocolates…”. The question we hear most homeowners asking right now is should I renovate now, or wait for things to “calm” down?
Well, here is what I can tell you. We are busy. Requests continue to pour in. Although we continue to see raw lumber prices fluctuate from week to week, we do know that most of our suppliers across all areas of construction materials and finish items have continued to lobby price changes. They cite reasons consistently of raw material increases, labor cost increases, and fuel prices.
It is our experience over many years that once costs go up, they never seem to go back down. Fuel surcharges are a thing as long as oil prices remain high. I don’t know anyone who’s going to volunteer to take a pay cut next year. The answer is really that if you haven’t already, now is the best time to renovate. Every year things go up. Every year.
Despite our optimism for the coming year, we are clear-eyed about the year ahead. We have challenged our team to communicate realistic expectations for clients to the best of their ability (even if that includes a little bit of chaos), do everything they can to maintain the best communication (including the exciting introduction of our new project management software), and bear new resolve for patience, kindness, and grace for both clients and co-workers each and every day. Above all we remind ourselves why we do this job, how we love it, and ways we can project our sunny countenance upon others (who may be just a little more stressed than we are 😊).
Advance Design always has been and always will be about the remodeling experience. If you want to transform your home and have a great experience, find the best team of people you can who have a system in place that will account for every detail, and then get ready for a great ride! Remodeling is like assembling a giant jigsaw puzzle of hundreds of pieces. The challenge is that each piece must be created to fit together perfectly, one at a time. After 30 years I can confidently say we are pretty good at this!
We will always shout from the roof tops about our transparent Common-Sense Remodeling process. Common-Sense Remodeling is, as we always say, just “common sense”. While we are not perfect people and no system is 100% fireproof, we will always provide the best possible product and service we can for the fairest investment we can offer, with an end result that will knock your socks off! Going into 2022, nothing’s really changed. We will keep doing what we’ve always done, year in year out, God-willing for another 30 years!
We hope you will choose to partner with us in 2022 to make your home renovation dreams come true!
Best Wishes for the New Year,
Christine & Todd Jurs
Founders | Advance Design Studio, Ltd.