Boulder Creek Builders: Building homes and creating communities
By Judy Finman, At Home Colorado
Boulder Creek Builders, LLC of Louisville is a pioneer in residential development for the “active lifestyle” homeowner. Since 2006, this well respected local builder has delighted homebuyers in Boulder County and beyond with quality-built, low-maintenance homes that support active, easy lives.
Despite the downturn in the housing market, Boulder Creek Builders has grown, prospered, and created popular new communities.
Principal David Sinkey explains, “Through the downturn we were doing our best to do the opposite of our industry: We hired, we brought in new product lines, we continued our philanthropic relationships with nonprofits, we invested in new communities. That wasn’t a strategy guaranteed to work, but it served us well. Now that the market is coming back, bankers and buyers and sub-contractors recognize our ability to survive and thrive and to solidify our lifestyle message and product design.”
He believes the company has better homes than ever, and a better organization. They have hired key people who are motivated and passionate about what they are doing – sales management and sales people, purchasing and supply-chain management, contract and customer service management, and relationships with architectural firms.
During these last few years, instead of making a cheaper home and cutting corners as many builders did, Boulder Creek kept prices the same and decided to include more for the same price. “Our homes are not cheaper, but rather of high value. The way we build homes should add value over time. The distinction we make is in the value of the products and parts we put in the house,“ says Sinkey.
“Our success over the last few difficult years was our focus on having the right people and making decisions always to improve. When most of our competitors were pulling back at every turn, we were getting better in every facet of the business. The industry was waiting it out, and just trying to survive. My response has been: We are trying to get better than ever, and we want to be firing on all cylinders when everything comes back.”
Boulder Creek focuses on ranch plans, with main floor master bedrooms, wider doorways, bathrooms configured for accessibility. “As the mobility of the homeowner changes over time, they are accommodated in their own home – they don’t have to move elsewhere.”
The strategy is paying off: Stapleton in Denver has asked Boulder Creek Builders to become one of their small coterie of builders. Other communities, too have invited Boulder Creek in. These are the communities “that fit our culture best,” Sinkey says.
Personalizing the process
Paul Gortzig, Sales Director, says: “Our approach to building is a little different. We personalize it more for our customers. We try to make everyone happy. We attend all our closings, which is unusual in the industry, and I am the one who usually goes. We want to learn what’s important to our buyers, and why they picked us. The core of our business is to identify their needs and wants, what buyers are looking for and other builders are not giving them.” He notes that “seventy-five percent of our buyers are empty nesters, early retirees and single professionals, many of them women. We learned that patio homes work for women who don’t want to manage a big home anymore. Homebuyers who bought big homes 20 years ago, with their kids off on their own now, want to downsize. There is a tremendous market for our homes.”
This was evident when Steel Ranch held its opening day. Six hundred people went through Boulder Creek Builders’ model homes. “A couple in their mid-30s, with two boys in middle school and a big house, heard our message about enjoying an active Colorado lifestyle and using their precious free time to go to their kids’ games and enjoy life,” Gortzig says. “”˜I don’t want to mow the grass anymore,’ the husband said.” They ultimately bought a ranch home at Steel Ranch.
“What’s exciting for me is building neighborhoods,” Gortzig says. “I like to see the people move in and bring the community to life. At Steel Ranch people started getting together for a Happy Hour in someone’s home once a month. At Kingsbridge we wanted to introduce that sense of community, too. So we are holding some events. On National Night Out, August 7, Kingsbridge residents will join communities across the country in promoting community safety.
Then, on Saturday, August 11, we will celebrate “Summer Days” at Kingsbridge to encourage neighborliness. We’ll invite the public to come and enjoy refreshments with us.”
Business is very good for Boulder Creek Builders. “We had 44 sales at Steel Ranch in the first seven months, out of a total of 68 home sites. We’ve sold 15 homes in the last three months. Kingsbridge is enjoying the same type of success, with 11 sales in the last four months. We’ve sold 66 homes there out of a total of 109 homes.” Once again, Boulder Creek Builders is number one in Boulder County in townhome sales.
“Our new-home buyers experience an excitement that you just don’t get in an older community of used homes,” Gortzig says. “Steel Ranch is a good example of how a neighborhood organically comes together. There’s a new dimension to life when purchasing a new home in a new community. We help each buyer find the “right-sized” home and then witness their pleasure and pride in owning an attractive, well-built home. It’s a fun experience. We feel good sharing in that with people. How gratifying for the homebuilder to build wonderful neighborhoods for wonderful people!”
Kurt and Lisa Anderson, owners of a Kingsbridge townhome built by Boulder Creek Builders, comment on their home buying experience: “We’re downsizing. Our kids are out of the house, and we definitely wanted to be in a place where we could just drop our bags and travel. We don’t have to do any landscaping or maintenance or anything outdoors here; they clear the driveways of snow and make sure we can come and go. We have a very flexible lifestyle, and Boulder Creek Builders understood that and has exceeded our expectations. The quality of the home is tremendous. Our energy bills are lower. It’s really quiet in the home, even with the common wall…”Kurt Anderson notes that “I’ve never, in all my years contracting and building, seen the builder at a closing. But a Boulder Creek representative was at our closing; he handed us the keys. They kept to all the dates, were good about communicating with us, and everything was done on time.”