(Greg Garrick of Norman Building & Design | Photo courtesy of Greg Garrick)
Heading up sales and marketing for Norman Building & Design naturally fits Greg Garrick. A former client, Garrick’s highly personal approach to serving new clients even includes a tour of his own NBD-built home. This typifies the home construction philosophy of NBD, which builds between six to eight custom homes each year in Central Oregon, along with providing remodeling services.
When did you join Norman Building & Design, and what brought you to the company?
I joined Norman Building & Design in 2003. My history with the company, however, goes back to 1989, when our family first visited Central Oregon. We toured a home that Jim Norman had designed and built. That led to building a vacation home with NBD. We worked together later on an investment home. When we decided to make Bend our home, Jim and his team designed and built our first primary residence in Broken Top. We have since built our fourth NBD home.
After moving into our first Broken Top home, I was walking my dog and bumped into Jim. We had a breakfast and lunch and he suggested working for the company on marketing and sales. My experience as a client and the qualities that drew me to the company for our family needs are the things I have shared with our clients for the last 16 years.
Do you have a particular philosophy or approach to conducting business in the field of home design and construction?
For us, it’s about designing and building exceptional homes that we can stand behind both today and long into the future. We build a continuing relationship with our clients following completion of a home or remodel. Our clients become our biggest cheerleaders with multiple repeat clients.
Being clear up front as to the real cost of creating a client’s dream home allows us and the client to have a great experience. I know that whatever I share with a client will be something they will find to be true — because I’ve had all those experiences.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about entering the home construction industry?
NBD has been in the construction industry for 42 years. That’s a long time, particularly in residential construction. There are, no doubt, many lessons that would be valuable to others that are a part of our approach and our core values. I will say it can be a very challenging business. The recession years of 2007-12 is an example of what can happen that has nothing to do with your efforts but, instead, are forces outside of your control.
In Central Oregon, what are the latest trends in home design and construction, and are these trends different than elsewhere in the country?
The contemporary style is certainly hot at present here in Bend, and that’s true elsewhere. The concern with fire safety is a priority given the impact of wild-fires in California. (We are currently building for a couple who lost their home in the Santa Rosa fire.) One of our top priorities is being aware of what materials and approaches will make the most difference in a home being safe and energy efficient.
Are there particular fads in home remodeling or new construction that you try to steer clients away from?
First and foremost the client is the director of all the action at NBD. We tell our clients that we aren’t shy about sharing our opinions, but nonetheless theirs is the only vote that counts provided it doesn’t compromise structure or construction practices. We do encourage our clients to stay with the classics that will stand the test of time.
We also want to share our experience as to the brands of flooring, plumbing, appliances, etc. Too many times a name commands a premium price without additional value or improved functionality.
Above all a home should feel like a home with natural warmth and light-filled spaces. Working with our clients we can create a home that will live larger than its footprint.
When clients approach you for the first time, what questions should they have for you, and what questions do you have for them?
Clients will obviously want to know about the costs of construction, and an honest indication of how much time will be spent creating and building a custom home. Clients should also check references. It amazes me how few prospective clients will make such a large financial decision while doing little or no research.
Our questions start with land, including our clients’ selection of property, its location, and what they envision. Then, what are their goals for their home? Are there specific issues that they expect to be resolved in design? It all starts with shared expectations and diligent follow up.
Norman Building & Design was founded in 1977. What qualities have led the company to long-term success?
First, doing what you say you are going to do in an exceptional way without cutting corners. Also, seeing what is needed, then taking steps to find a solution. For example, how do we get cabinets of the quality we want? Jim Norman decided to explore designing and building cabinets in our own shops to ensure this important element of the home is available on time and of the highest quality.
One of the best decisions Jim made was bringing onto our team several talented interior designers who work directly with our clients. That ensures our communication is spot on.
What are the greatest challenges and opportunities for the home building industry, both locally and nationally?
For us the challenges remain to be aware of what is new and to keep ensuring that we are employing best practices in our efforts for both design and construction. We strive to employ all the various elements available that can make us more effective and in turn cost competitive.
I wear two hats in some ways — I “bleed” Norman colors in believing what we do is truly amazing. Our team is made up of creative, talented people, and I want continued success for them. As a client, I want the company to thrive so I can continue to receive exceptional follow up and the attention that each of our client’s deserve. That peace of mind means a lot.