Jim Goodwin was tired of traveling six days a week, three weeks a month. So he started a part-time business. His goal was to grow it so he could quit his job and spend more time with his family. Little did he know that 40 years later, the business—Complete Home Concepts—would be thriving under his son and daughter and that a third generation would also be involved.
Jim’s son, Jeff Goodwin, said that his father’s side effort began with the purchase of a stone manufacturing company in 1976. Not quite a year later, the elder Goodwin quit his traveling job to give his full effort to the new venture, then called Model Stone of Kansas City.
The company has grown by following a strategic acquisition plan. When the owners identify a need, they buy another company that can fill the gap in their product or service line. The goal is to be a one-stop shop for home construction and remodeling services. For example, when Jim Goodwin noticed that most of the stone he was making was being used on fireplaces, he purchased into a partnership and started selling pre-fab fireplaces.
Jim Goodwin bought that partner out in the early 1980s, and Jeff joined the business. The Goodwins added mirrors and shower doors to their product line. Soon after, they acquired a marble company to solve a problem they were having with marble tops. Next came wood stoves. They also bought a small guttering company.
In addition to their product lines, Complete Home Concepts offers an array of services, including chimney sweeping (yes, they bought a chimney sweep company), gutter and ventilated closet shelving installation and more.
As the company grew, so did their visibility throughout Kansas City. “We had a large retail presence in the 1990s and early 2000s with four showrooms around the city,” Jeff Goodwin said. But in 2008, when the recession hit their industry hard, they pulled back and consolidated at their current location in the Horizons District of Riverside, Missouri.
Keys to Success
Jeff Goodwin can tick off a number of reasons Complete Home Concepts withstood the recession and other challenges.
First and foremost, they focus on the customer. “My dad always used to say ‘If the builder ever calls you and says he needs something, you’re doing something wrong,’” Goodwin said. ‘You need to know he needs it before he knows he needs it. Then the guy who’s out there competing against you doesn’t have a chance.’”
That focus on the customer is reflected in their selection of products and manufacturers too. “Our product choices have always been one step ahead of the competition. Nobody can match what we do,” Goodwin said, “because we don’t skimp on quality.”
Second, they aren’t afraid to go after what they need. They do what it takes to achieve success, whether that’s strategically acquiring more companies or even going back to school to earn an accounting degree—which is what Jeff did when the company needed help in that area.
Third, Jeff Goodwin said he and his sister Jenny Haughenberry and his nephews continue to follow his mother’s advice for keeping the peace in the family-run business. “My mother had a hard and fast rule. When you came in the door, the business stayed on the porch. Mom was very clear: ‘We are here. We’re not the business. The business is over there, so keep it separate.’”
Bank Provides Buying Power
Complete Home Concepts is a long-time customer of Equity Bank. “We ask for something, and it’s done pretty quick,” Goodwin said. “They ask a few questions and off we go. They know us pretty well. We talk to them on a regular basis. They see our financials on a regular basis, so they know what’s going on. They’re not overly involved in what we do, but if we have a question, they find a solution, including some major financing they’ve put together for us.”
Share Your Napkin Story
Some of the most amazing business stories started as an idea scribbled on a napkin.
Mark Parman, Kansas City Market President of Equity Bank, invites you to share your Napkin Story. “We not only want to hear your origin story, we can help you continue to write the rest of your company’s story,” he said.
Equity Bank is a full-service community bank with offices in Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas. Our group of bankers are experienced with businesses from small to large. We take the time to listen to your story and help you design the services that will benefit you and your business.
To share your napkin story, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (913) 323-9300.