CEDAR FALLS — For nearly 30 years, City Builders have been making dream homes come true in the Cedar Valley.
“It’s satisfying I think to see a need or a want … and give (customers) the product or the dream that they’ve been after,” said co-owner, Denny Wildebeor.
While the home improvement business serves mainly residences offering everything from siding, sunrooms and roofing to bath remodels and gutters, the company also does some commercial work.
A popular service is window replacements, and Wildeboer said they predominately provide exterior work on homes, though some interior remodeling is offered.
“I think we owe the Cedar Valley a lot for trusting us,” Wildeboer said.
Building on years of experience in the construction business, Wildeboer and Dwight Wielenga decided to start City Builders in 1987. Their business ran for two years on Lincoln Street in Cedar Falls before relocating to Center Street.
“(It’s) been a great partnership, and we’ve had a great business for a long time,” Wildeboer said.
Since the transition, City Builders has expanded, building a showroom and purchasing property for warehouse storage.
But the 2008 flood put a plug in their progress when two feet of water flooded the building. The damage demanded a remodel of the showroom.
“It really put us kind of in a bind for quite a few months,” Wildeboer said, “(but) we got a good housecleaning.”
In the early stages of their business, the company built its client base through referral.
“We did a great job for one customer (and) we just built our business from there,” Wildeboer said. “It was a lot of word of mouth back then.”
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Televsion and newspaper advertising has brought people into the shop, but new mediums like the Internet, texting and Facebook have been changing the business.
“The digital world has really changed a lot of ways in how we do things,” Wildeboer said.
Working face to face with customers has become somewhat of an anomaly as the business now receives emails or even text messages with service requests.
“I try to stay connected on what’s working and how things have changed, so I embrace it,” Wildeboer said. “You have to.”
For interested customers, City Builders offers in-home demonstrations in addition to their showroom, where prospective clients can view displays and gather quotes and measurements.
However, Wildeboer said in-home visits are usually the route customers take, “especially if it’s replacement products, when we really have to see what we’re dealing with.”
When working on a home, project materials must be ordered, delivered to the job site and installed. The company then follows up to confirm everything was installed and functions as promised.
With the many moving parts of working with customers, employees and the installation team, the most challenging part to the business is “wearing the many hats I have to,” Wildeboer said.
In the event of an unhappy customer, City Builders contacts the customer concerning the complaint. A representative visits the customer to take a survey and pictures of the home to gather “strong, personal feedback.”
It all comes down to customer service and ensuring customers remain satisfied with their home.
“If there is a problem we’ll follow up with them and try to make it right,” Wildeboer said.