New Home Builder Forging Ahead

March 5, 2004
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GRAND HAVEN — All in all, George Haworth says he is happy he came back to West Michigan from the West Coast to join his brother, Mark, in their new business, Haworth Homes.

“Living there is difficult,” he said.

“In Los Angeles, you spend 30 to 45 minutes on the expressway and you’ve covered about 15 miles. Here, I can get to work from my home in Ada in roughly the same length of time.”

“Work” is the firm’s office in Grand Haven.

Haworth told the Business Journal he’s also happy to be working with Mark because — since they started operations about this time two years ago — they’ve done enough business to place seventh out of the top 10 firms listed in Builder Track Publications.

Brother Mark is the builder in the company, having been licensed for nearly 15 years and having spent much of that career in carpentry and in remodeling.

“I’m on the corporate side,” his brother said.

George served a number of years in Los Angeles as CFO with Larwin Homes, a national real estate development firm. Prior to that he was CFO and executive vice president in acquisitions and mergers for the Muskegon-based Horizon Group.

He said Haworth Homes — no relationship, incidentally, to the office furniture manufacturing family in Holland — is engaged both in home building and real estate development.

Currently, the firm is undergoing permitting for an 85-acre plot in Zeeland and has begun development of Rolling Hills Estates, a 60-home subdivision in the Forest Hills School District.

It also is constructing homes in Cutter Park, Cottage Hills, The Sanctuary and Banzany.

Haworth told the Business Journal that the firm builds custom homes ranging from $200,000 to $600,000.

“Our bread-and-butter homes range from the mid-twos to the low-threes,” he added.

Haworth Homes has a staff of seven.

“We do most of our work with subcontractors,” he said.

He said part of the reason the company has enjoyed such success this early in its short history relates to low interest rates that have kept the demand for new homes steady in spite of job losses in West Michigan.

“In some parts of the country, they’ve had a home-building boom. Unemployment hit pretty hard here, but low interest rates have kept the business steady,” Haworth said.

Beyond that, however, he said he and his brother believe their success is due largely to solid relationships with quality vendors and subcontractors. And, he said, Haworth Homes goes an extra distance.

“Signature elements like hardwood floors, custom window molding and fireplaces add an extra touch of quality,” he said.

“But we also take extra steps to make sure the process of creating that home goes as smoothly as possible,” he added. “We try to make it a more pleasant experience for the buyers.

“Our goal is to exceed customers’ expectations throughout the entire building process — and after it.”

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