Though Creative Homes is only four years old, the company has seen rapid growth by tailoring each customer’s home to their needs.
By Bianca Herron
Nick Hackworthy, president of Creative Homes, started the Woodbury, Minn-based company in 2013 as the market was on the rebound following the economic downturn. Hackworthy notes he saw an opportunity to not only deliver a great product, but also create and deliver an unmatched customer experience.
Nearly four years later, Creative Homes has grown from building 30 houses in its first year to building an estimated 130 homes in 2017. Hackworthy attributes Creative Homes’ significant growth to the reputation of its brand.
“We have created a strong brand by delivering the customer experience we offer,” he says. “Our touch point process and the experience we deliver to our customers from the moment they visit our website – or walk into one of our models – through preconstruction, design and construction through post-closing is industry leading, in our opinion.
“At Creative Homes, we are flexible and allow customers to customize their design and home plans to their needs,” he continues. “Some homebuilders won’t allow customers to make changes to floors plans; however, we allow our customers that personalization, which differentiates us from our competition. In addition, the fact that our quality process is documented before, during and after construction is very unique as we work with the client every step of the way.”
Creative Homes’ customers consist of first and second homebuyers, as well as empty nesters. The company specializes in luxury speculative homes ranging from $250,000 to more than $1 million. Although the company primarily builds in western Wisconsin and Minnesota, Hackworthy notes the company is in the process of expanding into new markets.
“We plan to cover other geographic areas within the Twin Cities housing market,” he explains. “Right now we primarily build in the eastern metro area; however, we plan to expand out of that area and further our reach in 2017.”
Hackworthy explains that the task is feasible because the company was built with a “great group of people.” “We have a team of about 30 people,” he says. “All of our sales team is in-house and many of our employees, when hired, did not have any prior experience in the homebuilding industry. So over the last few years we have groomed and developed them into the industry with training. We also have hired those with 30-plus years of industry experience, so we have a really great combination of youth and energy with knowledge and experience.”
Hackworthy notes that Creative Homes tries to not only be the homebuilder of choice for its customers, but also be the contractor of choice for its trade partners as well as the employer of choice for its employees. Another differentiator for Creative Homes is its company culture and work environment.
“We are an extremely tight-knit team,” he says. “We work hard inside of our four walls together and we play hard outside of our four walls together. Our people genuinely appreciate each other and we, as a team, interact outside of the office.”
“It’s just an open and inviting culture here,” Marketing Director Lauren St. Martin adds. “We have a great team, it’s a large mix of people and personalities, and we all seem to fit together like a glove, which makes it a great environment for work and – most importantly – our home buyers.”
Creative Homes aims to have a “real collaborative work environment” that allows each employees’ opinion to be heard. “In an era where more and more homebuilders have become more corporate, we are really trying to embrace the newer work trends,” Hackworthy says.
Bay Lake Reserve
One of Creative Homes’ newest developments is Bay Lake Reserve, a quiet, private community on Bay Lake in Stillwater, Minn. The community consists of 27 home sites with custom homes priced from $700,000 to more than $1 million.
“It was originally a farmette that was developed 12 years ago,” Hackworthy says. “It has what I call unique suburban countryside characteristics. For example, homebuyers’ have the privacy of the country, but are also still close to retail, restaurants and can commute into the Twin Cities. The community is really self-contained; it has its own trail and about one-third of the lots back up to the lake, so it’s really a unique place.”
Customers can customize the floor plans to their needs. “This home has a rich formal dining room that’s filled with wainscoting and crown,” Hackworthy notes. “The master suite overlooks the aquatic sanctuary in the back yard, and it also has a freestanding tub that sits on a platform with picture windows. The lower level has a beautiful walkout with a pub-style bar, including a fireplace with floor-to-ceiling stone.”
Creative Homes started construction of Bay Lake Reserve in June 2016 and finished in January 2017. The majority of the trade partners on the project have longstanding relationships with the company.
“We use a lot of the same subcontractors for projects,” Hackworthy says. “We call them ‘trade partners’ because they really partner with us on the construction of these homes. Since we are a general contractor, everything goes through one of our trade partners. Some of them we have worked with from day one, while some others have been with us for a year. We all work together well and it’s always a good environment when we do.”
The company is showcasing Bay Lake Reserve for the Spring Parade of Homes put on by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities. “It’s a parade that features close to 500 homes and it runs for about five weeks,” Hackworthy explains. “We’ll have more than 500 people visit this community during the parade. It’s great for exposure and allows potential homebuyers to get a first-hand look of the homes and community.”
Ultimately, Creative Homes’ vision is to continue to create and deliver unmatched customer experiences for its customers. “That’s really what our passion is here,” Hackworthy says. “That’s what motivates and drives our team of people, so as we continue to grow it’s about just following that philosophy. Our niche is that we build homes, not houses. That is why we take great responsibility when we have to build someone’s home, regardless of the price point. We know that we’re building someone else’s dream. It’s their family’s home, something they will live in for a lifetime. So it’s not just another project or another unit – every job we have is someone’s home.”