When Linda and Wayne Minde opened their home remodeling company 23 years ago, they earned a whopping $2,000 their first year.
The Chandler couple figures their company, Tri-Lite Builders, this year will draw more than $2 million in gross revenues.
They’re projecting $3 million annually in the coming years.
But dollars are just part of the Minde’s success story.
"We live and work in a beautiful area of the East Valley, are deeply involved in our community and we’re very happy with our lives," said Linda, 56, a former human resources director for the Great Western Bank who now handles the company’s financial issues.
"Our goal now is to eventually retire and let the company run itself," said Wayne, 50, a veteran brick layer whose experience in the construction industry plays a major role in the development and growth of Tri-Lite Builders, 1650 E. Twin Acres Drive, Chandler.
The Mindes live in a brick home designed and built by Wayne, who also built an adjacent office at 3250 S. Eagle Road.
"It’s a short commute from home to work," quipped Linda, a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners and an active member of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.
Their home and office is on 2.5 acres of land dotted with surrounding horse barns, grazing cattle and goats and an occasional wild animal visitor.
Their home and company is on the south side of E. Queen Creek Road and across the street from the Chandler Municipal Airport. The area is bordered by gated communities.
Wayne Minde, who grew up on a farm in Syracuse, New York, is an officer in the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Arizona Chapter.
"I moved to Chandler when I was 13, graduated from Chandler High School and I always wanted to live and own a farm," said the avid horse rider and hunter whose also boasts about his many years as a member of Local 3 of the Bricklayers Union.
The couple recently celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary, which coincides with the opening of their company.
"We had no idea about the future growth in the East Valley, but we wanted to start a remodeling company and, we did," said Linda. "It — the company and the East Valley — has been growing ever since."
The Minde’s currently have seven employees who specialize in the various aspects of home remodeling, including architects, designers, installers, carpenters and other skilled workers.
When he’s not meeting with clients, Wayne may direct and install masonry, tile and other permanent fixtures.
The company averages between 25 and 30 remodeling projects each year, mostly kitchens, baths, room additions and sometimes an entire house renovation. Average job is $65,000.
Most of their jobs are the result of referrals, primarily from customers in the East Valley like Ann Burns, a widow whose home was expanded to provide a 600-foot "quiet space" for her when her children moved into her Chandler home.
"The important thing is that I felt safe while they were working on my home," said Burns.
Blake and Cindy Sacha of Gilbert had their kitchen remodeled, a room added and a pool house built by the Minde’s company.
"We love it," said Cindy Sacha, who also enjoyed unique features provided by Tri-Lite Builders, during and after construction — a rollaway, portable kitchen that is used during remodeling and, afterward, a basket of gifts, a gift certificate and a CD showing construction before-and-after.
They also give customers a free bed-and-breakfast outing during long projects.
"The portable kitchen was perfect for a Queen Creek mother of three who really couldn’t afford to eat out every night while her kitchen was being remodeled," said Linda Minde.
It provides a sink with hot and cold water, a two-burner electric stove top, a convection oven, a cutting board, hot plate and storage space.
The Mindes have since received requests from several companies for permission to use the roll-away kitchen idea for their own projects.
Meanwhile, the residential growth in the East Valley and the rising value of new as well as older homes is prompting even more business for the Mindes.
"A lot of our customers live in older homes on larger lots than the newer, more expensive homes being built and they want to upgrade and stay in their homes," said Linda.
The Mindes are active in several local charities and support Chandler’s Adopt-ARoad program.
They recently visited Equator, where they helped build a school and did missionary work on behalf of Epiphany Lutheran Church in Chandler.
Linda and Wayne Minde
Family: Sons, Jeff, Clint and Justin; daughter, Shelby
Resides in: Chandler
Business: Owners of Tri-Lite Builders, 1650 E. Twin Acres Drive, Chandler
Key Achievement: Developed a Chandler-based, home remodeling business over 23 years from a small company earning about $2,000 the first year to a firm expected to make more than $2 million in gross revenues in 2005
Success Philosophy: Develop a trust with your clients, customers and employees based on integrity
Motto: "Designing Value — Building Trust."
Information: (480) 895-3442 or www.trilitebuilders.com
Tips for choosing a remodeler
• Ask neighbors and friends for names of remodelers they have used and if they are happy with their work
• Look for remodelers whose ads you’ve seen or whose names you’ve heard of for years — longevity
• Visit the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Arizona Chapter at www.aznari.com or call (480) 419-1631
Source: National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Arizona Chapter