Friday, April 15, 2016

Magnolia Homes to Reopen Under New Name and Management

From an article in the Star-Herald by AARON SEANEY Staff Reporter

The former Magnolia Homes factory in Gering, Nebraska, will soon be operating under a former owner, but with a new name.

Old Magnolia Homes website

Doug Fillingham, previous owner of Magnolia Homes, is set to open up a new modular housing business called Family Built Homes.

“Our plan is to build high quality modular housing. We are going to use quality materials, solid surface countertops, quality flooring, and so everything is going to be top end,” said Fillingham. “We are planning on putting folks back to work in the community. That employee base will be 40-50 employees once we get up and running.”

Part of the plan for those employees came through the approval of a new economic development grant from the City of Gering, which the city council voted unanimously to approve on Monday, April 11.

The new grant will be for $200,000 with Fillingham to hire forty full time employees at $5,000 a piece when signed to five-year contracts.

“It will be a guarantee by us that we will have those employees for five years. It’s a five-year term on the ground,” said Fillingham. “That is the way the grant is set up, but our intention is that will be more than five years.”

Fillingham will be doing business with his sons Nip and Tuck, and plan to do build fewer homes than the previous owners of Magnolia homes to better monitor company spending.

“Our intention is to be a lower volume than what’s been in the past so we can control our margins and our expenses better,” said Fillingham. “We feel we have a really strong business plan, and we are enthusiastic and excited.”

Part of the new housing development will come from a partnership with Twin City development as they look at the housing needs of the community.

“We have for quite some time and will continue to work with Rawnda (Pierce) and Twin City Development,” said Fillingham. “We will use any information available to continue to help build housing in this area.”

Though the ball is moving smoothly on the new business venture, Fillingham said it could still take 3-4 weeks until they are operational.

“Right now we are going through going through all the various things. We have to put a lot of stuff together before you can actually get going,” said Fillingham. “We have to get our pricing down, and then we have to go out and market. We have folks out there that we’ve been in contact with who are interested in doing business with us.”

Part of the people they have already been in contact with are former employees of Magnolia Homes. They hope to start re-building their previous positive experiences with them.

“We have had contact with former employees. We feel we have a good base right now of probably about 25 employees from the production line that are very interested and excited, and we will build from that base,” said Fillingham. “We intend to have 30-40 production line personnel and then some where like 8-10 of what you would consider management employees.”

Family Built Homes won’t just service the Panhandle, however. Part of their business plan is to continue targeting surrounding states like South Dakota and Wyoming. Fillingham feels particularly strong about the potential in Colorado, which just had a record high year for housing.

“Colorado is really strong. They had a banner year in 2015 with the highest starts that Colorado housing has ever seen in any kind of recent history,” said Fillingham. “The people that we’ve talked with feel 2016 will be an even better year than that. So it’s a good opportunity.”

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