MONUMENT — Scheiner Commercial Group Inc. specializes in “construction from afar.”
The company is currently bidding on projects in Arkansas, Kansas, New York and Texas.
Scheiner is now building in Delaware, Texas, Washington, Missouri, Alabama and in Colorado, at Park Meadows Mall in Centennial.
The Monument company specializes in store build-outs, working at malls, stand-alone businesses or strip centers. Most of the build-outs involve “dry” retail — clothing, cosmetics and the like — but they also do restaurants and some office construction, said Joe Scheiner, who owns the company with his wife Kelley.
Some general contractors will construct a building from the ground up, he said. Not so with Scheiner. Most of Scheiner’s work involves remodels of current business space.
“We are a general contractor. We provide all the management, administration, logistics, coordination, and where we’re building, we hire all local subcontractors,” Scheiner said.
The company’s work ranges from a simple paint job to a full remodel, he said.
Scheiner employs four superintendents in Monument and sends them to the worksites to manage the projects.
“They spend an average of nine to 16 weeks on the job,” Scheiner said. “We fly our superintendents home every three weeks.”
The number of superintendents Scheiner has depends on how busy the company is. Last year, the company had two main offices because of the heavy workload in El Paso, Texas. The company spent considerable time working at The Fountains at Farah, a commercial development that opened last autumn in east El Paso.
Scheiner has spent 20 years in the business of remodeling retail space, most of it with Eddie Bauer.
“I was in the corporate world on the owner’s side, rather than the contractor’s side,” Scheiner said, chuckling. “I was the guy who had all the control.”
At Eddie Bauer, he met his future wife.
“Kelley did the same job I did,” he said. “We oversaw store development, design and construction.
“At one time in Eddie Bauer’s heyday, we did 75 stores in one year, and there was only five of us,” he said, referring to 1995. Scheiner said he felt “very fortunate” to have worked at Eddie Bauer, and prior to that, for the Rouse Company, a mall developer.
How it works
Because of his lengthy experience in the build-out industry, Scheiner will hear about jobs from others in the industry. Developers will also call him to request bids and submit their specifications.
From there, his crew of estimators launches into research of subcontractors. From the company headquarters in Monument, estimators will look up plumbers, drywallers, glaziers, painters and more and ensure they are qualified.
“We deal with a lot of new subcontractors so we have to do due diligence to ensure they’re qualified,” Scheiner said.
The subcontractors will bid and submit the numbers and specifications electronically to a cloud-based location. Scheiner will compare the subcontractor trade bids and then complete his bid to the project developer.
“We deal with landlords and government,” Scheiner said. “It’s a small niche.”
What he enjoys about this line of work is the transitory nature of the jobs.
“You get in, do the job, and then close out,” Scheiner said. “It’s a quick turnaround.”
The business now has three jobs in progress. Scheiner added that he’s “always feeding the hopper,” referring to the front end of the cycle, soliciting business and preparing bids.
The lean years
When the “bottom really fell out of retail,” in 2008, Scheiner and his wife “ran a pretty lean office,” at six employees, he said.
Most of his clients at the time suspended his services, but did not cancel.
“During a two-year period, we still did work,” but he and his lean crew spent the time “retooling ourselves so we would be ready when it came back,” Scheiner said.
“We had a strong financial picture in 2008, so we weren’t desperate. I didn’t lay anybody off,” Scheiner said. “I told everyone to hang in there.
“And I was looking in the mirror at the time.”
Along with retail, the construction business improved, and the company had its most successful year in 2013, with $13 million in sales, Scheiner said.
Now “there’s a lot of money out there,” Scheiner said. “Retailers are starting to bust loose with their purse-strings.”
Since the recession, business has been more competitive, he said.
“Our margins are smaller, and our prices are lower,” Scheiner said. “There’s less negotiating for work and more bidding for work.”
Even though retailers are spending more, he said, “they’re more watchful of what they’re spending their money on.”