The name of the company brings a smile to your face even before you know exactly what they do. According to its three co-owners, controller Theresa Same, design and architecture lead Amanda Johnson, and operations/sales chief Justin Larrison, the name Small Carpenters at Large Inc. is sometimes misconstrued.

Some assume they do small jobs or that they just do carpentry. SCAL specializes in major remodels of old homes in the Intown neighborhood of Georgia’s large and growing capital city. Beginning in 1980, when the company was founded as The Small Carpenter at Large by Danny Feig-Sandoval, the firm pioneered the design-build remodeling process in Atlanta. In doing so, the company fostered a culture of quality and craftsmanship that has attracted a steady stream of clients.

Last year the firm completed 26 jobs that generated $2.9 million in revenue for an average job size of $112,120. Those jobs ranged from bathroom makeovers to whole-house historic restorations. In fact, the company recently renovated an 1884 home on DeKalb Avenue and made it their headquarters.

The co-owners are relatively new as entrepreneurs—having purchased the business in 2019—but they are anything but new to the company. Theresa Same has been with the firm since 1997. Johnson joined SCAL in 2001. And Larrison is the “newbie” with only seven years at the company.

The trio is backed by five employees who are also very tenured and credentialed in their positions. Their three project leads—Michael Jayne, Steve Schuchardt and Alex Cook—hold professional certifications in erosion/sediment control. All are EPA lead-paint remediation certified. Jayne and Schuchardt hold Certified Lead Carpenter designations from The National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Indeed, credentials start at the top. Amanda Johnson and Justin Larrison are state-licensed contractors. Johnson also holds the prestigious EarthCraft Builder designation for knowledge of green-building standards.

Operating for 42 years in just one section of Atlanta and having created a strong reputation during that time, the company relies almost exclusively on word-of-mouth advertising. Like many remodelers today, they have a long backlog of projects despite the cost and price pressures that have resulted from supply chain and labor availability issues. Through all the rush and stress of the past two years, the group is looking ahead with confidence to 2023.

The company prides itself on keeping an even keel by emphasizing teamwork and a culture of empowerment that stems back to its founder.

“Well, I think we do provide a unique culture. It really stems from Danny. He empowered all his employees in their roles. That’s something we’ve continued. We have a lot of trust in our employees. We try to be flexible with everybody and heir live, especially these days. We were attracted to that culture of teamwork and empowerment all those years ago. That’s what we’ve tried to maintain.” Same explains.

Larrison emphasizes the breadth of experience on the team as aiding their culture of teamwork. “We’re very big into teamwork. While the three of us are quote-unquote, ‘the bosses,’ we rely heavily on our experienced staff. Our project managers are very, very experienced. Steve and Michael have almost 90 years between the two of them. That’s just two of our guys. We encourage them to challenge us and to talk with us about things. It’s not a top-down approach here. Our guys really like that approach. They all buy into it.”

For Johnson, teamwork means that everyone knows the top priority is ensuring sure clients are always happy. The pandemic “threw a bunch of curve balls at us and whether you’re a project manager, you’re a helper in the field, or one of the owners; you know that you’ve got this support. You know that we’re all going to figure out a problem together to make sure the client’s happy. There’s no finger pointing, blaming or being thrown under the bus. We’re all in it together. Speaking personally, I feel like that that goes a long way with reducing the stress level that is inherent to our business.” QR

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