The History of Pierson-Gibbs Homes started in 1984, when Richard (Dick) Pierson and Charles Gibbs brought together their respective experience in housing sales and lumber supply to make and sell a home package to the do-it-yourself builder. Although this is when the company started, it is not when the concept of building your own home started.
In 1908, Sears and Roebuck started to sell what they termed “the modern home.” (available at Wikipedia) Over 70,000 of these homes were sold between 1908 and 1940. Id. The home kits were shipped via railroad boxcars and included everything that was necessary to complete a new home. Id. Many were assembled by the new homeowner with the help of friends, relatives and neighbors in a fashion similar to a barn-raising. Id. These homes included the latest and greatest in construction technology available at the time. Id.
Fast Forward to Post War America in the mid to late 1940’s and a young man named Martin Capp from Minnesota. Martin started both Capp Homes and Martin Homes. Through these two entities he became the largest builder of precut homes ever. Capp’s concept took what Sears did and added a few services such as architectural and rough carpenters to assemble the lumber that was precut to fit the housing plan. Dick Pierson sold homes for Capp in the 1970’s up until the company was disbanded in the early 1980’s.
Getting back to where we started in 1984, Dick took what Capp did and further improved the model with Pierson-Gibbs. Pierson-Gibbs provides more than a housing kit; it provides a low risk experience for someone to build their dream home. In addition to the quality materials that are included in the home package, customers take advantage of experienced framers who not only frame their home, but side and shingle it as well. While Capp and Martin based their products around set plans with a few variations, Pierson-Gibbs Architects will design whatever the customers want. In all of its years, the company takes pride in the fact they have never built the same home twice. Pierson-Gibbs also provides their customers with a Customer Service Rep who is available to answer any questions the customer may have.
Gibbs time with the company was brief and he sold his stock to Dick and his wife Lois in 1986. Although they obtained 100% of the stock, the couple decided to keep the company’s name. Like most start-ups, they had meager beginnings. In 1984, the company was headquartered in Dick and Lois’ garage (in a Capp home, of course) in Harrison Township, Michigan. But growth happened fast and in 2006 Pierson-Gibbs built its 2,000th home. Due to its rapid growth (and some pressure from their residential neighborhood), the company had to relocate its headquarters in 1987 to a commercial address in Richmond, Michigan. The headquarters remain there today, but has greatly expanded over the years.
A key advantage to using Pierson-Gibbs is the high-grade material one receives in their home at such a low price. In 1986, Dick formed Quality Lumber and Building Wholesalers. Quality Lumber, which operates out of the same address buys and sells building materials at a large volume. As they supply materials to Pierson-Gibbs, Pierson-Gibbs is able to pass on these savings to their customers.
Another great advantage that developed in 1986 was when Pierson-Gibbs Homes started offering its own in-house construction loans. The ability to offer a competitive construction loan with no fees is another major factor people choose to have Pierson-Gibbs assistance in building their homes.
Although Dick and Lois retired in 2003, the passion to provide a great home building experience is alive in the next generation. Three of their sons are involved in the day-to-day operations of the businesses: Bill Pierson is the President of Pierson-Gibbs Homes; Eric Pierson is the Chief Financial Officer of Pierson-Gibbs Homes; and Tim Pierson is the President of Quality Lumber. Carl Leonard, a long-time friend of the family and a former top salesman and customer for Pierson-Gibbs, is VP of Sales and Marketing for Pierson-Gibbs and also part owner of the company.
Pierson-Gibbs takes pride in that over all of the years over 60% of their business has come from referrals from previous customers and that they have clear records with both the Better Business Bureau and the State Licensing Bureau.
As times have changed, so has the building industry and its customers’ needs. While affordability will always be important, so is energy efficiency and environmental awareness. Pierson-Gibbs has always been ahead of the curve when it came to these changes. While the company just recently started guaranteeing an Energy Star rating on all of their homes, it didn’t entail any change to the home package as it already exceeded the basis for an energy star rating. When the rest of the world was looking to get sustainable and green, Pierson-Gibbs had already been offering engineered wood products and blown-in cellulose in their homes for years. Pierson-Gibbs has an advantage in giving customers what they want, instead of telling the customers what they are going to get. This puts Pierson-Gibbs in a unique position that other builders are not privileged. They are able to change with customer demand immediately and the customer is often driving the change. Another example of such change is the recent introduction of Dow SIS board to all of our homes. This will only further enhance Pierson-Gibbs’ already dramatic Energy Ratings.
This brief history has pointed out the growth of the company and the many reasons responsible for this growth, but every great company is founded upon the people whom they employ. Nearly every Pierson-Gibbs’ employee is also a past customer. Because of their collective experiences, they are intimately familiar with the Pierson-Gibbs building process and building, in general. Pierson-Gibbs Homes, Inc. is a fun place to work. As a family business, the owners have always made every employee feel as though they were part of the family. This has led to a remarkably low employee turnover rate. Dick always had a longstanding philosophy that is employed daily at Pierson-Gibbs Homes, that is, “treat your people well and they will work hard for you.”