Small Business Spotlight

Tree houses

By
From the July 2014 issue of Columbus CEO
  • Photo by Tim Johnson

Tim Jubach and his family always loved the beauty and the tranquility of Hocking Hills.

It was the perfect spot for the engineer and entrepreneur to create a weekend getaway. In 1991, Jubach built a log cabin on 80 acres. Planning and building the log home was such an enjoyable experience, Jubach built a few others.

In 2002, he entered into business with his son, Chris, a homebuilder who built traditional-style and log homes. They formed the Jubach Company to focus on building log homes in Hocking Hills. Creating a company built around Hocking Hills real estate appealed to the elder Jubach because it was a “niche” business that he believed would appeal to enough customers to sustain the company. The natural beauty of the area—mature trees, rock formations and water elements—make the area an appealing place to build, he says.

“That’s the key to the niche—that real estate,” he says.

A year later, Tim’s other son, Timothy, joined the company. He brought experience in quality management and Six Sigma innovation, a technique developed by Motorola that focuses on process improvements to reduce waste and increase profit.

His business experience complemented that of his father, a mechanical and industrial engineer who devoted his career to streamlining businesses for quality and efficient cycle times.

In 2005, Jubach’s daughter, Sarah Jubach Claypool, joined the company to handle sales and marketing and client relations. She is a licensed Realtor. 

Over the last decade, the family has set about creating a home-building business that eliminates inefficiencies and utilizes vertical integration, meaning they own and control the supply chain for their business. They build three or four houses a year, many as weekend getaways or retirement homes. Homes start at about $350,000. 

“We are absolutely creating a way of life for these folks,” Claypool says.

Construction takes about eight to 13 weeks due to the family’s focus on efficiency and their ability to control the process.

“We are the general manager of everyone we pull together to make our vertical integration process successful, and we created and control that entire process solely,” Claypool says.

The Jubachs buy and hold property in Hocking Hills. Their portfolio usually contains about 35 potential lots. Lots start at about seven acres. 

When the family buys a piece of land, they typically determine the best location for a house, clear the building site, put in a driveway and add underground utilities. The initial work goes a long way toward helping potential homebuilders visualize the lot’s potential, says Tim Jubach. 

“Almost without exception, clients can’t visualize what their view is going to be unless you create it for them,” he says.

Once customers purchase a lot, Tim Jubach works with them to design their home. 

Sheila and Mike Hikes appreciated his insights when they built their weekend getaway in 2011. He really listened to what they wanted and had great ideas, she says. 

“He wants to make sure you get what your dream is,” she says.

When the plans are in place, the logs are processed at the family’s mill and the home is built by their construction crew. The Jubachs provide flooring, paneling, trim and cabinetry. 

“We manufacture and procure everything,” Claypool says. “Our subcontractors are exclusive to us.”

Customers can even choose rocks for landscaping projects from the Jubachs’ quarry.

Once the house is built, homeowners can purchase landscaping and other services from the family.

Working with the Jubachs was an enjoyable experience, said Monica Foster. She and her husband, Scott, bought a four-bedroom getaway five years ago. The Jubachs spent a lot of time talking about options for the house, she said. 

“They wanted to hear our vision of the future,” she said.
She and her husband liked the Jubachs’ ability to control the process. 

“Everything was taken care of,” said Foster, who is working with the family to build a garage on their property. “We have complete confidence. It’s so obvious the quality control is there.”

She appreciated the family’s “hands-on” approach and continues to see them as a resource in the area. She recently called them at 10 p.m. about a problem with the water and they sent someone to help.

She’s not the only customer that still relies on the family years after they have moved in, Claypool says. 

“We spend so much time with our clients. We build really strong relationships.”

Melissa Kossler Dutton is a freelance writer.