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After more than 25 years, Ole South Properties Inc. has grown from modest beginnings to become a local industry leader, CEO John Floyd says.
“We’re the largest homebuilder in Tennessee,” Floyd declares.
Based in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Ole South specializes in developing and building affordable townhomes and larger step-up homes. A veteran of the real estate industry, Floyd began his career in 1983 at the young age of 23 as a landlord for a rental property he had purchased.
In 1986, he co-founded Ole South, which specialized in providing homes in Rutherford County, Tenn. Over the years, the company grew its reach. “Our growth was created by [our] aggressive [nature] to go out into other counties throughout mid-Tennessee,” he recalls.
By 1990, Ole South had built and sold 100 homes, and today, is currently building in more than 30 active communities throughout Nashville, Tenn., and has closed more than 9,000 homes. In addition, the firm’s work extends beyond its roles as a homebuilder and developer.
“Normally, 95 percent of any company of any size is really a large management company,” he says. “We manage multiple other businesses, which would be our subcontractors. We have 70 to 100 subcontractors working on any given day.”
Ole South’s customers are primarily first-time homebuyers, COO Roger Case says. He adds that Ole South’s roles as a homebuilder and a developer have filled an important niche for its buyers.
After the 2008 recession, the company had to find other ways to provide customers with affordable housing, Case says. “Buying bank-owned, developed lots filled the need and kept us as the No. 1 homebuilder in Tennessee in 2011,” he states.
Recently, he admits, it has become more challenging due to buyers being very knowledgeable about the company, its competition and mortgage home lending restrictions placed on potential buyers. “To stay on top of the industry, we are forced to reinvent ourselves periodically,” he states, noting that being a locally owned homebuilder makes it easier to adapt to changing market conditions.
He also remains confident that Ole South will continue to dominate its market. “We’re going to build 330 [units] this year,” he states.
Ole South’s current projects include Puckett Station, a community of townhomes, traditional homes and estate houses in Murfreesboro. “When it is all said and done, there will be 700 homes in that neighborhood,” he says, noting that 125 have been built so far.
The community’s amenities include a playground, swimming pools and cabanas. “It’s also within the walking distance of an elementary [school], middle and high school,” Case adds.
Ole South contributes regularly to local charities through the John Floyd Charitable Foundation. To date, the firm has given more than $1 million in financial, material and labor support to organizations in Rutherford County.
“We feel like it is our responsibility to give back,” Floyd says. His foundation recently took part in expanding the local community colleges and gave 20 acres of land to Murray County for a new elementary school.
Floyd also recently partnered with the Rutherford County Home Builders Association to renew the building trades vocational program at Oakland High School in Murfreesboro. Floyd supplied both materials and labor for the school.
In recent years, Floyd says, Ole South’s growth had slowed due to the economy. But this year, the homebuilder has ramped up its growth due to consumers feeling more confident in the economy, and having General Motors and Amazon open locations in the local area. “We’ve been aggressive and [purchased more] lots,” he says.
“We’re hiring again,” he says. “We’ve been hiring people for the last eight months. [It is] a lot more fun to hire people than lay people off.”
With this experience, Floyd is confident about Ole South’s future. “We’ve still got [many] years ahead of us,” he says. “We made it through the tough, tough years.”
To stay strong, the firm will keep tabs on buyers’ needs, as well as adapt to the changing market conditions and continue providing high customer satisfaction, Case says. “[That] will help us stay atop the building industry in Tennessee,” he declares.