Experienced builder Vince Stark and his team at CBC Inc. have built a design/build firm that offers luxurious homes.
DRAWN TO THE beautiful setting of Mesa, Arizona, and its surrounding foothill communities, Vince Stark was inspired to turn his capabilities in construction and construction management to the luxury home market 17 years ago.
Through the changes since he founded the company in 1999, he has held onto one constant: to maintain a awless reputation through uncompromising integrity.
That decision, he says, is key to what the company has become, a full-service design/ build firm providing unmatched professional architectural design, engineering and construction services available in Arizona.
“If I were to mentor someone coming into this industry, I would advise them that integrity and honesty will help to gain a long, rewarding career in this business,” Stark says.
He also strives for continuous improvement, making each project and each client a priority.
“The rest can be learned – but the learning never ends, and that is part of the fun of this business,” Stark says. “Every day is a new challenge.”
Stark started out his entrepreneurial trek studying electrical engineering then founding a small low-voltage company in 1987. When he was selling the company, one of his then-clients convinced him to shift to construction and partner with him to provide construction management services to growing church groups.
That was the start of Church Building Contractors, formed in Michigan, in the early 1990s. When Stark relocated to Mesa in 1999, he kept the acronym CBC as a way to remember the path that led him to the mountains, and to building homes.
“My love for the mountains and the amazing back drops in the many foothill communities brought me to discover my new passion in the luxury home market and CBC began to build and quickly specialize in the construction of hillside homes,” he says.
Through market fluctuations, which are especially volatile in sun-belt states like Arizona, Stark learned how to adjust to the times. Successfully navigating two recessions, CBC became an established company.
“I have learned to treat my company as an investment portfolio, with diversification being key,” he says. “We have a custom home division that does well in a good economy and a commercial division that does well when economies are changing tides.
“Our ‘in-house’ real estate business can survive in a downturn,” he adds. “We keep our overhead low so that we can provide a more competitive product to our clients.”
Part of those financially savvy measures includes not financing depreciating vehicles, equipment or property.
“Vacant lots and pre-construction costs are also not financed,” Stark says. “If it’s not an appreciating asset, we won’t finance it.”
After more fluctuations in the industry – this time in the labor market – Stark made the call to add employees. CBC now has eight carpenters who handle framing and finish work.
“With convenience and necessity factoring high over affordability, our projects now flow more steadily and the quality and timeliness of our product has improved,” he says.
Now, operating as a full-service design/build firm, CBC is building stunning homes in some of the region’s most desirable locations. The company’s custom creations – each carefully tailored to a homeowner’s tastes – can be seen in many of Arizona’s East Valley communities.
CBC also has built a niche market in the golfing communities of Gold Canyon, Arizona.
“Gold Canyon offers five distinct golf course communities and the best back drop in the entire state with the Superstition Mountains which encompass nearly 250 square miles,” Stark says. “We enjoy the Tonto National Forest and array of wildlife just outside of our job sites. We are currently building a number of distinguished homes in the Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club which offers spectacular golf in a truly dramatic old-world setting.”
The prestigious private club boasts two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses highlighted by jaw-dropping views, a spectacular clubhouse and a fully appointed sports club, where the club’s Lost Gold Golf Course was the site of the 2002 Senior Slam.
The club’s Prospector Golf Course has been the site of the 2002 Countrywide Tradition tournament and the home of the LPGA Safeway International from 2004 to 2008. Recently, it was selected by Golf Week magazine as a “Top 100” residential course.
As Stark considers new communities for his homes, he looks for what would inspire him and his family, he says.
“When CBC enters a new community our game plan has been to first select a community where we would like to live, as the community quickly becomes a part of who we are,” he says. “It is typically a two-year investment of time and significant funding to get established and to build those trusting relationships that are necessary in an upscale community.”
Stark says he also works to distinguish CBC from other builders.
“If there are a dozen Tuscan-style homes already available, we will build a traditional exterior with contemporary interior finishes,” he says. “We aim to always have a custom home that is under construction and one that is 100 percent complete for our clients to walk through that shows our high quality construction methods and our finished product.”
Stark’s relationships with clients begin at the first interview – though he can’t say when it ends. That’s because they don’t, he says.
“I take my business very personally and value the long relationships obtained over the years,” Stark says.
Due to the company’s longevity – as well as its responsiveness and timeliness – about 80 percent of CBC’s business stems from referrals, with satisfied clients sending new prospects to CBC. The other 20 percent is brought in through community-based real estate agents, Stark says. His wife Leslie Stark has been part of the CBC team for over two decades and works as a real estate agent regionally.
“Our clients are oftentimes seasonal residents or may be from anywhere in the U.S. and Canada,” Stark says. “Our entire team strives to welcome them with a great building experience.”