Custom New Homes & Renovations
by Beth Steury
In January 2014 Adams county natives Zane and Danielle Martens returned to their roots from the Middlebury area to purchase Marquis Builders in Berne, Indiana from owner and founder Mark Wynn.
“When it went up for sale, a handful of people approached me to buy it,” recalls Martens. The encouragement from family and friends spurred the couple to look into the opportunity. They saw the venture not only as a chance to move back home but also welcomed the opportunity to own a larger construction company than the one in which Zane partnered with his father in northern Indiana.
Soon, the pair were scouting out available properties for relocating their new business. When an old residence on East Main Street caught their eye, they moved quickly and were soon tearing down the existing house and barn that had once housed Blooming House Flowers. The move from the north side of Berne to the east side of town into their new 4500 square foot facility followed in April.
“The number one thing Marquis Builders is known for is new home construction,” Zane says. Marquis Builders completed two new homes in 2016, and the Martens are shooting to hit four or five in 2017.
“We have a full-time designer on staff. So, we can make blueprints for anything,” confirms Zane. While some customers approach them with a complete set of blueprints, others contact a contractor at the “idea” stage. Zane welcomes the opportunity to take the customer’s ideas and, together, work to create the perfect house plan.
The size of the Marquis crew (many stayed on when the business changed owners) varies throughout the year. They typically tackle the framing, siding, roofing, and trim work, while the electrical, plumbing, and drywall are generally subcontracted.
As the general contractor, Zane explains, “Everything is scheduled through me.” He then directs clients to the various suppliers they need to visit to pick out cabinets, flooring, etc.
“The typical home takes about four months to finish, from the time we start digging.”
Customers are sometimes surprised but always pleased to hear their new home will be completed in that time frame. Zane must maintain a tight calendar to accomplish this goal, juggling schedules between his own crew and the various subcontractors.
While many people think of Marquis Builders as exclusively involved in new home construction, “There’s really no job too small,” says Zane. From hanging a handrail to remodeling a bathroom, from gutting an old farmhouse to finishing a basement or replacing a roof—and everything in between—Marquis Builders can do it all.
Depending on the nature of the job, the crew is often working on up to three projects at a time. “We like those smaller jobs to plug in here and there in the schedule.” During the winter, of course, they look for interior remodels, rather than roofing jobs. “We like basement finishes this time of year.”
Since Zane took over, Marquis Builders has completed 10,000 square feet of office space. Church facility centers are another type of project they’ve been happy to be take on.
These days, Zane finds himself immersed in the management side of the construction business – “Getting everyone where they need to be,” he says. “I do check job sites every day, although I do very little hammer swinging.” That’s an activity that he sometimes misses. He enjoys the occasional opportunity to fill in at the job site, should a crew member be absent.
“Usually, the first nice spring day, I’ll clear my schedule and go out and work with the guys.” Warm temperatures in February had Zane and his crew itching to dig into outdoor projects. But, the unpredictability of winter weather keeps them inside often through March.
Most of the company’s jobs are within a fifty-mile radius of the office that also contains a modified showroom. Throughout both the interior and exterior of the building, the crew purposefully used a variety of product samples. For example, various types and colors of trim can be found throughout the building, as well as a number of flooring options.
The exterior windows also showcase several of the many styles available. These “built-in” examples provide a better view for the customer than a small sample piece not yet installed. Roofing, stone, and siding samples, as well as bathroom fixtures, are also on hand to get the homeowner’s ideas flowing before they visit suppliers.
Both husband and wife bring a wealthy of knowledge and experience to the business. Zane, a South Adams graduate, and Danielle, an Adams Central grad, both attended Purdue University. Zane earned his four-year degree in construction management, and Danielle’s four-year degree is in interior design.
The two are happy be closer to family and have appreciated the perks of doing business and networking in a familiar area with people they’ve known for years.
“At the end of the day, we like to pride ourselves in quality construction, honesty and trustworthiness,” Zane concludes.
Stop by the office, or contact Zane by phone. Learn more about Marquis Builders from their website and their Facebook page.