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Start thinking outside the big box

Leon Williams Contractors customers should be aware of changing retail scene

There’s so much bad press about the future of brick-and-mortar retail lately, it’s as if we’re all going to revert to a hunter-gatherer society with occasional drone deliveries to our crude shelters.

Leon Williams Contractors – a leading design-build firm specializing in franchise, medical facility and church construction — has no shortage of robust retail projects in the Knoxville area, make no mistake. But we are not blind to the fact traditional models of retail are undergoing substantial change, thanks in large part to the proliferation of online shopping and home-delivery systems.

We are by no means experts in retail trends, but it’s good for our customers to keep in mind some of these changes when it comes time to siting a store.

While multiple industries, including journalism, department stores and network television, have indeed seen some dramatic shifts courtesy of the digital revolution, all is not lost – at all. Some evolution is in order in the retail industry, that is true, but here are some ways to stanch the bleeding of traditional retail storefronts:

 -Make your brand stand for something. Millennials, a future gold mine of a generation increasingly coming into its own in terms of buying power and wealth, don’t just want to buy a new button-down Oxford. They want to support brands like REI that have core values like conservation and philanthropy. This is where robust social media comes into play: Trumpet your values to stand apart and ultimately bring traffic into your store.

-Position yourself. Some feel the future of retail lies in its presence in mixed-use developments that are anchored by establishments and services that won’t likely fade from fashion any time soon. Think fitness centers, restaurants and movie theaters. Many developments are even incorporating the ultimate destination place into their layouts: Residential units or houses. They represent a literally captive customer base.

-Engage the community. Incorporate meeting spaces into your store, and offer classes or lessons that coincide with your brands and products. Own a clothing store? Consider seasonal fashion shows that have a charitable component. Own a restaurant? Offer cooking classes that feature your signature dishes.

-Unleash your employees. Happy employees can be your best brand ambassadors. Encourage them to tout your store, its values and offerings on social media. Make sure they exercise common sense, of course, and you want to have a solid social-media policy in place, but the buzz for virtually all brands now begins in the digital sphere. The risk of a rogue employee is outweighed by the weight people give to online engagement.

Traditional storefronts are rapidly entering the evolve-or-die reality of modern consumerism. There will always be a place for hands-on commerce in our economy, but it’s time to start thinking outside the big box.

As an East Tennessee design-build firm with endless creative contacts, Leon Williams Contractors can help you do that. Give us a call today at 865-982-1734.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you better navigate the changing consumer landscape and ensure you have a clear vision in mind when it comes time to step into the design-build process. When that time comes, give us a call at 865-982-1734.

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Five ways preconstruction planning saves money

How to benefit from streamlining your next commercial construction project

Leon-Williams-Contractors-preconstruction

Studies indicate a direct correlation between project preconstruction planning and ultimate cost savings.

It makes good business sense to get all clients and contractors on board before a project commences. At Leon Williams Contractors, a leading design-build firm in East Tennessee, preconstruction consultation is offered on all our projects as part of our comprehensive business model.

Here are five ways the preconstruction process can yield savings over the life of a project:

  1. Preconstruction establishes the scope of work and an overall budget ahead of time to ensure proper financing is in place. Our design-build model brings all stakeholders – designers, contractors and clients – to the table ahead of time to discuss goals, feasibility, timelines, materials and expectations before a project begins. This prevents expensive change orders or delays should the project begin to creep past its budget.
  2. Site evaluation. The preconstruction process can be used to communicate the need for any possible additional site work before construction begins. Unanticipated site remediation or additional excavating costs can be identified and planned for ahead of time, eliminating delays or unexpected cost overruns. Infrastructure or utility needs and challenges can also be identified ahead of time.
  3. Preconstruction planning ensures all necessary permits are identified and in place before work begins, an assurance that can prevent costly work delays and citations.
  4. The longer a project takes, the more expensive it becomes. Preconstruction meetings can allow us – and our clients – to set schedules for equipment or materials deliveries, plan around holidays and anticipate potential issues that may arise during the life of the project. This prevents work delays and scheduling snafus.
  5. Value engineering. Preconstruction planning allows us to take a wider look at the scope of a project and immediately identify potential cost savings in design, infrastructure, and electrical or plumbing plans.

 

This is just a sampling of the ways preconstruction planning can benefit our clients and streamline projects. It’s also a reminder that we will be with you every step of the way and see your project to fruition from beginning to end.

Contact us today to learn how our comprehensive design-build process can bring your project in on time and under budget.

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Which Wich® Arrives in Fountain City with the help of Leon Williams Contractors, Studio Four Design
Fountain City Tennessee Which Wich built by Leon Williams ContractorsMaryville-based commercial design-build firm and Knoxville-based architecture firm help bring Which Wich Superior Sandwiches to Fountain City

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – June 26, 2017 – Which Wich® Superior Sandwiches, with the help of Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, and Studio Four Design, a Knoxville-based architecture firm, has officially opened in Fountain City.

Franchise owner Jeff Hensley, along with his wife Amy and two children, are responsible for bringing the store to the area. The new location was designed by Studio Four Design with Leon Williams Contractors bringing the design to life.

“This is our fourth location in the greater Knoxville area, and a location we’ve had our eye on for quite some time,” Hensley said. “We were fortunate enough to work with the great people at Studio Four Design and Leon Williams Contractors to help bring our large variety of sandwiches and awesome milkshakes closer to residents in Fountain City and North Knoxville.”

Along with his Alcoa store that was opened in April, this marks the second Which Wich Hensley has opened in 2017.

“We worked on the Alcoa location with Jeff, and it’s been great to see his franchise business grow,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We’re happy to help him and his team bring Which Wich to even more Knoxville residents.”

Along with the Alcoa store, Hensley also has locations in Cedar Bluff and Oak Ridge, making the Fountain City store the fourth opened by Hensley in the greater Knoxville area.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have worked on three of Jeff’s stores in the Knox and Blount County region,” said Stacy Cox, president of Studio Four Design. “Our entire team looks forward to working with Jeff and his family in the future as they continue to grow their business.”

About Which Wich
Which Wich® Superior Sandwiches was founded in Dallas in late 2003 by restaurant entrepreneur, Jeff Sinelli. The national sandwich franchise chain is best known for its customizable sandwiches, creative ordering system, and personalized sandwich bag. In 2014, QSR named Which Wich one of their “2014 Best Franchise Deals” and Forbes listed Which Wich as one of their 2014 “30 Best Franchises To Buy.” Which Wich is also the recipient of the 2015 Nation’s Restaurant News MenuMasters “Healthful Innovations” award. Which Wich currently has 500 locations open or in development in 39 states and 12 countries. For more information, visit www.whichwich.com.

About Leon Williams Contractors
An experienced commercial design-build firm, Leon Williams Contractors simplifies the building process by effectively managing costs, adhering to deadlines and reducing complications to provide a seamless building experience. As a value-engineering expert, Leon Williams Contractors offers a complete range of services including pre-construction consultation, site assessment, design-build expertise and construction management in the greater Knoxville, Tenn. area. For more information, visit www.lwcontractorstn.com or call 865-982-1734.

About Studio Four Design Inc.
Since 2002, Studio Four Design has served as a premiere architectural and interior design firm to the Greater Knoxville Area. Their guiding principal is Design Matters, and their goal is to go beyond expectations to provide design solutions that positively impact their clients’ lives and organizations. Their team has worked on a variety of projects over the last decade that includes: churches, educational facilities, restaurants, retail buildings, athletic venues and much more. Studio Four Design takes pride in and is dedicated to all of the clients they serve. To find out more, call 865-523-5001 or visit http://studiofourdesign.com.

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Building a church can be a challenge, but keep the faith

stockcreek

There are some potential pitfalls and challenges, but Leon Williams Contractors can help ensure construction of a new worship facility goes as smoothly as possible.

Most churches encounter cost-overruns the congregation is unprepared – or unable – to cover. That’s why working with a design-build firm can ensure your project comes in on time and under budget. At Leon Williams Contractors, we’ve been building houses of worship in the Maryville and Knoxville areas for years and we subscribe to the design-build process because of its ability to keep costs in check and produce the facility that is right for the needs of your church and congregation.

Here’s a quick look at common challenges associated with church construction:

Planning and design

Make sure your church planning committee has a good idea of what purposes and needs the new church will meet. You should also know your budget constraints and commit to staying within those guidelines. We can help with this process on the front end to help mold the design to meet both the program and budget.

Cost

Churches typically pay for construction costs through money on-hand; capital fundraising; and traditional borrowing. Needless to say, failure to remain within the financing footprint can wreak havoc on an entire ministry and threaten the very future viability of a congregation. Make sure “soft” costs –such as fees, permits, furnishings, audio, video, lighting, signage – beyond the scope of the building contract are kept in mind.

Contracting

This step is key to locking in a cost and reducing financial risk. Your congregation or diocese should make sure you have a qualified representative in place to negotiate and set terms on your behalf. One advantage to a design-build firm is the streamlining of negotiations. At Leon Williams Contractors, we can contract the designer of the project and walk thru the process as your representative. We also have decades of experiences building houses of worship, and understand and can anticipate the needs and challenges that may arise.

Variables

The cost per square foot of church construction hinges on a range of factors, including location, size, style, and volume. The site of the church can have a big impact on cost, depending on the amount of necessary site preparation, including ease of excavation and utility infrastructure needs. Site preparation can be a big determining factor in the ultimate cost of your worship facility. Ensure your budgeting is liberal to avoid potentially devastating cost overruns. Site assessment is a primary part of our pre-construction consultation.

Master plan

Make sure your church has a master plan – and make sure the project falls within the master plan. The plan should entail midrange and long-range visions for your congregation and its mission. It’s important to ensure your ultimate building plans fall within this master plan.

Building a new worship facility – or expanding an existing one – may seem like a daunting proposition, but Leon Williams Contractors, which has built more than a dozen worship facilities in the Knoxville area, can ensure it blossoms.

If you or your congregation is interested in learning more about how design-build construction can more efficiently and effectively manage costs and deadlines for your new church or expansion, give us a call at 865-982-1734 or fill out our contact form today.

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Straight to dessert: How the design-build method can save new restaurateurs

Dairy Queen - Maryville Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors

More Americans than ever are dining out, and comfort food is a big draw. People want food that harkens back to their childhood, like meat loaf, chicken and dumplings, and pot pie.

Your grandmother made a lot of her best dinners from scratch, but she likely still found ways to cut costs and increase efficiencies without sacrificing flavor or quality.

The same thing can be said of building a restaurant from scratch: A good design-build firm can reduce costs and add value without sacrificing the quality and draw of your new restaurant.

The Leon Williams team has helped design and build multiple restaurants in Maryville and throughout the Knoxville area, ranging from franchise sites to original casual concepts.

Having a single contractor that handles both the design and actual construction offers numerous – and cost-saving – benefits, so you can focus on achieving your culinary dreams.

Here are five ways the design-build approach of the Leon Williams team can cut costs and not quality:

  1. We can leverage our resources to obtain all permits, submit site plans and receive municipal approvals while you can focus on staffing, eventual inventory and furnishings.
  2. We will work with our pre-qualified subcontractors and vendors to provide a high quality job completed on time and on budget.
  3. We can again leverage our contacts to streamline purchase orders, so you can occupy yourself with the menu instead of your restaurant’s mechanics. We can also help prospective restaurateurs with practical, cost-saving advice on elements ranging from flooring types to ceilings.
  4. The time saved using the stream-lined design-build approach means you can open your restaurant or franchise more quickly – leading to faster opening days, which ultimately means more revenue.
  5. We have vast experience in the restaurant construction realm, so we are already familiar with frequent challenges or potential pitfalls that come with building and opening a new eatery.

 

It might seem that leaving both the design and construction in the hands of one project manager might cut you out of the loop, but according to testimonials from our customers, rest assured your concerns will be heard, your ideas will be welcome, and your dream of restaurant ownership will come true.

 

For more information on how we can assist you with your restaurant construction, contact the team at Leon Williams Contractors today to learn how our knowledge and expertise can be used to your advantage.

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