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Leon Williams reflects on East Tennessee design-build highlights of 2017

From Dairy Queen to Which Wich, it was another great year

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Thanks to a fantastic crew and clients, it was another great year at Leon Williams Contractors LLC!

We worked on campuses, in shopping centers and in cities across East Tennessee. We put our design-build talents to work on restaurants and retail, and have a raft of projects to focus on in the coming year. We will continue to aspire to being the best design-build firm for our customers in the retail, franchise, worship and restaurant sectors.

As we look forward to 2018, let’s pause for a quick look back at some of our most notable achievements of 2017.

  • We rang in the new year with the finishing touches on a new Dairy Queen Grill and Chill on West Broadway in Maryville, bringing the iconic burger and ice-cream destination back to Blount County. The project, built from the ground up, was contracted by Fourteen Foods, the leading franchisor of Dairy Queen restaurants.
  • We partnered with Studio Four Design to construct two new Which Wich Superior Sandwiches restaurants, one in Alcoa and one in Fountain City. We worked with franchisee Jeff Hensley to bring the unique restaurant to Alcoa, and it opened its doors in April. The Fountain City location, also operated by Jeff Hensley, has been serving patrons since June.
  • We built the new Sleep Outfitters, a division of Innovative Sleep Solutions, on Foch Street in Maryville. This brings a range of mattress brands and top sleep specialists to Blount County consumers. Check out a time-lapse video of the store construction
  • We designed and built three new food-service options for students, staff and the public at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. We were contracted to build a new Panda Express, a Steak ‘N Shake and a Provisions on Demand, a new concept in campus food services.
  • We also remodeled the Thompson-Boling Arena dining area. Food options at Thompson-Boling now include Which Wich, Bento Sushi, Grab n Go salads and sandwiches and the Southern Kitchen hot bar. This was the 22nd project we have done for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • We were still grading the site and finalizing building plans at the end of last year, but we were able to bring Foothills Church in Maryville out of the ground this year and are excited for its completion in 2018.

We owe yet another year of success to the dedication of our partners, clients and employees, and we wish you and your family a prosperous New Year. Contact us today for information on how we can help you meet your design-build needs in 2018.

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Leon Williams Contractors Helps Renovate Thompson-Boling Arena Dining

Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm helped remodel Arena Dining area

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Nov. 7, 2017 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, recently completed remodeling of the Thompson-Boling Arena Dining.

The remodel includes a new Which Wich, Bento Sushi, Grab n Go salads and sandwiches and the Southern Kitchen hotline, and marks the 22nd project that Leon Williams has done for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

“We value any chance we get to work with campus dining at UT Knoxville,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “In addition to helping bring new food options to students, faculty and those who attend events at Thompson-Boling, we were also able to create a larger, more accessible dining and service area to better serve anyone who stops by.”

For more information about these new dining options, visit https://dining.utk.edu/stores/arena/.

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.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Heather Ripley
Ripley PR
865-977-1973
hripley@ripleypr.com

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Whatever your taste, Leon Williams Contractors will design and build your eatery

Franchises and chains go from flairy to airy

One of our design-build niches in the Knoxville area is restaurants. We handle design services and construction from soup to nuts.

Our list of restaurant projects ranges from the new Panda Express at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to the new Dairy Queen that opened earlier this year in Maryville. While we have completed fine-dining facilities for Green Meadow Country Club and the J. Milton and Five Oaks steakhouses, we are especially adept and experienced in the construction of franchise restaurants, including Starbucks, Moe’s, Which Wich and Chick-fil-A.

Dairy Queen - Maryville Tennessee - Leon Williams Contractors

Most franchise agreements include design stipulations, and we adhere to the requirements of the franchisor throughout our design-build process. We also stay abreast of design trends, so we can steer franchisees in the right direction as soon as the project commences. Some franchisors also require periodic upgrades and changes in décor to keep their restaurants unique, fresh and trendy.
Many, though not current clients, are going for the sleek, minimalist, modern and airy look:

• Applebee’s: The restaurants known for their somewhat kitschy wall décor are transitioning to a sleeker appearance. Two prototypes feature an open kitchen and place more emphasis on the bar and open areas for socializing. You may have noticed another change in recent years: table-top computers for gaming, ordering and settling the bill.

• TGI Fridays: The casual chain is also doing away with its flair. A prototype in Corpus Christi, Texas features high ceilings, a more open dining room, blond wood and simple yet aesthetic table tops and chairs. That’s a far cry from the cluttered living-room feel of the original Friday’s, which opened in New York City in the 1960s as a singles bar.

• McDonald’s: Even the mighty Golden Arches have gotten a makeover in recent years. Many of the changes you may have noticed are actually imports from foreign McDonald’s. Franchisees can now choose from a variety of styles such as “Allegro,” “Form,” and “Living Room.” It’s part of the burger giant’s own drive toward a minimalist aesthetic to escape its cookie-cutter past.

So be warned and beware: Some of your favorite restaurants may lose their flair. But we’ll always help our restaurant clients achieve the design and look they want, be it kitschy, modernist or country. Contact us today to see how.

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Leon Williams Contractors Helps Bring Sleep Outfitters to Blount County Residents

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Maryville, Tennessee-based commercial design-build firm helped build new location for latest Innovative Mattress Solution’s location

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Oct. 13, 2017 – Leon Williams Contractors, a Maryville-based commercial design-build firm, recently completed construction of the building now home to Sleep Outfitters, a division of Innovative Mattress Solutions.

Located on the site of the old Dubb’s Restaurant on Foch Street in Maryville, the new location will offer Blount County residents some of the best mattress brands on the market.

“East Tennessee was a natural next step in our expansion to providing the best mattress shopping experience around,” said Kim Knopf, founder of Sleep Outfitters. “There’s a difference between sleeping and sleeping well, and we look forward to providing Blount Country residents with a great night’s sleep. Our sleep specialists can properly fit you with your dream mattress, and we invite anyone who’s in the market for a better night’s sleep to visit our store.”

The new location is one of 160 stores and the fourth in the greater Knoxville area.

“We’re happy to have the opportunity to help build a new location for Sleep Outfitters and Innovative Mattress Solutions,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “They may be originally from West Virginia, but they’ve shown they want to be involved locally in the areas they are in, and we appreciate that. In fact, just this past summer they donated amenities for Little Free Libraries in Knoxville. Those are the type of companies we like to do business with.”

For more information about the new Maryville Sleep Outfitters, visit https://www.sleepoutfitters.com/Stores/TN/Maryville/178/Sleep-Outfitters.

About Innovative Mattress Solutions
Innovative Mattress Solutions is headquartered in Lexington, Ky. Owner Kim Knopf founded the company in 1983 with a single Mattress Warehouse brand store in South Charleston, W.Va. Today, iMS operates 160 Mattress Warehouse, Mattress King and Sleep Outfitters stores in six states: West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. Products include Tempur-Pedic, Sealy, and Stearns & Foster mattress sets, as well as adjustable foundations, pillows, mattress protectors, frames and headboards.  In September, Furniture Today magazine ranked iMS as the country’s 20th largest bedding retailer.

For more information, visit http://www.innovativemattresssolutions.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.

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MEDIA CONTACT:
Heather Ripley
Ripley PR
865-977-1973
hripley@ripleypr.com

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Construction labor crunch = Greater Knoxville opportunities

Leon Williams Contractors an attractive place to work

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“Labor shortage.”

“Major fixes needed.”

“Shifting construction plans.”

Google it if you dare, but that’s just the hint of headlines that abound about a growing labor scarcity in the design-build construction fields.

But what some may call scarcity, we call opportunity. Our current labor force at Leon Williams Contractors is qualified, skilled and highly sufficient, but we are always looking for skilled additions to our team.

The U.S. unemployment rate – at 4.3 percent as of Aug. 10, is back to pre-Recession levels, if not less. Many markets – including Knoxville – are seeing jobless rates below 3 percent. That means there is stiff competition for construction laborers and skilled craftsmen in the Knoxville and Maryville areas.

That also means skilled workers can shop themselves around before committing to new opportunities. But our history and reputation as a leading East Tennessee design-build firm already makes us stand apart from other companies, and we tend to attract and retain the best minds and hands in the industry.

Send your resume today to info@lwcontractorstn.com if you are interested in joining our team and taking your construction career to the next level.

In the meantime, for some perspective on the opportunities that await, here is a quick by-the-numbers snapshot of the current labor situation:

  • 56 percent of home builders report a lack of skilled laborers is a major issue.
  • 75 percent of builders say they have recently increased wages.
  • 40 percent of the workforce in some markets is foreign born. Many of those workers left the American workforce during the Recession.
  • 500,000 skilled electricians and carpenters are needed nationally. If a national infrastructure-repair plan ever came to fruition that number would grow to 1.1 million.

The issue is complex, and the answers are not easy, but we are committed to maintaining a workforce that can build the Maryville, Knoxville and East Tennessee economies.

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