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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    A beginner’s guide to office renovation

    For many businesses, the idea of renovating an office space offers excitement about the possibilities that can be accomplished. From expanding an existing space to prepare for new employees to renovating a new location to meet the demands for products and services, the team at Leon Williams Contractors have worked with business owners to design and manage office renovations that have helped drive growth for our clients. Office Renovation

    A company that is looking for an office renovation partner may be beginners when it comes to planning out the extent of changes for their office designs. The design/build, pre-construction consultation and value engineering services offered by Leon Williams Contractors can help ensure success for your office renovation in Blount County, Maryville, Knoxville, Lenoir City and East Tennessee.

    Before you get started on an office renovation product, there are a number of factors that you need to keep in mind to help drive success for your renovation, including:

    Plan Ahead
    Before starting on your office renovation project, the best advice is to plan ahead for what your business is trying to accomplish. Are you designing the renovations to add staff, to offer more products and services or are you simply tired of the way that your interior looks? Planning ahead for the future of your business in one year, three years and even ten years in the future can help you determine the best plans for your office renovations. The design/build services of Leon Williams Contractors can be incorporated into your planning to help decide the best use of your office space to meet the future demands of your business.

    Assess your current property
    If your current business property is older, having the team at Leon Williams Contractors engage in a site assessment can help save you money in the long run. Your existing building may not be up to code, which will necessitate updating of your plans for your office renovation prior to the beginning of work. In addition, while using existing systems might save you money in your upfront costs during a renovation, your business may be better served by updating to new systems to lower long term operating costs in your renovated office space.

    Determine your budget
    While it may be exciting to think about all of the changes that you could implement during your office renovation, determining your budget for your office renovation can help you prevent over-extending what you want to accomplish for your business in the long term. Extensive renovations to your office space need to be prepared with your future business goals in mind, especially if you determine that growth in your business means that you move to a larger space in the future. Decide if the renovations that you are making will make your building more likely to sell if you decide to expand your business operations and incorporate value engineering services from Leon Williams Contractors to find the best use of your office renovation budget.

    When your business has determined that the time is right for an office renovation, leverage the experience and knowledge of our teams to help you prepare your business for your future needs. For more information on how we can assist you with your office renovation requirements, 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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    Finding the right space for your restaurant is key

    Leon Williams Contractors, a commercial and residential design/build company, has developed many commercial, residential and retail buildings in Blount County, Maryville, Knoxville, Lenoir City and East Tennessee, in addition to building and renovating existing spaces for many of the restaurants throughout our area. If you are thinking of starting your own restaurant or other food and drink-based establishment, the design-build experts at Leon Williams Contractors can help you find the best location for your restaurant construction needs.

    Leon Williams Contractors restaurant construction

    We provide a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. We can also help you obtain an existing structure and remodel it if that approach makes more sense to your budget and design plans. The main considerations in Maryville, Blount County and East Tennessee to consider for your restaurant planning include:

    You can’t beat a good location. Our familiarity with Maryville, Blount County and East Tennessee can be leveraged to help you find a high traffic location with access to utilities and other amenities to help maximize your opportunity in the restaurant space. The team at Leon Williams Contractors is experienced in finding the right place for the right business throughout our area and can leverage our experience on your behalf.


    Our wide ranging capabilities related to existing space renovation will allow our team to adapt nearly any space to accommodate your restaurant plans. If we deem the existing spaces aren’t useable, we will design and build your space to appeal to you and your potential customers to help create the best possible result for your restaurant location.


    Is parking nearby? Is the restaurant easy to get to? Are there attractive sidewalks and scenery? Are other restaurants and businesses nearby that attract strolling and walk-by foot traffic? We’ll find out if the building codes in Maryville, Blount County and Knoxville will allow a restaurant space to be created and to ensure that there is adequate water, sewer, electrical and even internet connectivity to accommodate your restaurant design plans.

    We know that starting a restaurant is tough, but when you work with Leon Williams Contractors, we can offer expert restaurant construction and build out advice, assist with planning your space for success and we will can design, build or renovate your new restaurant in your chosen location to help you attain your business ownership dreams.

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    East Tennessee Project Profile: Foothills Church

    The team at Leon Williams Contractors, LLC, offers complete general contractor services, including a full range of construction services, pre-construction consultation and site assessment, construction management, value engineering, and construction management. Regardless of the size and scope of the project, the team at Leon Williams Contractors delivers outstanding, on-time and on-budget results.

    For September, we wanted to share information about a project that we are working on for Foothills Church, a beautiful ministry center located in East Tennessee that we are honored to create for the worship team at Foothills Church.

    Foothills Church

    The team at Leon Williams Contractors has previously worked with Foothills Church in the conversion of a 38,000 square foot family fun center previously known as Thunder World to a new church facility that includes exterior painting and a three phase design that included construction of classrooms, a children’s worship space, meeting rooms, as well as an 8,000 square foot sanctuary space and restroom remodeling for the Foothills Church facility.

    On July 31, 2016, we were blessed to be a part of a new auditorium groundbreaking ceremony for the next phase of construction for Foothills Church. This groundbreaking was more exciting than a traditional groundbreaking in the fact that the church elected to tear down an existing building in lieu of putting shovels in the ground to begin the construction project. We encourage you to review the images of the entire process below.

    We will continue to add information about the process of this new space for Foothills Church as construction of the new facility progresses. Leon Williams Contractors has worked with East Tennessee clients on a wide range of retail and commercial construction projects, as well as partnering with a number of churches throughout our area for their design/build and contracting needs.

    To learn more about Leon Williams Contractors, the projects that we work on in Tennessee and the services that we provide, please contact us today to find out how we can assist you with your next project.

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    Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek

    Recently the team at Leon Williams Contractors team was a part of the team that created the new Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek.

    The Location:

    Located in Maryville, Leon Williams worked as a part of a joint effort between the city of Maryville, the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission and community leadership in Blount County.

    The Specifications:

    The Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek is located adjacent to the McCammon Avenue and McGhee Street greenbelt entrance in Maryville. Open from dawn to dusk, the area includes one acre for large dogs and a separate half-acre for smaller dogs.

    The spaces in the Maryville Dog Park are fenced and feature entry corrals that are double-gated, which allows dogs to be taken off leashes before entering the park. Also included within the space are a pavilion, benches, animal waste stations and water fountains exclusively for dogs.

    The Results:

    In an interview with the Daily Times, Jordan Blankenship, supervisor and project and construction manager at Leon Williams Contractors, said the project took about two-and-a-half months and the biggest challenge was the weather. The park was made possible by a grant from Radio Systems Corporation and was offered through the Legacy Parks Foundation.

    “We enjoyed working with the city and with PetSafe,” said Jimmy Hawkins, president of Leon Williams Contractors. “We’re excited any time we’re able to help the community and provide a beautiful space for our city. The park certainly couldn’t have opened at a better time.”

    For more information about the Maryville Dog Park at Pistol Creek, including rules of use, visit or call 865-983-9244.

    As a proud member of the Blount County community, Leon Williams has worked with clients on a wide range of retail and commercial construction projects, including banks, medical facilities, commercial offices, residential projects, restaurants, and retail locations.

    To learn more about the advantages that Leon Williams Contractors can offer your retail or commercial construction project, please contact us today. We can assist you to drive greater value for your retail and commercial construction needs.

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    3 Common Mistakes to Avoid With a Commercial Project

    Commercial construction projects are complex. Between managing vendors, subcontractors, finances, timelines and any issues that could arise, there are a multitude of responsibilities to keep track of with very little room for error. At Leon Williams Contractors, we streamline this process by assembling an informed team of architects, builders, consultants, suppliers and subcontractors that know every element of the design, budget and timeline. But, still, it’s hard work. One mistake can set off a chain of events that can cause a detrimental loss of time and money. We’ve listed three of the most common mistakes you should avoid when managing a commercial project below:


    1. Lack of Planning – Although your contractor will be managing the project, it is important to make sure you also thoroughly understand the deadlines and timeline set forth from start to completion. In addition to serving as a reference and refocusing point, having a plan propels construction towards the goals and deadlines outlined within. Having a plan and not following it is an equally common and detrimental mistake. If deviation is unexpected and unavoidable, it’s a good idea to revisit you plan and make adjustments to ensure existing deadlines are met.


    2. Bad Contracts – Contracts are a part of any commercial construction project, so learning the terms and language of the contracts you’re signing is essential. Be sure you understand the contractual obligations to which you are consenting, particularly technical or procedural agreements like timely written notifications. In this instance, failing to deliver certain correspondence by the specified date and time can result in the surrendering of certain rights if a disagreement between you and a subcontractor deteriorates into a legal dispute.


    3. Ineffective Lead Generation ­– Assembling a team of workers that provide the quality results you’re looking for is worth the effort, but ineffective lead generation can make the task even more difficult when potential members seem to have vanished. Advertising, networking and referral agreements can be effective strategies to extend your candidate pool for your commercial project.


    Sometimes the biggest mistake is not asking for help when you need it. Contact Leon Williams Contractors to learn how we can see your commercial construction project through from start to finish.

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    Project Profile: Westbrook Center

    Westbrook Center, a 13,000 square foot retail center located at 2016 W. Broadway Avenue in Maryville, was a design-build development completed by Leon Williams ContractorsWestbrook 115 Westbrook 086 Westbrook 085 Westbrook 079 Westbrook 043

    There was extensive preparation prior to the build, due to the plot not being conducive for development because of the grade. We worked extensively to grade the lot and poured a concrete retaining wall behind the structure, in addition to stepping the building grade at each tenant separation in order to create a cost effective and attractive retail center.

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    The completed Westbrook Center features, what are called, “vanilla boxes,” which allow tenants to completely customize the interior. However, we completed The Bed Store finishes, which is located at the center of the location.

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