After 50 years of building homes in Boydton, Virginia Homes officially ceased production last week. Speaking on Friday, Virginia Homes Building Systems CEO Phil Hickman confirmed that the company has been obtained by what he described as “one of the leading modular manufacturers” on the East Coast.
Due to confidentiality agreements, Hickman said that he was unable to provide the name of the new owner but did say that the terms of the agreement allow the company to produce the full line of Virginia Homes Building Systems products at the current specifications and through the existing line of dealers. Hickman said the company has obtained the rights to manufacture, market, and sell Virginia Homes Building Systems brands, as well as rights to the name, designs, and drawings.
Hickman said that the impact on the firm’s employees had been the prime concern when the deal was being discussed.
“We’ve been working with another local manufacturer, and they agreed to offer employment to any of our employees who wanted to come there,” said Hickman. “That means all employees, including office workers, plant workers, whatever. They had jobs the next day if they wanted them. We feel really good about that. This plant has been open for over 50 years, and we have people who have been here almost since the start.”
“Our next goal was to take care of our customers,” said Hickman. “The fact that this manufacturer agreed to continue to build homes to our specs and work with our dealers made a big difference. Our customers will get the same product they were getting out of Boydton. The only difference is that our builders and customers will know that it’s built on the East Coast but not in Boydton.”
According to Hickman, the sale of smaller modular home manufacturers to larger ones is largely due to the way the industry has shifted in recent years.
“When Virginia Homes started, they were building single-wide mobiles. Then they moved up to double-wide modular. Then they started getting into more custom modular. After the housing downturn,” said Hickman, “there was a lot of consolidation and a lot of ‘mom and pop’ operations were bought out. The bigger companies had more automation and lower overhead. The other driving factor for us was that custom has gotten a lot more custom,” said Hickman with a laugh. “To survive, you have to do multi-family units and commercial units. This plant just isn't large enough or have the capacity for those larger projects.”
According to Hickman, demand for modular buildings today stands at about 65 percent single family use, with the remaining 35 percent multi-residential or commercial.
“Here, we just can’t accommodate those large projects,” Hickman said.
Customers will also notice, said Hickman, a much faster turnaround time from ordering their home to final delivery
“The new company is large enough to produce a home from start to finish within ten days,” Hickman said.