Why Small Businesses Matter in Darien: Grunow Builders


Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT Grunow Builders!

Three questions with Ben Grunow of Grunow Builders.

Why did you start your business?

My father, Steve Grunow started my business in 1972 and I grew up in old Greenwich working for him every summer and winter break through my high school and college years. I went to Union College and got a B.S. in Civil Engineering and got a construction management job after college for a few years and realized that I wanted to go back and work in residential construction with my father.

Mostly just because I loved to be outdoors on the job working on all kinds of projects with my father; always something new, large or small and we did everything from forming and pouring the concrete foundations to framing to roofing, siding, trim, cabinetry, flooring (literally, everything!) ourselves.  That was in 2000. We officially became partners in 2001 until his untimely passing at age 62 in 2009 from esophageal cancer.  We enjoyed eight fantastic years of hard work indoors and out, an unparalleled father-son friendship, and even some financial success.  These were the best years of my professional life.

Not to say that I don’t enjoy what I do now but nothing can compare to those years when I was younger, stronger, and had the confidence that comes from having someone like my father showing me the ropes as I grew more and more confident in my understanding of the process and business.  I am sure we were the last father-son carpentry team that will ever come from the little village of Old Greenwich.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services) and can you name them?

For local vendors, I use Rings End Lumber for 90% of my construction materials. I have known the owners for nearly 25 years and they provide top-notch service and reliability that I cannot find anywhere else. I also use DeForest electric. Rick DeForest grew up in town and has an electrical business employing, several electricians whose outlook on the quality of their work matches mine. We have used Orchard Tree Service run by Paul Quick over the years as well as Pest Tech Exterminator run by Craig Jones, who, as far as I’m concerned is the best in the business.

Have you "reimagined" your small business?

My father passing, unfortunately, corresponded with the very bottom of the economic downturn at the time, and much of our business was driven by connections that he had developed over the years, so my business almost entirely passed away along with him (there was almost no construction going on at the time).

I was forced to reinvent my business by teaching myself to use some architectural design software (CAD-based program) which opened up a world of design-build type projects. People looking to add one room, or do a smaller construction project no longer would need an expensive architect because I could offer that service and control costs since I was going to be the one building from the drawings I drew.  Doing much less of that now as we are on to ground-up new construction or larger-scale remodeling jobs, but my only focus is maintaining the quality of my work and finding nice people to work for.

Everyone has heard residential construction/contractor horror stories, and this town is so small that there is no room to play games or be anything but transparent and honest so that is what we do.

Visit Grunow Builders online on their Facebook page here!

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

Submitted by Darien, CT

Become a Local Voice in Your Community!

HamletHub invites you to contribute stories, events, and more to keep your neighbors informed and connected.

Read Next