Nothing like the prospects of youth. In young age, a whole world of possibilities lay before someone and the future is full of excitement and trepidation. Case in point: this month, Walls & Ceilings chats with some young bucks that are just 18 months old as a company. Traditions Lath & Stucco Inc., based out of Queens Creek, Ariz., is an outfit born in April 2014 that specializes in exterior plaster and lath. One of its founders, Joel O’Haver grew up around the trades, as his father was a plasterer.

“We are mainly a production home company,” says O’Haver. “We perform a lot of services on houses that have defective stucco for some of our main customers.”

So at this point, Traditions Lath & Stucco is primarily a residential contractor. With very little history to its name, the founders thought it was the right time/right place in regards to setting up shop. With a market that covers high-end residential stucco projects, it’s a fair assumption the founders wanted to dip their feet in the water, rather than jump full on in the river. In other words, seems the initial plan is modest. But not too modest.

Right now, the company has 50 employees. O’Haver says that since the company began, Traditions Lath & Stucco has more than doubled in size.

“We started with two builders last year,” he says. “And as of now we do work for six.”

The company has secured work with 25 communities as of press time, with most of these experiencing record sales, according to O’Haver.

The Best is Yet to Come

The subcontractor’s director, Jason Sweeney, also reports that the company has been off to a promising start. In his words, business has been “Busy, very busy.”

Sweeney couldn’t be more optimistic as he reports that the Arizona market is strong and that home sales in their region are sky high—meaning that securing the bids for plaster and lath has served them well. 

In fact, things seem to be going so well that Sweeney says the most interesting aspect of the job for him is “managing the chaos,” the implication is that the whirlwind of business coming to them is plentiful. But one pit stop that they find—as well as every other contractor in North America is experiencing—is the challenge of retaining a quality workforce to execute that work.

“The backlog is huge right now due to the labor shortage,” he says.

“The most important lesson learned is that another recession can happen,” Sweeney continues. “It is making business decisions today that can withstand the ever changing economy. Of course, being fiscally responsible for today and the future is priority.”

It would be interesting to revisit a company, such as Traditions Lath & Stucco, in another five years to see what’s worked, what hasn’t, how the times have changed and decisions that were made along the way. Time will tell, but at this point, even in the company’s infancy, growth seems inevitable. .

Side Job: Wise Men Build Their House on the Rocks

“Traditions Lath & Stucco Inc. is a first class operation. Though Joel and Jason are in no way new to the industry, they only began Traditions about a year and a half ago,” says Cory Pritchard, district manager for Rockwise. “Rockwise has worked with them from day one and we have taken great joy in watching them grow so successfully in such a short period of time. They are a great customer and I look forward to seeing where they will be in another year and a half.”

Rockwise is a family-owned and operated company serving the specialized supply and distribution needs of the greater Arizona area, as well as the four corners area out of its Durango, Colo., location. With almost 40 delivery trucks and machines, this distributor has the capability to quickly and efficiently deliver building materials to its customer’s base. The company was founded by Tom Pritchard in 2009.

A member of the AD Building Materials distribution network, Rockwise also has that optimistic zeal that young age brings, similar to this month’s cover stars. Want a glimpse at the business model of the next generation’s independent wall and ceiling distributor? This is a company that opened its business in the bowels of the Great Recession—and has not only succeeded in its endeavors—but continues to flourish. The business model is working. 

Traditions Lath & Stucco name-dropped the supplier and regularly purchases QUIKRETE, Ultrakote, Phillips and Insulfoam products. Rockwise carries a large array of stucco/EIFS, drywall, waterproofing and drywall tools within its three locations.