Maricopa Renovations may grab attention with the caricatures of owner Gary Hopkins and his wife Sandy, but he knows it’s the impeccable level of customer service that people will remember.
Hopkins, who started the business in 2014, has 26 years of experience in remodeling. He came to Maricopa in 2004 from Chicago, where he got his start in the industry nearly three decades ago. In seven years, he estimates he has remodeled more than 500 homes in Maricopa.
The business, which specializes in flooring and renovations of kitchens and bathrooms, works to differentiate itself in several ways to put the customer first.
“We are the only contractor with a storefront location,” Sandy noted. “You can walk in our door. Whether it is now, or six months from now. That’s the big difference with us.”
While current or future customers can walk in off the street, Maricopa Renovations strives to make it easier for customers to do everything from home.
Gary goes the extra mile to visit the customer at their residence.
“We bring the showroom to them,” he said. “They can pick materials and colors right in their own home. I deal with the owner from start to finish. The sales end of it. The design end of it. Managing the job.”
For the most part, the company does work only in town, occasionally handling the odd, out-of-town referral. That decision stems, in part, from the couple’s memories of trying to get repairmen to come to their home to do any work.
“It was like pulling teeth,” Gary said, adding they would be told, “You guys live in Maricopa, it’s going to be an extra $100 to come out there.”
The desire to work solely in Maricopa has always been there, and now there have been enough homes built over the years to provide a large customer base, he said. Working local helps ensure quality control, too.
“If I’m visiting houses in my hometown, I can pop in and out on jobs constantly to stay on top of things,” Gary said. “If I do something out of town, it gets much tougher to do.”
That local focus also makes it easier to deliver on one aspect of mission-critical customer service: a reasonable timeline for completion of projects.
“We get in and get out,” he said. “We don’t sit on the job for three months and work on 10 jobs at the same time. We install in a reasonable amount of time. We realize that’s what the customer wants, because it’s what they’ll remember.”
For 10 years after arriving in Maricopa, Hopkins was an owner-partner in a remodeling company.
In 2014, he sold his share of the business and started his own business in the city. He functions as a general contractor, working with a reliable group of tradespeople with whom he has a history. For example, his tile guy has been with him eight years and his flooring team five years.
His clientele is a mix of people living in some of Maricopa’s oldest homes from the early and mid-2000s as well as new homeowners.
“I’ve got people who just closed on a house,” Hopkins said. “They haven’t moved in yet. A brand-new home just built. Tore up all the carpet and put new floors in.”
Maricopa Renovations has been “crazy busy” since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Gary said.
“I guess more people are staying at home, looking at their house and thinking ‘What can I do?’” he said. “No one was taking vacations and they had some money to spend.”
The pandemic also spurred a number of requests for mother-in-law suites. In addition, the company has been busy with vinyl plank flooring installations, including a recent project where wall-to-wall tile was ripped out of a home and replaced with the durable flooring option.
“Vinyl flooring is big right now,” said Sandy. “It is amazing. So easy to clean. You can have those little Roombas go around and you don’t even have to clean your floors anymore.”
Because Gary orders flooring directly from manufacturers and doesn’t have major overhead expenses, he can typically beat big-box store prices on average by 30%-40%.
Other popular remodeling projects are removals of the shower-tub combos in so many city homes to make way for larger, walk-in showers.
In the kitchen, Hopkins is installing a lot of white cabinets and quartz countertops, especially the variety of gray marbling that many clients are selecting as a sharp-looking complement to the stark-white cabinetry.
It’s fair to say many people learn about Maricopa Renovations through word-of-mouth and clever branding.
Gary and Sandy use colorful caricatures of themselves to draw attention to their businesses.
In the early days of the enterprise, they had their photo on a billboard.
“We had a billboard on the 347 probably seven years ago,” Sandy recalled. “There was a picture on there and that was the picture we put everywhere, and everybody knew it. I would run into people and they would be like, ‘Oh that doesn’t look like you.’ So, that’s where I came up with the caricature idea. It’s you, but it’s not you.”
Last year, they had their caricatures put on the work van, next to the words “Maricopa’s Property Couple.” Gary wears jeans, T-shirt and baseball cap and holds a hammer. Sandy holds a “Sold” sign.
“It makes people stop,” Sandy said. “It’s memorable.”
Sandy said she mocked up renderings of herself and Gary and put them on Facebook to get feedback.
“I would say, ‘Here’s my character, what do you think?’” she recalled. “And they would say, ‘Oh, she needs red nails,’ or ‘Oh, she needs longer hair.’”
Gary said the van promoting his remodeling services and Sandy’s realty services that reads “Maricopa Renovations & Real Estate” does confuse some people.
“They call me and say, ‘Do I have to have to sell my house in order to have you renovate it?’ he said. “And I say, ‘No, you’re reading the back of the van too literally. You don’t have to sell your house.”
Until recently, the Hopkinses have relied on social media to promote their services. They are now doing some advertising, confident people will choose them for remodeling work if they have a chance to get to know the company.
“That’s the big thing,” Sandy said. “People don’t know we’re here. We want people to know we are here.”
Maricopan: Since 2004
Occupation: Owner-operator of Maricopa Renovations
Family: Wife Sandy, four children and four grandchildren
Favorite quote: “It is what it is.”
This story appears in the August issue of InMaricopa magazine.