Talking with Richard Laughlin, owner and president of Laughlin Homes and Restoration in Fredericksburg, Texas, it quickly becomes obvious how passionate he is about community involvement. And it’s also obvious how important and valuable the involvement is to the entire company and its employees.
“It’s basically family tradition. Our family has always been involved in the community. It’s what makes a small town — the willingness of people to step up and make it a great place to live,” Laughlin says.
Laughlin Homes is actively involved in the historical society with Richard Laughlin acting as the owner’s representative for the current $1.5 million project. Laughlin was also past vice president of the historical society. “It’s important to preserve the old architecture and the community,” he adds. In addition, he’s on the historic review board which approves or disapproves of construction in the historic district.
Other programs the company is involved in include the Idea House which draws visitors and tourism to the town, as well as building an 1890 restoration with all proceeds going to the Hill Country Memorial Hospital. “We finished the night before the Hospital Gala and raised $280,000,” Laughlin says.
Laughlin Homes also has a mentoring program through which high school students are hired for the summer. These students aren’t simply the cleanup crew. “We try to give them time and teach them. We teach them a good work ethic,” he says. Laughlin Homes also contributes financially to the Gillespie County Scholarship Fest.
The only challenge of being so actively involved in a small community is that people are more willing to ask for support. “If they know you’re willing to do it, you will get saddled with it. It’s a challenge balancing time with work and community involvement,” he says.
Marketing and sales are a benefit of Laughlin Homes’ involvement but are not the reasons it’s involved in the community.
“We certainly generate sales from being involved but that’s not why we do it. It’s reflective of the company’s image. There are networking benefits especially through the home builders’ association. It puts you into contact with quality people you didn’t know of before,” Laughlin says.
In a company of 14 employees, Laughlin adds that each employee is involved in the community to some degree. “It’s important to be involved,” he says. “We need to do our part to preserve the quality of life here — it’s our responsibility.”