The Neil Kelly Co. boasts a long history of both remodeling and design/build experience. Founder Neil Kelly started as an exterior contractor after WWII, taking on design work in the 1960s and becoming formalized as a design/build firm in the ’70s. Over its 57-year history, industry dedication has defined this Portland, Ore.-based remodeling firm.
Neil Kelly served as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s founding president. He also was one of the founders of the Oregon Remodelers Association. Martha Kerr, current executive vice president, Neil Kelly Co., was the president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Current president Tom Kelly is past chair of the State of Oregon Construction Contractor’s Board, past president of the Portland Metropolitan Home Builders Association and past and founding chair of the statewide Oregon Business Association. A dedication to advancing industry professionalism is woven into the fibers of the company.
Innovation also has defined this remodeling firm and fueled its growth. The progressive Neil Kelly Co. has home repair, custom home and cabinetry divisions in addition to its core design/build remodeling group.
The repair group started as a natural extension of the firm’s business. "It was a simple entrepreneurial idea," Tom Kelly says. "As any remodeler knows, doing small jobs can be challenging. We had to set up different systems because it’s a different business. There is employee crossover, but mostly it’s a separate group of individuals in that division."
Neil Kelly Co. recently started marketing its custom home services. 2003 was a bit of a down year, according to Kelly, and one of the firm’s reactions was to officially begin focusing on new construction. Prior to that point, the firm would only perform those services for past remodeling clients on occasion.
Since the 1960s, the company has been making cabinets for its own clients and for new home builders in the area. One of Tom Kelly’s initiatives was to formalize that end of the business.
"We needed to either make it a viable entity or just focus on being a contractor," he says. Neil Kelly Cabinets was spun off as a separate business. Kelly is chairman of the board, but there is a separate president.
One of the company’s best practices is the use of showrooms. The bulk of Neil Kelly’s design/build work comes from kitchens and baths, which allows the firm to showcase its cabinets (as well as other brands) and other kitchen and bath products and designs.
"For our clients to be able to touch and feel and understand has been important. We say, ‘If you like what you see in our showroom, you’ll like what you see in your project.’"