The Tiles That Bind
Flooring foundations shape unexpected opportunities for Hoston Construction LLC
At first glance, Hoston Construction LLC is built on a familiar foundation—a learned trade, an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong work ethic.
This family-owned and -operated specialty contracting firm based in Westerville, Ohio, was established in 2017 as a flooring company by Stephen Hoston. From demolition to leveling, moisture testing to waterproofing, the company has built a reputation for fast, quality service with experience in restaurant, retail and office buildings.
But this is not a story about tile—it’s about an individual’s vision empowered by a construction community’s willingness to support one of its own. This is a story about what happens when experienced professionals work with the hardworking, highly motivated next generation.
Before entering the construction industry, Stephen worked as a security guard. Unfulfilled and dissatisfied, he knew he had to change his career path in order to provide a better life for himself and his family. He knew that Carlos Medrano, his future father-in-law, was employed by a local flooring contractor. Stephen looked to give that profession a chance through the connection.
Over the next two years, Stephen gained as much knowledge as he could while working at that firm. Eventually, he branched out and began to work with many different subcontractors, distributors and manufacturers to grow his network. He learned how to install tile with quality in increasingly challenging environments—and a passion was born.
Stephen laughingly says, “The construction industry found me; I didn’t find it. Working on jobs and seeing how trades all worked together was an eye-opening experience. I literally fell in love with the whole idea of building something that serves a purpose.”
With $300, an old truck and connections with a few top installers in the Westerville area, a 19-year-old Stephen founded Hoston Construction. Along with his trusted team of subcontractors, Stephen asked his now-fiancé, Melissa Medrano, to help build the company by helping to create and submit bids to general contractors. With no experience, Melissa set out to learn best practices and processes.
Melissa says, “In the beginning, there were days where I was confused and not sure if what I was doing was right, but Stephen encouraged me to ask questions along the way. He understood that mistakes would happen but what truly mattered is that we learned from it and we kept moving forward.”
Their hard work and perseverance would pay off. In that first year, Hoston Construction won a bid with Max Construction Company out of Monroeville, Pennsylvania, to renovate a McDonald’s in nearby West Union, Ohio.
“To win jobs, I focused on analyzing job requirements and then picking the right people to get the job done. I knew how to lay tile quickly and with precision, and I had the right people with the same expectations of quality—that was the easy part,” Stephen says.
Getting paid proved to be a challenge. He recalls, “It probably sounds crazy to others, but I didn’t know how to complete a schedule of values or submit a payment application.”
A Helping Hand
When he contacted Max Construction Company about the payment process, the Vice President, Melissa Maxwell Kawai, and head of accounts payable, Arlene Corridoni, said no problem, we can help.
“They showed me how to do everything with such patience,” Stephen says. “I probably called them over a dozen times in those early days and every single time they were understanding and willing to help me learn this process. I was extremely grateful then and now that I had them to reach out to.”
That same year, Stephen was talking to a local contractor about his vision for the flooring company and seeking advice on growth. Stephen was then introduced to Keri Dixon, Franchise Owner with The Blue Book Building & Construction Network® (The Blue Book Network) for the Ohio South region.
Stephen says, “I joined The Blue Book Network in 2017 as a way to make connections with general contractors and owners, but it’s become so much more. I mentioned to Keri that I was bidding jobs using spreadsheets. She introduced me to Vu360® and BidScope®. She’d spend her spare time helping me learn how to bid jobs and estimate with help from those tools.”
“I appreciate how hard Keri has worked and the tools she has given me to help me succeed in this field. She was a great business associate at first, but now I consider her a great friend as well,” he adds.
Along with technology-enabled skills, Stephen has continued to build relationships with other subcontractors as well as manufacturers and distributors through The Blue Book Network’s events. He says, “These events made it possible to speak with people of different trades. I am able to understand the importance of their work and how they all came together to complete a project. It is also an opportunity to stay current with the latest trends in construction.”
The support by Keri Dixon, Max Construction Company and many others strengthened Stephen’s belief in himself, and that belief has led to new opportunities.
“For me, construction is a very personal endeavor, one that requires teamwork and support from inside and outside the company. I’ve been very fortunate to work with companies that have that same philosophy. With hard work and a focus on quality, the opportunities in this industry are limitless.” Stephen Hoston, Owner and Founder, Hoston Construction LLC
Today, Hoston Construction is a growing name in the office, restaurant and retail sectors with flooring projects that range from waterproofing and the installation of ceramic, quarry, porcelain and mosaic wall and floor tile to demolition and cracked-membrane repairs.
The company has taken on a variety of commercial projects, ranging in scale from Pinot’s Palette art studio and Pet Supplies Plus franchises to massive warehouse and fulfillment centers. Noteworthy commercial flooring installs also include Warby Parker and Sephora at Easton Town Center as well as abercrombie kids at the Polaris Fashion Place, both in Columbus, Ohio. The company was also involved in the Delaware Municipal Court construction project in Delaware, Ohio. And fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and Starbucks continue to be an integral part of the company’s portfolio. Hoston Construction is currently working on a McDonald’s in Mason, Ohio, which will be completed in spring 2021.
Its growing reputation for quality and service has also helped the company expand outside of Ohio, with work to date in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and as far east as Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia.
Stephen confirms, “We’re not a company that says we do it all. We study all requirements carefully and we’re honest about our capabilities.”
With the growth of the company in the last three years, he’s also hired more members to his team. Just recently, in 2020, David “Dave” Fekete was hired to handle compliance, contracts, licenses and insurance. Stephen says, “Dave goes above and beyond to provide the most updated and reliable information to steer the company in the best direction possible. He makes sure that we are always in compliance with local building codes, which differ from state to state. His 40+ years in business are reflected through his work, and I am grateful to have him on board.”
Paying It Forward
Stephen has not forgotten the help he received getting his company established over the years.
He confirms, “I simply wouldn’t be here today without the help from others, so a core part of our culture is that we help others. I feel it’s my responsibility to help others achieve their goals, and we can all be successful and provide timely, quality solutions.”
Stephen and his team work regularly with highly skilled trade contractors who need help with regulatory compliance, building codes, contracts, insurance and pay applications. Several years ago, Stephen met a young man with exceptional tile flooring skills.
“I hired him on the spot to do a job about two hours away from his home in Columbus,” Stephen recalls. “The morning of the job, he called to say he wouldn’t be able to go because of car issues. I knew I could help.”
Stephen called a mechanic friend to fix the car while the contractor worked on the job.
“While he appreciated the help, repair costs were a concern. I told him not to worry about it and that I didn’t expect anything in return. In my mind, the effort was a small payback for all the help I had gotten to get my company established,” Stephen says. “Further, I knew he was great at what he did and I couldn’t let him miss an opportunity to work—whether it was with me or with someone else—because of transportation. To this day, he and his father still work with me.”
With a growing portfolio of signature projects and a general contractor’s license in Ohio, Hoston Construction has established a solid foundation for continued growth—though future directions will likely have a different look and feel.
Stephen confirms, “The pandemic gave me time to reevaluate our strategic plan for growth. My vision is to grow as a general contractor and then as a developer. That’s where I think I can make a difference.”
His near-term goal for the company is to expand nationwide. First up is California, where Stephen has already begun the process of obtaining a general contractor’s license.
As well, Hoston Construction recently closed on an empty lot where brand-new construction will begin in spring 2021 for a single-family home. In the upcoming years, Hoston Construction will continue to build family dwellings and also expand into commercial development.
Stephen concludes, “For me, construction is a very personal endeavor, one that requires teamwork and support from inside and outside the company. I’ve been very fortunate to work with companies that have that same philosophy. With hard work and a focus on quality, the opportunities in this industry are limitless.”