A Legacy of Craftsmanship
Coppola & Sons Construction Company, Inc. maintains a family tradition of excellence
To Joe and Robert Coppola of Coppola & Sons Construction Company, Inc., a word like “craftsman” is heavy with meaning. They’ve built their business on a reputation of being the best.
Coppola & Sons Construction was founded in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1973 as Coppola Construction by Emilio Coppola. Emilio began his career in stone and masonry in his native Italy at the age of 13, when he apprenticed to the Master Geraldo Marutto in San Mango sul Calore. In 1959, he immigrated to the United States, where he continued to hone and perfect his craft before opening his own business.
“We were the experts in masonry,” Joe recalls. “We were the stone people everyone called on all the time. We had the best artists in the state working for us. We still are and still do. We’re committed to the idea of excellence our father instilled in the business.”
Joe and Robert worked for their father growing up, particularly during summer vacations. Along with learning the trade, they learned the business through typing proposals, creating maps and doing other basic work. In 1990, the brothers acquired the business from their father and renamed it Coppola & Sons Construction Company, Inc. Each brother is a Partner and Co-Owner of the business, which is now based in Norwalk, Connecticut.
“Over time our father had expanded into chimneys, concrete walkways, site work and decorative restoration,” Joe says. “When we took over, we expanded into all phases of construction. Our father only did residential work until we got involved. When we took over in 1990, we were still about 80% residential to 20% commercial. Now we’re much closer to an even split. The residential market really took a hit in the past decade. Our commercial work helped sustain us and launch us into industrial work as well.”
In the Coppola family, tradition is important. Emilio established a tradition of exceptional craftsmanship, and Joe and Robert have kept up that tradition, maintaining a workforce of skilled and talented employees who are able to deliver the kind of product that established the reputation of Coppola & Sons Construction.
A New Generation
“What really sets us apart is the fine quality and artists we still keep on staff,” Joe says. “We have the most talented employees. We don’t do anything to take away from the high standard of the quality of our work. We also have a lot of experience with residential, commercial and industrial, which many people don’t. All these things tie together and help us bring the entire project to completion.”
Though the company has grown from masonry work into a full-service general contractor, Coppola & Sons Construction still self-performs much of their work, including masonry, concrete work, excavation and demolition.
“Some corporate centers, medical colleges and other clients call us because we can self-perform a lot of the work and manage the remainder,” Joe says. “They don’t need to call 10 different companies; they can just call us.”
While the brothers have been careful to maintain the quality of the work performed by their company, the variety and amount have both increased dramatically since they took the reins.
“In the 1970s, my dad was making $30,000 to $40,000 per year,” Joe says. “Just before we took over, the company was up to around $250,000 in sales. We took over in 1990, and it went up to $500,000. Recently, we hit about $3 million in total sales, and the growth is continuing. In all of 2018, we had about 200 projects. By August of this year, we’d already matched that total.”
Best of Both Worlds
One of the largest projects Coppola & Sons Construction has worked on recently is the Bimbo Bakeries plant in Greenwich, Connecticut, a major endeavor that included everything from fixing the roadways to repairing the shipping floors to remodeling the offices and mixing rooms. Another major project was the creation of wind barrier and retaining walls for the Bennett Cancer Center at Stamford Hospital in Stamford. Coppola & Sons Construction assisted from excavation through completion.
The company’s reputation for skilled craftsmanship has earned it a great deal of business in maintenance and restoration of stonework, decorative and otherwise.
“We work on the designs of some of the most famous architects and engineers in the world,” Joe says, listing such architectural luminaries as Frank Lloyd Wright and Philip Johnson.
“We also do a lot of restoration work for high-net-worth clients,” Joe continues, “as well as restoration on everything from high-rise buildings to automobile dealerships.”
Though craftsmanship and leadership are the most important keys to the success of Coppola & Sons Construction, Joe is quick to give credit to The Blue Book Network® as well. The company and the Network have enjoyed a relationship since the 1990s.
“I saw one of The Blue Book Network books on a facility manager’s desk and decided to connect with them,” Joe says. “We decided to give them a try. We’ve had great success meeting new people and connecting with other professionals. Whether it’s marketing, sales, using resources for tradesmen, locating future jobs—it’s been very helpful for everything. It’s been a great relationship and a great way to get future work as well as find other contractors to help make us successful.”
The brothers keep the workforce at Coppola & Sons Construction small, about 15 to 20 employees total, restricted to those with the skill and ability to keep up the company’s standards for work. Employees also participate in a profit-sharing plan. Joe describes it as a fast-paced but flexible environment, one in which the brothers and employees can all take pride.
“What we’re most proud of is our legacy, the high standard of workmanship, maintaining our standards of quality,” Joe says. “And also seeing the business continue through the generations. It’s been around close to 50 years now, and we’re going to keep it growing.”