When did the idea of Commercial Site Design start?
In 2002, Brian Soltz and Brian Burchett initially collaborated on the idea of establishing a firm with an eye toward small site developments. The partners each had different motivations for taking the risk and each brought unique experience and skills to the business.
What made you choose to concentrate on small commercial developments?
The partners had a tremendous amount of experience with small commercial projects, from managing to designing sites. They worked with clients like Dollar General, McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme. It was only natural for us to focus on what we knew best.
What is your best memory of building your company?
For me, it was the first client as a result of our marketing efforts. It was Damon’s restaurant, currently Backyard Bistro near PNC Arena in Raleigh.
In the first year of business, what was the biggest challenge the company faced?
Cash flow. Starting any business requires money to expand and survive. Luckily, we had a good banker in Cardinal State willing to take the risk with us.
Any mistakes or errors while building your business and what have you learned?
Like many firms, we grew too fast and couldn’t reduce expenses quick enough during the recession of 2009. Since then, we have kept a keen eye on trends in our industry and adjust our expenses accordingly.
What is the most unique project you were part of and why?
Our first LEED McDonald’s site was probably the most unique and challenging project; coordination, interaction and time required for the project was extraordinarily high for a small development. The experience helped with future LEED projects.
When did you know Commercial Site Design would be a successful firm?
It is difficult to say when we thought of us as successful. I like to think it was in the first year, when our marketing efforts paid off and we worked on brands such as Damon’s and Bennigan’s, and eventually, the following year, Starbucks, McDonalds, BB&T and Cook Out.
Of the brands your company works on, which one do you frequently use and why?
We always try to support our clients, but for me, it is BB&T because it is conveniently located to our office. We often give our employees gift cards to brands we work with.
For a small company looking to compete against larger companies, what advice do you have?
Stay focused on what you do best and provide a consistent, high-quality product.
Where do you see Commercial Site Design in the next 15 years?
We will continue to build our base of clients who desire a high-quality product and grow in a controlled manner.