Page 1


PageO Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================


Business is booming

PageP Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

Construction Industry Roundup

I

Area companies have plenty of work

t’s a good time to be in the construction business.

“Right now, it’s very busy,” said Mike Upchurch, vice president of Upchurch Plumbing, which is based in Greenwood and has projects throughout the Southeast. Upchurch said the company is seeing more work in the Greenwood area now than it has in a long time. “We try to work as much as we can in Greenwood,” he said. “We have gone a year at a time without any work in Greenwood, but there’s a good bit of work in this area.” Some of Upchurch Plumbing’s local projects include construction at Heartland Catfish, the new Greenwood Church of God, the new Pillow Academy multipurpose building and the recent Milwaukee Tool expansion. “It’s good to have this much work close to home,” Upchurch said. Many in the construction industry attribute to the boom in business to the robust economy. “I think with the economy good and more jobs in the U.S. that there’s more opportunity for the type of work we do,” said Upchurch. The plumbing company’s projects include 80% new construction and 20% renovations. “They are mainly commercial-industrial, but I would say 90% of our work is private work, and 10% is public,” Upchurch said. “If you were looking back, we’ve been as many as 90% public work in the past. Right now, it is mainly private work.” Upchurch isn’t the only company in the construction business seeing this trend. “Over the last the last 12 to 18 months, we’ve seen a huge uptick in the economy here in the Delta and specifically the industrial market,” said Brian Robinson, president and CEO of Robinson Electric, which is based in Cleveland. “We’ve got more industrial business going right now than we’ve had in probably a decade or maybe even two. There just seems to be a really big boom in private industrial work.” Robinson Electric’s Greenwood-area projects also include the new Greenwood Church of God, the recent Milwaukee Tool expansion and work at Heartland Catfish, in addition to work at First Presbyterian Church. Robinson said work in the tourism, hospitality, church and industrial categories seems to be really strong this year. “We’ve seen a major uptick in hospitality,” he said. “We just finished the Cotton House here in Cleveland.” There’s a lot of confidence in the market, Robinson said. “Corporations have maybe been hesitant to spend money on big capital projects in the past, but there’s no hesitation at all right now,” he said. Similar to Upchurch, about 15 to 20 years ago, Robinson Electric’s projects were mostly governmental and public work. “We’re not seeing any of that right now, but we’re seeing so much private work that it’s taking the place of that market,” Robinson said. “So it really speaks volumes for what’s happening in the economy, and even the economy here in the Delta.” Robinson said his company, especially during the last few months, has seen an increase in private and corporate spending. “It’s good times right now for businesses and contractors,” said Robinson. Greenwood’s KT Builder, a commercial construction company, is also reaping the

`çåëíêìÅíáçå=ïçêâ=ÄÉÖáåë=É~êäó=áå=íÜÉ=ãçêåáåÖ=~í=eÉ~êíä~åÇ=`~íÑáëÜ=áå=fíí~=_Éå~K=_çíÜ=réÅÜìêÅÜ=mäìãÄáåÖ=~åÇ=oçÄáåëçå=bäÉÅíêáÅ=~êÉ ïçêâáåÖ=çå=íÜÉ=éêçàÉÅíI=ïÜáÅÜ=áë=çåÉ=çÑ=ëÉîÉê~ä=áåÇìëíêá~ä=ÅçåëíêìÅíáçå=éêçàÉÅíë=áå=íÜÉ=~êÉ~K

cêçã=äÉÑíI=cê~åâ=_çïÉêëI=g~ãÉë=eçêåÉê=~åÇ=gçëÉéÜ=_çïÉêë=ïçêâ=çå=íÜÉ=âáíÅÜÉå=êÉåçJ î~íáçå=~í=kçêíÜ=kÉï=pìããáí=pÅÜççäK=qÜÉ=Åçåíê~Åíçê=Ñçê=íÜÉ=êÉåçî~íáçå=áë=hq=_ìáäÇÉêI=~ dêÉÉåïççÇJÄ~ëÉÇ=ÅçããÉêÅá~ä=ÅçåëíêìÅíáçå=Åçãé~åóK=hq=_ìáäÇÉê=léÉê~íáçåë=j~å~ÖÉê gáã=jÅkÉÉê=ë~áÇ=ÄìëáåÉëë=áë=ìé=íÜáë=óÉ~êI=áåÅäìÇáåÖ=~å=áåÅêÉ~ëÉ=áå=éêçàÉÅíë=ïáíÜáå=~=QMJ ãáäÉ=ê~Çáìë=çÑ=dêÉÉåïççÇK

benefits of a strong economy. “Our workload this year is heavier than last year and the year before,” said Jim McNeer, KT Builder’s operations manager. “We’re seeing more opportunities this year than last year.” McNeer said that a good economy and low interest rates are a good mix for the business. “Any time interest rates are low and the economy is doing good, people are willing to borrow more and to spend more, so there’s an influx of money coming into construction,” he said. McNeer said there’s also more work in the Greenwood area than in previous years. “We’re seeing local jobs increasing in number in about a 40-mile radius of Greenwood,” he said. Among KT Builder’s current projects are an expansion at North New Summit School and upcoming work with Beard +

Riser Architects on the downtown Greenwood revitalization development and construction for new local business Blue Ridge Meats. McNeer said he doesn’t expect the business boom to stop anytime soon. “Looking now through the end of the year, there’s quite a bit of work, and I do think this is a continuing trend,” he said. It’s also been a busy year for RC Construction, a Greenwood-based business that specializes in military, public and airport construction. “We’ve seen a general increase in airport construction due to the necessary infrastructure improvements,” said Heston Powers, vice president of RC Construction. “Most airports are not able to keep up with the increase in travel demand. With this higher volume of travelers, airport expansion becomes even more necessary.” Powers said most of RC Construction’s work is in the Southeast, “which is the

pqlov=^ka=melqlp=_v=orqefb=ol_fplk

fastest-growing construction market in the country.” “Memphis is showing the most growth in our business,” he said. Powers said he anticipates the infrastructure sector of the civil construction industry will continue to increase over the next three to five years. Robinson predicts that the construction boom will continue even longer. “A lot of people think I’m crazy, but I see it happening for the next six years,” he said. “Economists are saying three years, but I’m saying six. From what we are seeing and hearing about these different companies and what their long-range plans are and talking with architects and engineers, I really think we could be seeing several more years of this same economy.” The increase in work, however, has caused one problem for companies in the construction business. “Like everybody else, we’re struggling for skilled labor,” said Robinson. “It’s good to have new projects. It’s good to have a big booming economy, but you’ve still got to have the workforce to man those jobs. That’s a big struggle for everybody.” Finding skilled labor is also a current problem for Upchurch Plumbing. The company trains “as many of our employees as we can about the plumbing and sheet metal trade and try to grow our own workforce,” Upchurch said. In addition to in-house training, Upchurch Plumbing works with the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation in Pearl. “They are in most of the high schools and post-secondary schools in the state training also, and we train with them,” said Upchurch. “There’s a lot of contractors throughout the state that train with them.” If the construction workload continues to increase at a rapid rate, skilled labor will be in high demand. “That’s going to be the concern the next couple of years, especially in the construction industry, is having a skilled workforce to perform what you need to perform,” said Upchurch.n


PageQ Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================


Counter intelligence

PageR Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

Countertops

Many options available for kitchen feature

O

ne of the most critical decisions you’ll have to make when you’re designing or renovating a kitchen is selecting your countertop material. You can transform the look of your cabinets, walls and trim with a fresh coat of paint at little expense in just a day or two, but if you grow tired of your countertops, updating them will be much more involved. You need to make a decision you can live with for perhaps several years. Let Google be your starting point, but don’t let it make up your mind — although it may help narrow your preferences. As you search, build a list of questions to ask local experts. Materials that are available, practical and affordable in the Mississippi Delta can differ vastly from those in other regions of the country. The types of countertop materials seem limited only by the imagination. Options have exploded in recent years, to include stainless steel, marble, solid surface, wood, ceramic tile and even recycled paper. Some area designers and contractors have shared a few of the most popular and trending choices. Here are some of their opinions and advice based on their experience with Delta customers. i~ãáå~íÉ

This choice was a surprise. Once granite became an option, laminate seemed relegated to the 1950s and ’60s. Technology and ingenuity have conspired to produce great improvements in this material. “Laminate is the only countertop material we sell,” said Michelle Adams, design consultant with HomeFront Home Improvement Center in Greenwood. “It’s come a long way since the 1960s.” One of the top advantages of laminate is color selection. With brands such as Formica, which HomeFront sells, and Wilsonart, thousands of colors are available. And laminate surfaces can be manufactured to resemble marble, granite, quartz and stainless steel, and with a high sheen or a matte finish. Another advantage is cost; laminate is at the low end of the expense continuum, running about $15 per square foot now at HomeFront. Accurate measuring is crucial, and HomeFront uses laser measurement whenever possible, and at no charge to the homeowner. The countertop is then cut with precision and delivered, and installation is fast. Adams said the biggest improvement in laminate has been the edging options. Until just a few years ago, the edge of a laminate countertop had a thin strip of matching laminate glued all the way around the outward-facing edge. The seam where the horizontal countertop joined the vertical edge was hard to keep clean, and lengths of the strip always managed to snag on a piece of clothing and peel away, needing to be glued back on. Now, many of the edging options available with other materials are available with laminate, too. Edges can be rounded, beveled or mitered. And laminate is one of only four countertop materials (the others are concrete, stainless steel and solid surface — e.g., DuPont Corian) that can form their own seamless cove backsplash. Maintaining the look of the laminate countertop takes some care. It does not withstand heat, so have a trivet handy when you take a pot off the stove. Because it scratches easily, use a cutting board

`çåíê~Åíçê=oçÇåÉó=eáÖÖáåÄçíÜ~ã=ëÜçïë=çåÉ=çÑ=íÜÉ=ÅçåÅêÉíÉ=ÅçìåíÉêíçéë=ÜÉ=áåÅäìÇÉÇ=áå=íÜÉ=çìíÇççê=âáíÅÜÉå=~í=íÜÉ=ÜçãÉ=çÑ=eÉ~íÜ ~åÇ=j~êó=q~óäçê=háääÉÄêÉï=áå=dêÉÉåïççÇK

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

“Laminate will last for decades if it’s taken care of. I’ve been in houses built in the 1950s that still have the original laminate countertops. ’’ Michelle Adams

JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ

when you’re carving, as scratches often cannot be fully repaired. Harsh chemicals can damage laminate, so cleaning with mild soap and rinsing thoroughly are highly recommended. “Laminate will last for decades if it’s taken care of,” Adams said. “I’ve been in houses built in the 1950s that still have the original laminate countertops.” Laminate also is available in solid-color marker board for use with dry-erase markers. Maybe marker board is not the best idea for kitchen countertops, but what kid wouldn’t want a tabletop in the playroom or even a feature wall in the bedroom made out of marker board? `çåÅêÉíÉ

Regular viewers of “Fixer Upper” on HGTV are accustomed to seeing Chip Gaines install concrete countertops for a rustic, natural look in the kitchens he and his wife, Joanna, are renovating. He makes it look easy. In this area, contractor Rodney Higginbotham of just outside Greenwood has had a lot of practice building houses, including installing concrete countertops. His dad, Kitt Higginbotham, started the business when he returned home from the service.

pqlov=_v=gl=^if`b=a^oabk=n melqlp=_v=d^sfk=j^ifph^=^ka=orqefb=ol_fplk

jáÅÜÉääÉ= ^Ç~ãë= ëÉäÉÅíë= ~= ë~ãéäÉ= çÑ= cçêãáÅ~= ä~ãáå~íÉ= Ñêçã= íÜÉ= ïáÇÉ= ëÉäÉÅíáçå= ~í eçãÉcêçåí=áå=dêÉÉåïççÇI=ïÜÉêÉ=ëÜÉ=áë=~=ÇÉëáÖå=Åçåëìäí~åíK


PageS Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

Rodney said he started working with his dad when he was old enough to climb on a ladder and has kept the business going since his dad died in 2018. The work takes him all over the Delta. “Most people choose concrete for the rustic look,” Higginbotham said. “It looks natural, like granite, but more rustic.” Higginbotham usually builds the kitchen cabinets himself in the design he and the homeowner agree on. When he builds the base cabinets, he incorporates reinforcement to ensure the cabinets will support the heavy weight of the concrete countertop, which has a solid thickness of about 1½ inches. If the cabinets are not custombuilt, he’ll add reinforcement to the structure before topping it. Concrete countertops can be highly customized with optional colors and edges. “Color can be a little bit tricky,” he said. “It’s hard to say exactly what color the finished countertop will be. The brown you pick out probably won’t be exactly what you end up with.” The basic color, of course, is gray. When the concrete is sealed, it takes on the darker shade of wet concrete, Higginbotham said. If you want a color other than the dark gray, you can treat the slab with an acid stain (like staining wood), which results in a swirl effect, or you can mix powdered pigment with the wet cement to achieve something closer to a solid color. Both methods are permanent. The edge profile is customizable. The edge can be formed into any shape, Higginbotham said — squared, rounded, beveled or ogee. Higginbotham has found outdoor kitchens to be the ideal application for concrete countertops. They are springing up all over the Delta, he said, and the concrete is perfect for the kinds of weather those surfaces have to endure. The concrete doesn’t fade, and the weather has little effect on the slab. The good looks of a concrete countertop are easy to maintain by wiping with a clean, damp cloth. The surface will scratch if you use a knife on it, though. Putting a hot pan from the oven onto the countertop may damage the sheen on the surface, but re-sealing will correct that problem. The cost for concrete countertops is higher than for laminate, but lower than granite or quartz, Higginbotham said. His concrete countertops are priced in the range of $30 to $38 per square foot, depending on the extra work involved in adding color and the type of edge profile that’s chosen. dê~åáíÉ=~åÇ=èì~êíò

Granite and quartz seem to be the current rock stars of higher-end kitchen countertops, and many homeowners who consider one of them also consider the other. “There are multitudes of

få=íÜÉ=ëÜçïêççã=çÑ=qÜÉ=d~ääÉó=háíÅÜÉå=H=_~íÜ=çå=m~êâ ^îÉåìÉ= áå= dêÉÉåïççÇI= j~å~ÖÉê= j~êó= i~ïëçå= _~êäçï ëÜçïë= ~= ÑÉï= ë~ãéäÉë= çÑ= èì~êíò= ~åÇ= Öê~åáíÉ= íÜÉ= ëíçêÉ çÑÑÉêë=Ñçê=ÅçìåíÉêíçéë=~åÇ=çíÜÉê=~ééäáÅ~íáçåëK

options,” according to Jim McNeer, operations manager of KT Builder in Greenwood. “Price and selection both depend on the preferences of the homeowner or designer.” Granite is formed of molten volcanic rock deep in the earth through millions of years, moving up and out, where it can be blasted, mined and processed. Each piece is unique; no two pieces, even cut next to each other, are exactly alike. “As granite is cut out of a

mountain, you might get three or four slabs that look similar enough, but the next cut will be different,” McNeer said. “Only God decides what it’s going to look like.” Quartz countertops are engineered. “They’re a mix of about 90% natural stone and 10% resin, polymer and color pigment,” McNeer said. Unlike granite, you can build color consistency and uniformity into quartz countertops in the manufacturing process. Color selection for quartz is

wide open, from a brilliant, sparkly white to the darkest matte black. Both granite and quartz are exceptionally durable. “Granite is porous,” said McNeer. “It’s sealed on installation, and after that, it should be re-sealed about every year, which takes only 10 or 15 minutes.” Granite does well with staining and high heat — if it’s sealed. If it’s not, or if the seal has worn away, high heat or an acidic food stain could permanently discolor the slab. Both granite and quartz resist scratches. Quartz is harder than granite, non-porous; the seal is built into the process, so once a quartz countertop is installed, it never needs to be re-sealed. And because it’s so hard, it’s heat-resistant, stain-resistant and antibacterial. “Quartz is nearly indestructible,” McNeer said. Pricing varies. According to McNeer, granite generally runs between $80 and $175 per square foot in this area. If your slab of granite is rare, you’ll pay more. Quartz, he said, ranges from $80 to $140 per square foot; your cost will be higher if your color selection requires more processing. And, as with all countertop materials, the edge profile you choose — rounded, squared, beveled, ogee — will affect the price. Regardless of your choice of material, with proper care, you should have a countertop that will maintain its good looks for many years. n


íç êÉ îÉJ ëí

~ë ëK åJ óëJ ãJ åÇ ~óK

ëí ã =~ =~

êí ÖI çÑÑ ÜÉ ~ åó

Éå ëI Éáê Éå çÑ ~ åÇ ÜK ãÉ Äó åäó

Remote convenience

PageT Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

Smart Homes

Devices can help simplify everyday tasks

W

ith the introduction in the 1950s of the first ultrasonic television remote control device, the goal of automation in the home has been to do everything possible so your foot doesn’t hit the floor next to the couch. But the smart home culture has evolved, and remote devices are all WiFi and Bluetooth, activated by sleek smartphones or centralized touch-screen panels and not clunky aluminum and wood-grain handheld boxes called “clickers.” And they do so much more than something that also can be accomplished by a small child being sent to turn a knob on the television console. They aim to protect you and your family when you are at home and to keep an eye on your home when you’re away. They aim to save you time and keep you from having to suffer through such mind-numbing and monotonous chores as turning the lights on and off, locking the door or walking into the next room to see who’s there. And they also give you the devices and level of secrecy it takes to unethically and sometimes illegally spy on your loved ones, your neighbors, your employees or anyone who visits your home or office. Although there may be a lack of electronics stores in the Delta selling smart devices for your home, there’s no reason to pass on making your life easier through automation. The devices are readily available via the internet, which also gives shoppers the opportunity to compare prices and delivery options. The best ones promote safety and convenience but leave it to you to figure out whether they’re worth the cost. You can buy separate items and put your own system together, if you have the skills and knowledge, or buy a complete system with video directions of how to install it in your own house. A single wireless outdoor security camera with infrared “night vision” can run as high as $478 online, before the taxes and shipping. Or you can buy a complete system from a reputable company for $350 that not only watches over your home with visual and motion detectors, but also allows you to turn lights on and off, dim the lights, lock the doors and adjust the thermostat from a central panel. If it’s only the security you’re after, you can buy the Simple Smart Home Security system for $180. The Nest company led the way in automating your home heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and it still offers easy-to-use products that give you control over the temperature of your home and a way to save money through efficiency. There are a variety of Nest products built around the company’s “learning thermostat” that give you control over your HVAC from your phone, laptop or mobile device. The Nest company makes Nest Guard, which wraps up all your security needs into one package, and also allows the use of Nest Tags, so you can simply swipe a fob when you come home rather than punching in a number. The fobs can be programmed and handed out to people you want to have limited access, such as the dog walker. When it comes to security, however, being more secure will cost you more money. You can start with a system like Nest Guard for about $400. You’ll want to add Nest Detect, which gives you cameras. If you want the cameras to record and playback, there’s a subscription fee of about $300 per year. If you add more cameras,

kÉëí=pÉÅìêÉ=äÉíë=ìëÉêë=çÑ=íÜÉ=kÉëí=ëÉÅìêáíó=ëóëíÉã=íìêå=íÜÉ=ëóëíÉã=çå=~åÇ=çÑÑ=Äó=ëïáéJ áåÖ=~=ÑçÄ=çîÉê=~=ÅçåíêçääÉêI=çêI=çÑ=ÅçìêëÉI=íÜêçìÖÜ=~=éÜçåÉ=~ééK

^= ÖêÉ~í= ï~ó= íç= ÉåíÉê= íÜÉ= ëã~êí= ÜçãÉ ^å=id=eçãJ_çí=ïáää=~ääçï=óçì=íç=î~Åììã ~êÉå~=áë=ïáíÜ=~=ëã~êí=éäìÖI=ïÜáÅÜ=~ääçïë óçìê=Ñäççêë=ïÜÉå=óçìÛêÉ=~ï~ó=îá~=~=éÜçåÉ óçì=íç=íìêå=çå=~åÇ=çÑÑ=ÇÉîáÅÉë=Äó=íìêåáåÖ ~ééK=fíÛë=ÅçåîÉåáÉåí=~åÇ=ë~îÉë=íáãÉI=~åÇ çå=~åÇ=çÑÑ=íÜÉ=ÉäÉÅíêáÅ=êÉÅÉéí~ÅäÉK Å~å=Åçëí=Ñêçã=ATMM=íç=AVVVK it unlocks the door to you when you the subscription goes up. And the three approach. If you don’t want to be bothered indoor cameras run about $400, while the pulling out your phone, the lock answers to outdoor camera goes for $200. Siri, Alexa and Google assistant. And it Nest isn’t the only company with a costs $229. starter kit, add-ons and a subscription fee. Some great devices also come with small And as all adult Mississippians know, a prices. Smart Plug, from companies such good quality shotgun goes for less and has as Wemo, Geeni and TP-Link allows you to more uses than just keeping your house turn a device on and off in your home by safe. turning the receptacle on and off. You can As with all things online, it’s easy to get do it from an app on your phone or through fooled into thinking you know who you’re Alexa and turn it into a timer that will shut dealing with and for what. If you Google off and turn on when you want it to. Using “nest,” besides the variations in Nest Smart Plug, you can turn off the HVAC products, you’ll also be offered for videogames when the kids get home from $200 the “Nest Box Reversible,” which school and are supposed to be doing their hangs on the side of a chicken coop and homework, turn on the dehumidifier or the allows the eggs to roll away from the hen. coffee pot or the slow cooker, or set a timer Not the same company. to turn your lights on just before you get Some offerings in home automation home. The Smart Plug runs only four for make you wonder how you’ve ever lived $30. without them. Then there are products The Simply Smart Home Switchmate such as Sense, which allows you to track does just about the same thing as the the use of electricity in your home, telling Smart Plug but for a wall switch for $14. If you how many minutes the iron was you want it to be voice-activated, it will cost turned on, or when the garage door was more, but the Smart Light Switch can do it opened. and goes three for $80. During the Jimmy Carter presidency, You can spy cheaply, too. The Wyze wirethis information was likely needed, but less smart home camera with night vision this company wants $299 to help you save goes for about $25. If you want one outpennies on your electric bill or $349 if you doors, it’s more expensive. But if you just want the solar-powered unit. want a deterrent to scare away prowlers, The August company will sell you the you can buy a Trademark Security Smart Lock, which allows you to lock and Camera Decoy with Blinking LED for less unlock your door from your phone. The than $11. product description says you can allow Living in central Indiana in the late access or track who’s coming or going, and 2000s, I had a Buick Lacrosse with a pqlov=_v=d^sfk=j^ifph^

remote starting feature that allowed me to stand in my air-conditioned or heated office and push a button on the key fob that not only started the engine but sensed if it was too hot and turned on the air conditioner, or too cold and turned on the heater/defroster and seat heaters. It was the best thing about the car. The same year, I wrote a story about a company that sold and installed such devices and was being sued by a man who had one put into his Mustang, which had a five-speed, manual transmission. He always left his car in gear, and the first time he tried the remote starter, the car drove through the wall of his garage and into his house. The lawsuit claimed the company, and not the man, should have known that would happen. The lesson is to be careful what you wish for. Philips Hue systems have been out for a few years. They let you control the lighting inside or outside your house through a phone app and LED bulbs and strips. You can turn them on and off, dim them or make them brighter, or change colors to set a mood or match one. But the system also required an investment in a controller device called a bridge that runs around $60, and the bulbs are rather expensive, about $15 each. Now, Wyze has come out with similar LED bulbs and strips and allows consumers to use phones to control brightness and color but without the expense of a bridge. And the Wyze bulbs cost about half what the Hue bulbs go for, selling four bulbs for about $30. If you have a voiceactivated system like Alexa, that works too. If you are adding devices with their own remotes, or have a home entertainment center that offers separate remotes for the audio, the video, the cable or satellite receiver, Apple TV or Roku, you might need one more remote. Sevenhugs’ Smart Remote controls almost everything in a single, sleek device with a program that displays controls to whatever device you point it at, learning through WiFi, Bluetooth and infrared. The trick is to keep your devices far enough apart that you can point at them without a scope. And also paying $300 to cut the clutter on your coffee table. If things at home aren’t quite smelling the way you’d like, there are a variety of products available to change that. You can start with a $17 remote control USB-powered essential oil diffuser, or climb the charts to an Aera aromatherapy unit with an app that allows phone control for $150, or go to the commercial grade, 5,000square-foot Oil Works Co. essential oil diffuser for $599, or move up to Aroma360’s Van Gogh 360 with four individual timers “to best fit your scenting schedule,” for a penny less than a grand. Staying in that same price range, you can use your phone to vacuum your house with a variety of remote cleaners, such as the LG Hom-Bot, which helps you program your rooms and then clean your floors at the touch of a phone screen. The ad shows a couple walking at night and asks, “Will she have to see your dirty floors?” To answer that question, it will cost from around $700 to $999 for a top-of-theline model. And if you’re interested in a little more convenience but don’t want to keep putting on your glasses to figure out your smartphone, they still sell The Clapper at Walmart for about $13.n


Color contemplation

PageU Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

Selecting Paint

P

Choose what feels the most comfortable

ainting the interior of your home can be a simple enough task — perhaps. But when you consider the numerous colors that exist, it can soon become befuddling, because there are no true guides for selecting a paint color. “Color’s a personal choice,” said Andy Hackleman, owner of Magnolia Home Center. Hackleman said he wants to make sure customers choose colors that will make them most comfortable. Among customers in Greenwood, he’s noticed a recent trend toward white and gray paints, as well as “really dark colors.” “We’re doing lots of dark greens, dark navies,” he said. Though any home renovation shop offers sample chips that demonstrate what a paint color looks like, it’s not enough to visualize how that color will come out when painted on a wall, Hackleman said. He encourages homeowners to purchase a pint-sized sample of paint in the color that they desire and paint that color on their wall. For example, a basic, standard color such as white has numerous options. Which white paint is the right paint? “Different sets of whites can take on a color,” Hackleman said. “Find one that isn’t stark white. If it’s not white, it’s going to

have some color in it to make it not white.” As far as choosing which white paint — again, the choice is up to a homeowner, Hackleman said: “You’re picking a color for your house. It needs to be something you like. That’s what why it’s important to see the color in your house.” If different rooms will be painted different colors, Hackleman recommends staying with a consistent trim color in each room. A constant trim color “ties everything together,” he said. But sample paint is not enough, since there’s enough factor at play — lighting. Lighting can play a huge role in how the color of a paint appears, Hackleman said. One consideration is whether the room will be lit by artificial light or sunlight. Sheen also needs to be considered. A glossy paint will come off as “shiny,” reflecting light, whereas a flat paint diffuses light at most angles. “The more light reflects, the more shiny it looks,” Hackleman said. The types of paint, from the least amount of shine to the most, are: n Flat n Eggshell n Satin n Semi-glass n Gloss Typically, Hackleman said, people should use an eggshell paint on their walls.

tÜÉå=áí ÅçãÉë=íç é~áåíI íÜÉêÉÛë=åç ëáãéäÉ=Åçäçê ëìÅÜ=~ë=êÉÇ çê=ÖêÉÉå ïÜÉå åìãÉêçìë ëÜ~ÇÉë=~åÇ í~âÉë=çå íÜçëÉ=ÅçäJ çêëI=~ë=ïÉää ~ë=çíÜÉê ÅçäçêëI ÉñáëíK=

It has enough sheen not to be flat but not enough shine that it constantly reflects light, he said. Also, the more sheen a paint has, the more light is reflected — and that makes imperfections of the wall more visible. Flat and eggshell paints both have low levels of sheen so they hide the imperfections of a wall better than a paint with a higher amount of sheen, Hackleman said. In terms of the wall’s trim, “you want a

little sheen on a wall,” Hackleman said. What about wallpaper? About 30 years ago, it was the trend, Hackleman said — and in the last three years, he’s noticed that it’s been making a comeback. He’s observed that homeowners typically have wallpaper placed in their bathrooms or small areas of the house that like to accent. When is comes to wallpaper, “there’s all types of colors and patterns,” he said. n


‘I always like a challenge’

PageV Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

Heath Hodges

Builder knew early what he wanted to do

H

eath Hodges says work has been steady since he established his own construction business more than two years ago, and he expects it to stay that way. He started Heath Hodges Building and Design after working for home builder Bill Thornburg for a while. Now he has six employees who bring a variety of skills to the jobs, and they work well together. “The guys I’ve got now, they can do anything,” he said. Hodges, 39, is originally from Greenwood and has spent most of his life in the area. He knew at a young age that he liked working with his hands, and he gained experience working for his father, Heywood Hodges. In fact, that started before he was 10. “When all my friends were out on summer vacation, I was always pouring concrete,” he said. “I can remember being 10 years old and having a float in my hand, floating concrete. Any time we were out on spring break or anything like that, I was always working.” Of course, he wasn’t given complicated tasks at first. “In my eyes, I probably thought I was doing a lot,” he said, adding with a laugh, “But I was probably doing more harm than good.” Still, he said his father taught him the importance of hard work: “Nothing’s free in this life.” He graduated from Carroll Academy in 1998 and finished a degree in drafting and design at Mississippi Delta Community College in 2000. At one time he planned to enroll in Mississippi State University’s architecture program, but after talking to some contractors, he decided to focus on the building side. After graduation, he worked for his father for a few years. He said he learned about plumbing, electrical work and other skills during that time and picked up a lot of it by watching others. Also, beginning a year after Hurricane Katrina, he spent about a year and a half in Bay St. Louis doing construction work with his brother Hunter Hodges, cousin Trent Turner and a crew of about eight. “When we first got down there, we started off doing fence building, and by the end of it, we were doing additions on homes,” he said. “We didn’t do any new construction because everything down there after the storm was mainly just remodel work — unless people were right on the coast and had complete teardowns.” He said their prices helped them stay busy. “We kept our prices based on everything up here when a lot of people down there had their Katrina prices, where everything was tripled and doubled,” he recalled. He also spent about five years doing engineering work for pipeline contractors all over the United States, but after the travel wore on him and his wife, he returned to the Greenwood area and began working for Thornburg, staying for about five years. He said he knew he wanted to go into business for himself after he built his own house on County Road 145 — but the house wasn’t an easy process. For about a year, it occupied his nights and weekends as he continued with his regular work during the day, but he finally finished it in November 2016. “I subbed out the framing and the mechanical and the spray foam, but everything else I did,” he said.

David Monroe

eÉ~íÜ=eçÇÖÉë=~ÅÅìãìä~íÉÇ=óÉ~êë=çÑ=ÉñéÉêáÉåÅÉ=áå=ÅçåëíêìÅíáçå=ÄÉÑçêÉ=ëí~êíáåÖ=Üáë=çïå=ÄìëáåÉëëK=eÉ=~äëç=Äìáäí=Üáë=ÜçãÉ=çå=`çìåíó oç~Ç=NQRI=ÇçáåÖ=ãçëí=çÑ=íÜÉ=ïçêâ=ÜáãëÉäÑK=

qÜáë=áë=~=é~åÉä=ÜçìëÉ=Äìáäí=Äó=eÉ~íÜ=eçÇÖÉë=_ìáäÇáåÖ=~åÇ=aÉëáÖå=Ñçê=~=ÅìëíçãÉê=áå=k~íÅÜÉòK=

pqlov=_v=a^sfa=jlkolb=n melqlp=_v=a^sfa=jlkolb=^ka=`lroqbpv=lc=eb^qe=eladbp


PageNM Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

“I knew once I got through, I was like, ‘I’ll never do that by myself again.’ It about killed me. Didn’t have a life for a year.” Hodges’  business does projects of various sizes, from a simple  bathroom  remodel  to  building  a  house  from  the ground up. Since he can draw plans, he handles a lot of the design work himself, but he also has versatile employees and a network of subcontractors. “There are a lot of good builders in Greenwood,” he said. “I think everybody’s busy. There’s just a lot of work going on.” Initially, he was concerned about having enough work, but that hasn’t been a problem. Projects were available, and it helped that he already knew a lot of people in the area. “A  small  town  like  this,  people  are  always  wanting something done,” he said. He likes to have several projects in different stages going on  at  once.  The  current  slate  includes  one  Spring  Lake house built from the ground up as well as two additions and a remodel. And he has more upcoming jobs that have been lined up for months. “We don’t have any down time,” he said. “We’ve always had something going on. That’s what you’ve got to have.” He said his employees include individuals who can do the work of two. They also can run a job site effectively if he has to be elsewhere, although he checks on all his sites daily. If he had more jobs, he would have to hire more people — but he does expect to add some more by the end of this year. In general, he likes new construction more than remodels,  because    “there  aren’t  a  lot  of  hidden  variables  in there,” he said. “You pretty much know what’s going on, how everything’s going to go. As far as remodels, you don’t know what you’re going to uncover.”  For  example,  he  said  one  project  that  started  as  a kitchen remodel ended up being a full addition on one side of the home because of problems with the framing. “It’s hard to nail down the price on a remodel because there’s always so much stuff that you can’t see,” he said. Sometimes a customer makes a request that requires some creativity, but Hodges is up to that. “I always like a challenge,” he said. “We’ve done some jobs that people said couldn’t be done. I’m like, ‘Well, we can do it. It’s just going to take some thinking.’ ” Hodges said there’s a lot to keep up with in his business, including  new  products  and  techniques  and  changes  in building codes. “I try to have as much knowledge on everything when it comes to building as I can,” he said.  “I don’t think you can ever learn enough. I’m still learning stuff, because everything’s changing. There’s always new ways of doing something, and we try to do whatever’s current at the time.”

eÉ~íÜ=eçÇÖÉë=_ìáäÇáåÖ=~åÇ=aÉëáÖå=ÅçåëíêìÅíÉÇ=íÜáë=ÜçìëÉ=Ñçê=açÇÇ=~åÇ=h~íáÉ=qìêåÉêK

Most of his work is in the Greenwood area. Most of the jobs farther away are panel houses, which can be finished in two weeks or so; his last one was in Natchez, and another  one  is  planned  in  Columbus.  He  is  a  certified  SIP (Structural  Insulated  Panels)  installer,  and  General Panel, a SIP builder in Grenada, has referred homeowners to him for those kinds of projects. He estimated he has put up about 40 SIP homes over the years.

Pillow Academy’s new Scott Family Multi-Purpose Building

Milwaukee Electric Tool’s latest Greenwood expansion

When it has to be done right, call Robinson Electric. There are lots of electrical contractors to choose from, but there is only one Robinson Electric. We’re a family-owned business with more than sixty years of experience. We’ve seen lots of changes during this time, but one thing that hasn’t changed is our unwavering commitment to doing every single job one way–the right way. That means never cutting corners, so we can make sure our customers

are safe and satisfied. If you think you’re seeing more and more of our trucks on the road, you’re right. We continue to grow, meeting all types of electrical needs, from the installation of residential generators to the largest agricultural and industrial construction projects. So remember, when it has to be done right, it’s time to call Robinson Electric.

Cleveland, MS / 662-843-3978 / www.robinsonelectric.biz

Hodges said he’s fortunate that his job doesn’t require a lot of weekend work. That leaves him time to hunt, fish and spend time with his family, which include his wife, Erin, and three children: son Schaefer, 7; son Beck, 4; and daughter Adair, 3. He said his health is good and he has a lot of energy, but it’s good to get a break, too. “You’ve got to have the down time to unwind,” he said. n


Handy habits

PageNN Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

What to Keep in a Toolbox (or Bag)

DIY beginners should have basic supplies

D

oes this sound familiar? It’s Sunday evening, and a screw falls from a loose door knob. Perhaps a new vacuum cleaner has to be assembled. The mailbox is wobbly and ought to be reattached. An electric socket needs replacing. A faucet is leaking. There’s finally the opportunity to hang a framed photo on the wall, screw a mirror onto a door or install a set of shelves. And you are brand new to DIY — doing it yourself. The project or projects will proceed with fewer headaches if you already have a set of basic tools and supplies and a can-do attitude. So what goes into a tool box for the beginner — perhaps someone of no particular age, maybe a young, single adult or an older one who’s married, or not married, and tackling small home repair, installation and construction jobs for the first time? Bob Darden of Cruger, a longtime DIY enthusiast, right off the bat recommends a canvas tool bag with a hard bottom rather than a tool box, which he characterized as heavy and cumbersome. A canvas bag “is better for around the house,” he said. “It’s much more flexible and can be stored easily.” Darden, like other DIYers, suggests that a cordless electric drill with a rechargeable battery makes jobs a lot easier, even for the neophytes. “You want one that is 18 volts or larger,” he said, explaining that anything with less power can’t handle heavy jobs that are relatively common. A drill, of course, is used for making holes but also operates as a screwdriver. Many are sold with a set of bits for screwing and drilling. They increase efficiency and cut time. He also said it’s a good idea to have a hacksaw on hand, one that is about 12 inches long. This cuts both metal and wood. “If you are trying to trim a curtain rod or something like that, you can use that hacksaw to saw off the metal,” Darden said. He remembered that his grandmother kept tools handy. “She kept a hacksaw blade in a hat box,” he said. She also had a 100-yard tape measure, he said, chuckling. Darden said his father would tackle difficult home-improvement projects. Darden learned, “It’s not that impossible. You just have to have the right tools.” Darden’s list is similar to that of Richie Fulgham, president of Greenwood’s HomeFront Home Improvement Center. He described a battery-powered drill as “the first thing you ought to get. You are going to use that for everything.” About a hacksaw, Fulgham said, “You need a cutting tool.” He recommended a hacksaw-handsaw combo. Darden added a utility knife. Both men listed safety goggles as a must. Darden said goggles protect your eyes from bits of wood and metal flung out by a saw. Fulgham said work gloves will protect your hands. Acquire a hammer, a set of Phillips-head and flat-head screwdrivers of various sizes, an adjustable wrench, a tape measure, an assortment of screws, including wood screws, as well as an assortment of nails, Fulgham and Darden said. Fulgham added needle-nose pliers to the list. A pair is just the thing for grabbing small objects. Darden said he also likes using a magnetic parts tray to keep screws and nails from rolling and dropping here and there. Fulgham said to be sure to include torx

remember MacGyver’s main tool, so she looked on the internet. “Oh my gosh! This is so funny! They literally make one, a MacGyver tool set.” The brand is the MacGyver Essential Tool Kit and it has one tool: a paper clip. That was what Coleman was trying to remember. Coleman, who runs Greenwood Leflore Recycling, has had a pottery studio for 22 years. She recently built a doghouse out of pallets and leftover roofing shingles. She grew up in Carrollton, and her father, an electrician, set an example by tackling a variety of tasks himself. “He could build anything,” Coleman said. She encouraged people to think about what they can use to make do. “Think outside of the tool box,” she said. n

fíÛë=áãéçêí~åí=íç=Ü~îÉ=íÜÉ êáÖÜí=íççäë=Ñçê=~åó=ÜçãÉ áãéêçîÉãÉåí=àçÄK=`äçÅâïáëÉ Ñêçã=íçé=~êÉ=~=Ü~êÇJÄçíJ íçãÉÇ=íççä=Ä~ÖI=~=mÜáääáéë ëÅêÉïÇêáîÉêI=~=ëäçííÉÇ=ëÅêÉïJ ÇêáîÉêI=~ëëçêíÉÇ=àÉïÉäÉêDë ëÅêÉïÇêáîÉêëI=~=Åä~ï=Ü~ãJ ãÉêI=ÉäÉÅíêáÅ~ä=í~éÉI=ïáêÉ ÅìííÉêëI=~=í~éÉ=ãÉ~ëìêÉI ëäáéJàçáåí=éäáÉêë=~åÇ=~å ~Çàìëí~ÄäÉ=ïêÉåÅÜK

screws, which have a star head. “It’s very hard to strip them out,” he explained. Darden said he would select a 10-inch adjustable wrench. This can be used to tighten a loose pipe dripping beneath a sink, for example. Get a durable metal flashlight, Darden emphasized. Get a circuit tester and use it, Fulgham said. This will show whether an electrical wire is hot. Fulgham named “small necessities,” such as zip ties, black electrical tape, duct tape and nails: No. 12 common nails, about 3.25 inches long; No. 8 finish nails, about 2 inches long; and roofing tacks, about 1.25 inches long. “If you have those items right there, you can do just about anything in your home with them,” Fulgham said. What if you don’t have what you need and don’t have access to a store? C.J. Coleman said to look around for a safety pin, a ballpoint pen, a piece of gum, fishing line or a little piece of sandpaper, or keep such supplies handy in your car, bag or drawer. “It’s called a MacGyver tool box,” she said, explaining the idea comes from the old “MacGyver” television series. “Look it up on YouTube,” she suggested. MacGyver, the hero, “could fix anything with a piece of tape or a safety pin or a Coke,” she said. But she couldn’t quite

pqlov=_v=prp^k=jlkqdljbov=n melqlp=_v=_l_=a^oabk

vçì=ÇçåDí åÉÉÇ=íç=Ü~îÉ ~=ãÉí~ä=íççä Äçñ=íç=âÉÉé óçìê=íççäë Ü~åÇóK=qÜáë ?Ü~íÄçñ? Åçåí~áåë ã~åó=î~äìJ ~ÄäÉ=íççäë áåÅäìÇáåÖ ÅäçÅâïáëÉ Ñêçã=íÜÉ=íçé ~=jìäíáJqççä EïÜáÅÜ áåÅäìÇÉë âåáîÉëI=~ ë~ïI=Å~å çéÉåÉêI=Ñä~íJ Ää~ÇÉ=ëÅêÉïJ ÇêáîÉêI=å~áä ÑáäÉ=~åÇ=éäáJ ÉêëFX=~=ãáåá~J íìêÉ=Ü~ÅâJ ë~ï=EïÜáÅÜ áë=ìëÉÇ=íç Åìí=ãÉí~ä áíÉãë=ëìÅÜ ~ë=Åìêí~áå êçÇë=~åÇ ëÜÉÉí=ãÉí~äFX ~åÇ=~å ~äï~óë=ìëÉÑìä ~äìãáåìã Ñä~ëÜäáÖÜíK


PageNO Greenwood Commonwealth / Wednesday, August 7, 2019 `lkpqor`qflk =======================================================================================================================================================================

Profile for Greenwood Commonwealth

Construction Edition 2019  

Construction Edition 2019