It was an opportunity too good to pass up.
For the past 10 years, H.J. Holtz & Son President Rick Holtz had kept a casual eye on commercial real estate listings, contemplating a change.
The company’s location at 3106 Moore Street in Richmond, within easy reach of several major thoroughfares, was a sweet spot when the company moved there in 2002. Situated at the corner of Moore and Summit streets, the lot offered a large side parking area – necessary for the company’s trucks – and a large building that could accommodate both office and shop areas.
But 20 years is a long time. Over the last two decades, Holtz & Son has grown, adding more trained painters and paper hangers, and expanding its carpentry division to provide wraparound services, as so many home projects require wood repair.
Beyond the front doors, the neighborhood changed, too. When the company moved in, Scott’s Addition was filled mostly with light industrial businesses and warehouses. A scattering of homes and restaurants were on the edges, but the district attracted little attention.
The area began to shift in the early 2000s, as a few warehouses were converted into apartments. Growth slowed during the Great Recession of 2008-2009, but developers quickly returned with more aggressive plans. In 2017, the city changed the neighborhood’s zoning from light industrial to mixed-use, allowing for a bevy of businesses to fill the area.
Now, Scott’s Addition is a hive of activity, day and night. That’s not bad when the Holtz team is looking for lunch, but it creates significant barriers to Holtz & Son expansion.
“There’s just nowhere for us to go,” says Rick Holtz. “We’re hemmed in on every side. And there’s no way I could afford to buy out any of our adjacent neighbors. The property values are just too high.”
Already feeling pinched in the space, the Holtz & Son team faced even greater demand during and after the COVID pandemic, as people upgraded and improved their homes. “Suddenly, everyone was inside their houses, looking at the walls, and realizing they didn’t like what they saw,” Rick Holz says. “Demand doubled. We want to meet demand, for both clients who have worked with us before and new clients. But that became really hard to do.”
Even though much of the work the company does is in customers’ homes, a surprising number of tasks happen in the shop.
“We need space to prep and spray cabinets, build and paint furniture, and paint all types of items our clients ask us to paint,” Rick Holtz says. “We’ve used every inch of the space we have here. There’s just nowhere to go.”
He had almost given up on finding a new location when he had lunch with his friends who work with Benjamin Moore and Spectrum Paint. “My friend and associate Rob Reynolds mentioned that he had a friend who was retiring and might be interested in selling his building,” Rick Holtz says.
He quickly acted on the tip, finding Old Dominion Body Works, just off Hull Street Road, near its intersection with Chippenham Parkway. With almost 12,000 square feet, the shop is double the size of Holtz & Son’s current location.
“We’re acquiring a down draft spray booth, and we’re able to give the Holtz Built carpentry division, which is growing so fast, an even larger dedicated space,” Rick Holtz says. “We’re also going to be able to have multiple projects of varying sizes going at a time, which enables us to finish a job faster. That’s good for the customer who wants their project to move quickly, and it’s good for the customer who’s waiting for us to get to their project.”
H.J. Holtz & Son closed on the sale in May and renovations began immediately. “We’re serving as our own general contractor and are doing as much of the work ourselves as we can,” Rick Holtz says. “Really, we can do it all, except for the plumbing, mechanical and heavy-duty electrical work.
“It’s exciting for our team to work on our own space,” he adds. “We’re getting to show what we can do, and we’ll get to enjoy the finished product. We’re really having fun with it.”
Stay tuned … there’s more to come.