11 Questions for Tony Grove, owner of Grove Construction

When did you start Grove Construction?

We started Grove Construction on June 17, 2009, and have now been in business for three years.

What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve had to accomplish since starting Grove Construction?

There have been several hurdles since beginning Grove Construction. This is a tough economy, and we have worked hard to succeed. The largest hurdle I have overcome, however, has been to separate my company, beliefs and values from the company my father worked for and was part owner in for 36 years.

You come from a family deeply rooted in construction in Columbia. What did you learn growing up in a construction family?

I was always around it; at home my family was always remodeling, and I was always going to work and riding around in the truck with my dad at a very young age. When I was old enough, when most kids were at camp or the swimming pool, I was working.

There are many construction businesses in Columbia. What prompted you to start your own?

My family has been in construction for three generations. I wanted to have a company run exactly the way I wished to do things. I felt I was at a good point in my life because I had field experience and a degree in construction management to match after graduating. I wanted to offer a good product at a fair price.

What types of construction are you focused on?

We mainly do commercial and industrial construction: anything from metal buildings, such as Salter Lawn Service; to restaurants, such as Chim’s Thai Kitchen; to apartments, such as the Lofts on Broadway.

You have accomplished a lot at a very young age. What are the advantages of being a young professional in your field?

I think the biggest advantage is the fact that at the age of 26, I have a good yet small company started, and now I have the rest of my life to grow it. The hardest part of business is to start it. I feel like the Grove Construction name is starting to get around town, and people realize that we are here to stay.

You’ve been doing a lot with downtown living. What are the advantages of rebuilding downtown?

Downtown is a wonderful and historic place. It is amazing to take an old, dilapidated building and change it within the walls to something modern and beautiful.

Why is it smart to invest in real estate?

Land prices move up and down, but I just love the feeling of having something tangible; watching the stock market every day makes me want to pull my hair out. I feel with real estate, I have control and can keep a closer eye on my investment.

How does a city such as Columbia benefit from real estate projects in The District?

They increase the living body count, increase the tax base and make The District look active. I love it.

Why is it important to hire a certified builder?

Reputation is everything. If your company is not trusted and professional, it will never last.

If you could build a building in any city besides Columbia, what city would it be?

Downtown Chicago. I love the city, and it’s still in this region.

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