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71-year-old, high end builder trades on quality, pride and reputation
Dewhurst & Associates: A LJ institution
La Jolla Light, July 200
by Dave Schwab, Light Business Editor

The Dewhurst family is now into its fourth generation in building and remodeling high-end homes in La Jolla and environs.

The company has literally become a cornerstone of the community. Its very name is synonymous with quality and craftsmanship.

Dewhurst & Associates has operated successfully in La Jolla since 1929. What makes the firm a cut above the rest in the building industry, is its commitment to excellence on a company level.

“It's a family team business,” pointed out Donald Dewhurst, the patriarch of the family firm, begun by his grandfather, about the key to Dewhurst's long-time success.

“We're kind of a one-stop shop,” noted Donald's son, David Dewhurst.

Dewhurst has broken fresh ground in a number of areas, like adding in-house architect Dan Sehlhorst, A.I.A., to the company mix.

“We are design-build, which breaks the traditional configuration of the architect and contractor being separate entities,” said Sehlhorst. “Now we can sit down and say, ‘Here's a schematic that covers everything right down to the home fixtures.'”

The La Jolla full-service building firm has 40 to 45 employees who are working on as many as 15 to 20 projects in various stages of development and any given time.

Dewhurst specializes in everything. “We do all the building,” noted Donald Dewhurst, adding that the family orientation of the company goes all the way down to the rank and file.

“Half a dozen of our employees—their fathers worked for us,” stated Donald Dewhurst. “Their sons work here during their summer vacations. Most of our employees have been with us many years. There's a very low turnover.”

Bringing in the design and build functions under one roof has allowed Dewhurst to be more precise in telling clients what they need, how long it will take to build and how much it's going to cost. “We're able to give them the big picture,” noted Doug Dewhurst. “Sometimes, it's not what people had anticipated.”

The Dewhurst's are quick to point out the firm's emphasis on any project is on quality, not cutting budgets or taking shortcuts to achieve time deadline. “We cut the cloth to fit the pattern,” pointed out Donald Dewhurst about the firm's work ethic.

“We want to provide a quality product,” concluded architect Sehlhorst. “We're not here to provide shortcuts, get in and out of a project quickly or cheaply. Those aren't the goals on which this company was founded."

The best part of the job, according to Donald Dewhurst, is taking a project to fruition, watching it evolve, pleasing a client with a finished product they can be proud of. "Typically, our clients become fiends," noted Donald. "We go back and service them and take care of their houses."

Donald said lots of times clients who have second home in La Jolla and live part of the year elsewhere, will call them and give them this directive: "We're coming to town - get our house ready."

Dewhurst & Associates is branching out, doing work" farther afield - Point Loma, Coronado, Rancho Santa Fe. “There are a lot of opportunities in high-end markets out there, clients who want service and quality and trust in a builder," noted David Dewhurst. “They come to us because of our reputation.

Dewhurst does just about anything when it comes to home remodeling or building. They'll put in a swimming pool or a fountain, do landscaping.

Sehlhorst claims Dewhurst really has no competitors in its niche in the marketplace. “There's nobody out there who offers what we offer,” he assures.

David Dewhurst noted that the company has so many people skilled in various areas of expertise under its roof, that it's like having a nearly inexhaustible library of talent at their disposal. “We can draw on the strengths of one person for a particular project, and another person for another type of project,” he said.

“That goes a long ways in the field: knowledge and experience.”

Dewhurst does work for public as well as private concerns. The company has done projects for La Jolla High School and the La Jolla Rec Center . The company also gets involved in civic projects, donating trucks for parades and floats, having employees volunteer their time on Saturdays to help out with civic projects.

“We take pride in the community," noted Donald Dewhurst. "We do our share. That's important."

Sehlhorst said one of the greatest challenges for Dewhurst is figuring out how to grow and expand but not overdo it.

“We don't want to become a giant like Roel construction," he pointed t. “That's counterproductive to being a quality type of operation.”

“The struggle is how to take on more business and still meet the level of expectations of ourselves and our clients?"

For more information about Dewhurst & Associates, call 858-456-5345.

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