Family owned by Layne, Judy and Dustin Gebers, Frontier Foundation & Crawl Space Repair has served the Middle Tennessee and Southwestern Kentucky communities for more than 20 years. The company has gone through many ups and downs, nevertheless, what has remained steady is their faith in God and their focus on family. Judy fills us in on the history of Frontier and how these values have helped them get through the most challenging times.
Frontier Foundation & Crawl Space Repair is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Can you describe the journey you and Layne went through to establish your company?
When we moved to Tennessee from Nebraska in 1999, owning a waterproofing and foundation repair company was the last thing we had on our minds. We moved here for a company Layne was working for at the time in Cumberland City, TN. They helped to relocate us to this area. Soon after, Layne became disheartened by his new manager’s practices and philosophies, which were the opposite of what he believed in. It wasn’t easy, but we decided to back away and leave everything on the table, trust God, and do our own thing. We knew how to be a general contractor, that’s what we always did, so we decided to start our own company called Apple Hollow Contracting. We started doing a lot of remodeling for people we met through the church and word of mouth. When you have a church full of happy people, you have a good customer base.
How did basements and crawl spaces become your point of interest?
Houses in Nebraska have basements, not crawl spaces, so when we moved down here, Layne wasn’t quite sure about crawl spaces at first, but he could immediately identify their issues and see that they were collapsing in due to moisture. Layne met Larry Janesky, the founder of Basement Systems in Connecticut, at a home show. When they saw they shared the same values, our company became one of their dealers, and we have been serving Middle Tennessee and Southwestern Kentucky area ever since.
Frontier Foundation has strong core company values: Faith, Respect, WOW Service, Passion, Loyalty, Integrity, Excellence, and Determination. How does hiring people who share and personify these values affects the company?
It sets us apart from someone who just wants to make money. Our mission is to help and serve others. All those core values are just wrapped around essential caring for someone else, that could be your co-worker, manager, or customer. We want to treat each customer as if they were your grandma and care for them as if they were a family member. We have always felt like all our employees are not just employees, they are a family. We like to invest in the family because we want them to have the best tools, resources, training, and a facility they can be proud of, and we want them to feel at home here in our company.
You have gone through a lot of ups and downs along the way. Your company’s story proves your strong determination never to give up and your ability to start over not once but multiple times, which is admirable and unimaginable for many of us. What helped you stand strong in difficult times?
It’s all about finding the right people. It was important to realize that it doesn’t have to be me doing it all, I just need to find the right people, and that makes our company successful. All of us at the Frontier have a common heart to help homeowners, and that’s our foundation. You build a company by having one happy customer at a time, and that’s how we grow. It was a big wheel to push for a long time until it started moving on its own at some point. We are very blessed. We have amazing people with the hearts of servants. And that’s how you run a service industry – by people who genuinely care about each other and customers.
There have been many times when there was a struggle, but sometimes you need to trust God and His timing, and He will send you the right person with the right set of values. We are very blessed as a company, and I will lift that daily, but I’m not pushy about it. I feel people in this world want Jesus but are afraid to have that conversation. Faith is about connecting with others and showing Jesus to them by how you act, by being a family for them, and by caring about each other.
A holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom, said: “Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.” I have seen that over and over in our lives and in our company, for example when we met Larry two decades ago. God works very well behind the scenes, if we only let Him.
Martina Brindley, Marketing Coordinator, Frontier Foundation & Crawl Space Repair www.christianbasements.com