To Rob Rice Homes, Buying Local Means Quality, Customer Service

Rob Rice Homes 2013 Tour of Homes
Rob Rice has been building quality homes in the Olympia Area since 1985.


Submitted by Barb Lally for Rob Rice Homes

Rob Rice - Rich Road Local Store
The Rice Family will often stop at their local market, Johnson’s Whistle Depot, supporting businesses in their neighborhood.

Rob Rice, his wife Helena and their two children are committed as a family to shopping local. So much so that they buy eggs or milk at the small family grocer Johnson Whistle Depot in their neighborhood, even if it costs a little more.

“My son Alex reminded me the other day of our ‘buy local’ commitment when we were driving to a large store to get our weekly groceries,” Helena Rice smiles. “He insisted that Dad would want us to buy them at our little neighborhood store. I told him I understood our commitment to buy locally but that we just couldn’t live on Hot Pockets every night. We need a bit more variety in our weekly menu but we are determined to give back to our immediate community as much as possible.”

And so it is also with building and developing Rob Rice Communities and Homes. Rob Rice has a very personal commitment to hiring local contractors and buying local products and services for his homes even if it costs him more.

“What sets us apart is the long-term commitment to contractors who are as locally based as possible,” says Rob whose office is right on State Avenue across from Ralph’s Thriftway. “Not only does it contribute to the local community where our homes are built, the relationships with people you know face-to-face build trust and quality service. They do things right the first time and if something does go wrong, you know they are going to be there. It is the foundation of our customer service.”

And, once he finds a company whom he can trust to maintain high standards, Rob Rice’s philosophy is to stay loyal to them.

“I don’t think you can deliver a product that stands the test of time if you switch sub-contractors and vendors every time the wind changes direction,” says the local builder who has built more than 3000 homes in the area over the last 30 years. “I still have the framer that framed the first house I built in 1985. He is working for me at Campus Highlands right now. We have a long list of my sub-contractors that have been with us for 10, 20, 30 years.”

Here are just a few:

  • Heating and Cooling Systems – Much-respected local company Sunset Air, installs the heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems in every Rob Rice Home and has partnered with the local builder for more than 25 years.
  • Windows – The windows installed in Rob Rice Homes are from Milgard, a local company in Tacoma, which backs their windows with a lifetime warranty.
  • Community Development – For nearly 30 years, local planning consultants Hatton Godat Pantier have helped Rob plan and design Rob Rice Communities with their expansive landscaping, signature green space and small community parks.

    Brian Fluetsch - Owner of Sunset Air
    Brian Fluetsch – Owner of Sunset Air
  • Lumber – Rob Rice Homes purchases its lumber from BMC out of Lakewood to frame and finish his homes with the highest quality product.  Every home Rob has built has been supplied by BMC West. 
  • Doors – Doors Unlimited Inc is a family owned and operated company located in Olympia that has been around since 1975 and has partnered with Rob Rice Homes to provide the many sturdy and stylish doors they install.
  • Paint –Imperial Painting has been a local and longstanding partner since 1986.  Paint choices are higher quality to ensure color durability and prevent fading for many years.

“For virtually every one of the subs on our jobs, I could go out today and find someone to do it cheaper, I know that,” says Rob. “That’s not the way we do things because we are looking at the long-term picture, the quality and longevity of a community, not just about today.”

Brian Fluetsch, president of Sunset Air shares the commitment that is typical of Rob’s team of local contractors and vendors.

“We don’t look at how cheap or how fast something can be put in,” Brian echos Rob’s sentiment. “We live in the same community and we are neighbors with these people.

When our employees are at Fred Meyer with their uniform on and someone that had our HVAC system put in sees them, they are going to say ‘Man, you did such a great job in our house.’”

That would be the comment to any one of the superior local contractors that help build Rob Rice Homes.

Rob Rice is Thurston County’s largest local home builder and was voted the Best of South Sound for 2013. He and his wife Helena live in Olympia with their two sons; Alex Michael and Carson. Rob is a graduate of Washington State University with degrees in construction management and architecture.




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