Special to Realty/Builder Connection
Forty-five years ago, Earle Whitehurst began building homes with his father, Gene Whitehurst, in the Alderman Park area of Jacksonville. Gene instilled some homebuilding wisdom into his son, who took over the company 35 years ago.
“He told me to just treat people fair and do the best job you can,” Earle said.
This year, Whitehurst Builders is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and Earle names that advice as one of the reasons for its longevity and success.
Jonny Moore, president of Moore Electrical Contractors, has worked and known Earle for more than 28 years. They met through work, and Moore estimates the two have built 200 homes together, including Moore’s own home.
“He will make every effort to make every wish you have for your home come true,” Moore said. “He has great ideas, a great eye for details and he is just a very, very good custom homebuilder. He is one of a kind.”
A lifelong Jacksonville resident and a member of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, Earle, 67, has built approximately 500 homes in 13 named communities and has established a market niche of building luxury custom homes.
It’s a family vocation: his wife, Beverly; two children, Tim Whitehurst and Kimberly Whitehurst; and three grandchildren are in the business. Tim owns of The Whitehurst Group, a remodeling and homebuilding business, and Kimberly is the owner of Mr. Sandless, a wood floor refinishing business.
When Earle started building homes in the early 1960s, an upper-priced home cost around $30,000.
“They were very simple, not like they are now, “ Earle said. “Clients were happy to have a master bath off their bedroom. We went from building homes with one bath to now, with many homes having three baths.
“What is considered a ‘big’ house has changed, too. In the 1960s a 2,500-square-foot was considered big. In the 1970s, 3,500 square feet was.
“Now I’m building homes that are 5,000 square feet or more and in the $1.5 million to $5 million price range. It’s a whole other world.
“It is much more complicated now to build a home from all standpoints. From the government requirements, to the hurricane laws, to installing the fancy electrical and appliances.”