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Back to the future: A look at 20 years of Sandcastle Homes

August 26, 2015
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20 years is a long time. So much can happen. So many things can change. People – and businesses – come and go. Yet, some
things endure, evolving and withstanding the swirling sands of time.

Mike and Mike circa 1992

Mike & Mike in 1992

As Sandcastle Homes celebrates 20 years in business, a chat with co-founder/co-owner Mike Salomon seemed in order. After all, how often do you get to pick the brain of a business leader whose company has survived an epic recession AND the whims of real estate!

Mike, how did Sandcastle start?

I really trace the idea back to a when I finished college in 1983 and contemplated what I wanted to do with my future. I knew I wanted to be in construction, so I worked on a variety of commercial, municipal and residential projects. After I completed my MBA in 1991, I moved to Houston and went to work for Village Builders, where I met Mike Dishberger. At the time, Village Builders was the homebuilding division of Friendswood Development Company, a subsidiary of Exxon Company USA.

In 1995, two major factors contributed to the decision to start Sandcastle Homes. First, Exxon decided to divest its real estate development business. Second, the opportunity to purchase lots at a very good price and favorable terms presented itself. Mike Dishberger and I met for lunch and decided the time was right.

So, we wrote up a business plan, and visited a banker that I had been referred to. He was impressed with our plan and our credentials, and he offered us a $500,000 line of credit with a 4 spec limit. On December 1, 1995, we officially incorporated as Sandcastle Construction, Inc., which we would later rename Sandcastle Homes, Inc.

Nicole Keown_1995

Nicole Keown 1995

Where did Sandcastle get its name?

Our first project was on Sandman Street. It fit.


How has Sandcastle changed over the years?

During the first 4 or 5 years after we created Sandcastle, both Mike Dishberger and I worked full-time jobs, while mo
onlighting on building our own business. In 2000, I left my full-time job and dedicated myself to working on Sandcastle. Mike Dishberger did the same about a year later.

Stephanie Carwile 1995

Stephanie Carwile 1995

During the next 5 years, we grew so fast! We had to start hiring people to help us. First we hired Jo Dunham (now the Manager of Field Operations) as our Construction Superintendent. Then we brought in a bookkeeper, Angela Henderson, who is now Angela Vera, our Accounting Manager. Then we decided to bring sales and marketing in-house and hired a marketing assistant. The rapid growth continued until 2005-2006, when we hit 59 closings.

In 2005, we made the conscious decision to level off our growth of volume, in order to focus on a different kind of growth. Since then, we’ve maintained our volume in the 40-60 homes per year range, while we strive to improve every aspect of Sandcastle Homes… better processes, better plans, and keeping up with the state of the art features we put into our homes.

What is the most remarkable thing that’s occurred in the past 20 years?

The economic downturn of 2008-2012 was a defining moment. Our entire industry was challenged. We saw a huge majority of our competitors go out of business. Meanwhile, we brought all of our employees together to find more efficient ways to conduct our business. As a result, we not only survived, but actually thrived through the Great Recession – and emerged stronger than ever! I am proud to say that we did not lay off any employees during that time.

Sandcastle Homes has been building luxury homes at affordable prices in Houston’s Inner Loop neighborhoods since 1995. Visit sandcastlehouston.com today.

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I just moved into my new Sandcastle home and I think it’s a wonderful place to live. They have been very helpful, particularly Lynette and Steve. From the owner Mike Salomen down, it has been a truly positive experience. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to buy a new home that is built of high quality to consider this home builder.

Neal Massey

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