This week, we conclude our month-long anniversary series. We have been featuring several of our independent representatives (IRs) who have passed their company down through the generations, and this week we are featuring Hatke and Son. In this case, Real Log Homes and Hatke & Son came to work together due to their shared ethos: doing things differently, and doing them better.
Hatke & Son was founded by Dave and Martha Hatke. While Dave had extensive experience with construction and mechanical systems, his love affair with log homes started to develop in the 1970s. In 1985, Dave and Martha decided to extend their general contracting business into the realm of log homes. After months researching various log home companies, Dave made a 10 day road trip to visit all the ones he thought might make the grade. After this trip, Dave determined that Real Log Homes was the only way to go.
A number of principles held by Real Log Homes drew Dave and Martha to the company. The great track record (at that point in 1985) of 22 years of business success was a draw, as was the reliable joinery system that Real Log used. But the greatest draw to Dave was Real Log’s no pressure, customer-focused business model. Dave always ran his company with a no pressure, can do attitude and his son Andy continues that tradition today. Andy says that he has “never had a question unanswered or issue ignored” by Real Log Homes, whether “as a prospective customer as well as business associate.”
When asked about the changes within the log home industry, Andy also cites the increasing customization of log homes. Although he has worked with the company since he was 10, the homes back then were almost exclusively standard models. Today, however, nearly every home Andy builds merely uses the models as a starting point for a custom design. Andy also cites the increased number of log profiles available and the precision design and cutting of the logs as meaningful technological advances.
One of Andy’s most compelling memories of the business in the early days was the trade shows. The World Wide Web would not come around for another 4 years, and long distance calls were expensive. So, trade shows were much more important and lasted longer. Andy remembers working two trade shows with his dad each year, and each one would last 14 days! Today, home shows are still important, but they are shorter and serve as the beginning of an electronic and personal connection between the IR and customer.
At this point, Andy’s children are young and instead dream of building sand castles rather than log homes. He believes the company would be worth passing on to them, but it’s certainly not something he expects or demands of them. Andy retells the same advice his father gave him: “You have to love it, and above all, you have to enjoy it. You can be the best at whatever you do, but if you don’t enjoy doing it, stay home, it’s not worth it.”
We hope, like us and the folks at Hatke & Son, you also love and enjoy log homes. And if you you’re looking to build a log home in Indiana, be sure to give Andy a call at (765) 572-2588 or send him an email. And don’t forget, we have reps across the country. So if the Hatke’s are not near you, you can find your Local Rep here, or contact us directly today.