Fish Creek Homes: the ‘lifestyle builder’ that’s redefining its role

Proactive growth

Brad and Sandy Gallup are the dream team of housebuilding. Operating out of Liberty, Missouri, situated just outside of Kansas City, the pair combine Brad’s background as a builder and creator, with Sandy’s experience in design and color. In 2015, the husband-and-wife duo took things to the next stage, launching Fish Creek Homes (Fish Creek).

“Instinctively, some people think it’s a bad idea for a husband and wife to go into business together,” Brad laughs, when speaking to Modern Home Builders about the company’s beginnings. “That’s not been our experience,” he continues. “We each bring something different to the company. Sandy’s very creative, whereas I’m logical and efficiency driven. We’ve really enjoyed meshing our two personalities through the business.”

Unsurprisingly, Sandy is of a similar mind. “It’s a dream job,” she insists. “It’s extremely rewarding both to be able to work with Brad so closely, and to be able to bring our customers’ homes to life. There’s nothing better than turning a potentially stressful building experience into something enjoyable and exciting.”

For the couple, as for any homebuilder, it’s an interesting time – and not without its challenges. “Inflationary pressure is causing problems not just for housing, but throughout the entire economy,” Brad acknowledges. “Interest rates aren’t something we can overlook as a homebuilder. They directly impact what type of home we can build, what size home we can build, and where we can build it, and it’s something we need to monitor closely and strategize around. At the same time, supply chain problems are causing headaches when it comes to timelines, and the labor market is increasingly challenging, with all these factors combining to curtail slightly the boom we’ve experienced over the last couple of years.”

Despite these challenges, however, optimism continues to abound. “I am excited and hopeful about the future,” Brad insists. “Demand for our work remains high, and people want new homes.”

The scope of the company’s work is broad, encompassing everything from community homes, all the way up to larger-scale custom developments. According to Sandy, it’s this opportunity to get hands-on that really appeals to Fish Creek’s clients. “We walk them through the whole process – from pre-construction to house selections and design, as well as the problem-solving aspects of that design. Some homes can be cookie-cutter in nature, but that doesn’t work for every family, which often has its own needs, and its own way of doing things, and so we tailor the house to the family as best we can. All of our clients have mine and Brad’s number, so they can call or text us and go through anything that’s on their mind when it comes to their vision for the home. It’s all about providing that personal touch.”

The success of this approach is evident; in 2022, Fish Creek was recognized among Missouri’s top homebuilders. As it seeks to sustain that momentum, the company has laid out a five-year roadmap for its future. “We need to be proactive in how we think about our client base,” Brad insists. “We believe there’s an untapped market within remodeling, so that’s something we’re actively pursuing, combining that with our skill in design. Likewise, we’re exploring solar offerings, recognizing again that it’s an emerging market, with more and more of our clients emphasizing the need to both save money and help the environment.”

“We’re also moving towards interior decoration,” Sandy adds. “We know that feeling of walking into a well-decorated home and wishing it was your own. We can help not only design the tiling or the carpets, but also help you pick out your couches, your rugs, curtains, drapes, and advise on positioning and layout.”

“I often joke that we’re never going to say no, but there’s a cost to saying yes,” Brad comments. “That’s our culture; we’ll try to help in any way we can to deliver what you want, and we have the creativity to do just that.”

That word – culture – is important to Fish Creek. For Brad and Sandy, the key to a satisfied client begins with a satisfied workforce. “At Fish Creek, everyone has a voice,” as Sandy puts it. “Anyone can come to the table with their ideas or problems, and everyone else will come together to hear what they have to say, or help find a solution. Whether you’re a subcontractor, a tiler, or you’re doing foundation work, we want everyone to feel seen, heard, and valuable. That’s key to our growth as a company.”

Talent showcase
“We treat our employees as an extension of our family,” Brad concurs. “Even if an idea isn’t ideal, we won’t dismiss it out of hand. If a subcontractor calls us to tell us about a delay to a certain order, we could get upset or angry, but it’s much better if we communicate with them, and with the client it affects, to discuss and identify realistic alternatives. It’s with that approach that we’ve been able to build up a loyal group of subcontractors – those who we know are going to work hard, and who themselves know that we’ll treat them well, with honesty and transparency.”

Looking ahead, things at Fish Creek remain busy, with a number of projects underway due for completion in 2023. “We have a number of fun, exciting builds currently in the design phase,” Brad tells us. “More generally, we’re bullish on the future. We’re actively working on expansion plans for different markets outside of Kansas City, and we expect other builders to do the same. We anticipate that there’s going to be an upturn in the market, and those that position themselves effectively are going to be well-placed to take advantage of it.”

A little further down the line, the couple hopes to have redefined their role within the industry. “In five years’ time, we hope to be not only a homebuilder, but a lifestyle builder,” Sandy says. “We don’t want to maintain the status quo – we want to become a company capable of all sorts of complementary services. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to put up an artisan home, source the glassblowers, carpenters, and more, and showcase the immense talent that exists both within Kansas City and in the towns and cities throughout Missouri. That’s the scope of the talent we want to bring to our business.”