BSC company refurbishes historic old building in West Grove

Mike Smith enjoys the sketches of new projects in his West Grove office. --Photo by Chris Barber

BSC, a small, family-owned business with more than 45 years of general contracting experience, has purchased refurbished and settled into the historic old building at 281 E. Evergreen St. in West Grove.

Last Friday, company president Mike Smith Jr., great-nephew of founder Bob Smith, hosted employees, neighbors and friends at an open house to show off the new digs and celebrate the holidays.

The building, which sits on a hill across from the Sunoco station on Evergreen Street, was once a Quaker boarding school for girls, according to local historians. Smith bought it from Donald Needham and set to work restoring the inside while maintaining the exterior features.

It was quite a project. At the beginning, Smith's wife, Chantal, recalls, "It was in bad shape. Only a contractor could have done that [renovation]. You could stand in the basement and see the sky through holes in the roof."

Now the interior is gleaming with fresh paint, new furniture and plentiful artwork on the walls. At one corner of Smith's office is a glass cabinet full of Phillies and Eagles memorabilia that he has collected through the years. Upstairs on the third floor is a wide-open room that looks out on the borough and is suited for large gatherings.

The building is now the one and only central office for the company that had spread through the years to several locations in the Delaware Valley for years.

Historically, Bob Smith Contractors, as it was called then, was incorporated in 1970 by the founder of the same name. Mike Smith said his great-uncle went into the business in response to a series of hurricanes that had damaged local homes. He set himself up as just the person to do the repairs and renovations.

Today the company has grown into a firm that has completed about $24 million in projects per year over the Southeastern Pennsylvania-Delaware-Maryland-New Jersey area. It no longer works on private residences, but instead builds commercially and federally funded projects like schools, libraries and hospitals.

This year, in spite of a faltering national economy, Mike Smith said the company had its best year ever. "We are extremely blessed. Things are going well," he said.

In his line of work, Smith said he has to keep up with federal guidelines on building specifications and codes. "We have to keep up on things. We have a lot of people looking out for us ... they tell us what to do," he said.

He said the reason he consolidated his company in the new West Grove facility is that he grew up in the area and likes it here. During the restoration he credit's the borough for being helpful. "West Grove has been very good to us," he said.

Smith said he loves his work, so much so that as a leisure project he rebuilds old homes at the seashore. He is in the process of constructing his own family home at the shore and works on that in his free time.

When asked what the secret of his success is, he cited the many years of integrity on the job, superior workmanship and quality control measures. "We treat our clients and contractors with respect," he said.

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