Bainbridge Builders shares long, rich history in community

Published 6:56 pm Friday, January 15, 2016

There is an organization in Bainbridge that few may know about; but one that has been around for more than 56 years. It was first known as the Home Builders Association, but is now called the Bainbridge Builders.

Ed Mitchell has shared some of his earlier memories of the group. In 1960 when Mitchell first joined, meetings were held at what was then called the Bainbridge Sportsman’s Club— a building that existed across from the Country Club. The organization was a state chapter of the National Home Builders Association.

Mitchell recalls membership at that time was limited to a few “turn key” contractors, such as Kay Bates Sr., Jake Shiver and his brother, Stuart McKensie Sr., R.T .(Bobby) Willis. He described “turn key” builders as certified, licensed builders, who had passed the state exam. When a person wanted to build a house, they would go to the builder who gave them a set price for construction of a certain all-inclusive plan.

Email newsletter signup

As years went by, more tradesmen and those involved in supplying the building industry, such as Ed Mitchell of Mitchell Building Supplies, Bill Bryan of Callahan Building Supplies, Ronnie Cox, Nathan Harrell and several Realtors, expanded the membership.

In the 1970’s Raymond Miles, Roy Simpson and Gene Miller all got in on the home building business and were members of the association. Brock Realty and DeHildren Realty have also been involved in home building during the busy latter years.

Mitchell said as some of the older members faded out he went around to those people who had worked for them and encouraged them to start in business and become builders. The building industry changed over the years and builders had less to do with interior choices and colors.

At that point Mitchell hired an interior decorator to help people make selections for cabinets, fixtures, etc. and that information and products were supplied to the builders for installation.

There was a boom in the building of housing in the 80’s and 90’s, according to Mitchell, who said his company was very busy the whole time.

Mitchell soon realized that people needed help with house plans and he became a self-taught designer of house plans, something he continues to do today, although now the demand is more for remodeling projects and construction of additions to existing homes.

Mitchell recalls the biggest club membership was at 30. The group has since shrunk to 12. They still meet monthly at local restaurants, as the Sportsman Club burned years ago. It is primarily a social club, but they do still have discussions and updates on changing legislations and building trends, and they are open to answering the needs of the people. They have built handicap ramps for people with disabilities and once built a bathroom for a lady in Seminole County.

New members are welcome. Interested persons may contact the new president, Eddie Brinson, of Brinson Concrete.