Paul DeRoo and Todd Jensen from Cavco stroll through the company’s central manufacturing facility in Phoenix, the Durango plant, and talk about what it takes to meet demand amid supply disruptions and labor shortages.
Cavco Durango opened in 1978 and employs 180 people, about 50 fewer than the builder had in the plant prior to Coronavirus mitigations. They put out about 5 ½ floors per day. It’s all HUD Code product, single through multisection, including a triple-section home, the Montessa, that is being shipped to a resort community nearby.
“It’s an exciting plant, we’re really diverse in this facility,” said Jensen, who is the GM for the facility. “But labor was a challenge before COVID, and after it’s been our biggest obstacle throughout the supply chain.”
The facility supplies the development and home sales efforts to a long list of manufactured home community customers in Arizona and has a select retail presence including a Cavco-exclusive home center in South Tucson.
Jensen and DeRoo, the regional manager who works out of the park model facility in Goodyear, Ariz., stand in front of a three-section home under construction. It’s about 1,900 square feet and will have an attached garage, too.
“It’s stuccoed on-site and most of the communities will have them pit set,” Jensen said. “It gives the home and the entire community a more highly designed, residential look.”
“We have about 600 floorplans we build out of this facility,” DeRoo adds. “It can slow production a little bit, but it’s something we’ve become accustomed to doing for our customers, and something we’ve gotten good at as well.
“Now if a customer wants a certain look, we can go through what we have and see what fits best. We can make relatively minor adjustments that will make a big difference for the homeowners,” DeRoo said. “And if the customer wants something they don’t see, we will find a way to make it work. We’ll design a new floorplan in some cases.”
The ability to customize diminished slightly as material disruptions and cost became more of a challenge through 2021, but company culture doesn’t change because of a greater than a normal number of shipping containers off the coast.
“It can be made to order, that’s I guess how you get 600 floorplans in one facility,” DeRoo said.
Jensen said the company has a knack for building a house that’s heavier than most, with more hardwood and thicker decking, for instance.
“This is really a home to compete against the lower to middle market site-built homes,” Jensen explained. “Many people in California buying this home have a household income of $250,000, but oftentimes cannot afford or do not want to pay the asking price for even older site-built homes where they want to live.”
Dolce Vita is a 55+ Resort Community in Apache Junction, Ariz.
In a mountainous, red rock setting of Southern Arizona’s Sonora Desert sits Dolce Vita, a treasure that was built by Sydney Adler in the late 90s and is now owned by Equity LifeStyle Properties. Cavco has supplied homes to Dolce Vita for 15 years.
There are 700 homesites at Dolce Vita, and the community is about ⅔ full. There is a 33,000 square foot clubhouse with billiards, a library and computer center, a gym, craft and card rooms, a movie theater, and central ballroom. Outside, residents can enjoy water aerobics classes in the 3,000 square foot ocean-entry, heated pool, as well as a pair of spas, tennis courts, pickleball, bocce ball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and a putting green.
“We have a very good relationship with the residents here, largely because we’ve been here through staff and management changes,” DeRoo said. “We try to be good neighbors when we’re bringing homes in, we want to be respectful of the setting and keep the noise and dust down as much as possible.
Ronda Learned and her husband Randy moved from Nebraska to Dolce Vita in 2018. They are full-time residents.
“We liked that it was far enough out,” Learned said. “There’s not a lot around us. We came from a rural town in Nebraska, so this makes sense for us.
“And we really love the home,” she said. “I said if we’re going to move and make it permanent, that it had to be my dream home. And this did it.”