Monday, March 25th, 2019

Stateline Builders Story


Sheds, gazebos and playhouses - oh my!

by Marianne Chalk

As the second-generation owner of Stateline Builders, <BR>Clay Lewis feels blessed and is grateful to his parents for paving the way for him.

As the second-generation owner of Stateline Builders,
Clay Lewis feels blessed and is grateful to his parents for paving the way for him.

It’s difficult to keep one’s eyes on the road when driving past Stateline  Builders in Moyock. The charming gazebos, small barns and sheds on display compel one to pull into the parking lot, get out of the car and take a look at what this second-generation company has to offer. “Our high-quality work is known throughout Hampton Roads,” owner Clay Lewis declares.

The company’s roots go back to 1978 when Clay’s father, Jimmy Lewis, was laid off from his job as an iron worker and foreman.

“During that time, my father  kept busy by building a shed,” Clay recalls. “He honed his skills as a craftsman through the process. Not exactly pleased with how the shed turned out, he decided to sell it. Learning from his initial mistakes, he created a second shed.”

 In the process of building that second shed,  an acquaintance wondered if it also was for sale. This was the beginning of Stateline Builders—so named because Jimmy was uncertain what he might be building in the future. He advertised in local newspapers and shortly thereafter, began to enjoy some success. “There was little competition in this particular market during the company’s infancy,” Clay notes. “As Chesapeake grew, so did my father’s business.”

Today, Stateline Builders has four stores: Moyock, Elizabeth City, Grandy and Suffolk. The Moyock store also serves as the company’s  manufacturing site.

At age 10, Clay began helping his father by cleaning the workshop and learning the skills associated with the trade. By age 13, Clay was roofing; by age 15, he was helping the crew at job sites.

Christine, Clay  and Jim Lewis of  Stateline Builders

Christine, Clay and Jim Lewis of Stateline Builders

Clay admits that it was never his intention to work in his father’s business. He had his eye on the motor sports industry. He became an automotive mechanic at Kramer Tire in Chesapeake, but he soon decided that automotive work should be a hobby, not a career. Eventually he was employed at NORSHIPCO. “Since I didn’t have formal training, I was a helper in the pipe shop,” Clay remembers. “They didn’t seem to appreciate my skills due to the lack of proper schooling.” In 1996 Clay saw an opportunity to return to working with Stateline Builders. In 1998 he began his own business, creating steel buildings which his father then sold. Because metal construction required Clay to be hands-on during the entire project in order to be profitable, he knew that endeavor would not be a long-term option for him.

Nevertheless, steel creations remained his focus through 2004. “My father began to plan his retirement at that time, so I closed my business and took over Stateline Builders, becoming the company’s official owner in 2016,” Clay explains. “My parents paved the way for me. I’m very blessed and appreciative for what they did. Looking back, entrepreneurial skills have always run deep in me. I like having full creative control. Even at the age of 12, I would buy things at flea markets and sell them for profit. At 14, I bought a car, restored it and sold it for twice its value,” he adds with a smile.

“We have no cookie-cutter approach.
The finished product has a custom look...
We take a lot of pride in our work.”

—Clay Lewis

As Stateline’s owner, administrative duties make demands on Clay’s time; still, he does participate in construction if a customer requests a new design or an unusual building method.

“Sheds and barns are the bulk of our business,” he says, noting that each customer’s  requirements are carefully assessed. “Unlike large manufacturers who mass produce, we have the ability to customize our work. A variety of materials, designs and colors are available. We have no cookie-cutter approach. The finished product has a custom look, but the price is equivalent to a product that is mass-produced. We take a lot of pride in our work. If we make a mistake, we make it right!”

Even Stateline Builders’ simple barns or sheds exemplify thoughtful design, beauty and artistry.

Even Stateline Builders’ simple barns or sheds exemplify thoughtful design, beauty and artistry.

Stateline’s workshop is a beehive of activity. The majority of the diligently-engaged employees have specific tasks and skills, while the others are able to perform every aspect of construction that occurs within the confines of the shop. “Our setup allows us to build without worrying about the elements, which in turn keeps the construction more efficient and cost effective,” Clay points out. “We are able to work all year long with the ability to have a substantial inventory available—especially during the spring, which is our busy season. Customers can choose from this inventory, or they can request specialized construction.”

 â€śDesigns for the shed were created by my father,” Clay continues. A variety of styles—including A-frames, mini barns, Dutch barns and carriage houses—are available, and can be viewed on the company’s website. Medium-sized sheds, measuring 10-by-16 feet, are the most popular. Construction time is four to eight weeks, depending on size and details. Prices also vary somewhat, but Clay assures that all sheds reflect the same high-quality  workmanship. Rent to own options present additional opportunities for the buyer. Each product is delivered by a full-sized pick-up truck and small trailer. The trailer tilts and slides the building off, positioning it in place upon a foundation that the customer has prepared. A permit for establishing the shed on the property is also coordinated by the purchaser.

In addition to sheds and barns, a variety of other structures are available from Stateline Builders—including garages, gazebos, pergolas, pool houses, animal shelters, play sets, play houses and cupolas. Gazebos are constructed from premium Number One Grade lumber that has been kiln dried, then treated and kiln dried again. Vinyl may also be used. Outdoor furniture is available as well. In the style and function of each building, charm blends with practicality.

 When asked how he would summarize the creations available through Stateline Builders, Clay is pragmatic and direct. “Quality-built, quality-priced and competitively affordable,” he says simply.

Great beauty is often revealed through simplicity. In Stateline Builders’ thoughtful design and construction of even the simplest shed or barn, craftsmanship, beauty and charm are plainly evident.

Stateline Builders

370 Caratoke Hwy
Moyock, NC 27958