Entrepreneurial Build

Southwest Florida’s Tri-Town Construction thrives in good times and lean.

Marc Devisse

The first thing you notice about Marc Devisse, founder and owner of Alico-based Tri-Town Construction, is his height. He stands a towering six-foot-five. The next thing you notice? His demeanor. It’s thoughtful, reserved and quietly intelligent. Once you’ve taken both of those in, it’s impossible to miss that Devisse is a man with big ideas—many of them—and he has the determination and drive to see them through.

A 2004 graduate of Florida Gulf Coast University, the 36-year-old Devisse came to the construction business with a background in real estate—his mother was a real estate agent, and Devisse had tried his hand at real estate sales. During college and after he graduated, he worked for a local broker and contractor, doing some real estate transactions while learning the construction end of the business. But when the Great Recession wrecked the Florida economy, he was let go. That’s when Devisse decided to go into business for himself. He teamed up with one of his subcontractors and launched Tri-Town Construction, taking small jobs that bigger contractors wouldn’t touch.

“We started doing $1,000 repairs, $2,000 repairs,” Devisse says. “One day we closed a $10,000 job, and I called everybody I knew to tell them, ‘Hey, we made it.’”

Although the slowdown in the economy was disastrous for many contractors, Devisse used it as an opportunity to grow his business. He studied the lessons the recession taught, especially about the benefits of staying lean, running on tight margins and keeping overhead low. “We were able to out-price people because we didn’t have huge trucks or huge overhead.”

Tri-Town Construction did $500,000 in sales in its first year. In 2018, sales topped $10 million.

He also learned how to pivot his company when needed. “Nobody was doing any construction work at that time unless they had to,” Devisse explains. “It wasn’t, ‘I want to remodel my kitchen because it’s old’ anymore. People would call us if they had a flood, if they had a roof leak, if their windows were rotting out.”

To meet this new need, Tri-Town expanded its offerings to include emergency services, roofing, mold remediation and commercial remodeling. “That’s how we survived: doing projects that couldn’t be put off, where something had to be fixed.”

Once the Florida economy bounced back, TriTown Construction again focused on the high-end remodeling business. But it never lost sight of the services that kept it afloat during lean times. And when Hurricane Irma struck in 2017, Tri-Town was in a prime position to ride the reconstruction boom that followed.

“Growing up in this company, everyone told me to do one thing really, really well,” Devisse says, “but I disagreed with that. I think that’s why we’re still here—diversification of what we offer.”

In the wake of Irma, Tri-Town expanded its storm division, increasing the number of roofers on staff and cross-training its employees to do interior mold remediation and water-loss repairs. “If we were just focused on remodeling, we would have been lost after the storm.”

After nearly 15 years in business, Devisse’s strategies are paying off. Tri-Town Construction did $500,000 in sales its first year. In 2018, sales topped $10 million. “It’s been a steady growth,” Devisse says. And that growth doesn’t show any signs of slowing. In addition to its private jobs, Tri-Town just signed a three-year government contract with Bonita Springs to be one of the city’s main builders.

All this growth is occurring even as Devisse is expanding on his other ideas, some outside the world of construction— such as a clothing line and his new Seaside Bar and Grill opening in Bonita Springs in March. “More than just a contractor, I’m an entrepreneur,” he says. “I see myself growing into several more businesses in the future. We’ve tried a lot, and we’re going to continue to try more.”