on Friday, March 6, 2020
Alvin Furr grew up in a rural area near Charlotte, North Carolina. At night during high school, he worked second shift at the local cotton mill, operating the spinning machine while dreaming of bigger things.
After moving to Winston-Salem in the early 1980s, Furr began working as an interior finish carpenter for a contractor. “I found a small tract of land, so I approached him about developing it together. I guess he liked my work because he became the investor. We became friends and wound up business partners. Thirty years later here I am.”
LEAP OF FAITH
The first two projects Furr and his partner completed were four and 30 lots. The third: 300 lots. “By the third development, my investor had faith in what I was doing so he stuck his neck out a bit. We jumped in headfirst.”
When scouting new areas for development these days, Furr adheres to the old adage “location, location, location.” “I look for places that are growing. I like to see new businesses in the area, along with plenty of restaurants and places to shop, that sort of thing.”
After completing the 300-home development in Thomasville, Furr and his partner built a 165-home development in Winston-Salem. Then in 2008, the U.S. housing bubble burst and the economy went south. “We were just getting ready to start building houses on a 31-home development, but I held off.”
Furr bided his time, making ends meet through rental properties and a few other sound investments. Eight years later, T.A.F. (which stands for Thomas Alvin Furr) Building & Development got back into the game. Furr now builds four or five houses a year. He tries to do much of the work himself, subcontracting out the rest.
With experience digging and pouring footings, framing, siding, interior finishing, and landscaping, Furr says, “I enjoy running machinery more than anything else. You can get in, shut the world out, and focus on what you’re doing. You can accomplish a lot sitting by yourself in a machine.”
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