October 3, 2019
Faces of Fauquier: Builder thrives on happy customers
Photo/Don Del Rosso
“I don’t know if I’ll ever quit,” says Dave Loving, 78, who works 50 hours a week.
I love getting up in the morning and going to a job and seeing the day’s work.
As a boy, the Warrenton contractor liked to work with his hands.
“Building stuff,” recalled Dave Loving, founder and vice president of B&L Builders Inc. at 65 Culpeper St. “Putting stuff together.”
So the Maryland teenager zeroed in on carpentry, landing a job with a Bladensburg-area construction company.
“They put me with an old man — 63, 64,” Mr. Loving said. “All he did was lay out houses, lay out projects. I learned how to shoot elevations. The other thing he did was trim work. And, I learned how to do all the trim.”
He eventually went to work for a company that renovated historic properties in Georgetown. To escape Maryland’s suburban clutter, Mr. Loving and his family moved to Northern Fauquier in 1963.
For a few years, he commuted from their home near Marshall to Washington work sites. The routine began to wear on him.
Tired of the drive, he talked with Carl Bailey — the manager of a Warrenton lumberyard — about starting a construction company of their own.
In 1969, they founded B&L Builders — a four-man operation that today employs 11 people and focuses on residential “historic” restoration and renovation.
Handling five to eight projects at a given time, the company generates $2 million to $3 million per year in revenue, Mr. Loving said.
Besides main residences, projects include cabins, guest homes and stables. New construction includes custom homes — usually for existing clients — additions, balconies and porches.
B&L also does small-scale commercial restorations and renovations. Its nonresidential work includes build-outs of Tuesday Morning, Triune Shooting Sports and the U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Center at Warrenton’s Huntsman Towne Village Shopping Center.
It also renovated the former Catholic Church property at Lee and Fourth streets in Old Town Warrenton.
Projects range from $10,000 to $2 million, according to Mr. Loving.
“We do a lot of million-and-a-half-dollar ones,” the West Virginia native added.
About 15 years ago, Mr. Loving put down his hammer and became a field supervisor.
He and his son Michael — company president and majority owner — share those project responsibilities. In 2015, Mr. Bailey retired and sold his interest in the company to the Loving family.
Mr. Loving, 78, doesn’t really miss the hands-on aspects of carpentry because his supervisory duties allow him to visit multiple project sites and work with crews and clients in a different and deeper way.
“It still teach the guys how to do it — how I want it done,” Mr. Loving said.
And, “I enjoy that one-to-one person involvement” with clients.
Last year, Mr. Loving decided to dial back — working four rather than five days a week.
“I wanted a long weekend to go fly fishing,” said Mr. Loving, smiling. “It was time.”
That schedule lasted about two weeks, admitted the self-described perfectionist.
“It’s a 24-hour-a-day job. It’s hard not to think about it.”
Today, Mr. Loving logs about 50 hours a week, including 10 for paperwork.
Few things provide him more satisfaction than the work and the results, he said.
“I enjoy projects. I enjoy seeing them transfer from nothing to a finished product . . . . I don’t know if I’ll ever quit.”
Founder/vice president, B&L Builders Inc., Warrenton, 1969-present.
• Why do you do the work?
Just love doing it. I love getting up in the morning and going to a job and seeing the day’s work.
The other thing that’s nice is just working with people. I enjoy that one-to-one involvement. Ninety-nine percent of the people are really nice, good people. They just really like to see that project when you get it done with it. They appreciate it just like you do.
Wife Margaret, 6 children, 15 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Bladensburg (Md.) High School, 1961.
• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
• Why do you live here?
I like the country life, the slow life, a little bit better. I like the views.
And, you know, most of the country people, when you walk down the street, they speak with you, whether they know you or not. They say, “Good morning, sir.” You walk down a street in Manassas, see how many people tell you, “Good morning, sir.”
• How do you describe this county?
Nice, clean. You’re more connected to what’s happening. Everybody seems to be a little bit tighter. You have a problem and your neighbor sees it. They’re right there to help you. You don’t really know the guy, but he still comes and help.
• What would you change about Fauquier?
I’d like to get it to the size it was, people-wise, when I came here in the ’60s. Too many people, too much traffic now.
It’s grown so much from what it was. When I came here the (Warrenton) bypass was nothing. That bypass (Broadview Avenue) had a couple of little old restaurants on it. There wasn’t a whole lot out there.
• What do you do for fun?
Fly fishing, bird hunting, train my dogs, travel.
Me and my wife, we try to get out once a month — a weekend trip or something. We usually go west. Sometimes we go to the beach. I hate the beach. Too hot, and I don’t like sand. But, my wife loves the beach. So, I got to go.
• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Probably the (Northern Fauquier Community) Park. We go there to walk twice, three times a week. That gives you a good 2-, 2-1/2-mile walk. We take the dogs with us. That works out pretty good for us.
• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
More people. They can’t keep it down. More housing. And, I think the roads are going to have to grow to expand for the houses.
I think we’re going to be a little closer to what we have in Prince William. I hope not, but you can see it coming. Can’t stop it. It’s going to happen. We just have to get a good board of supervisors to kind of keep things under control.
• Favorite TV show?
Don’t watch much TV. I watch baseball. Favorite team’s the Nats.
• Favorite movie?
“West Side Story.”
• Favorite book?
I haven’t read a book for a few years. I usually read hunting magazines.
• Favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere in Montana where there’s fly fishing.
• Favorite food?
• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
A guy who was running a job I was working with. He said, “Dave, the thing you need to learn — I was about 20 — is what your word is worth is what you’re worth.” He said make sure what you say is going to happen, whether it’s good or bad. He said just keep your word. And, I’ve tried to do that.
• Who’s your hero and why?
Probably big old John Wayne. He was about the same (in life as) in his movies. What he said he was going to do, he did.
• What would you do if you won $5 million in the lottery?
I wouldn’t change much from what I’m doing now. Money’s just an item. I would definitely set up my kids so they would have something if something happened. If they got sick, they could have money.
Of course, you’d want to take care of some of the people in the community, the church — some of that stuff.
Have a suggestion?
Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Don Del Rosso at Don@FauquierNow.com or Lou Emerson at LKE@FauquierNow.com.
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Dave Loving is a classic Fauquire/American gentlemen! Great profile Don! Honest, hard working, wise, skilled and humorous! It was my pleasure work with Dave and to become a friend! Go Dave... don’t ever stop!
Steve Lewis.... Harts Mill Road.
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