Business Spotlight: Columbus Builders in Phenix City

Business Spotlight: Columbus Builders in Phenix City
Columbus Builders, located at 3784-A Hwy 80 in Ladonia. Owner Scott Chambers is pictured with his wife Tara and their children. Fred Chambers started the company in 1971 and Scott Chambers took it over in 1989. He also owns Cut My Grass lawn service. Toni Stauffer

Columbus Builders has been building dreams in the Chattahoochee Valley community since 1971—a total of 49 years.  Started as a family business by Fred Chambers, Wesley “Scott” Chambers took over for his dad in 1989.  Columbus builders and Cut My Grass lawn service are entities under Scott’s corporation, W. Scott Enterprises, Inc. He has been married to his wife Tara for 13 years, they have a son and daughter, both who attend Glenwood School, and they are members of Ladonia Baptist Church. 

Columbus Builders develops subdivisions, does new residential and commercial construction, remodeling, additions, total home renovations, window replacement, vinyl siding, and more. The company serves all of the state of Alabama, parts of Georgia, and does a lot of work for Fort Benning. 

Because of an industry labor shortage, so Scott is working seven days a week. But he still makes time for church every Sunday. He enjoys hunting, fishing, building antique cars, and spending time with his family.

Scott said his business hasn’t slowed down, it’s just been different since the pandemic started. 

“Finding help has been our major issue,” he said, “but it’s been that way for years. I feel like the construction side is a dying trade….Without us, you can’t have everything else. How else will McDonald’s get built? Jack’s hamburgers? Wal-mart? It takes us to build them.”

He said another problem is difficulty getting materials. 

“Where we used to order and get materials the next day, now we get some materials but a lot of times it’s not everything that we need, and that hurts quite a bit,” Scott said. 

Scott’s has advice for people interested in starting a business. 

“Go to work with a reputable company and learn it from the bottom to the top,” Scott said. “Work your way up before you try to go into business.”

“Have a humble attitude and be willing learn,” Tara said. “Don’t go in thinking you already know everything.”

“Listen to what I have to say, instead of you doing it the way you think you want to do it,” Scott added.

They said they also see a lot of workers who are late or just don’t show up for work as expected. 

“It’s a hands-on trade,” Scott said. “You can get all the schooling you want for it, but you can’t learn it until your hands-on. We’ve got books. Books will not teach you how to physically do it.”

“Stay clear of the law. Do things correctly. Don’t get in trouble,” he added. “We do work for the federal government. You have to have a clean background. That’s one of our work requirements. And have transportation.”

Tara said workers’ priorities are also a problem. 

“…you ask them which one is more important to have, a dependable vehicle or a cellphone, they’re going to choose their cellphone over a vehicle,” Tara said. 

Despite the problems, Scott and Tara keep a positive outlook.