In 1953, a 26-year-old appliance dealer from Chicago invested in 10 lots in Clearwater, Fla. After obtaining a right to work, Arthur Rutenberg, along with his brother and father, designed and built three homes on spec. Thus, Rutenberg Homes was born.

The houses they built were simple, containing two bedrooms and a shared bath, as well as a living room, kitchen and carport. None had air conditioning yet.

Orders began to pour in.

Over the next several years, Rutenberg Homes expanded to both coasts of Florida, opening 10 locations and operating as a collection of small, locally managed companies. In 1969, Arthur and his brother, Charles, were approached by an out-of-state builder who proposed to create a national homebuilding company together. Charles and Arthur merged their Florida businesses with the company and became two-thirds owners of the U.S. Home and Development Corporation. A year later, Arthur parted ways with U.S. Home to focus on developing and building joint ventures with established builders.

Inspired by the belief that there was a better way to partner with independent builders, Arthur set out to develop a franchise system for the homebuilding industry. In 1978, Tampa builders Bobby Lyons and Charles Raffo became the first franchisees. After achieving success with this, Arthur established Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Inc., and became the nation’s first franchisor of building companies.

In 2008, the company rolled out its Southern Plan Collection, which was part of its expansion into North and South Carolina. Today, Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Inc. is one of the largest networks of independently owned and operated homebuilding companies in the nation, with franchised homebuilders throughout Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

With more than 33 franchises nationally, Arthur Rutenberg Homes continues to stay true to Arthur’s original vision: delivering elegant craftsmanship and lasting value in every home built. Never losing sight of this vision has allowed Arthur Rutenberg Homes to continue as one of the nation’s top builders – 60 years after the company’s beginning.

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