By Steven Hicks
At SpaceCoast LIVING, we love a good story about families. Now with SpaceCoast Business under the same roof (bad pun, we know…), we love it even more when we hear a great family business story. So, meet the Gammons of Space Coast Roofing: Donald; Liz; their oldest son, also Donald; his younger brothers Nicholas, Andrew and Justin; and niece, Nicole.
Liz Gammon tells us: “The business started with my father, Jim. He owned his own roofing company for over 40 years in Boston. When Donald and I started dating, he liked Donald, and gave him a job. Donald quickly became my father’s right-hand man; he did a lot of the estimating and talking to people while my father was doing more of the business activities, like budgeting and accounting. My father had a very successful business in Boston, and Donald learned everything about roofing from him. So, Donald has actually been in the business for over 25 years.” There is a good bit of pride in her voice as she tells us this. Donald Gammon adds, “It is closer to 30 years now.”
Jim and his wife retired to Florida, bought a house in Viera and lived the Florida life. Donald recalls, “I used to talk to him all the time about roofing. That’s all he ever did. He lived for roofing. I used to go over and talk to him about starting a business. I’d say, ‘Jim, we’re going to do this,’ We used to laugh about it. He would have been happy to see it going the way it’s going. His daughter is doing well, we have his grandchildren in the business, and it’s following along the generations again.”
“When we moved to Florida, Donald was a project manager for a little while,” Liz says. “But once people figured out he was an expert roofer, they had him handle all of their roofing projects. Donald and I began to wonder why he was doing all this for somebody else, and after a little planning, Space Coast Roofing was born.” Donald adds, “The business is really … it’s in honor of Jim … Diamond Jim as everyone called him. He’d be really happy that we were doing this as a family.”
Applying the family’s roofing experience up north to Florida conditions took a bit of adjustment, Donald says, “Especially with shingles. I try to explain to our customers that upgrading to a more expensive shingle, which can be double or triple the cost in just the material, doesn’t matter here in Florida. After 20 years, your insurance company is telling you that you must change your roof. So it makes no sense to spend thousands more for premium shingles when in 20 years you have to take it off anyway. I try to guide them through it and explain the economics to them.”
Right now Space Coast Roofing is focused mainly on residential work, but Donald wants to expand into commercial projects. “The goal would be that as my sons and my family take over the business, we expand into more commercial work.”
Sounds like a plan.
The Metal Roof that Changed Everything
“I was at the supply house, and a manufacturer had dropped off some supplies and samples that day of what looked like a tile roof,” Donald Gammon says. “We’d always wanted a tile roof on our own home, and I was looking at this new roofing material. I had to touch it to believe it wasn’t tile. It was a metal roof designed to look like tile! Then they tell me it comes with a lifetime warranty, 200 mile-per-hour wind resistance, and is guaranteed to not blow off your roof. I thought, ‘are you kidding me?’”
Gammon discovered he had to be certified to install this new (to Florida) product. “So by doing our own house, the manufacturer came here and trained us. We’re now the first company in Florida to be a certified installer.” In addition, he says, “It also keeps your roof up to 50 degrees cooler, there are air baffles between the panels and the roof, so it adds another layer of insulation.” Liz Gammon adds, “Your insurance company offers a reduction in your premiums because of a metal roof, and this one is the last roof you’ll ever need, it is that good.”