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Chief Custom Homes debuts new-look models PDF E-mail

by Kurt Johnson

Area residents saw first-hand Saturday why the word "custom" is in the new company name at the housing manufacturing plant on the west edge of town.

Three finished units on display at the annual open house for BonnaVilla Homes, recently renamed Chief Custom Homes, featured a variety of trim packages, higher-grade cabinetry and Anderson windows. Those features are all part of a new line of products which GM Curt Wilkerson said can be custom-made to order.


"We have eight or 10 plans in the new line, but it’s not so much that we hope to build those plans over and over again," he explained. "It’s the fact that people can see that and realize if they can build this, they can build something for me. We’re going to be more flexible on our willingness to do some stuff we haven’t done in the past."

More than 200 guests toured the display homes on a picture-perfect fall Saturday morning. What they saw was one of the traditional BonnaVilla models and two new units, including the North River, with some of the higher-end details that are part of a new marketing strategy.

"We’re now offering a new custom select line with a trim package that’s been completely upgraded," said Roger Scott, director of purchasing. "With the internet everybody can now look up anything and everything, so the public is more educated and you have to offer some of those things."

Those details include a higher roof pitch, revised from 6/12 to 8/12, Anderson windows, paneled doors, a stone fireplace and a trim package which can include an all-pine look.

"We took this house (the new North River floor plan) out to Husker Harvest Days and had a really positive response," Wilkerson said. "It will be a step up from what people are used to with the BonnaVilla line, but you can see the difference when you walk through."

The company has no plans to walk away from the products they’ve made for years, as the Eden and Hartington models made under the BonnaVilla logo are still rolling off the line. The main difference is a shift to include higher-end finish details and the ability to fulfill custom orders.

"The word custom is in the name for a reason," Wilkerson explained. "We still want to build the stuff we have been building, but we want to build this as well. The BonnaVilla stuff that got us here is a good product for us and we have a good market for that, but we’re trying to pick up additional market share. We want to get more aggressive in Nebraska, Kansas and markets in our own backyard that we haven’t been before."

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