April 12, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Eric Price has built beautiful rooms. And he’s built big beards.

But a whole new life? That’s something new.

Until August 2013, that is, when Price packed his wife and five children, his carpentry tools, and all the know-how from his father and left Baltimore for Omaha. Just months later Price launched Bearded Builders, a residential renovation and remodeling company that already employs eight people and earned a Best of Omaha award for Best Home remodeling.

“It is crazy,” Price says. “Omaha just has been great, far beyond anything I would have ever expected or dreamt. The customers we get to work with have been great.”

Many of whom can’t help but mention the beard when they first meet Price. It’s a chest-grazing bird’s nest with long strings of gray. There have been previous incarnations, but the current model is more than two years old (the last one bit the dust for his brother’s wedding).

Without it, says the 33-year-old transplant, “I look like a baby.”

He sure made a big-boy decision leaving Baltimore, where he and his wife, Amanda, were born and raised.

“It was not easy.”

He left behind his father, mother, and three brothers with families of their own. Two of them also are carpenters, just like their old man.

But Baltimore living doesn’t come cheap. Worse, business was slow. “We were not seeing bright lights or dollar signs,” Price says.

He and Amanda have five children (now ages 4 to 10, all home-schooled). “We were falling farther and farther behind on our bills,” Price says. “Cutting what we could, but we also realized that with five kids, things don’t get cheaper. It was just becoming more; the numbers telling us it was time to go.”

They researched places that had a lower cost of living, strong economy, and good market for home remodeling.

“Omaha seemed to fit the bill.”

They’d never been here before, but the family of seven made a weekend visit and liked what they saw. It was small, but clean. Hillier than expected, and people drove the speed limit. They found a church, too—Emmaus Bible Church in South Omaha.

Price initially worked for a small remodeling company. In March 2014 he launched Bearded Builders. His first gig was a tile job downtown. Business came quickly thereafter, about 150 jobs since—bathroom and kitchen renovations, basement remodels, and more. So much work that he’s hired six full-time carpenters and an office assistant. He’s also opened an office near 156th and Center streets and is installing a high-end kitchen showroom.

“Beyond anything I ever anticipated,” Price says. “Especially in this short a time.

“We’re just starting out but we want to build a reputable company that people can continue to trust and rely on. A place where guys can have a career they are excited to be a part of and hopefully one day retire from.”

He’s gone from short-term worries of paying the bills to long-term dreams of building something special.

By the hair, you might say, of his chinny, chin-chin.

Visit beardedbuilders.com to learn more.

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