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Hoopa Valley opens modular home enterprise  
 November 01, 2005 by: Staff Reports / Indian Country Today
  Click to Enlarge  
  Photos courtesy Tod Bedrosian -- Hoopa Valley Tribe members, including Chairman Clifford Lyle Marshall, toured the first model home built by Hoopa Modular Building Enterprise during the grand opening celebration June 20. The 60,000-square-foot plant is an entrepreneurial employment and economic revitalization vision of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council. (bottom photo) -- Hoopa Valley Chairman Clifford Lyle Marshall coming out of the first model home at the grand opening celebration.  

HOOPA, Calif. - The Hoopa Valley Reservation in northern California now has the largest residential modular home manufacturing plant in California.

After months of constructing a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building and hiring and training the initial administrative and factory employees, the plant is now turning out homes for sale throughout the West. The multi-million-dollar venture is an entrepreneurial employment and economic revitalization vision of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council. Employment of Hoopa Valley tribal members and members of other American Indian tribes is a key component of the business plan.

At the plant's June 20 grand opening, Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman Clifford Lyle Marshall told an overflow crowd, ''This plant represents the optimism that we feel for our people. It will bring homes, jobs and a better future to us all.''

Providing homes to American Indians at Hoopa and other reservations is a marketing priority, according to Hayley Hutt, sales coordinator for the venture. ''From what we have thus far experienced, prospects for future sales are very good. We are filling the void in a major segment of the housing market - those people who are looking for high-quality affordable housing.''

Hutt, a tribal member, said the first units from the plant are being constructed on building sites located on the Hoopa Valley Reservation, the largest reservation in California, and surrounding communities.

The Hoopa Tribe has historically been entrepreneurial and autonomous. The 98,000-acre reservation operates as a thriving municipality, with about 2,300 tribal members working at tribal forestry, fishery, education, governmental and other jobs.

Marshall noted that 94 percent of Hoopa Modular Building Enterprise's 52 plant employees are American Indian, mostly from the Hoopa Valley Reservation.

While the plant is located on the reservation in Humboldt County, it has a market area radiating 500 miles, according to Marshall. ''This is a dynamic new business opportunity that will create economic prosperity with new jobs, training and homes for our tribal membership. There will also be benefits beyond our reservation where we will provide high-quality, affordable housing for other communities.''

Training and mentoring have, and always will be, key components of the plant's operation, said William Bobbitt, the tribe's on-site modular consultant and president/CEO. ''I am confident the Hoopa modular factory will demonstrate how today's factory-built homes are the most structurally sound homes built, while at the same time delivering high quality, affordable homes that are aesthetically compatible with urban and suburban neighborhoods.'' Bobbitt is a 35-year veteran of the factory-built housing industry.

A typical modular unit of production for the HMBE factory contains 600 - 700 square feet of finished living area. Two or more of those modular units of production are used in the construction of single- or multi-family housing. Bobbitt said the plant is scheduled to produce modular units of production sufficient to build more than 100 ranch-style homes in its first year of operation. The production rate will be increased to where the plant can produce up to 400 homes annually over the next five years.

The HMBE factory has 15 assembly line workstations. At one unit of production per day, it takes three weeks for a home to go through the manufacturing process; however, at the planned rate of production a modular unit will complete the manufacturing cycle in about five working days. Once they arrive at the job site, the modular units take about a week to be completed.

Bobbitt said modular homes offer the advantages of faster completion, standardized building components, factory quality control with superior craftsmanship with reduced labor costs. Those cost-saving measures, along with other factory-built housing advantages, often allow for the sale of modular homes at a cost much lower than their conventionally built counterparts. According to Bobbitt, ''It is important to note all materials used in HMBE homes will be of the highest quality. The lumber is all grade-stamped and kiln-dried, windows are vinyl with dual glazing, ... finished kitchen cabinet and bath vanities, Moen fixtures in kitchen and baths; Alloc laminate flooring; Congoleum flooring; Shaw carpet; GAF roof shingles; and a host of other products from nationally known material suppliers.''

The Hoopa Valley Tribe's modular home factory is part of the home-building trend of the future. Industry trade publication Automated Builder Magazine predicts that by 2020, 20 percent of America's housing starts will be modular. ''We are helping our tribal members with training, jobs and homes,'' said Marshall. ''One of our first markets is homes for Native Americans on reservations; however, the potential to help all home consumers realize the dream of having their own home is great. I see this as a win for Native Americans, the economy of northern California and all home consumers.''

More information about HMBE can be attained by calling Hayley Hutt, sales coordinator, at (530) 625-4551 or by e-mailing sales@hoopamodular.com. To learn more, visit www.hoopamodular.com.




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