Ricky Johnson, 43, has been in the plumbing business for almost 20 years now. In addition to Johnson Plumbing, he owns and runs CTR Homes. “August makes 19 years in business,” Ricky said. “I’ve plumbed houses for the majority, for about an average of 100 houses a year. I just like the building aspect of it. I’ve built 3 of my personal houses, and I’ve always wanted to get into building houses.”
April, Ricky’s wife, and Jessica Estes own Southern Girls Properties rental business together. They operate from the same office in Lewisport, along with CTR and Johnson Plumbing. Ricky manages the building side of things and they run the rental business.
“We live in and grew up in Hancock County,” he said, “and would like to see more things going on in the County and help make it happen.”
Ricky chose CTR for the name of his second business after his 3 children: Colin (18), Taylor (16) and Raylee (13). They are very family-oriented, he said, and make it a priority to run their businesses that way.
They started investing in rental properties about 5 years ago. “The opportunity arose where I could start CTR Homes and start building houses,” he said. “I got a phone call about developing the rest of Hancock Park from David Nash, who owned the last street in the Park, the land only (about 5 acres).
I decided to purchase it. I bought the land and developed the infrastructure myself over the last year and a half, and then started building houses and selling them.
I am not selling lots, but I’ll build the house and sell the lot with the house. We have 4 up right now and all 4 sold. We’re fixing to start another spec house, probably in the next 2 weeks.”
4 different models
The houses that have sold are: 1,200; 1,400 and 1,600 square feet. Johnson purchased 18 lots altogether in Hancock Park on Bob White Way. “This is a start for us,” he said. “We’re starting in this process and we’re going to try to continue to do more.”
The average cost of one of the houses they’re building, he said, is $230,000 for a smaller house, and up to $300,000 for a larger, 1,800 square-foot house.
“$230,000 is about as low as I can get it,” he said. “The cost of supplies are so high still. All of them are 3-bedrooms and 2-baths, with garage. We’re using solid wood cabinets.
There is a demand in our County for housing.
I think there is also a demand for building – to be a quality builder. I’m trying to provide that service for the County, and I don’t plan on going anywhere and working besides here.”
They currently have 4 rental units, plus one they’re building – the duplex/townhouses on Community Center Drive in Lewisport, next to the library.
He has his own crew that does framing, flooring, vinyl and cabinets. “We also install cabinets for Winsupply of Owensboro for individuals,” he said. “Johnson Plumbing does the plumbing, of course. We’re using Don’s Electric, in Lewisport. Schwartz Heating & Cooling Inc. is doing that work. The majority of it is here, local guys.”
At CTR Homes, he has 4 employees, and he has around 16 at Johnson Plumbing. “They’re all good guys,” he said. “We all get along and do a good job. We do quality work. Quality work means a lot.”
They will be doing another development with Southern Girls in Hawesville, he said, hopefully starting next year, on property behind Blake’s Barber Shop. “We already started the process with getting approval from planning & zoning,” he said, “for development for 6 townhouse-style apartments. They’ll all be similar.
Three will be similar to the ones I have in Lewisport, and 3 we’re going to try to make more handicapped accessible apartments, with 3-ft hallways, 3-ft doors, one level, 2-bedroom and 2-bath, for elderly people who need a place to live, so they can have a bigger space and be comfortable.”
Ricky said he’s been talking with Hawesville Mayor Rob McCormick and Lewisport Mayor Chad Gregory about trying to help clean up both cities, regarding some of the run-down developments.
He recently bought a run-down property on High Street in Lewisport. He demoed the property and just sold a house on it that he will be building, with the goal to make it a beautiful home in the middle of town.
CTR Homes are currently constructing an additional building at their office and will have a display room once its finished, to showcase for clients what they can expect.
As far as his long term plans, Ricky said that in 15-20 years he hopes to let his adult children run the business. Until that time arrives, he said, “”What I am trying to do with all of companies-plumbing (Johnson Plumbing), my home building company (CTR Homes), and our rental business (Southern Girls Properties) is try to build a better Hancock County, to provide something the County needs, which is quality housing.”
Johnson Plumbing, LLC is located at 9330 US Hwy 60 W, in Lewisport, as well as Southern Girls Properties and CTR Homes. The phone number is 270-314-7457.
By Jennifer Wimmer