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The Art of Listening

Anyone who has tackled a home improvement project knows it can be an emotional roller coaster ride.  The vision of a magnificent kitchen island where friends gather around sampling small-bites is rudely interrupted by a load-bearing wall in the middle of the mini cheese puffs.  While ups and downs can be expected, the remodeling process should not require a therapist.  Stebnitz Builders has a plan to keep the ride from derailing and even make it run smoothly.

“Over our 45 years in business, we’ve seen changes in what really matters to our clients during their project,” says owner Chris Stebnitz. “We use that client feedback to refine our company systems even further to become the type of company our clients wish us to be.”  He believes that providing an exceptional experience is equally important as quality construction.  Each project has a team dedicated to cultivating a high level of awareness between its members and the client. Their ongoing exchange ensures a unified approach in order to cover every detail from the initial evaluation to the final walk-through.

Home improvement decisions can be a complex mix of factors and can easily overwhelm homeowners.  How solid is the existing structure?  How far will the budget stretch?  What will make the home function efficiently?  Sprinkle in a debate about the importance of a designer closet vs. a garage workshop and emotions can overshadow judgment. The Stebnitz team brings an unbiased professional perspective to the discussion.  Once armed with solid data from the pros, homeowners are able to make educated decisions that will balance needs, wants, and maybe even justify a little splurge.

The understanding and patience that Stebnitz Builders brings to their client relationships is deeply rooted in values that evolved through generations of family ownership beginning with Chris’ Grandfather, Stan Stebnitz, in 1972. Chris has seen those values at work as far back as his early days of working as a laborer on job sites throughout his high school years. Observing the growth of the family business first hand, he continues to include the traditional handyman repairs along with a fully expanded menu.  Sentimentality may play a role, but the commitment to providing hard-to-find services for the community is a core principal to the business model.  With a responsive office staff and their own team of carpenters, Stebnitz Builders is one of the few companies with the depth of organization and ability to offer a full spectrum in home remodeling. Well known for their specialty in Kitchen & Bath transformations and complete home renovations, they even offer caretaker service for clients who have second homes in the area.

It’s about guiding our clients through a memorable experience by addressing and resolving lifestyle needs.

No matter the size, every project begins with a visit from a Remodeling Consultant who will serve as the guide to create a seamless, memorable experience. Consultant Jeff Auberger explains, “Before I can add any value, I really need to understand the why behind the desire. I focus on how they live, how they entertain, products and materials that interest them and what they dislike about the existing space. This time together helps me understand the little things that are so very important, and they begin to recognize that ‘I get them’.”

Barney Brugger, retired as the City of Lake Geneva building inspector, joined the Stebnitz team as a consultant after being impressed by the quality he observed on his inspections of their work.  “I can imagine it would be very frustrating for a client to design a project only to have the building inspector require a change due to code requirements,” says Brugger, “not to mention the time and expense of a potentially major revision.”  This type of know-how is shared by all team members and adds an additional layer of confidence for homeowners.

“Being an active listener goes beyond just understanding the way our clients want to enjoy the space in their home,” notes Stebnitz, “we also receive regular feedback from our clients on the service we provide and the experience they’ve had throughout their project.” This highly responsive approach improves the home’s physical appearance while adding to the simple pleasures of daily activities and entertaining. “At the end of the day it’s not about the addition or new kitchen,” adds Stebnitz, “it’s about guiding our clients through a memorable experience by addressing and resolving lifestyle needs.”

Quality of life is central to the energetic foundation of this company, and it extends outward to the community.  Carrying on another 50-year family tradition, Stebnitz is serving an encore performance as Chairperson for The United Way of Walworth County.  He has enthusiastic support from his staff at fundraising events for this and other local organizations.  And while there is no shortage of remodeling awards or specialty certifications, some of the most impressive accolades come directly from Stebnitz fans.  In a transparent world of Internet reviews, clients are not shy about sharing their admiration.


Serving customers and the community has always been a top priority, and Stebnitz Builders also realizes the value of treating employees in a manner that shows how much they and their expertise are appreciated.  Traveling tailgate lunches arrive at job sites throughout the summer and an ongoing Jenga game in the office offers a light-hearted moment where team members can connect. Over generations of family contributions, this culture of listening has earned a reputation for high quality workmanship and trusted relationships.“We may not all be family, but we share the same desire to create life-ling, raving fans of Stebnitz Builders.”

By: Susan Pantaleo Bower

Stebnitz Builders | 204 Commerce Court
Elkhorn, WI 53121 | 262.723.7232

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