Whether Frank Magallon is installing a new vinyl plank floor or renovating a kitchen with new quartz countertops, thoughts of his father are never far off.
He started helping his father, a property manager, as a kid in California, sprucing up properties between tenants. He would go into places and remove socket covers, carpet and
cabinets, or help with fresh paint, tasks he performed for about eight years.
At 19, he took a job at a high-end flooring company and began to perfect his craft.
“I grew up doing this type of work with my father,” he said. “I think of him all the time, every day. It’s usually when I’m teaching the kids how to do something, and a memory will pop up.”
Magallon, who owns Giovanni’s Custom Flooring & Renovation, said his 25-year career in home improvement is built on the foundation provided by his father. The Maricopa company, which also specializes in kitchen and bath projects, is named for Magallon’s 11-year-old son.
Now, Magallon is passing along his knowledge and expertise to two employees, his son Seth, 18, and another young worker, who are both going to school to learn while working in the trade. His son is working on his contractor’s license and recently earned a license in hardwood refinishing. The company is growing and plans to offer more services.
“I’m paying for them to further their education in the field as well as get hands-on experience,” he said, expressing his desire to create a program so more young men and women can get hands-on training in the field.
RECESSION LED TO OPPORTUNITY
Magallon came to Maricopa from Visalia, California. He and his wife, Danielle, have eight children — ages 11 to 21. The family lives in Glennwilde.
Arriving in the city in 2006, he took a job as a crane operator for a steel foundry. But when the economy collapsed two years later, he found himself out of work like so many others.
“I stayed home for a couple of weeks trying to figure out what to do,” he recalled. “I don’t have a high school diploma and I had a child. You have to take care of the family.”
He decided to fall back on all that knowledge and training that began with his father, and he began flooring and renovation work. It began slowly, mostly projects for family and friends, but business picked up as word got around, and within a year he was getting calls from strangers who wanted to hire him.
When the economy rebounded, the steel foundry wanted him back. But he didn’t want to give up the dream of owning his own company, doing the home improvement work he absolutely loved.
So, for the next 10 years, he would work 8-10 hours at his night job operating a crane, head home and sleep for 3-4 hours and then work on home projects for Giovanni’s until going back to the foundry.
A few years ago, as his flooring and renovation business grew, Magallon had a decision to make: go all in on Giovanni’s or give it up. He went all in and gave up his foundry job instead.
Today, Magallon is running a successful business, with licensed electrical and plumbing subcontractors handling most of the installations.
“It’s been fabulous,” he said of building a small business in Maricopa. “It’s not hard to get
customers when you’re working with passion, when you love what you do. It’s not hard to find people who want that service.”
“There’s so much support from the community to help out each other and help out other up-and-coming companies. There’s plenty of work for everybody.”
PANDEMIC: GREAT FOR BUSINESS
Magallon acknowledged the home improvement industry in the city is competitive. And while he is competitive by nature — he has many years of martial arts training — his approach is less about what others are doing and more about improving the experience of his own customers.
“The way I see it, our last job was fantastic, but how do we beat that?” he said. “What more can we do, what more can we bring to the client? How can we think outside the box? Most of my customers want something different from everybody else, so it’s my job to bring the ideas.”
Magallon has been busy since the pandemic struck early in 2020.
“Business-wise, last year has been great,” he said.
Working from home and spending less on vacations, people have taken the opportunity to turn rooms into offices or finally have a bathroom renovated, he said.
In addition to helping residents spruce up homes that may be 10-15 years old, Giovanni’s is doing new construction work as well. After some homebuyers have closed on their new
residence, they are bringing in Magallon to upgrade from builder flooring or cabinets, or to
install a large kitchen island.
Many times, contractor options are limited and homeowners just want something different, he said, adding that he had four or five such projects in early February.
He also has a dream to offer homebuyers something a lot more different.
“I’d like to start building log homes out here,” he said, “something unique that could be customized for a family.”
Soon, he will be visiting a facility that fabricates the logs for home construction to learn more about the process. He hopes to someday build some of the structures that have been so popular with homebuyers in other areas of the country.
And he’d only want to do it in Maricopa, a city he feels fortunate to have made his home and business. It could have just as easily been Page, the other town that caught his eye as
he considered the move to Arizona all those years ago.
“I feel like I got lucky,” he said of his eventual decision to move to the city. “I was drawn to Maricopa. It just had the small-town feel.”
HOT HOME TRENDS
To give his customers the best experience, Frank Magallon keeps up on the latest home trends. He shared a few with InMaricopa:
1. Vinyl plank flooring. This alternative to tile and hardwood floors offers the best durability at a good price point. Suitable for just about every room, the vinyl plank costs about $3 a square foot, plus installation. On average, decent hardwood is about three times the cost, and typically costs more to install.
2. Irregular floor transitions. The blending of different flooring materials along an irregular line — think tile transitioning into hardwood in an entryway — has been growing in popularity. The technique requires good execution, but the effect can be stunning.
3. Quartz countertops. With the popularity of granite and marble waning, more homeowners are going with quartz, an engineered material consisting of about 95% ground natural quartz with 5% polymer resins. It is more durable and less porous, making it more resistant to staining.
4. White kitchens. Homeowners desiring a timeless kitchen often go white for the shiny, clean, luxurious look. Some go all white, while many others prefer to have accents of wood grain or color in their cabinetry or countertops.
5. Shaker cabinets. Characterized by a five-piece door with a recessed panel in the center, shaker cabinets and drawers offer a modern aesthetic with a simple but interesting design detail. In bright white, the design results in a clean look that can make kitchens appear airy and spacious.
This story appears in the March issue of InMaricopa magazine.