Building Relationships, Homes

Joshua Copeland has built some of the homes in the newly developed Pikake subdivision in Lihue. Coco Zickos photos

By Joshua Copeland
Owner of Soul Construction

Tell us about your business. Soul Construction is a general contractor that does commercial work statewide and residential construction on Kaua’i for high-end to medium high-end customers. We’ve been in business since February 2004 and currently have five employees, including myself.

How did you get started in this business? I’m an entrepreneur by heart, so starting businesses is something I really enjoy doing. Because I grew up in the industry, around the industry and working in the industry right out of high school, it was just natural for me to start a business in construction because that’s what I knew. I’ve been working for construction and energy companies for the last 20 years. When my wife, Regan, and I moved here from California, we saw such a need for a service-oriented construction company.

Why did you move to Kaua’i? We moved here because one of my really good friends owned a piece of land on Kaua’i and wanted help developing it. But that two-acre property ended up never happening. So that’s how Soul Construction was born, because we thought, well, we’re here, we might as well start a company.

What kind of construction do you focus on? We’ve always done new homes. Our first home was on Kawaihau Road. We haven’t done any remodels other than really large remodels. About five years ago, I had an opportunity to build The Walking Company shoe store on Maui, and so that’s how we started doing work statewide. It was our first off-island commercial job. We built two of the shoe company’s stores on Maui and one on Kona. We’ve also done work at Kaua’i Village Shopping Center and established a relationship with the owner, Fortis Group. It has eight shopping centers across the state, so we’ve done lots of work for them.

How has business changed since the economic downturn? New construction is very slow, but it’s still out there. The higher-end residential market is still going. There are still things happening.

What sets your business apart? I think that we’re still in business because of our relationships. I think without that, we could be out of business now.

Why do you do what you do? I love people. I really enjoy building relationships and developing the business aspect of it. Greg Robison, my business partner, is really great at doing a lot of the estimating and getting the work done. So we work really well together because I like the people part of it much more. If I were to do anything, it would be with people, no matter what it is.

What motivates you to get up and go to work every day? I really do enjoy doing the work. But it’s also my responsibility that goes along with having a family and owning a home.

Do you have a business motto or philosophy for doing business?

Perseverance is really what we’ve been grounded on because we’ve been through these hard times. Also continuing to build and develop relationships is important.

What is the most challenging aspect of doing business? I would say that today the most challenging thing is to try to find work because it’s not coming like it used to, and the projects we are getting are much smaller in scale.

What are your plans for the future? First, we are going to survive this downturn and I think that will help us be poised to take our next step. We’re heading toward being more of a management company. So we’re going to continue working with some of our shopping center clients and hopefully getting bigger and bigger projects. That’s our plan.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I know it would be in business. My passion is starting businesses – I like planning and being a visionary.