Will McCauley and the team at Creative Builders have gone back and forth with Greenville, S.C.’s Saskatoon Lodge Restaurant and Event Center team, trading places as vendors, customers, and coworkers. Creative Builders played a large role in constructing the restaurant’s new venue on Halton Road — and they also did the upfit renovation that turned the restaurant’s former location on Haywood Road from an old piano bar into a restaurant 21 years ago.
Creative Builders was founded in 1971 by William H. “Billy” McCauley II, as a general contractor in Greenville, S.C. Today Creative Builders is licensed in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee and is one of the fastest growing commercial builders in the region. In May 2019, Creative Builders announced it was the proud recipient of #1 Top Workplace Award (Small Company category) presented by Integrated Media Publishing which recognizes the best places to work in South Carolina.
“From the beginning the relationship has been a mix of a little bit business, a little bit personal. If anything, we lean toward being friends rather than colleagues or customers,” said Will. “In fact, my sister worked for owner Edmund Woo all the way back when he had his restaurant on Augusta Road. Because of our history, I probably feel more deeply connected to this place than your average customer. Then again, maybe there are no average customers. Every last employee is kind and warm. I see them go out of their way to make everybody feel welcome.”
All About the Relationships
Will and his family established their contracting business through hard work, honesty, and by forming ongoing friendships with their clients and collaborators — which are all qualities that Will says he appreciates about Saskatoon Lodge. Qualities that keep him coming back year after year.
“I love local businesses and love to support local restaurants, so that’s what drew me to Saskatoon Lodge in the first place,” Will said. “But it’s the personal touches that take the dining experience from good to great. It’s not just the food, it’s the whole atmosphere. I believe that we’re wired to crave companionship, and that’s what my wife and I get when we go to Saskatoon Lodge.”
Another aspect of the Saskatoon Lodge experience that resonates with Will is how long the employees stay with the restaurant. “There are many employees at Saskatoon Lodge that have been there for 15 or 20 years. It really is a family restaurant, in that it’s run by a family and everyone there feels like family. That’s how I like to run my business, too. I invest in my people first and foremost, and so I have contractors who have been with me for decades.”
The Corporate Dining Experience
“Men in construction work incredibly hard. What they want is steak and game. Hearty meals,” said Will. “So we’ve made Saskatoon Lodge our go-to dining out location when we take a client or collaborator out. A couple weeks ago, we had a guy in from Raleigh for a strategic planning session, and we took him there. He was blown away; he’d never heard about a menu like this and he couldn’t believe the lodge look. We got to tell him that we had a hand in building it, and he went back raving about the restaurant and about our work. Having a place like this available makes it so much easier to impress clients and have fun with friends. It elevates the whole event.”
In addition to dining out at Saskatoon Lodge, Will has been bringing the Creative Builders team to the restaurant for their annual Christmas party for the last 20 years.
“I actually have a funny story about that,” Will laughed. “We created this tradition with our team, where we took them to Saskatoon Lodge every year. Well, a few years in, we decided to go somewhere else for the Christmas party. Not for any reason, but just to change it up. We thought maybe our employees would like some variety. Let me tell you. We had a mini-mutiny on our hands, and no one wanted to go. We ended up canceling at the other place and getting a last-minute reservation with Saskatoon Lodge — and we’ve never tried that again. What we realized is that this is something that our group truly looks forward to every year. I’m glad we stuck with the tradition, because now it seems more like a family reunion than a corporate gathering.”
The New Venue
Will has been in a unique position as a long-time customer to see Saskatoon Lodge grow from a small dining facility into what it is now.
“For me, it’s been a true joy to watch this vision come to fruition after such a long time — to watch Saskatoon Lodge go from a location that was too small for what they were trying to do to a big, beautiful, A+ location,” Will said. “The new venue makes me want to go experience it more often, even though we live up near Traveler’s Rest. I think Edmund and I hit it off right away because we both believe in hard work, we both came from a family of hard workers. I don’t think this could have happened to a better, harder working family, and I’m glad I got to be here when this dream came true.”
Will McCauley is the owner of Creative Builders, Inc., an award-winning, multi-generational general contractor in Greenville, S.C. that has been in business for 48 years. Will is also a long-time friend, vendor, and customer at Saskatoon Lodge.