In a world that is becoming ever more complicated, architecture has embraced a form that simplifies life down to bare essentials and started a social movement that has gained momentum as the tiny house movement. The average American home is about 2,600 square feet, and by definition, a tiny house is a home with a square footage between 1 and 400 square feet.
James Stoltzfus first grabbed national attention in August of 2015 when House Beautiful featured a “seriously sleek new mini-abode” that he had built out of interest in the Tiny House Movement. Shortly thereafter, he and wife Rose Lapp Stoltzfus founded Liberation Tiny Homes in Ephrata to begin constructing tiny homes with excellent craftsmanship durable materials, that could be affordable to a wide range of demographics. The company has flourished since then which led James and Rose to seek the assistance of SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon.
“We reached out to SCORE because of a recommendation from the guys over at The Fence Experts, we got introduced to the same team that helped them.”
We were facing a substantial amount of growth and knew we needed help in that area. Our group of SCORE mentors has been amazing to work with. We meet with them every 6 weeks or so and they help us stay on track by helping us project into the future by showing us where our next areas of focus should be so that we are ready for each stage of growth.
They have given us great insight into how to strengthen and utilize our relationships with our bank, CPA, attorney, insurance broker, and our vendors. They always are looking out for our best interests, and advising us on pricing, future marketing and growth strategies, and general business practices.”
James Stoltzfus, co-owner of Liberation Tiny Homes
When a new SCORE client like Liberation Tiny Homes is experiencing rapid market expansion a lead-mentor may often decide to bring on a co-mentor, or even a team of mentors to lend their professional expertise and experience in fields of marketing, finance, strategy, or legal.
“After an initial meeting with James, we knew that this needed to be a co-mentoring effort and so an Advisory Board was formed that consists of SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon volunteer mentors Bill Beyer, Eric Parker, Joann Brayman and Dave Diffenderffer. We have been meeting regularly since then. The company has been in business for approximately two years and has grown very quickly. Since the principles had limited business experience, the Board has been providing advice on growth such as cash flow, company structure and organization, loans, marketing, and strategic planning. James and his wife Rose operate the business with a dedicated team of skilled artisans and the present outlook for their business looks very promising.”
- Fred Engle, SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon volunteer mentor
Recently the Lancaster County Planning Commission has become involved in the effort to assist the county’s 60 municipalities as they deal with the Tiny Home trend. There is now a new tool on their website that addresses this and observes that “Allowing flexibility in housing types is critical as families have different housing needs as their life cycle and financial needs change. Young adults moving into their own home for the first time and retirees downsizing both typically have less income than a two-income family and need less space.” James and Rose, along with their SCORE Advisory Board, are following these developments closely.
“James and Rose are a delight to work with. Their enthusiasm for the mission of Liberation Tiny Homes is contagious and they are so eager to learn from all that the mentor board has to offer. In the process, we are all learning so much from them as well.”
- Fred Engle, SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon mentor