Tony Jones grew up in San Angelo with family in the building business. He remembers being around eight years old and playing in the backyard with the tools of his brother-in-law, Freemen Pickett Sr. (He also remembers failing to put them away).
He says that a seemingly basic lesson from that time has had a profound impact to this day, “Freeman put a broom in my hand and taught me there is a right way to sweep. Simple as that sounds, it made me aware at a young age, that there is a right way, a better way, to do every task. It made me want to always be a person who swept the right way.”
Jones has been in the trade professionally since 1975. Except for a brief time in the late 80’s when he thought he might want to be a charter boat captain in Port Aransas, he has spent his entire adult life building numerous homes between Sherwood Way and Loop 306. His first turn at building a complete subdivision on his own was in the late 90’s. In a section of Twin Oaks, he purchased 19 acres and set plans for 100 patio homes.
“So, as the developer you build streets, infrastructure, lay utilities, and then you give all of that to the city. You build homes on the remaining lots with no way of knowing what the market will be like over the next 6 or 7 years. You have the initial debt, and then the bills for the infrastructure start coming in. Every day in the development business is a gut check! My wife would describe me as a pessimist because I always see potential pitfalls, but on some level I must be an optimist!”
Jones has a healthy track record of success through up and down markets. When asked, after some thought he estimates he has built “a thousand homes, give or take”. In his estimation, the key has been recognizing that San Angelo will always have a need for mid-sized homes, and mid-sized home owners would appreciate amenities usually reserved for larger houses. A Tony Jones’ home is most often in the 1600-2200 square foot range, but he incorporates details like ceramic tile, granite counter tops, and designer landscaping.
“Most folks in San Angelo are blue collar or retirees. They may need a home that’s affordable, or smaller and easier to keep, but they still want a great neighborhood and nice features.” says Jones.
And, just as he learned with a broom in his hand at eight years old, there is a right way to take care of people who buy from you. “Of course it’s important to build quality into the home, and you do what you can to avoid having any problems. But in reality, occasionally, something will crop up. Being there ready and willing to address responsibility for it, and make it right is so important. We do that with a smile because we feel committed to the people who live their lives in the homes we build."
Jones is proud of the craftsmen that make up his team. Jose Perez oversees roofing. Renee Callejas deals with sheet rock, and Tony Cuellar handles earth moving. He also relies on framer Joe Frosto, Laddie’s Electric, and Unlimited Air.
“I have trusted City Lumber since 1975. The Duncan family have been great partners in everything I have ever done. (Well, not the boat.) I have the security of knowing I will get: the best deal, service without fault, and trustworthy quality."