For me, staying in Blacksburg, Virginia came down to a choice: Quality of life or certainty of income.
Blacksburg was a place that had come to feel like home, but staying meant somehow I’d have to find a way to support myself. Failing that, I’d just have to move somewhere else with more job opportunities.
1980's Blacksburg didn’t have many jobs for young engineers and moving seemed like a done deal. All my classmates were moving – no one even talked about the possibility of staying. Still, I wanted to stay. I had developed a real attachment to this place and people.
Then, my first business partner took a chance on me and I began learning how to build not just houses, but homes. And in countless ways the people of Blacksburg helped us succeed. In the process, they made a place for me here and helped me on my way.
To say I am grateful would be quite an understatement. Eventually I felt I just had to give something back, help make this place a little better, in gratitude for all the help and support I had been given.
My goal: I wanted to help more people have great community experiences – the kind I had found in Blacksburg. "Change the world (or a small part of it) by building community." My company, Progress Street Builders, now helps build community in Blacksburg in The Village at Tom's Creek neighborhood and, previously, in Wyatt Farm. We’ve expanded to a new neighborhood in Roanoke City, Virginia, Colonial Green, and to a small enclave of Arts and Crafts homes in Riner, Virginia called Fairway Homes.
Today – I’m still grateful – to get to work with people I truly admire, for people I really enjoy serving, and to everyone that has helped us "build community" together.
Eric Sallee is President of Progress Street Builders, a custom home builder serving the Blacksburg, Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia, specializing in the design and construction of unique single family homes, townhouses, additions and residential remodeling projects.
Progress Street Builders, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.