Family of Chicago masons strives for excellence
by Paul F.P. Pogue
Joe Cwik founded JC Masonry in 1994, and expanded it to JC & Son Masonry Inc. when his eldest, Jake Cwik, joined the business. His other son, Greg, joined full-time in 2005. "Sooner or later, we'll officially change the name to "and Sons," Greg notes.
Both grew up around masonry and worked with the family business as teenagers before taking it up as their livelihood. "We have good communication and tend to work together smoothly," Greg says. "I hear of families in business who keep arguing within themselves, but we're always on the same page. All three of us want the same thing: to please our customer."
Angie's List member Florim Zendeli hired the firm for two separate jobs, and says Jake and Greg distinguished themselves rebuilding concrete steps, demolishing a floor and rebuilding two chimneys. "They don't just show up to bang out a job," he says. "Greg and Jake pay attention to detail. The chimneys they rebuilt still hold up really well."
The Cwiks first primarily worked for developers and new construction, but after the economic crash, turned their attention toward renovation, restoration and repair. Greg Cwik says they found they preferred the challenges of helping homeowners solve their problems. "Usually, if we discover there's more work to be done in a project than was in the original agreement, we'll just confirm it with the owner, then fix it anyway for no additional charge, unless it's a very large change," he says.
He says the secret to the company's success is a commitment to the long term.
"We told ourselves, 'We have to do everything to keep this up,'" he says. "We want to work, and we want to do business the right way. We don't want to be here a few years, then disappear. If you keep people happy, they'll recommend you, and word-of-mouth recommendations are the most powerful you can get. Someday, Jake and I will take over the business after Dad retires, and we want to give our kids the chance to take over someday.