Writer / Heather Chastain
A business built around raising the bar in customer service and loyalty calls Louisville home. Tami Hartley owner of Our House Restoration, a full-service roofing and restoration company, says she pours her heart and soul into every project — values not always seen in her industry.
“When I started in this business, I was working under another roofing replacement company,” Hartley says. “The owner asked me to move from Ohio (where I was living) to Louisville and run a location down here. It turned out he embezzled all the money from the company, and we had clients depending on us. The clients in Louisville only knew me so, ultimately, I was the face of the company down here. I used my own money to make it right with all of our clients and they never knew about what the business owner had done.”
She credits her personal values as well as the 20 years she spent working with Mary Kay Cosmetics for her desire to provide exceptional quality service. “I come from a place that holds very traditional values. I believe in honesty and integrity,” she says.
Despite the difficulties she encountered with her former employer shortly after moving to town, Hartley says Louisville has been the city of possibilities for her.
“It’s tough being a woman in a man’s business,” Hartley says. “I must work 10 times as hard to prove myself. The beginning was the most difficult. I would show up at a client’s house, and they would like me up and down and ask, ‘you’re going to get on my roof?’ I struggled to find my place in the industry, and I was committed to doing it my way. Fortunately, word of mouth has grown my business.”
Starting her own business was a learning experience, but one Hartley is grateful for.
“I probably lost more money than I made that first year,” she says. “I trust people too much, but I don’t want that to change my character. I’m driven to help people. So I learned my lessons and moved on,.”
She also credits those who mentored her along the way.
“There have been people in my life who taught me so many things,” Hartley says. “I took a piece from each person. Sometimes people teach you what not to do, and that’s how I created my business. I decided to make the business look like what I wanted it to be.”
She wants people to feel safe and trust Our House Restoration with their business.
“I remember what it is like as a homeowner to have a contractor steal my money, and I never want to have anyone feel like that with us,” Hartley adds.
Projects Hartley has worked on range from the everyday to more involved. One memorable project Hartley has done since starting her own business was a renovation to one of the original Brown family houses. Hartley and her crew put on a new metal roof installation, new shutters and new paint.
“Time had taken a toll on the house,” she says. “We revived it to its former glory. I am so happy to do a renovation on a home and show it off a little bit.”
During the renovation, Hartley salvaged some wood from the home the homeowner didn’t want. She used that wood to make a feature wall in her own home.
“I injected that project into my life and it’s super special to me,” she says.
They began with its primary focus on the exterior of the homes (roofing, siding, metal roof installation and gutters), but as the business has evolved, Hartley now also helps homeowners with the interior and can advise them on ideas to make their house feel more like a home.
In addition to the production Hartley puts into the house, she also manages insurance claims. She can assist those who have lost their homes.
“That piece really gives me purpose,” Hartley says. “Knowing I can help people like that.”