Hoopa Valley opens modular home enterprise


HOOPA, Calif. -- The Hoopa Valley Reservation in northern California now
has the largest residential modular home manufacturing plant in California.

After months of constructing a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing building
and hiring and training the initial administrative and factory employees,
the plant is now turning out homes for sale throughout the West. The
multi-million-dollar venture is an entrepreneurial employment and economic
revitalization vision of the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council. Employment of
Hoopa Valley tribal members and members of other American Indian tribes is
a key component of the business plan.

At the plant's June 20 grand opening, Hoopa Valley Tribal Chairman Clifford
Lyle Marshall told an overflow crowd, "This plant represents the optimism
that we feel for our people. It will bring homes, jobs and a better future
to us all."

Providing homes to American Indians at Hoopa and other reservations is a
marketing priority, according to Hayley Hutt, sales coordinator for the
venture. "From what we have thus far experienced, prospects for future
sales are very good. We are filling the void in a major segment of the
housing market -- those people who are looking for high-quality affordable

Hutt, a tribal member, said the first units from the plant are being
constructed on building sites located on the Hoopa Valley Reservation, the
largest reservation in California, and surrounding communities.

The Hoopa Tribe has historically been entrepreneurial and autonomous. The
98,000-acre reservation operates as a thriving municipality, with about
2,300 tribal members working at tribal forestry, fishery, education,
governmental and other jobs.

Marshall noted that 94 percent of Hoopa Modular Building Enterprise's 52
plant employees are American Indian, mostly from the Hoopa Valley

While the plant is located on the reservation in Humboldt County, it has a
market area radiating 500 miles, according to Marshall. "This is a dynamic
new business opportunity that will create economic prosperity with new
jobs, training and homes for our tribal membership. There will also be
benefits beyond our reservation where we will provide high-quality,
affordable housing for other communities."

Training and mentoring have, and always will be, key components of the
plant's operation, said William Bobbitt, the tribe's on-site modular
consultant and president/CEO. "I am confident the Hoopa modular factory
will demonstrate how today's factory-built homes are the most structurally
sound homes built, while at the same time delivering high quality,
affordable homes that are aesthetically compatible with urban and suburban
neighborhoods." Bobbitt is a 35-year veteran of the factory-built housing

A typical modular unit of production for the HMBE factory contains 600 --
700 square feet of finished living area. Two or more of those modular units
of production are used in the construction of single- or multi-family
housing. Bobbitt said the plant is scheduled to produce modular units of
production sufficient to build more than 100 ranch-style homes in its first
year of operation. The production rate will be increased to where the plant
can produce up to 400 homes annually over the next five years.

The HMBE factory has 15 assembly line workstations. At one unit of
production per day, it takes three weeks for a home to go through the
manufacturing process; however, at the planned rate of production a modular
unit will complete the manufacturing cycle in about five working days. Once
they arrive at the job site, the modular units take about a week to be

Bobbitt said modular homes offer the advantages of faster completion,
standardized building components, factory quality control with superior
craftsmanship with reduced labor costs. Those cost-saving measures, along
with other factory-built housing advantages, often allow for the sale of
modular homes at a cost much lower than their conventionally built
counterparts. According to Bobbitt, "It is important to note all materials
used in HMBE homes will be of the highest quality. The lumber is all
grade-stamped and kiln-dried, windows are vinyl with dual glazing, ...
finished kitchen cabinet and bath vanities, Moen fixtures in kitchen and
baths; Alloc laminate flooring; Congoleum flooring; Shaw carpet; GAF roof
shingles; and a host of other products from nationally known material

The Hoopa Valley Tribe's modular home factory is part of the home-building
trend of the future. Industry trade publication Automated Builder Magazine
predicts that by 2020, 20 percent of America's housing starts will be
modular. "We are helping our tribal members with training, jobs and homes,"
said Marshall. "One of our first markets is homes for Native Americans on
reservations; however, the potential to help all home consumers realize the
dream of having their own home is great. I see this as a win for Native
Americans, the economy of northern California and all home consumers."

More information about HMBE can be attained by calling Hayley Hutt, sales
coordinator, at (530) 625-4551 or by e-mailing sales@hoopamodular.com. To
learn more, visit www.hoopamodular.com.