Claude Dryden runs a family business in the business of building homes for families. On Wednesday, Dryden Enterprises held a ribbon cutting and open house at its new location on South Main Street in Hinesville.
Dryden, who raised 10 children and has 17 grandchildren (and counting), birthed his Hinesville-based company 35 years ago. The home builder arrived in Liberty County in 1977. He started in construction, then, after a short career detour in banking, opened his own home construction business in 1983.
“It started with just three of us,” Dryden said. “Me, my wife and Wayne Rozier.” Rozier retired last year, he said. Dryden Enterprises now has 14 principal employees at the home office, including six of Dryden’s adult children, a nephew and a sister-in-law, as well as several team members that bear the Rozier family name. The company also contracts with multiple subcontractors on projects.
Dryden said his company has occupied numerous locations around Hinesville over the years, including the historic Charlton Hines’ home, which was built in the early 1830s. Hinesville is named for Hines, who was a plantation owner and state senator, according to libertyhistory.org.
Once Dryden’s company and number of staff had expanded, he brought property on South Main Street in downtown Hinesville for a new home office and showroom.
“We had one employee in a filing cabinet room,” Dryden said with a laugh. “We just outgrew the space.”
The company president said one of his daughters, a Savannah College of Art and Design graduate, suggested he build a new office building that would reflect Hinesville’s historic architecture and provide modern functionality. Dryden said his daughter’s educational concentration is in historic preservation.
Dryden said that in the beginning, his company built smaller homes that sold for an average cost of $50,000 in the early 1980s, to larger homes today that average about $200,000.
Dryden Enterprises spokesperson Erin Johnson estimates the company has built more than 3,000 homes since its start. Dryden said his first subdivision was Forest Lake Estates. The company has since built – or is building – Griffin Park, Dunlevie Oaks, Independence Settlement, Hampton Ridge, and Cherokee Station in Hinesville and The Villages at Limerick in Midway.
Dryden said the company is also preparing to develop a neighborhood inside Ludowici city limits, across from Smiley Elementary School, in Long County.
Home buyers who purchase homes in Dryden’s developments are given options to personalize their homes, by selecting flooring, kitchen cabinets and lighting on display in the home office showroom.
Dryden also owns Dryden Properties, which manages rental apartments in the Hinesville and Fort Stewart area, according to Dryden-homes.com.
For more information, visit dryden-homes.com.