A Family Business

When now retired Excel company founder, Jim Mirando, Sr. was a freshman in college, he and his roommate hatched a plan to open a home construction business when they graduated. After four years of college and another four years of military service, they made good on that college dream and opened their business focused on neighborhood building and development. However, high interest rates in the 1970’s made remodeling a much more attractive option for families looking to upgrade their homes, so the company shifted focus. Around this time, the current Excel Showroom was also purchased for their headquarters and, at that time, one-story carpet and tile showroom.

Three Generations of the family business.
Jim Mirando, Jr.; Nathan Mirando; Jim Mirando, Sr.

Fast forward to Jim Mirando Jr.’s high school years where Jim found himself working part-time for the company, learning from the ground up, literally. Jim Jr.’s first experiences with the company were hammering nails and sweeping up jobsites. After graduating from college with a business degree and spending several years honing his client service, presentation, and financial acumen skills as a stock broker, Jim decided to join the family business in 1992, and quickly added design, build and remodeling certifications to his skill set.

“I was very grateful to come into a business that had a great reputation, and very thankful to have had the opportunity to really learn the business inside-and-out from my father, who was very patient and a great mentor,” explains Jim. When Jim Sr. retired around 2000, Jim Jr. was prepared and ready to take over ownership. During that time, the company was computerized and a second story was added to the now greatly-expanded Showroom building. In the ensuing years, Excel continued their proven philosophy of hiring the right people and training them from the ground up according to Excel standards, just as Jim Jr. had learned the business. This is especially important in the building trade, where true apprentice experiences are now rare, but invaluable in creating well-rounded and knowledgeable craftsmen who are experts in their trades.

As a result of this dedication to the process and emphasis on quality, several Excel employees have encouraged their own family members to join the team. Currently Bill Browning and his son Seth both work in Production, as do Mike Stauffer and his nephew, Alex. Bill and Mike both say they were happy to bring their family into such a good company, and for the younger generation, they appreciate the opportunity for hands-on learning and enjoy the opportunity to work with family, even though that means the expectations are high. “If we uncover something unexpected when we open up a floor or a wall, we address it right then and there, even if it means a longer day, because that’s just how my Dad is,” explains Seth Browning, “you can’t control what you’re going to find, but you can fix it so it doesn’t affect the quality of the project.”

Another Mirando joined the business recently when Nathan came on board for an internship this summer. A chemical engineering major at Widener University, Nathan enjoys the opportunity to apply his problem-solving and technical skills to the work, and takes a lot of personal pride in the company that was built by his family. Nathan shared, “I can remember playing in the Showroom when I was a kid and having a great time using the office intercom, now it’s cool to be here and show my Dad and the team how the new upgrade for the design software allows you to view projects in 3D.” Asked what he is most excited about experiencing this summer, Nathan replied, “the opportunity to see a project from start to finish, through all phases, from the viewpoint of here in the office as well as out in the field.”

The business of mentoring.
Jim and Nathan in the Excel office.

From the company’s founding in 1970 through the generations that followed, Jim Mirando Jr. emphasizes that it is the great people involved in the company who make it a success and consistently deliver on the Excel promise of quality, service and lasting value to their many satisfied and returning clients.

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