Dino Lunsford is a man of many hats, but he is most well-known for his work throughD.F. Lunsford Construction, a full-service, Class A general contractor serving central Virginia. His projects vary from homes to restaurants, medical facilities, and anything in between. But his passion is most visible and felt in his restoration efforts to the Tri-Cities community, in Petersburg.
His team has been responsible for multiple storefronts/ façade improvements to historic properties in the Old Towne area. In addition to the repairs made to the Southside Depot/ Mahone Train Station--the last running train from the of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
His most recent work can be foundin progressat 225 N. South Street – knownas the old ‘Southern Hardware’ building. Originally built in the 1800s, the building was a firehouse that includes two bays and a gully for horse-drawn carriages. It was later converted to the Southern Hardware Store. The store closed its doors in August of 2012. That’s when Dino reached out to Chesapeake Bank to obtain the notes.
Strangely enough, Tommy had tried reaching out to Dino a few months beforehand. Dino was also given Tommy’s number by a friend but lost the card. Tommy says “It’s all about timing.”
When the two finally met, Dino had just approached his existing bank about his growing business needs and had also developed an interest in the Southern Hardware building. Dino didn’t feel that his bank ‘fought for him.”
The two set a date to meet on-site to discuss the plans. Tommy said“I could SEE the vision — the transformation from an eyesore to an apartment building; a functional, usable commercial space.”
Being abusiness owneris one of the things that Tommy attributes to the success of his relationships with other businesses. He can relate to the owners. Dino’s comments about Tommy suggest the same.“I tell him I am going to look at one thing. He sees the bigger picture and suggests something that I may not have thought of.”
From one business to another
When we asked Dino what kind of advice he’d give another business owner, he considered his own history and said, “Aspire to much more than you even feel capable of. You never know what you can accomplish without challenging yourself.”
Then he referred to some of his challenges starting up and how long it seemed to take to get things off of the ground. He said it seemed like it took forever, and there was a time when he almost threw in the towel.“Then it seemed as if all of a sudden, there were all of these accomplishments.” He adds “You must also be able to persevere through the early phases of being a new business owner. It will be tough, but you will succeed. When you do, you will feel even better — knowing where you came from.”
In the community
As you can tell, Dino is a history buff and preservationist at heart. Both traits which he attributes to his grandfather, who introduced him to construction at the age of twelve. His passion for both has landed him in the position of co-chair for the Architectural Review Board in Petersburg but his love for ‘local preservation’ doesn’t stop there.
He’s an advocate for all things that support his community from where to spend your dollar, to working with officials on tax laws. He says that his company also purchases the majority of its materials from small independent suppliers as their level of service cannot be matched by the large retailers. Just the same when someone chooses a local contractor, like D.F. Lunsford Construction,“There’s a huge advantage to the client by having someone close that can quickly take care of things.”
The Southern Hardware building will be converted to single room apartments to match the two adjoining buildings where Dino has done the same. His construction company was sought after to build the distillery in the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners: Whiskey Business” that aired earlier this spring. They have also partnered with Primo Partners LLC and are in the process of acquiring property in Hopewell to renovate with plans to lease.
“My favorite thing about construction is taking something that should be bulldozed and making it something usable again,” said Lunsford. “And older buildings have so much character — you can’t just remanufacture that.”
If you would like to build with Dino or Tommy, please contact them today using the information below.