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SandStar Remodeling/Custom Homes


President Jim Sanders (left) and Vice President Larry Sandles

Four years ago, Punta Gorda-based SandStar had 27 employees filling a variety of roles, from building custom homes and remodeling existing ones to providing handyman services to snowbirds. The housing bust forced the company to cut 22 jobs.

"We had to get lean and mean," says Vice President Larry Sandles. The last 18 months have been better, however, both in the remodeling and new-home sectors. The company now employs 11 and was named the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce's 2011 small business of the year. "Is business going to be like it was five or six years ago? No. That wasn't reality," Sandles says. "But the new reality I think is good."