Cardinal Homes buyout done

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The much-anticipated buyout of Cardinal Homes is now complete, along with sufficient funding to successfully recapitalize the company. According to a press release, Cardinal is now poised to take full advantage of the ongoing economic recovery. 

Bret and Dorothy Berneche recently completed the planned reorganization of Cardinal Homes. Industry veteran and former CEO Bret Berneche will resume that role, going forward.

“Most of our competitors closed during the downturn,” Bret Berneche said. “Others were sold to large investment companies in New York or Texas. With this reorganization, Cardinal Homes will remain locally owned and operated.”

Cardinal Homes has long been a fixture in the south of Charlotte County. Private citizens from Charlotte and Mecklenburg counties started production at the current location in 1970. The Berneche family purchased Cardinal Homes from the founding shareholders in 1992. The company expanded under their ownership. A new factory was completed in 2006, just prior to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Many banks failed during the crisis including, Wachovia in 2008, which was Cardinal’s bank.

As a result of that failure and the untimely termination of the company’s loans, operations were seriously constrained by a lack of working capital. Assistance was provided at critical moments by special projects and in one instance, the financial support of the Charlotte County Industrial Development Authority, which underwrote a Tobacco Commission grant to preserve jobs. Cardinal fulfilled the performance requirements for the grant in 2012. However, circumstances only marginally improved.

Survival of the company is credit to the many sacrifices and support provided by the employees and owners of the company. In 2013, the company turned to an outside investor to survive the great recession. A move that helped the company survive, but hindered its recovery. The Berneches have now repurchased the shares of their investor-partner, enabling Cardinal to refocus on the growth plan it developed prior to the economic collapse.

“We have faith in our Cardinal family and confidence in our leadership” Dorothy Berneche said. “Together we will recover and regain the success we once knew.”

Cardinal is rebuilding its traditional business, which is supplying building modules for single-family housing. With a strengthening housing recovery under way and its increased ability to mass produce building modules for larger projects such as apartment buildings, hotels, student housing and the like, the company expects to increase production and employment. Employment in 2005 was more than 265 people. Plans are underway to connect with new and former employees, renew training programs and rebuild the team. Cardinal expects to hire more than 100 people in the next year or so.

Suppliers of modular building components suffered heavy losses during the downturn and most have permanently closed. Builders who are looking for a custom, modular building system can once again rely on Cardinal Homes. The company has operated at its current location for almost 50 years and is once again recruiting new builders to expand its client network.

Cardinal Homes began at its current location in 1970. The company produces high-performance modular building systems and components for a network of independent home builders to improve cycle time and reduce builder risk.

Call (434) 735-8111 to request a builder registration form, or visit the company’s website for more information at