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Husband, wife claim wins in their own categories

Best of the Best
By: Eileen Wilson, Telegraph Correspondent
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Some say both partners have to work at it when it comes to making a perfect marriage. But when it comes to running a successful business, sometimes it’s the not working together which heralds a happily ever after. James Vermilyea, owner of Alpha Construction and Handyman Service, and Barbara Vermilyea, owner of Professional Bookkeeping Services, were both voted Best of Folsom in their respective categories, Best Handyman and Best Accountant/Bookkeeper. This is Barbara’s second year to earn the top honor, and James’ third year. Both cite hard work as the secret to their success. “It’s work ethic, it’s quality, it’s picking up the phone,” James said. “I don’t stop working, and I love to brag about Barbara all the time — she’s a perfect example of integrity and organization.” Barbara takes her business seriously. Since opening in 2007 she has increased her client base, taking on large customers like colleges, media companies, lawyers and doctors. While she used to do what her husband calls “shoebox accounting”, bringing home customers’ bills and payroll information, most of her work today is done on site, though she says, with a laugh, that her home office is still a bit of a mess. When you see Barbara’s workload, it’s not surprising that she puts in such long hours. In addition to her accounting and bookkeeping work, she is in the midst of a 17-month long MBA program. She said her services are as much in demand as ever, and clients continue to increase her workload, making time management a challenge, especially considering that she teaches a water color class through Folsom Parks and Recreation as well. But it’s a challenge that she loves. James keeps busy with his construction and handyman service, as well. “Everybody knows I’m a handyman; a handyman that does his own books, he said, looking sidelong at his smiling wife. While the construction business has taken a hit in recent years, James has plenty of handyman and remodel work to fill his days. Alpha Construction and Handyman Service has been in business for over eight years, and since that time James has seen remodel work grow. “Twenty percent of my business, right now, is remodeling,” he said. “People are updating bathrooms, kitchens and decks right now. I’m also doing a lot of landscape updates, minor upgrades, interior lighting and trim work.” James said that the trend today is fix rather than replace, if possible. In addition to an excellent work ethic, James said his subcontractors are another reason his business is so successful. “I expect a lot from them, and they are very loyal,” he said, of his subcontractors. James said that his clients really trust him, a fact that his wife agrees with. “A couple recently had James drive them out to the airport, return to the home with their car, and he got to focus on working in their house for the week they were gone,” Barbara said. While customers trust James to take care of their homes, Barbara knows that he will take care of business at home, as well. Though Barbara doesn’t take care of James’ bookkeeping needs, he takes care of home handyman projects whenever the opportunity arises. “I basically do anything she wants,” James said with a grin. All kidding aside, the couple is serious about their respective businesses, and especially serious about expressing their gratitude to the community that has helped them become successful. “We both would like to say how grateful we are to our customers and to the telegraph for their support,” James said. Barbara agrees. “We’re so glad we moved here — this was the best move we ever made. We love the small-town feel with city amenities, and we love the great relationships we have established.” Clearly, Folsom residents are grateful to the Vermilyeas as well.