Charleston is the jewel of the Carolina coast, beckoning beach lovers, history buffs, tennis fans and devotees of fine dining. Asheville is the gem of the mountains, known for its panoramic views, thriving community of artists and growing craft beer industry.
Separated by nearly 300 miles, they would seem to have little in common. A closer look, however, would reveal the connection between these two prosperous cities. Many Charlestonians escape the summer heat at their second homes in the Western North Carolina mountains, while a growing number of Asheville residents spend extensive time on the historic Charleston peninsula and at the nearby beaches.
Pete De La Vega Jr., owner of DLV Roofing & Exteriors, Inc., recently took advantage of the synergy between the two cities, opening a Charleston office of his high-end roofing business after a successful and continuing 14-year run in Asheville. Ryan Wells, who has worked with De La Vega for the past six years in North Carolina, is now managing the Charleston office. The company is a licensed general contractor in both states.
De La Vega, a Dallas native, knows something about roofing. Both his grandfather and father were roofers, and his dad was determined to teach him the roofing trade. “I don’t remember how old I was when I started,” De La Vega says. “I don’t remember not going to the shop and to the job site.”
“Have you ever met anyone who didn’t have a roof? Everyone needs a roof.” Those words, spoken by his father, echoed in De La Vega’s mind during the time he spent away from roofing. He attended East Texas State University but felt uneasy about sitting behind a desk at a finance-related business in Dallas. At the age of 27, he got married, moved to his wife’s hometown of Asheville and continued the family tradition by starting his own roofing company.
Fourteen years later, after establishing DLV as the top high-end roofer in Asheville, and with Wells and his wife anxious to move to the coast, De La Vega decided to expand to the Holy City. Wells is confident that the company’s success in North Carolina will be replicated in South Carolina, especially since DLV already has customers in both locations.
“Some of our clients in Asheville have second homes in Charleston, so it was a natural fit,” Wells says.
In addition to residential and commercial roofing, DLV installs and repairs wood, cement and vinyl siding, replaces windows and doors and builds decks.
With 30 employees in Asheville and another seven in Charleston—many of them have been with the company for eight years or longer—DLV has experience with all types of roofing materials, including shingles, metal, slate, tile, copper, shakes and single ply. With a complete metal fabrication shop located at its office on the Charleston peninsula, the company has the machinery to manufacture many of the high-end products it installs.
“It’s a huge investment, but that’s one of the things that sets us apart from our competition,” De La Vega says.
He points out that metal roofs provide several advantages over traditional shingle roofs. They reflect sunlight and therefore save on energy bills, and they are recyclable, leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Most importantly, metal roofs last three to four times longer than shingle roofs. He adds, however, that there is a huge difference between a roof’s lifespan on the beach, where it is under assault from wind, salt and heat, as opposed to five miles inland.
Wells added that there also is a huge difference between DLV Roofing and its competitors. “Our customer service is second to none,” he says. “Lots of people can install roofing. Our system of checks and balances ensures the highest level of quality. Our customers’ satisfaction is our highest priority.”
Brian Sherman, a Mount Pleasant resident, is a freelance writer, editor and graphic designer.