A Mexico Beach Hurricane Rehab: Mark Gargiulo Shares His Hardwick General Contracting Story

After Hurricane Michael devastated Mexico Beach in the Florida Panhandle in 2018, the Hardwick General Contracting team sprung into action to help a friend. Mark Gargiulo was Greg Hardwick’s swimming coach in the 1980’s and when his home was destroyed in the storm, Greg knew he had to do something. The renovation of Mark’s home was truly a labor of love. Mark shares his experience in his own words, today on the blog:

Mark: I was a swim coach and teacher as well, back in the 1980’s. Greg was one of my All-American swimmers, and we kept in touch after he graduated. When the hurricane hit, Greg called me up and he said, “Hey Coach, what can I do for you?” I knew he was a builder down in Orlando, but I didn’t really know to what extent. And I jokingly said, “well you can rebuild my house!” He said, “Yeah, I can do that for you.” And I said, “You’re kidding me, you’d really do that?” And, he said “Coach, you don’t know what an influence you are in my life. I will be glad to do that for you. ”A lot of wonderful things happen to me after the hurricane, but that was perhaps the biggest. During the storm, the roof flew off the house and water came in everywhere. So entire house had to be gutted and rebuilt by Greg and his crew. They came up and they did it. They stayed in Apalachicola because there were no places in Mexico Beach and it took about a year. I was probably the first house in Mexico Beach that was damaged to the extent that mine was, that was rebuilt. And not only was it rebuilt, but it was rebuilt better than it was originally. Greg took care of all that. He and Donna came up and looked at things and made suggestions and it’s wonderful. My wife said, “I wish our kitchen in Tallahassee was as good as the one they built in Mexico Beach.”

What did you like most about working with Hardwick?

Mark: What I liked most was the fact that he looked at what I had and considered what could be better about it. He made suggestions and ideas about how to do it best.

Why would you recommend Greg Hardwick to someone who might be on the fence about hiring him?

Mark: I would tell them that Greg will be there for you. He will call you, he will stay on top of it. He won’t leave you hanging. He will be there for you. He will do what he says he’s going to do.

What was your experience with the members of the team?

Mark: Every one of them was professional and polite. He sent up a lot of different people to do different jobs. And every one of them was just as nice as could be, and they were all professional they all did a great job.

What was your beach home like before Greg worked on it?

Mark: We had to take it down to the studs, and everything had mold in it. Greg set up a mitigation team to remove everything. When they were finished, I had no ceiling, I had no floor. I had no island, I had no cabinets, everything was gone.

What is your beach home like now?

Mark: It’s beautiful. and it only took about a year.

What would you say surprised you the most or made you the happiest about working with Hardwick?

Mark: The fact that he got it done in a year. A year may sound like a long time, but considering what he had to do, and looking around to see what everybody else was getting done. I knew I was in good hands with Greg. There wasn’t any long downtime. The fact that he got that job done in a year, with what he had to deal with in order to do that, was amazing. One year from the date of the hurricane, my house was finished, and I could move back in.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Mark: Greg worked with me so I would have the items ready for my insurance company to cover everything. My insurance people, originally were going like, “Wow, that’s a lot of money you’re looking at, what is your builder doing? We’re going to send our number one adjuster to meet with your builder and go over the cost of this.” They listened to everything Greg said, and gave us all the money that Greg said we needed to rebuild the house. He knew what he was talking about and that was a big relief to me too, because I was totally in the dark and I didn’t know what to do. I mean, when I took out insurance on that house, I never looked at the policy, and I’d had it for 15 years. Greg immediately looked through it and he told me we were good. He got everything, it didn’t cost me anything out of pocket for that house to be restored bigger, better and stronger than it was originally. He put in a better floor, and a huge island. He put in shiplap cabinets that were all done by his cabinetry guy and they were so much better than what I had in there before. I will always be very grateful to Greg.