949 S. Melendres Street Las Cruces, NM 88005 phone: 575.527.9897 fax: 575.647.8953 Click here for our Message Desk
Who we are –Building a Uniquely New Mexico Business
Building a business is much like building a home. A good foundation, good plans, intuition, good people and love for the work of building. Mario Bellestri came to Las Cruces in 1983 to begin his new life with me, native New Mexican, Patricia Ann Martinez. He came from Michigan via Tucson. I came from Truth or Consequences to attend New Mexico State University (’75, ’77). The first order of business was to build a home for ourselves. It had to be an earth home—-adobe, no, let’s take it beyond adobe—rammed earth. A 14-sided rammed earth home to boot. After attending an Earthen Technology Conference at the University of Arizona it was what convinced us that is what we wanted to do. Rammed earth has been used as a shelter for thousands of years around the world. We are in the arid southwest—it’s perfect. And yes, it has been perfect since 1983.
Our son, Max was born in that rammed earth home on the foothills of the Organ Mountains. It has been the basis for the foundation of our business. It gives us direct experience for what it feels like to live in a rammed earth home….makes it easy to share that knowledge and excitement about living in an earth home. Within a year of building that first rammed earth home in Las Cruces, Mario got his New Mexico Contractors license and begun Soledad Canyon Earth Builders. Mario spent his days working at the job site creating the homes. I built the business in the office located at first in that rammed earth home. Within a few years as the business grew we moved to town. We established an office with our subcontractor, Four Seasons Heating & Cooling, later moving to an office on Main & Idaho and finally to our current home on Melendres.
In the early days we did our marketing by holding Demonstration Days. During the ramming of the walls in a home we were building we’d invite the public to come watch. As time passed we began participating in the Annual Spring Showcase of Homes. It has been a great way to show our work. With the advent of the internet we were able to open our business to a larger audience of people who are looking to move to Las Cruces.
In November of 2008 we lost Mario. We knew immediately that we would continue what he so loved. Melissa who had been working for us since 2004, who has since become our daughter-in-law, Max who completed his Business Management degree at New Mexico State University, and I have found our step and have begun to look at the next evolution of Soledad Canyon Earth Builders. After involving myself in more aspects of building the homes over the last several years, I knew I would need to get my own Contractor’s license so that Soledad Canyon would continue on seamlessly. In January 2009 that was taken care of. Now as “Lady Contractor” of the strongest rammed earth company in Las Cruces, I am proud to begin this new era. With the acceptance of “Green Building” in the main stream it has opened more doors to the availability of products that we have used for years. We are moving forward in our business of creating long lasting homes. Max and Melissa’s young fresh attitudes and eyes are an added strength to our company. Along with my experience, my history and my love of building homes we look to provide many more homes for Las Cruces in the years to come.
Please feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to talk to you about building your home—rammed earth or frame, about Las Cruces, or about who we are and what we can do to help you consider your options in building. Please feel free to call, come by, join our newsletter, or use our message desk.