Teakwood Builders’ Homegrown Success

Photography by Scott Bergmann

Currently enjoying the aftermath of Teakwood Builders’ time in the local limelight—the construction company won four big awards last year—president and owner Jim Sasko is in his designing prime. Yet, he says he feels like he never grew up. “This work, it’s like my childhood life that I’m living,” he says about running Teakwood, located in a sleek, white-brick building on Church Street. “I was raised by a family of self-doers. My father was a handyman who fixed and repaired everything himself.” Sasko’s dad actually owned a hardware and building supply store in Cohoes called GF Wertime Building Supply, which was where the builder-in-training worked and got his first exposure to the (literal) nuts and bolts of the building world.

The Spa City abounds with Teakwood’s stunning handiwork, from its signature historic revitalizations—check out the company’s eye-popping remodel of an 1890s Colonial Revival–style home in Saratoga’s historic district (which last year won two Capital Region Builders & Remodelers Association awards)—to total makeovers, such as its transformation of a 384-square foot basement into a luxurious, New Orleans–inspired entertainment sanctuary and speakeasy (which won two national design awards in 2023).

The secret sauce to Teakwood’s success in the competitive construction market? Sasko says it comes down to good ol’ customer service. “The projects do speak for themselves; they’re beautiful and intricate and really well designed,” he says. “But beyond that, we consider our business model more of a service, meaning we’re not just there to turn over a project, meet a schedule and focus on budgets. We also try our best to be great communicators all the way through and stay focused on what our clients want.”

The other key ingredient is Sasko’s ground-up education in the industry. From his childhood in his father’s hardware store and working as a laborer for framing crews building semi-custom homes in the late ’80s, to striking out on his own with Teakwood in 1996, Sasko has done it all. As for how he landed in Saratoga, he says he followed the work. “The ’90s and early 2000s saw that boom of people investing in historic homes in Saratoga,” he says. “There are people to whom a home is their palette, and they want to express themselves by how they live in it. I learned early on who our client was, and there’s such a stock of historic homes in Saratoga that needed extensive work. It was easy to fill my schedule.”

Sasko has always enjoyed standing on his own two feet. Shortly after finishing college for construction engineering and management, he began working for himself at just 26 years old, taking on small projects—building decks, residing homes and installing windows. That early gig would eventually grow into Teakwood, the esteemed luxury builder and remodeler it is today. “When people ask what made me start a business, I tell them I didn’t know any better; I was naïve,” says Sasko, who remains down to earth despite his success. He’s proud of his Capital Region roots, too, choosing “Teakwood” for his business (instead of his last name like most builders) after the Clifton Park street on which he grew up. 

As for Dad, the man who sparked it all? “In his retirement years he used to work with us when he could, dabbling in small projects,” Sasko says of of himself and his brother, who works in the company as well. “He’s very proud of us.”

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