When my wife and I started our company, Connor Homes, 36 years ago, it didn't take us long to realize that buying assembled building components — or panels — made more sense than trying to stick build homes during Vermont's long and frigid winters. We were fortunate to find a quality manufacturer and soon discovered that this was a more efficient way to build no matter what the season.

For 20 years we operated as successful home builders, producing high-quality colonial reproduction homes of our own design with panels from a major home manufacturer. Then, about five years ago, we decided we'd learned enough about the manufacturing side of the business to start producing our panelized homes for other builders. We felt that we...

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