Small Builders: A Progress Report A group with diverse skills and common problems is doing pretty well, thank you by Don Best During the darkest days of the 1982 recession, it looked as though the small custom builder was headed toward extinction. Only the Big and the Very Big would survive, some pundits proclaimed. The little guy would go the way of the blacksmith. But small builders are a scrappy lot. Instead of rolling over and playing dead, they bounced back from the recession and reasserted themselves as one of the most vibrant groups of entrepreneurs in America. "Most small builders are thriving, especially in New England," says Karen White, director of the membership marketing department at the National Association of Home