About Us

Fresh Start Builders

Fresh Start Companies, Inc.

901 Sixth Avenue South

Stillwater, MN 55082

phone: 651.430.2412

fax: 651.304.1242

MN BC454532


D E S I G N     R E M O D E L     R E N E W

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We are honored to have received the award for Best Remodeler in the Valley from the Stillwater Gazette’s annual Reader’s Choice Award in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

We are also quite thrilled to have received the National Association for the Remodeling Industry’s Achievement in Customer Satisfaction, or A.C.E., award for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. This award is based on feedback from customers over the course of the year. Only contractors with the highest customer service responses are awarded the A.C.E. award.


After several years of specializing in trim carpentry and taking on small construction jobs, Fresh Start Builders incorporated in the Spring of 2004 under the name Fresh Start Companies, Inc.  The more descriptive Fresh Start Builders name came soon thereafter.  Since incorporation, Fresh Start has completed numerous projects in both Minnesota and Wisconsin and spent hundreds of hours in additional industry and design training.  It is our goal to master the art of remodeling and make the experience of remodeling your home the best it can possibly be.


A Brief History Of Fresh Start Builders

The Fresh Start Team

Todd Hansen, President:                                                      Email Todd

There was never much doubt that Todd would have a career in the building industry.  From his pre-teen summers hanging around jobsites with his grandfather, contractor Gilbert Hamm, to his first paying job as a construction laborer, Todd was destined to carry on the family tradition.  Between learning carpentry from the old-timers and eventually managing the family lumber yard; from selling millwork and windows to installing both in new construction and remodeling; from building his own home in northern Wisconsin to ongoing restoration of a classic Stillwater home, Todd’s experience with so many aspects of the building industry helps make FSB uniquely qualified to serve our clients.

A Family History

Fresh Start Builders is a fifth-generation builder with roots dating back to the early 1900s.  Conrad Hamm settled in St. Paul in 1900 at the age of twenty one.  He started his home building and remodeling business in 1920, eventually operating out of the Pioneer Building in downtown St. Paul.

Conrad and his wife Minna had four boys, each of whom worked for the family business as they were growing up, but only his second son, Gilbert, would stay with the company, and one day own the business.

In 1941, Gil took over the business and changed the name to Gilbert Hamm Construction.  Under his direction, the business flourished, especially following World War II, when the need for new home construction really took off.  Gil was responsible for building hundreds of new single family homes and double bungalows in the brand new development called “Highland Park” in St. Paul.  Except for houses that have been moved or demolished to build larger ones, those homes that helped get families started in the forties are still doing that today.  In some cases, the original owners still live there.

In the late fifties and early sixties, the Mayo Clinic in
Rochester was experiencing a growth surge, and a lot of doctors were moving to the area.  Gilbert Hamm Construction was encouraged to open a new division in Rochester to build exclusive homes for the added Mayo staff physicians.  The Merrihills development was platted in 1957 and the company began building some of the area’s most exclusive homes.

Gilbert Hamm Construction moved from primarily new construction to primarily remodeling in the sixties and seventies.  A lot of the company’s work was on older and larger homes in St. Paul’s Summit Hill District, and even included some commercial work such as the move and remodel of the Minnesota Museum of Art.  Gil’s attitude about building was perfect for the remodeling business - he firmly believed that “you can do anything that you want with a building.”  It was just a matter of figuring out how.

Gil’s two daughters and their husbands all worked for the family business at one time or another, keeping the multiple-generation legacy going.  Despite his hard-nosed German persona and demanding standards, Gil enjoyed working with family, and first-grandson Todd Hansen would benefit from the employment opportunity that was offered.  Todd began working in the family business during the summer months as a laborer.  Starting at the bottom and getting dirty was the way Gil learned the business and it wouldn’t be any different for his offspring.

It would be a number of years before Todd got to spend any time in the office, but in the meantime, he learned carpentry skills from some of the old Scandinavian carpenters that had worked with Gil for decades.  Today’s power-tool-rich jobsites are noisier and more frenetic, but the old-school craftsmanship and attention to detail are a part of the business that’s never changed.

Some time spent in the lumber and millwork industries (both family-owned and outside) gave Todd additional experience and a unique wealth of product knowledge, preparing him and son Eric to continue the family business under the new banner of Fresh Start Builders.  Proudly continuing in the family’s tradition, we look forward to building our history with you!


Fresh Start Builders intends to exceed our clients’ expectations, permanently, from start to finish.  We will do this by treating our clients and their families with respect, delivering more & better than we promise and generating genuine excitement in both the process and product of remodeling.  We will have a positive influence on our industry by being avid students and proponents of Best Practices and by being an example of both how a project should be done and how people should be treated.  We intend to generate new business primarily by earning referrals and repeat business from satisfied clients.  Finally, we will accomplish all this with a spirit of both professionalism and fun!

Our Mission

At Fresh Start Builders, we are committed to donating a portion of our time and/or resources to charitable organizations each year.  We have had the privilege of working with several wonderful organizations that make a big difference in the lives of people less fortunate than us.  These organizations include Time Ministries in Monterrey, Mexico; Foundation For His Ministry in Morelia, Mexico; Common Hope in Antigua, Guatemala; Potter’s House in Guatemala City, Guatemala.  More recently we’ve become involved with serving at Urban Impact Ministries in New Orleans and Rebuilding Together Twin Cities.  We’d love to answer any questions we can about these great organizations, but please also check them out for yourself and by all means, get involved!

Our Involvement With Charities

Eric Hansen, AKBD, Vice President:                                     Email Eric

Growing up working alongside his father, Todd, Eric learned a lot about pounding nails.  It took a few years to realize that what he really enjoyed about building was the design and hands-on aspects of remodeling.  After finishing high school, Eric attended the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul and earned his degree in business management with minors in psychology and economics.  After graduation, Eric partnered with Todd to create Fresh Start Builders.  Recently Eric became certified as an Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer through the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Our Trade Partners

We operate our company on the principles of honesty, communication and integrity and we select our subcontractors based on those same principles.  We understand that establishing trust with the people who work on your home can be a difficult task and we do not take that lightly.  Therefore, we choose only high quality, insured subcontractors, licensed when necessary, to do work on our projects.  You can rest assured that they will hold themselves to the same high standard that we hold ourselves to.

Awards and Accolades