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Mungo Homes of Columbia acquired by Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary from Tennessee

Steven, left, and Stewart Mungo will be honored Thursday at the United Way of the Midlands Humanitarian of the Year Dinner and Award Ceremony.
Steven, left, and Stewart Mungo will be honored Thursday at the United Way of the Midlands Humanitarian of the Year Dinner and Award Ceremony.

Longtime Columbia homebuilder Mungo Homes has been purchased by Clayton Properties Group of Tennessee, according to a news release.

Mungo Homes, which built extensively throughout the greater Irmo area, will join the Berkshire Hathaway-owned Clayton Properties Group to become one of the nation’s top 20 single-family homebuilders, according to Builder magazine.

“If you’re going to sell your lifetime business, these are the gold standard of people to do business with,” co-owner Stewart Mungo said of Berkshire Hathaway. “These guys, they’ve bought several industries where they haven’t changed a thing ... we got great people, and that’s what they wanted.”

Stewart Mungo and his brother Steven will continue to have a hand in the business and do not anticipate losing any of the 100-plus jobs the company has in the Midlands area, Mungo told The State.

Mungo Homes was founded in 1954 by the late Michael J. Mungo in Columbia. Mungo first expanded outside of the Midlands in 2003 to Charleston, according to the news release. Mungo now builds homes in eight markets throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, making it the largest builder to join Clayton Properties Group, according to the Monday news release.

“Clayton’s partnership equips our team with innovative tools and technologies, superior leadership training and purchasing power that allows us to continue to grow Mungo with a focus on stability, team members and customers,” CEO Steven Mungo said in a statement. “It creates the highest level of opportunity for our company as a whole while allowing us to retain our culture and corporate identity.”

Steven Mungo, 58, and Stewart Mungo, 66, are known throughout the Midlands as much for their prolific homebuilding as for their philanthropy. In 2017, the brothers were named Humanitarians of the Year by the United Way of the Midlands for their contributions to the Harvest Hope Food Bank and for helping homeowners after historic flooding in 2015.

“The Mungos have been small business institutions in South Carolina since their father, Michael, started it,” said Frank Knapp, president and CEO of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. “They’ve been very good citizens. The corporation has been very good to the community.”

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Though Michael Mungo found success in his later years — he died in 2010 — he grew up poor, his sons told The State.

Michael Mungo, shown at his Columbia residence in May 2009, was the patriarch of the family that developed South Carolina’s largest home construction company. The State archives

“He used to say, ‘You can’t imagine what it’s like not to know where your next meal is coming from,” the Mungo brothers said in a 2017 Q&A with The State. “He was determined to never be poor again, and as he became successful, he was determined to help others. From an early age, both of our parents modeled the importance of giving back to the community that had been so good to us and instilled in us a responsibility to help those in need. It’s not something we really think about. It’s just the right thing to do.”

The United Way was one of the Mungos’ favorite charities. After receiving news of the company sale, the local United Way issued a statement:

“Stewart and Steven, and everyone at Mungo Homes, have done an outstanding job of carrying on their father Michael’s legacy of giving back,” said Sara Fawcett, president and CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “Regardless of the ownership of the company, the Mungos are still the Mungos, and we know they will continue that tradition of service.”

In 2012, Mungo Homes was named America’s Best Builder by Builder magazine, which is based on overall excellence in homebuilding and is determined by finance and operations, design and construction, customer service and quality, community and industry service and marketing. That same year, the National Association of Home Builders honored Mungo as the National Green Advocate of the Year for hauSmart, Mungo’s exclusive energy-efficiency program. The company was also recognized as the winner of the 2008 National Housing Quality Award and is the only South Carolina-based builder ever honored with this prestigious award, according to the news release.

Mungo sold nearly 1,800 homes in 2017. The company is ranked No. 33 on the 2018 Builder Magazine’s Builder 100 list and is projected to close on approximately 1,900 homes in 2018, the release said.

Mungo is the eighth acquisition for Clayton Properties Group, and the third this year. Clayton’s market footprint now reaches Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Indiana, South Carolina and North Carolina. Clayton Properties Group is ranked No. 29 on the 2018 Builder Magazine’s Builder 100 list, and with the addition of Mungo, is on pace to build over 4,200 homes by the end of 2018, the release said.