Columbus is known as the Test Market of the U.S. because many popular retail brands based in the city often test out new products with the residents of the area. The city’s population and statistics are very similar to the country’s overall data, which makes the city a great place to gather reliable data. Retail is a growing industry in this city, making it the second largest industry in the state.

Despite this growth, there’s still a shortage of retail contractors in the area as most big companies would rather hire a real estate developer. Developers already have pre-planned layouts for most brands, which makes it a convenient choice for established names. Contractors, on the other hand, offer unique designs for every kind of retail store.

This list gives you the best retail contractors in Columbus. These contractors have an impressive clientele, including famous brands in the fashion industry. Experience and accolades were the criteria for ranking these firms, as well as the number of projects these contractors have in the area.

If you are thinking about building out a new commercial space, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.

5) Cahill Construction

6331 Fiesta Dr., Columbus, OH 43235

Cahill Construction is one of the few general contractors in Columbus specializing solely in retail and restaurant construction. Since Trey Cahill established the firm in 1996, the firm has constructed more than a thousand retail and restaurant projects in the U.S. and Canada. The firm started with constructing retail projects, which is why some of its best works are found in this sector.

For 22 years, Cahill has been trusted by some of the biggest names in retail. Some of the firm’s most distinguished brands are Ann Taylor, Victoria’s Secret, Forever 21, J. Crew, and La Senza. The firm is responsible for bringing most of these household brands to Columbus as well as other parts of Ohio.

4) Construction One

101 E Town St. Suite #401, Columbus, OH 43215

In its 40 years of service, Construction One has built structures in every state and has worked in foreign countries like Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. The firm’s success can be credited to its tight-knit management team, especially to its president, William Moberger. Since it was established, the firm has always been family-owned and William has witnessed the company grow from a humble start-up to a million-dollar commercial construction company.

Construction One offers a variety of retail construction services including interior build-outs, remodeling, and new store construction. Given its years of experience, the firm has acquired a formidable clientele. Some of its most notable clients are Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister Co., and Under Armour.

3) Compton Construction

691 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43206

Established in 1974, Compton Construction was initially a residential construction company that focused on framing single-family homes. Unfortunately, the firm temporarily closed in 1994 when its founder decided to pursue other business ventures. Despite his father’s change of career, Harold Compton never lost his passion for construction. He continued to work for various commercial companies until his own son, Blake, also found his passion for commercial construction. Blake and Harold reopened Compton Construction in 2012 and expanded it into a commercial construction firm.

The firm’s portfolio is a range of residential and commercial projects that have simple rustic exteriors with tastefully modern interiors. This style is reflected in one of its retail design-builds, the Pursuit Boutique. The dark green storefront contrasts beautifully against the beige brick building. Its simple interior is accented by the exposed brick and colorful geometric patterns.

2) Elford

1220 Dublin Rd., Columbus, OH 43215

Elford is the oldest company on this list and it’s also an established name in the Columbus commercial construction industry. Ever since Edward Elford founded the company with only $153 in his pocket, building with integrity has been the mission of the firm. Integrity is still at the forefront of the firm’s values; in fact, Elford was recognized as one of the Top Places to Work in Columbus for the second year in a row by Columbus CEO magazine. Elford has also been recognized nationally by Engineering News-Record (ENR) since it’s been consistently part of the annual Top 400 Contractors list.

The firm has been in the business for over a century so it has a stellar roster of commercial clients. Abercrombie and Fitch is one of its trusted clients and the firm has done work for some of its retail brands. Its most notable project for the company is its modern rustic headquarters in Ohio.

Some of its smaller projects are neighborhood staples in Ohio. Elford has done over 250 projects with Target. The firm has also completed its newest Flexible Format Prototype Stores found in various locations.

1) Continental Building Co.

150 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

Continental Building Co. is a commercial general contractor that’s known in Ohio and Pennsylvania for constructing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified projects. The firm’s executive team consists mostly of LEED Professionals, including current President Todd Alexander. Alexander’s been with the company for 32 years and, since he became president. Continental Building has been included in ENR’s Top 400 Contractor List for fourteen years running.

The firm’s LEED sustainable services are offered to 18 states across the nation. Continental Building offers its services to a variety of commercial sectors like retail, hospitality, mixed-use, and offices.

For its retail services, the firm works primarily on large-scale projects rather than boutiques or specialty stores. The majority of the retail centers in Columbus are constructed by Continental Building. The Lennox Town Center is one of its retail projects in the area, and it’s a 325,000-square-foot establishment that houses Old Navy, a Barnes and Nobles, and Staples among many more.

How can I find a contractor near me?

Read our latest articles on the best contractors in and near Columbus. If you don’t see your project type below, just let us know – we are happy to create a tailored recommendation list just for you.

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About Our Rankings

This list takes a range of ranking criteria into consideration, including but not limited to: work history, customer satisfaction, awards and recognition, geographic area of work, cost, building permits, and clientele. We spent over 40 hours researching local contractors before calculating the final ranking for this post. If there is additional information about your business that could affect these rankings, please fill out this form and we will take it into consideration.

Get Bids For Your Build

If you are thinking about building out a new commercial space, we recommend checking each builder’s license with the local licensing board, speaking to past clients, and using our bidding system to get competitive quotes from at least 3 contractors. Getting multiple bids is the best way to ensure you get a fair price and that bids include the complete scope of work.


  • Jake Gustafson

    Jake has served as Senior Editor at General Contractors and brings a wealth of experience rooted in his passion for building. Holding a degree in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University, he actively engaged in industry-related activities, including membership in the Associated General Contractors of America student chapter and participation in the Associated Schools in Construction student competition. Previously, Jake served as a project engineer for a prominent general contractor in Portland, where he played a pivotal role in various aspects of construction projects, from pre-construction to subcontractor management. His expertise extends to working on innovative projects, such as North America's largest CLT commercial building. Expertise: Commercial Construction, Commercial Remodeling, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Editor at General Contractors, Project Engineer for Portland-based general contractor, Field Engineer for the largest CLT commercial building in North America Education: Oregon State University, Degree in Construction Engineering Management