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Featured Business: Contractors Corner

Here’s a great Westman success story. They started out as a twoman small renovation outfit. They grew and grew. They are now a network of five companies offering a full range of building services. They still do renovation work. But as well, they now do new construction, restoration, retail sales, and more. The success story is Contractor’s Corner. The business has just opened a new showroom, office, and production facility at 408 Park Avenue East. (It’s just off Richmond Avenue.) Head down there: you can see their products, learn about their services, and get ideas from their friendly staff.

The company owners are brothers Geoff and Tim Gregoire. In 2008, they established themselves as Contractor’s Corner. They set up at 4th Street and Van Horne Avenue. Back then, they billed themselves as “Westman’s Countertop Shop.”

The Gregoires have been steadily expanding ever since. Geoff would like to remind everyone of what they are now. “People might think we are just renovations,” he says, “but we have expanded well beyond that.” Now, they are proud to call themselves a full-service “Design Centre.” The company’s goal is to be a one-stop location for the Westman area for building, renovation, and restoration needs; offering project management, material supply, and construction services.

They have carefully developed and added to their capacity by establishing new enterprises that specialize in different aspects of the construction trade. In addition to Contractor’s Corner, their stable of companies now consists of:

They can meet all of your construction needs. Whether it is the renovation of a kitchen and bathroom, developing a new basement space, flooring, plumbing and electrical projects, or constructing a new home or condo development. As well, they can supply any of the materials: whether you are a do-it-yourself homeowner or if you are yourself the contractor. Any of their services can be obtained individually or as part of a larger package. The different companies all work out of the Park Avenue East location bring the whole team together.

The complement of Contractor’s Corner companies gives them the ability to take on an ever-expanding range of work. A pressing need in Westman is for more affordable housing, either as new single-family homes or multi-family developments. That need is addressed by Con-Cor Homes. As another example, RiverCrest Restoration is able to tackle a variety of restoration tasks, such as dealing with the damage caused by fire, water, or mould. RiverCrest is also certified in removing asbestos.

Another part of their business is commercial millwork. Contractor’s Corner can custom design and build the service counters, cabinets, and desks required by particular commercial, office, or retail settings. As an actual working example, you can see how they have designed and constructed their own showroom. That includes the reception desk, counters, and cabinets that store and display products and samples.

The new Park Avenue East showroom and office space well illustrate the high quality of work and attention to detail of Contractor’s Corner. A result that shows class, attractiveness, and flair. The showroom has not only many samples, but also complete kitchens and bathrooms. And the offices themselves are more than just work spaces. They also show different options for interior design, like feature walls of different materials – even stucco.

More than half of their new building is devoted to a production facility. There are separate places for the cutting of countertops, the manufacturing of commercial cabinetry, as well as the shipping and receiving of building materials.

To do all the work required, the Gregoires employ about 50 people. When needed, they also work with some 20 sub-contractors. Because they do a broad range of work – including many renovation jobs that are indoors – they have never needed to lay off staff. Employees have the advantage of full-time work through the different seasons and being involved in a variety of projects. As well, some students are hired for the summer months. Geoff talks about his staff with the satisfaction of employing those who will fulfill the company’s goal of great workmanship: done safely, carefully, and efficiently.

To get a sense of the products and services available from Contractor’s Corner, browse their website at contractorscorner.ca. There is a complete checklist of what could be required for any project, from design and drawings, to estimating and scheduling.

With any job – even renovating one room – there is a vast array of options. These can include fixtures, flooring, kinds of finishes, and accessories like hardware and mouldings. There are colours and textures to consider. Homeowners know that they want to renovate. But Geoff says that often the homeowner can be stuck trying to visualize the final result. What will look the best? Make the best use of space? Be the most functional? And, because homeowners are often getting ready to sell: what will add the most value to the property? At this point, for many people, Geoff says, “It can be overwhelming.” The answer is to use the Contractor’s Corner design service. Two designers, Jenna McNabb, Design in Mind, and Lauren Hotel, B.A.I.D, can unite the wishes of the homeowner with all the options available. Their designers, Geoff says, “bring the whole job together.”

Contractor’s Corner is also a Castle Building Centre, which means they have a complete range of building supplies available. Products – such as bathroom or kitchen fixtures, counters, cabinets, flooring, windows, doors, lumber, or any other building material – can be ordered through them. Their helpful and knowledgeable staff will assist you in finding whatever you need through the Castle online service. Products that are ordered are ready within three to five days for pickup or delivery to you. Geoff points out that because they don’t have the overhead expense of an inventory of stock on hand, they can offer better prices for products.

One interesting product is a brand of panels that can be used inside or out. These realistic-looking panels are made from high-density polyurethane, so they are easily handled and installed. They can bring to life an exterior wall, an inside feature wall, or as part of a patio or other outdoor living area. Here is a way to have the beauty of stone, but without the expense and hard labour of real stone, cement, and mortar. Contractors Corner has panels that look like actual concrete, brick, or barn board, that can give you the look you want.

So you can order everything home building related at Contractor’s Corner and yes, even the kitchen sink. Geoff emphasizes that their retail service is available to contractors as well as to the general public. Contractors can source any supplies they need for their jobs. As well, contractors find it very handy and a time saver all around to send their clients down to Contractor’s Corner. In the showroom, clients can sift through the wide range of options available, ask all the questions they might have, and then pick out what they want for their contractor to install. “We were once a small contractor,” Geoff says, “so we have built this business to accommodate other small contractors.”

But even as they have expanded, the Gregoires have never lost sight of their beginnings as that small contractor. Even though their time is now mainly involved in managing and supervising, Geoff says that he and his brother Tim “are not suit and tie guys.” They still like to steal away to the shop every so often to do some cutting of countertops – even it means going in the evenings or on weekends.

When Geoff talks about the company’s success, he identifies customer service and satisfaction as still being their core objective. Whether it was back then: like renovating a kitchen or bathroom. Or today: like building a new condo development. When he recalls where they were and where they are now, he has a large perspective. “We are small enough to give good customer service,” he says, “big enough that we can do everything.”

The Gregoires have an obvious sense of fulfillment in building a successful business. Their original “countertop shop” on 4th Street was 4,500 sq. ft. Now, they have a showroom and a production and distribution facility totaling 18,000 sq. ft. They were first considering constructing a new building, then saw the potential in the vacant one on Park Avenue East. They largely gutted the structure and transformed it to become a multi-purpose facility. They see even more growth ahead. “We own the empty lot next door,” says Geoff. “Eventually, we’ll have to use it, that’s for sure.”

The secret to their growth and success is a deep commitment to customer service, great workmanship, and a sense of integrity that they infuse into everything they do. It’s simple, really, Geoff says. “We build every job like it’s our own home.”

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