Don and Lorie Hogan never imagined how rewarding a rural location would be for their carpentry business. For starters, each month they save a considerable amount in rent. They also have a large space giving them the right height to build even curved staircases indoors. Their commute to work is a mere 15 minutes (without a traffic jam in sight). And best of all, their customers constantly tell them how they prefer their Odessa location to a larger city.
Rewarding Location for Carpentry Business in L&A
True, being situated just off the Highway 401 (just outside Napanee) makes Don Hogan Carpentry central to everything in Ontario. It’s great for shipping, and makes it easy for their team to quickly get to customers in every direction: from Belleville to Prescott, as well as south to Picton and north to Perth.
Amazing Support from Business Development Office
Don and Lorie were both born and raised in the village of Bath. Working for 30 years, as an employee for another company, Don was ready to retire. This venture into owning their own business was meant to be a hobby, and the boom of the business was certainly unplanned. They sought guidance and direction from the L&A Business Development Office.
“Tracey Snow has been incredible,” Lorie enthuses, “I don’t even remember how I found or heard about her. I just knew we needed help to figure out our next step. She gave us all the info on Prince Edward-Lennox Addition (PELA) Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) so we were able to obtain grants in our first year of business. (We had a lot of training to do for employees and a lot of tools to purchase). She’s always there for support and guidance whenever we are stuck, I’ve had her come in for visits a few times, you just often want another opinion to make sure you’re staying successful.
Building Community with Fellow Entrepreneurs
Receiving support from other business owners, has been another bonus for Don and Lorie. There are 6 businesses in their Country Road 4 location, who frequently share large equipment and do work for one another. “The other businesses in the compound have all been extremely supportive,” notes Lorie.
Increased Demand for Products
Now, with seven full-time employees and a few part-timers, it is a challenge to keep up with the demand. “It’s just exploded,” says Lorie. “We’ve had to concentrate on the stair and railing aspect because our clientele is really demanding it. They’ve found us and really like what we do – so it’s a great niche. That was Don’s expertise and he has always had a passion for finished carpentry. So the word is out there and we can hardly keep up!”
Lorie has also found that social media helps to get the word out. “Our Facebook page has been a good tool for us – we post pictures of jobs we’ve done and almost every time within a day we get lots of inquiries about it.”
Their unique finished carpentry angle and passion for doing everything by hand have become trademarks for their product. Their focus on hiring local staff and trying to use local suppliers is an integral part of their business. The next challenge for Don and Lorie will be to decide how much bigger they want to grow.
Doing What We Love
“I believe we are living the dream. Don and I have been married 28 years. We’ve always enjoyed each other’s company, and even now that we are spending a lot more time together, we are still happily married. Our daughter is able to help us as well. It’s been good for our family being here,” Lorie says of their decision to locate in L&A.
“We are really happy with our location. I have a feeling we will always be rural,” Lorie shares, “I am more relaxed than I was at my previous job. You would think we would have more pressure, running our own business, making sure all employees have what they need, and pleasing all the customers, but when you are doing something you love it’s not work.”