By Mike Baker
It was always going to take something special for Glenn Evans to give up his space on Highland St. in Haliburton.
The owner of Cedar Winds Design and Build recently relocated his business to Industrial Park Road, taking advantage of an opportunity to merge the two sides of his business together under one 8,000 sq. ft. roof.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet thing, moving from the main strip, but overall we’re pretty excited about it,” Evans recently told the Echo. “Obviously, the main street location was a huge part of our company culture. It was one of the things that made us a little different than anyone else in the industry. You’re involved in the town, and you see the people. It was a huge part of our day-to-day, being in that central location, so that part we will miss.”
In the end, Evans decided to bet on himself. It’s what he’s done ever since he launched Cedar Winds more than 20 years ago. Designing and building custom homes in the Haliburton and Minden area since 1998, Evans and his team have helped hundreds of families realize their dreams.
Business has really ramped up in recent years, which has led to Cedar Winds essentially outgrowing its previous downtown office and Mallard Road shop.
Evans took possession of his new facility at 374 Industrial Park Road on June 1.
While continuing with his bread and butter – designing and constructing new homes and completing renovations, Evans is making plans to take the next step and attempt to become totally self-reliant.
“One of the things we want to expand into is more manufacturing of things,” Evans said. “We want to manufacture our own interior doors, trim, cabinets. There’s currently a woodshop and machine shop in the building that was part of the previous owner’s operation, so we will be repurposing those spaces, retool a little bit and install different types of woodworking equipment.”
Having the ability to manufacture will help Evans save money, and avoid lengthy waits for delivery. While there isn’t much of a wait time right now for things such as lumber, Evans said many of the cabinet companies he deals with are quoting four months for the delivery of all new orders.
The increased space at the new site will also allow the company to manage its inventory much better than before.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Evans estimates calls for quotes and services has increased around 300 per cent. He is currently operating at full capacity.
“We’re busy and things are going well… Business peaked, I would say, last May or June. When the lockdown started happening and people were faced with being able to work from home, that’s when things really started,” Evans said. “Working from home put people in the frame of mind that home is home and as long as I have good internet service, it doesn’t matter where I am.
“I think that’s what created such a push. All of a sudden, if people could be by the lake, by their deck, on the dock, by a pool at home, lots of people were escaping, and wanting work done, because, essentially, that’s their new office space,” Evans added.
His team of 15 staff are fully booked through the remainder of 2021 and the early part of 2022, although there is some availability next fall.
Planning for projects a year out has been no mean feat, with Evans constantly having to assess his schedule and make sure his workers are following through on projected timelines.
As he looks ahead to the future, meaning late 2022, Evans says he expects business to keep on chuggling along.
“I can’t imagine that it won’t be this busy still 12 months from now. We’re at the point now, for major projects, where we’re telling people we can’t start for 14 or 15 months. Customers are saying they want sooner, but all contractors are the same right now. There’s so much demand for work, that people are just going to need to be patient,” Evans said.