An interview with Brendan Troy of Alair Homes Belleville.
Describe your business.
Alair Homes is a custom home builder and renovator. We help clients create the home or space they want through Alair’s Client Control™. This allows for full transparency, customization and accountability for all parties involved and is an innovative, safe way to build or renovate a home.
What brought you to the region?
Our young family was looking for a quieter place to live and thrive. It’s nice, people are welcoming and there’s a slower, more relaxing pace of life. The area’s natural beauty and authenticity didn’t hurt either! Plus, we knew the area from past schooling.
What makes the Bay of Quinte a good fit for your business?
Growth. The Bay of Quinte Region is one of incredible growth and possibility. We are just beginning to see our area be discovered for its world-class amenities and attractions. When you combine that with the incredible people who call this place home, you quickly realize how special the Bay of Quinte region is.
What was the hardest thing about starting a business?
Juggling each part of a typical business while making it look good to others. When starting a business a lot is placed on one or two people; for me, that was myself and my incredible wife. Juggling life with two young kids, a full-time job and starting a business is not easy. After hard work, too many hours and some serious dedication, it does get easier. We now have some incredible employees that make this business great and are really growing.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the area?
Just start. Take the dive and give it all you’ve got. This area is ripe for opportunity and is experiencing some great growth. With that comes the need for more services, business and materials. I think this area has to be one of the best in Ontario for starting a new business right now and with some early research, a well thought-out business should thrive in the Bay of Quinte.
How has COVID-19 affected you and your business?
COVID-19 has changed our industry a lot. Costs are higher, timelines are longer. We are lucky that we operate in a great area with (relatively) lower case counts but that doesn’t mean we can relax on that front because of this. Our largest change has been scheduling our trades and trying to ensure that each trade has its own space on a worksite. This is to ensure safety as well as giving each trade a sense of comfort.
What surprised you about starting a business in a smaller community?
The need for our services. This area may seem like a smaller community, but it is a hub for so many outside communities that the population is higher than one would think. Additionally, the tourism in this area is fantastic and can draw in a lot of revenue for the right businesses. Adding to this is the growth that we are currently experiencing. With growth comes opportunity!
Describe your perfect day off.
I’m a big wildlife and nature nut so my best day off would be spent with my family and dog in the forests or fields around our house. Our kids are the best things in the world so if they are happy, so am I. We often take trips to the beaches in Prince Edward County, or go for hikes in local conservation areas and provincial parks.
What’s your secret to surviving winter?
Embrace it! Winter is an absolutely beautiful season. Winter can be incredibly calming and the thought of standing in an open forest as the snow falls can calm me right down, no matter how stressed I could be.
Winter also comes with amazing activities that this area can offer like hockey, skating, sledding, tobogganing, ice-fishing, even ice-climbing if you’re crazy enough! Winter shouldn’t be a negative, it should be something to look forward to!
Even if you dislike the cold and the snow, the thought of cozying up to a warm fire while reading a book or watching a movie should tickle your fancy. Winter can be a time to slow down and reflect, which I think many of us could appreciate.
If you were to have one word tattooed on you, what would it be?
Pura Vida. I cheated didn’t I? I used two words. Personally I don’t think I’ll ever get a tattoo, it’s just not me. But if I did, I would tattoo ‘Pura Vida’ on me somewhere and incorporate it with plants/trees/wildlife. Pura Vida is a common saying in Costa Rica and is sort of their unofficial greeting/saying meaning Pure Life.
I have been lucky enough to visit Costa Rica twice and both times I just connected with the locals and their easy way of living and respect for people and nature. It’s something that I connected with on a personal level and something I MIGHT turn into a tattoo… but probably not!