At 1,120 metres, Kimberley is the highest city in Canada
Success story: Tyee Homes
Kimberley, B.C., is the ideal location for the owners of Tyee Homes to live, play and grow their business
It was the warm welcome they received and access to the outdoors that attracted Carl Lauren and Rob Wheeler to Kimberley in 2003. Two years later, they officially started what has become a successful and well-respected custom home building company known as Tyee Homes.
Both Lauren and Wheeler grew up in Williams Lake, B.C., and have been friends since Kindergarten. After high school, they followed similar career paths in the construction industry and found rewarding work in Vancouver.
Eventually, though, the daily grind of big city life caught up with them and so they went looking for something better.
“We both decided we didn’t like the city anymore and wanted to try working for ourselves,” said Lauren.
They considered several locations, including Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Fernie, but Kimberley held the greatest appeal.
“It is more economical to operate in Kimberley than a lot of other areas,” said Lauren. “The quaintness of the town and access to outdoor activities are other huge reasons why Kimberley is a great place to operate.”
The location is key as well. A large portion of Tyee’s clientele is based in Alberta and more specifically, Calgary, which is only four hours from Kimberley—or less now that WestJet is offering daily flights from the Canadian Rockies International Airport.
“We also just started exploring the potential of expanding into the U.S. market in 2018,” said Lauren.
Growth and diversification are common themes at Tyee. Today, the company has three main arteries: log and timber frame, residential construction and general contracting or commercial construction.
“I don’t think people know how diverse we actually are,” said Lauren.
Operating on a six-acre facility in Kimberley, Tyee sources most of its wood products from the Kootenay area, which is known for having high-quality fir. Other products come from Revelstoke and the coast, when needed.
The company employs between 25 and 30 people, depending on the season, and according to Lauren, workers from the region are extremely trustworthy.
“The crews we have now are awesome,” said Lauren, from the standpoint of an entrepreneur who knows the value of a hard-earned dollar and a job well done.