Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Passion for Perfection

Unique designs have earned Randall Homes a reputation for creating new houses with a very big difference

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It was a casual remark, but one that put Randy Jaquet on a career path to become one of Manitoba's most well-known new home builders.

More than 30 years ago, Mr. Jaquet was buying a house when the realtor suggested he'd be very good in sales.

"So I pursued it," says Jaquet, who began as a realtor selling new homes with Guaranteed Homes in 1972. Ten years later, he left the company to build something of his own, starting Randall Homes in 1983.

"I thought, you know I could do this. I could design, I could come up with a home that people would love to have," he says. "We were in a recession at the time and the doors opened because the developer was looking for a young, upstart builder to come into an area."

Despite tough economic times, Randall Homes sold 34 houses in the first year.

"If there was something to do, we did it," Mr. Jaquet says of the early days. "Whether it was cleaning the show home, whether it was picking up off the site or checking the lumber. It wasn't a job, it was just an enjoyment to be able to get up in the morning and do it.

"The fun part was being involved – putting what I thought, because I was in sales for 10 years and listened to what the purchasers were looking for, into the designs.

"That's been our strength from Day 1 – trying to create something unique and different for the buying public. And we're known for that."

He'll always remember the satisfaction of turning the key in the first completed Randall house, a split level in Transcona.

The memory also brings a chuckle.

"We had our first grand opening and we invited all our suppliers, friends and banker," Mr. Jaquet says.

"We had about 30 or 40 people through the home. Within the first minute of arriving, Wayne Curtis from Curtis Carpets spilled red wine on the (beige) carpet. I'll never forget that. We still joke about it today."

Randall Homes has 14 staff, many who have supported the company for years. Barb Anderson began looking after the accounting, and 20 years later she's the office manager. Dorothy Sullivan has been in sales for 19 years. Vince Cherepak started 12 years ago as a basement contractor, moving to site foreman and now production manager.

There's also a family connection. Mr. Jaquet's son, Jason, was 12 years old when he began cleaning sites, show homes and painting. Now he heads the service department. His daughter, Chantel, was a teenager when she started cleaning homes. She's now in administration. His brother, Blair, has worked by his side for 17 years and is an area manager.

"We've had a lot of people who have been believers in the company with us," Mr. Jaquet says. "When you have everybody believing in the same thing, to look after 'Randall Homes', it's very easy to run a company."

Randall Homes now builds more than 100 homes each year, designing projects for an area and targeting a certain market. It could be a house or condominium for a family, couple or single professional. In 1995, it was the first company in Canada to take a bi-level design and build over the garage.

The company's 20th anniversary coincides with the opening this fall of Randall Homes' new office at 80 St. Anne's Road. But it's not your usual square box with a door.

The office looks like a two-storey home and will feature a design centre showcasing the latest in products and features for the home – from locks to a heated flooring system. There will also be a courtyard with a barbecue area, fireplace and waterfall.

"It's all designed so that when the purchaser of a new home comes in, it will show all the features you could put into your new home," Mr. Jaquet says.

Slated to open in October, the building is 3,600 square feet per floor.

Mr. Jaquet, who has chaired the Parade of Homes for the Manitoba Home Builders' Association for a number of years, will have eight show homes in this year's fall event.

"The business that I've been involved in the last 30 years is a fun industry," he says. "You get to meet a lot of interesting people at an exciting time in their lives."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 18, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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