It may not have been the celebration they originally planned, but Nigel and Amy Hollamby and Chris Karton, the team behind Stonewood Homes Timaru, still managed to ‘chink’ glasses and acknowledge a decade of success despite lockdown.
They shared the special event via Zoom, along with Chris’s wife Kelly.
“We were determined not to let the moment go unnoticed,” Ms Hollamby said. “We have worked very hard for the past 10 years to build a stable, credible business and particularly at a time like this in world, it’s important to share significant achievements in any way we can. We will do something special with our team and suppliers when all this is over though.”
Hollamby said the business was in a good position to ride out this crisis as they had always managed the business with the mindset of being prepared for the unexpected.
“Our conservative approach to cash flow and business management has been the cornerstone of our continued success. In this industry you always need to look at the big picture, plan for a ‘rainy day’. Right now, this proves to be a very sound strategy as we face our biggest hurdle in business yet.
“Obviously this lockdown will affect 99 percent of businesses however, we are confident we can come out the other side.”
Mr Karton said they had retained all 10 of their staff currently.
“Our team are incredibly loyal to us so in times like this is it is important to show our loyalty back to them,” he said. “After all, we will need them when we get back to working again. We have simply told our staff to stay home and abide by the lockdown rules. If everyone plays their part, we can hopefully get back to ‘normal’ again sooner.”
Stonewood Homes currently have 17 houses under construction in South Canterbury and 7 in Mid Canterbury.
“We are all in this together and customers have been very understanding about the situation. We are all in the same boat, but we are keeping in touch with our customers throughout the crisis. There will be a lot of planning and scheduling to be done once we can work again and we will do everything in our power to get people’s homes finished as quickly as possible.”
When asked about the future of the building industry in Timaru the pair was philosophical.
“It’s a very interesting question. Some people will be worse affected than others depending on the industry they work in, but interest rates will be at an all-time low so it will potentially be the cheapest time to build a house,” Mr Karton said.
“I also believe there will be a lot of people returning to New Zealand as a result of this pandemic and they will need a house to live in which could work favourably for those in the building industry,” Ms Hollamby said.
“We have invested in significant parcels of land around Timaru over the years to help facilitate locals with quality, affordable house and land packages and this will be something of need in the coming years as the local economy forges ahead again.”
Stonewood Homes has built close to 300 homes in the past decade backed by a team with a combined 100 years of building experience.
“Within our team we have 5 qualified builders working for us,” Ms Hollamby said.
“Chris and Nigel were the contract builders for the previous Stonewood franchisee and when the opportunity arose to buy the business we partnered up and took the plunge. It’s not something we planned to do but we have never looked back.”