For Kris Goodjohn when it comes to home building the word pre-fab is short for pretty fabulous.
And Brett Wilson, from the CBC television show Dragon’s Den, agrees. Goodjohn, a one-time Penticton Panther and professional hockey player who is relocating to Naramata, and his brother (Kurt Goodjohn) are the owners of Karoleena Homes and were offered a deal with Wilson. Karoleena Homes is a developer of eco-friendly, affordable homes that are modular, or factory-built systems.
Their Dragon’s Den episode aired last Wednesday and they took Wilson up on his offer of $500,000 for 25 per cent of their company. While the actual episode only featured the Goodjohns for six minutes, they spoke with the Dragons for an hour-and-a-half, with most of the interest coming from Wilson and Boston Pizza owner Jim Treliving, who mentioned on the show he has 400 acres in the Okanagan.
“We mainly just wanted to make sure that our numbers were realistic and we were prepared to answer any of the questions that they have. Any of them would have been a great help, but Brett and Jim were the two guys we felt would be able to help the most and it turns out they were the most interested which is to be expected because they are probably the most involved in real estate more than the other Dragons,” said Goodjohn.
While modular design might turn some homebuyers off, Karoleena Homes has taken that concept to a whole other level. Coming from the traditional construction industry, the brothers began questioning why someone who is building a new home would want to leave it open to the elements over a span of 14 months. A house is one of the most important investments a person can make, so their idea was to take the building process indoors to a factory. Home buyers can choose from their pre-designed architectural plans for homes, recreation cabins and even four-plexes. Eliminating the chance for weather delays, it is possible to have a Karoleena home built in as little as three weeks and approximately another month for hook-ups and touch-ups.
Karoleena Homes, named after Kris Goodjohn’s daughter, has long-range plans to go national. They are starting with targeting Western Canada. They are currently located in Alberta, but Goodjohn is looking to set up shop in Penticton. With the help of the Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Wilson, Goodjohn said many doors have been opened and the ability to expand to the Okanagan is happening a little more quickly than if they were to try and do it on their own.
“We did the home show in Vancouver earlier this month which was great because we got tons of good response there from people on the Island, in Vancouver and in the Okanagan as well. There is lots of interest out in Ontario too but we want to concentrate on Western Canada first and perfect what we are doing,” said Goodjohn. “Penticton is where we are targeting to be set up, then we can hit anywhere in B.C. When we did that show in Vancouver the intention was to try and get business in B.C. and I think we have. We will be bringing houses to Vancouver and to the Okanagan hopefully by the end of the summer.”