After the arson of his business’s warehouse in 2012, Matt Pond, owner and president of Wilf’s Restorations got a first hand experience of what his clients go through.
“That fire we had here made me a better restoration contractor,” said Pond.
“I understand what it’s like to go through the emotion of losing everything so now I have a way better understanding of my clients. It’s made me a better restoration contractor.”
Wilf’s Restorations, since Pond took it over from his father in 2005, has become a business that finds work on some of people’s worst days.
Whether a fire or flood or fallen tree has severely damaged a home, it’s Wilf’s who does the repair work of restoring the home.
But it isn’t just home restoration that keeps their business a float.
“We do everything from fires and floods to sewer back ups to crime scene clean up and bio hazards,” said Pond.“Any of the problems that come up in people’s homes involving emergency work. We do fuel and oil spill clean up, steaming frozen pipes, and we have a carpet cleaning van. Whatever is required.”
And this diversity of work keeps the Wilf’s company phone ringing almost constantly.
“It’s easy to get carried away with what we do and the phone could ring at any time,” said Pond.
“It’s very hard to plan and stick to a schedule in this line of work. We don’t necessarily look for those big contracts or home building work. We just help people out when there’s emergencies.”
Pond said what he does is a balancing act, making both homeowners and the insurance companies that hire him, pleased with his work.
“The clients have gone through something traumatic so it’s more than just doing a a renovation,” said Pond.
“Most people’s homes is their biggest investment. When I started this restoration I was just a kid in my twenties, walking into someone’s home with a huge loss and I’d have to win them over. So you learn really quick how to deal with people.”
A large part of the history of Wilf’s in the North has been asbestos removal.
“Its how the business was pioneered,” explained Pond.
“My dad worked at Giant Mine for most of his career and he became a journeyman carpenter. Then in 1998 the mines had a big layoff so my dad went and took the asbestos abatement course. He started his businesses and that was Wilf’s Maintenance.”
Wilf’s Maintenance eventually turned into Wilf’s Renovations while Matt was still working there, but when he took over, he had the vision to get into restoration work to keep up with competing companies and offer a unique and needed service.
Since then, the company briefly expanded to an office in Fort McMurray, Alta. where his working crew ballooned up to 60 employees working on homes after the 2016 fires.
“Fort Mac was very demanding,” Pond recalls. “It required me to be there at least a week a month and I just got tired of the travel. So I made the decision to shut that division down.”
Today, the company holds steady at 10 employees, but that number is never constant. Due to the nature of the work, that number could expand at any given time, Pond said.
“You just never know what the next job is going to be,” said Pond. “That’s what I love about my work. It’s forever changing.”
Rather than expanding to a new town or opening a new office like the Fort McMurray operation, Pond and his wife Claire McCafferty, have new business plans in Kam Lake.
“We are opening a new flooring store,” said McCafferty. “People thought we might have been going out of businesses because we were thinking about selling our current warehouse and moving to another property, but we’re using that for our new store.”
The couple said there is no competition in town for the business, which will go hand-in-hand with Wilf’s, though being a separate entity.
“We’re just rolling it out, but all we need is one more permit and our displays to show up, but soon you can look out for us there.”
The couple said the yet unnamed business will be opening very soon not far away from their Melville Drive shop.