G&E Homes

Crafted for a Lifetime

Workmanship and family: That’s what business is all about for G&E Homes. Based in the small community of Steinbach, Manitoba, the company was started in the late 60s, when President Garry Dueck’s father got into custom home building. Dueck began to work part-time for the business when he was in school, and really jumped in head first in 1986—the first official year for the company.

CBJ had the opportunity to speak with Dueck and his Sales and Marketing Manager, Mike Fast, who told us about quality workmanship and the ability to service customers.

We are a family

Currently, G&E Homes employs 12 people full time. Dueck’s partner in life, his wife, takes care of all the financial duties for the company—and has for two decades. Dueck says that “combined, the family business can boast experience totalling over 100 years.” Fast tells us that the family aspect of the business was evident when he joined a year ago.

Fast elaborates, “Being the new guy here, I can see how the family aspect is really important to this business. It speaks volumes when half of our staff the majority of their career they have been working here.” G&E employs several ‘lifers’, including a project manager who has been with the company 10 years, and a General Manager who has been around for more than 15 years. “These guys do take care of their staff well, it really feels like a family,” he adds.
Experience in the building business says a lot, as does a formidable company culture that compliments the strength of a company like G&E Homes.

From single homes to multiple-person dwellings

G&E first started out focusing on building custom homes for single families. However, as word spread about the company’s first-rate service and products, they ventured into the condominium business. “Our customer base started to change in the 90s. It went from primarily first-time buyers—a younger demographic—to a more senior market, with condos and town homes and that type of dwelling,” Dueck explains.

Fast says G&E now builds a number of “active adult communities,” says Dueck. “Our town naturally lends itself to retirement. It’s a great little place that doesn’t have a lot of traffic, and that’s one of the reasons it’s a popular place to retire. We’ve really captured that market—people want to have that community lifestyle.”

A new level of customer service

There’s no question that customer service comes into that big time. This town [Steinbach] has 15,000 people. Customer service is paramount, especially when you’re dealing with an active adult community [customer base]. At the end of the day, we leave them happy and they leave us referrals.”

“Our referral rate is absolutely through the roof. I’ve never worked with a company that’s had a referral rate that these guys do, that we know of,” he continues. Not inconsequentially, business has been pretty good the last couple of years for G&E—despite the disaster that was the Canadian economy in 2008/2009.

“Compared to 2008, 2009 business was down a little bit but overall it was a steady year for us. I think the Manitoba and Saskatchewan economy wasn’t hit as hard as other provinces. Our numbers were very positive,” Dueck remarks. “By the time we sat down and did the numbers for 2009, it turned out to be a very good year.”

Less than perfect is unacceptable

G&E doesn’t just concern itself with quality of home building, but also on the quality before and after of the product, offering excellent warranties and watching out for pre and post-sales deficiencies. And the word of mouth referrals only help the company along. When a customer is happy with their product, the company can count on a referral. “With all the time we spend on warranties and customer service—it’s huge. The word-of-mouth referrals are second to none,” Dueck beams.
“We’re looking back to a time when people did business on a handshake. When you deal with a clientele that’s mature and you tell them that you’re going to do something, they believe that you will. It’s us following through that separates us from the competition. For us, this business is built around integrity and customer service, and those are the things that are important to everyone at this company,” Fast adds. The conviction in his voice echoes a feeling everyone at G&E shares, and that dedication is evident in increasing sales and a better product—year after year.

G&E is currently working on several interesting and exciting projects. One, an old church that is being restored in Winnipeg, is being gutted and turned into condos. To see Studio 511, visit www.studio511.ca. G&E are members of the Manitoba Home Builders Association (Garry Dueck has served on the Board twice as President), and the National Home Warranty Program. www.gehomes.ca