Grassmere Construction Ltd

Still Growing

“There’s only one way to do something, and that’s the right way,” says Mike Booth, President and Owner of Grassmere Construction Limited. As a self-diagnosed perfectionist, Booth feels strongly about quality work, attention to detail and safety; three big reasons why customers keep coming back to Grassmere.

Founded in 1988 by Lyle Ball, Grassmere Construction is a design-build and construction management firm. Though the company is based out of Tillsonburg, their work can be found all across Ontario, with a few projects in Quebec and Manitoba.

“It sounds like we’re a huge company,” laughs Booth. “We’re really not. We just build relationships with our clients and will go where they need our services.”

Actually, the company is made up of a few dozen people. Booth was one of the original three, starting as a site superintendant in 1989. By the mid-nineties, Booth became a partner and the company started expanding.

“Because we were doing bigger and better projects, we moved out of a smaller facility and into a bigger location” explains Booth. “After hiring a lot more people, I became the construction manager. It put me in the office more, which isn’t always fun, but I still get out onto the sites to make sure things are running as they should be.”

In 2006, Booth bought out the business and remains the sole owner of Grassmere today.

Secret to success
Talk to Mike for any length of time and you’ll discover three reasons why Grassmere Construction has been so successful for the last two decades. First, he knows the importance of a good team. In fact, everything Grassmere does is as a team. Booth talks about regular group strategizing to gather everyone’s input. “It’s really the success of our company,” he beams.

Second is his meticulous approach to workmanship. “I am really fussy,” says Booth. “I have a background in architecture, so I pay attention to everything. Speed and time are always a factor, but workmanship and quality is very important to us. Grassmere might not be cheapest design-build company out there, but we do the due diligence that a lot of other companies don’t do.”

Last, Booth is invested in maintaining Grassmere’s solid reputation by prioritizing the clients’ needs.

“I know we’re still a leader in our industry because of what we offer our clients. The key is keeping a strong relationship with the client, and Grassmere is a reputable company. In today’s world, clients are a lot more knowledgeable in regards to building materials, costs and land, so if you can be transparent and work with the client as a team, things work really well.” They must be doing something right with so many referrals and repeat customers. Remaining a strong company after 21 years in business does say a lot for Grassmere.

Grassmere Projects
Grassmere Construction has plenty of commercial, industrial, multi-residential and warehouse projects under its belt, but there are always ones that stand out from the pack and are close to the team’s heart.

“We’re all really proud of finishing the last three Toyota Tsusho buildings in Woodstock,” Booth says. “All three buildings are located on the same acreage and act as suppliers to the new Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) plant.”

“Of course, the project I’m most proud of is the AFI International in Milton”, he boasts. “It was a design-build project of a gorgeous office building. It has a marble fountain and overlooks the Milton Pond. It’s very impressive. The finish and detail will blow you away.”

Grassmere Construction is approached most frequently with industrial and commercial projects. Even now, with the economic downturn, Grassmere continues working on bigger and better things, feeling little effect from the surrounding economic recession.

“The economy slowed things down for us from November to January, when things were very quiet. But in February, the phones haven’t stopped ringing. Actually, we just built a client’s 20,000-square-foot warehouse and the client is already enquiring about an addition. So that’s encouraging that people still need space and are continue to grow in spite of what’s going on.”

Information Age
When you’re in business for a few decades, you’re bound to see a few things change in your industry. Booth says that he has certainly noticed a trend in the environment. But the most noticeable change from his point of view is how much his clients know now, compared to 15 years ago. Naturally, Booth suspects the internet has a lot to do with it.

“Our clientele base is more informed and experienced than ever,” says Booth. “It is very rare to have anyone come in and ask for our recommendations about their buildings. Most people already know what they want because they’ve done the research. When I first started, people would ask for a building without knowing what they needed. In today’s world, our clients are detailed and specific because they have the resources to build knowledge.”

Developing a future
Looking ahead, Grassmere Construction has more in mind than design-build and construction management. Although there’s still lots to do in their industry, Booth believes that he shouldn’t put all of his eggs in one basket. While Grassmere continues business as usual, Booth would like to add some development work to the plate.

“With Grassmere, I want to get into development opportunities because it’s an interest of mine and I feel that it’s really important to diversify. We would like to develop commercial buildings, finding the land, building the facility and then doing lease backs—a great investment. We have already started a fractional ownership development up north, which is called ‘Painters Landing.’ Grassmere is very excited to be a part of this venture.”

And what a venture it is. Located in Kearney, Ontario, Painters Landing ( is a stunning vacation destination, offering something to experience for everyone – from quiet solitude to extreme adventure.

Mike’s bottom line?
“I can’t slow down yet; I’m still young. I’ve got a lot of years left at Grassmere Construction and there’s a lot we can do to expand. It’s in my blood.”

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