The Summerland Review is running a series featuring profiles of business people in the community.
This week, we met with Ken Sewell of Summerland Builders Mart.
When Ken Sewell of Summerland Builders Mart discusses home building, construction and renovation projects with his customers, he speaks from a place of experience.
Since he was a boy, he has worked at the building supply store which he now owns with three partners.
Sewell’s partners, Rich Finlay, Roger Maddock and Jim Stevens, are all people he has known for more than 30 years.
“We’ve been able to grow to where we are because of these guys,” Sewell said.
The store, part of the Timber Mart chain, was started by his father, Art Sewell, in 1974, and while Ken Sewell was growing up, he helped out at the store, sweeping floors and providing other assistance.
By the time he had finished high school, he knew he wanted to continue working at the store.
“I loved Summerland, even back then as a kid, so why change that?” he said.
Later, his children also worked at the store while they were growing up.
During his time at the store, Sewell has seen many changes in building trends and styles.
Today, while houses are larger than in the past, there is also a growing interest in energy efficiency, passive houses and conservation.
He believes the emphasis on energy efficiency, as well as a focus on good quality, will serve to benefit homeowners and save them money over time.
Sewell also places a high value on providing assistance to volunteers and community organizations, and the store has helped raise funds for numerous Summerland initiatives.
“What we want to support is the volunteers and what they’re interested in,” he said. “They are the ones doing the work.”
The store has supported NeighbourLink, the Agur Lake Camp Society and other local organizations.
He also has worked with high school students through the work experience program at Summerland Secondary School and has hired teens to work in the store over the years.
In addition, Sewell is involved as a member of the board of the Parkdale Place Housing Society, a Summerland-based nonprofit society dedicated to providing affordable housing.
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