Muchalat Group of Companies
In 1979 Joe Formosa established Muchalat Group of Companies (Muchalat) as a small construction business focused on renovation projects throughout Vancouver Island in British Columbia. For 35 years, the company has grown into a flourishing family business.
Today, Muchalat employs a team of 75 people. While the team has built up a diverse portfolio over the decades, the Formosa family still operates the business much the same as when it first opened its doors. Today, Muchalat’s office is in the home of Joe and Diane Formosa in Courtenay, B.C.
In 2009, the family added a sister business for Muchalat. Muchalat Projects is a bonded general contractor specializing in commercial and institutional projects. The company’s co-owners and principals include the couple’s children Joel, Justin and Tania Formosa. The team also serves the single-family home market with high-quality site built and modular homes guaranteed for craftsmanship through the New Home Warranty program. Between the two businesses, the group of companies has a broad range of capabilities applicable to a diverse market throughout the region.
While Muchalat has operated steadily for more than three decades, Joe established the group’s Projects company during the downturn. “When the housing market crashed, my father got into bonded projects,” Tania explains. “He converted a portion of an old sawmill in Cumberland into a manufacturing space for modular homes. There was a real opportunity there. We bid on our first projects and got our certification to perform this kind of work. This aspect of the business has opened up a lot of opportunities for Muchalat.”
The fully bonded company has been busy over the last five years. “We just finished building a modular duplex for the Canadian Forces Housing Agency, working for the Department of National Defense,” Tania elaborates. “We are doing another project for them in our modular plant that has yet to be delivered. This one is eight units of single occupancy quarters. We have performed several projects for the Department of National Defense at this point. In 2012, we constructed a 24-unit housing facility, as well.”
Other recent work includes construction for Canada Customs for the airport in Dawson City, the Courtenay City Hall exterior renovation, Canada’s largest free-span log building Native Sons Hall exterior renovation, as well as the Courtenay Recreation Association’s Lewis Centre renovation. Muchalat has constructed Corinthia Estates, a 144-unit condominium complex at the Crown Isle Golf Resort, as well as the result’s clubhouse. Furthermore, the team worked for the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa.
“In addition we are completing a $6 million Seismic Upgrade for School District No. 72 scheduled for completion December 2014,” Tania says. “For us, the rewarding part is the challenge of getting them completed within the short construction timelines. We like the thrill of the chase.”
Muchalat has built a strong following in the regional market. The company works frequently with repeat clients. Private entities seek out the team for high quality projects built to suit the needs of end users. With a large staff, the company has strong control over quality. The crew performs most work in-house, although with larger projects, Muchalat reaches out for additional manpower.
“$1 million to $2 million projects are our target size for projects,” Tania elaborates. “Depending on the size of a project and our current workload, we will use subcontractors, especially for mechanical and plumbing work. At times for larger projects, we need more labor. We tend to use the same subs over and over. We need to have good relationships with them. Our subcontractor partners are very loyal. They do a great job on our projects and we bring them a lot of work.”
With the housing market on the rise, new opportunities are opening up for the team. “Things are certainly getting better,” Tania notes. “Projects are starting to sell more and we have several strong projects down the pipeline. We will be doing some concrete and framing work for a new McDonald’s and we have a multifamily development project coming up in the next month or so.”
As the market grows, Muchalat has no solid plans for major expansion. “I think we have found our niche,” Tania says. “We are comfortable with what we are doing now. We are seeing a strong profit return from our current work and we will continue to do what we do best. We enjoy what we do. The diversity of the company is great and I am really happy with my career. I could never have a normal desk job.”
Looking ahead, Muchalat is on course for steady and stable growth. Backed by an experienced team and strong partnerships, the business continues to attract new and repeat business. While from the outside, the company has changed significantly over the years, certain aspects remain the same. Muchalat Group of Companies grows from the same foundation of results, strength and integrity that Joe Formosa laid down in 1979.