Spruceland Homes Ltd.
Steve Ratzlaff began selling real estate in 1987, building experience and rapport with builders and homebuyers for more than a decade before striking out on his own and founding Spruceland Homes Ltd. (Spruceland). In 2003, his company began performing in-house construction services for residential clients in Chilliwack, British Columbia. For 11 years, the business has grown steadily.
Steve is still involved in the business, serving as a field supervisor and office manager. He builds and maintains strong lines of communication between the office in Chilliwack, British Columbia, and the jobsite, leveraging his experience to give soon-to-be homeowners the high-quality homes they want and deserve.
Steve works with a strong management team, including Ron Funk, president; P.L. Meindertsma, vice president; and James Funk, general manager. Ron has been a real estate agent since 1981, eventually transitioning to land development before coming to work alongside Steve. Today Ron oversees operations at Spruceland and performs land acquisition and forecasting for the business.
“We set ourselves apart through our dedication to quality and our diverse capabilities,” Ron explains. “We have strong relationships with Canada Lands Company and other developers.”
Since 2004 the crew has been busy at Garrison Crossing, a growing development featuring condos, attached and freestanding homes. Spruceland has constructed over 1,000 units at Garrison Crossing, and is currently building single-family houses, condominiums and townhomes. The company’s Village Homes at Garrison Crossing features two-story floor plans with three bedrooms, full basements and large yards for growing families.
The Garrison development is one of Ron’s pet projects. “The sense of community there is just incredible,” he explains. “We feel we are producing something in the area that is really special. We are building neighborhoods that bring people together, which is just how a neighborhood should be. We will be working in that development for the next eight years or so.”
Residential building remains at the forefront of Spruceland’s mission. “Right now we are looking at taking on some retirement housing, though we are still in the early stages,” says Ron. “We are potentially partnering with a retirement company that has several established care facilities.”
While the Spruceland team has been busy over the last few years, Ron says that there have been some bumps along the way. “Both 2009 and 2010 were tough years for us,” he notes. “We have a strong market now, but we still face some challenges. A few years ago, we started facing a labor shortage. A lot of workers left to work in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The price of materials has gone up too, which has made it more difficult to maintain margins.”
Fortunately, selling prices have remained stable, although without growth in that area, return on investment is still harder to build. “We are fortunate,” Ron explains. “We have a strong management team and great partnerships with our subcontractors. They understand as well as we do that the margins are slim and we all work together to turn around efficient, high-quality projects. We know all of our local subs and they know that no one is guaranteed a job. We are selective and only work with reliable contractors.”
By maintaining these relationships, Spruceland has been able to build a good reputation for residential construction. The business puts customers first. Ron and his team recognize that buyers will be making these projects into their homes, so the crew goes above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that homeowners are happy with each choice.
Therefore, the business works directly with buyers, going over a range of home options to determine a good fit and build a list of specifications for each house. The end result is a personalized home that suits the needs of individuals, couples and families.
Value is the name of the game at Spruceland. Buying a home is a big investment and Ron and his crew want that investment to pay off. In the coming years, the company has a range of projects down the pipeline. The crew remains focused on quality, efficiency and integrity as Spruceland Homes Ltd. works to build homes and neighborhoods for the future.