A showcase of successes, innovations, and lessons learned from regional businesses.
Yarmouth business, RennDuPrat Design & Fabrication, was created by Freshco owner and Yarmouth native Mandy Rennehan, and Dustin DuPrat, a designer and carpenter originally from Vermont.
Mandy and Dustin met on a job after Dustin moved to Yarmouth, the town his wife, Kelly, calls home. Dustin and Kelly owned and operated a successful design and construction business in Vermont before they made the move. They decided to work together to build RennDuPrat, a design and fabrication firm.
RennDuPrat is a design firm that not only does the interior and exterior designs, but also creates custom, one-off furniture/accessories/kitchens. They serve both residential and commercial clients. Their first order of business was to create their headquarters. They took 1.5 years to renovate a building on Main Street in Yarmouth and turned it into a beautiful place to do business, a custom woodworking shop, and an executive apartment.
Establishing a new business can be a challenge, but as the quality of their work became known, the calls started coming in for new projects. Then they had to grow their team.
The business includes Mandy and Dustin, of course, Kelly, who is the Operations Manager, as well as 1 Executive Assistant, 4 Cabinet Makers, and 4 on the Construction Crew.
Dustin admits that early on it was challenging to find skilled carpenters willing to join his construction crew. Many local skilled tradespeople have built long-standing relationships with well-established businesses in the area and they felt joining such a new and seemingly unconventional business would be too risky.
However, once they got rolling there was no issue, and they started getting calls asking if they were hiring. The job is fun and creative, and the team is excited about the job and what they are creating. Every job is different, there is a lot of opportunity for problem solving, and for everyone to leave their own fingerprint. Their employees take pride in what they do, and that makes it easy to come to work.
RennDuPrat Team 2017
RennDuPrat is particular about the types of people they hire. Dustin and Kelly learned in their previous business, that a certain level of professionalism in a trade will set you apart from the rest. As an employer, RennDuPrat is infused with a high level of professionalism, including customer service qualities such as discretion. To add to the professional atmosphere, all employees are dressed in branded RennDuPrat gear.
Like any business, there are challenges. “Yarmouth is a tough place to do business, geographically”, said Dustin. It’s not on the main drag, and getting materials here in a timely fashion is difficult. Sometimes it can take a week or more, where getting materials in Toronto or Montreal takes a day. RennDuPrat had to cut deals with their suppliers, to ensure that they could get materials on time.
Another challenge is that the Maritimes tend to be about 10 years behind on trends, including design and décor. Having lived and worked in the design industry in Vermont gives Kelly and Dustin an advantage here. Mandy’s presence in Toronto helps them keep their finger on the pulse, and bring the latest to Yarmouth.
Although there was a bit of skepticism when they first started out, RennDuPrat is proud to have its home base in Western Nova Scotia. They appreciate the supportive community, and have observed that it’s a great market for their product. The people in the Western region want to support local business, and are happy to see innovative businesses thrive.
RennDuPrat is currently running at max capacity in their current building, and are looking to expand to Toronto.