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Local Builder Flips New Orleans Venture
Stay tuned to discover the fate of the fledgling
And in the process, the local crew may get their 15 minutes of fame by appearing on the cable television show "Flip That House" on TLC, The Learning Channel.
"Our guys were paid to go down there through money that was generated here. They took two weeks out of their lives to go down there and help out, and that was really the start of it," said Heys, 43, a
"When they came back, our superintendent, Mike Klumpstra, said, 'Bruce, there's probably an opportunity here that we could look at to grow the business.' We had no intention of starting a business down there, originally. It was just a way to help somebody else out, kind of a fun thing to do. Then the more we thought about it after those guys came back, it looked like it was a win-win situation."
Heys said getting a
"They're short on labor," Heys said. "They're desperately looking for qualified carpenters to rebuild and put things back together."
Yet the rebuilding process has been stymied by bureaucracy, and many owners of damaged properties are still waiting for cash from insurance or the government, he said. Until that happens, they can't hire a builder.
Still, Heys said, his company has met with more than a dozen potential customers in New Orleans and are about to begin work on a new home for a couple who've been living with relatives in Michigan since the storm but who want to get back to Cajun country.
"So many people talk about why would you want to live in a spot that's below sea level? It just doesn't make any sense," Heys said. "But if you've lived there all your life, you really don't know any different. I mean, that's just what you do. So of course you're going to rebuild."
The company is setting up a permanent
"I absolutely love it down there," said Klumpstra, 25. "The people are great and the culture is a lot of fun."
Heys said his company plans to replace the construction of spec homes around
"Rather than doing spec houses here, we're going to be buying and fixing houses down there, and flipping down there," he said.
A Louisiana Realtor led Heys to apply for an appearance on "Flip That House," a cable television show that focuses on different "flippers" and projects around the country. The show will document Heys' first flip in
"A year, year and a half ago, I would never have thought we'd be in