Skip to main content

A prefab home built by Karoleena, in British Columbia.

Karoleena Inc.

Two years after moving to Okanagan Falls, B.C., from Calgary, the aspirations of brothers Kurt and Kris Goodjohn are beginning to be realized.

The pair co-founded Karoleena Inc., a manufacturer of modular prefabricated homes and cottages, in 2006. Kurt Goodjohn likens the components that make up the company's modernist, energy-efficient houses to big Lego blocks. "We design all of our homes using our 'Lego' blocks, and then they're pieced together onsite," he says.

The brothers told their story in a Small Business Challenge article last March. At the time, they were trying to determine how best to expand the company. "Do we want to grow really fast, or do we want to have it be somewhat of a lifestyle[-friendly] type of business?" Kurt Goodjohn wondered at the time.

Story continues below advertisement

In the past 12 months, the company has doubled its full-time staff and contractors to 48, and while the brothers were hoping to realize $8-million in revenue this year, Mr. Goodjohn estimates it will be closer to $10-million, in large part because of their new, 35,000-square-foot construction facility in British Columbia.

The homes take roughly six months to build once the design is finalized. They are 80 to 90 per cent finished when they leave the plant and can cost anywhere from $200,000 to the mid-$600,000s.

Mr. Goodjohn has identified between 20 and 30 North American markets that could be served out of replicated facilities like the one in Okanagan Falls, with the first expansion market likely to be in the United States.

"We've sold our first three homes into the U.S., so the logical route would be to go south rather than going east," he says. The Pacific Northwest and Northern California are likely destinations.

  • To see pictures of the brothers’ homes, click here.

The plan to expand to the States one market at a time was recommended by Ray Castelli, the chief executive officer of Weatherhaven, a shelter systems manufacturer, who was one of the experts in the original Small Business Challenge story.

Mr. Goodjohn said that advice, as well as other recommendations in the story, went a long way to helping the brothers determine whether they were on solid footing.

"I think probably the person from Weatherhaven was the most experienced in what we are trying to do," he said. "Basically it's validated what we're doing."

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Goodjohn says the Okanagan Falls plant could eventually produce 20 to 25 homes a year, enough to bring in $20-million to $25-million annually.

But the bottom-line goal for the pair has always been to produce a quality product. That strategy has guided them through a number of crossroads, particularly when they were being advised to go cheaper and focus on high volume to succeed in the prefab home industry.

"We're going to walk before we run," Mr. Goodjohn says, "so we just keep focusing on our plan and executing on it."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies