Skyview, Heritage Lakes and Terwillegar Towne.
They are three — of many — communities that hold a special meaning for Daytona Homes as it leaves its silver anniversary behind.
The Edmonton-based home builder, founded in 1993 by Ralph Hutchinson, is looking forward to the current 25-year block — starting this year — as it continues to expand eastwards and explores opportunities in the United States.
“Our first two subdivisions were Skyview and Heritage Lakes (in St. Albert),” said Steph Amonson, president, Tacada Residential. Tacada is now Daytona’s parent company and unites the builder’s housing companies and brands under one umbrella.
“Terwillegar Towne was a fun development that was unique at the time. We had clients who built three to four times with us in there. They bought in the first phases and continued to buy over and over again.”
Back in 1993 Daytona built 60 homes in its first year. In 1994, Daytona’s first homeowner moved into Skyview in the northwest part of the city.
“Buyers were excited as Daytona brought extra attention to clients,” said Amonson, noting that what helped make Daytona stand out as a new entrant was better kitchens and bigger windows. “The market really embraced those forward thinking designs.”
Today, Daytona operates in greater Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg and will build close to 600 homes this year ranging from starter homes to fourplexes and mid-market move-up houses, among others.
Setting A Foundation
It didn’t just start with Daytona.
The Hutchinson family had ties to the home building sector dating back to 1969. Hutchinson himself had worked for other homebuilders including ReidBuilt Homes. Ultimately, he decided it was time to step out on his own.
“Ralph always had two things in mind: opportunity for his family and his staff’s family,” said Amonson. “But he also had this bigger vision about being a big builder in Western Canada.”
Daytona expanded into Calgary in 1995. Then came Grande Prairie and Lethbridge in 1998. Daytona Communities was also launched in 1998 to develop expertly planned communities and developments. Fast forward to 2015 and Daytona Properties was created with an eye on the rental market.
“Each time we expanded it was a lot of fun but there are a lot of challenges when you move into marketplaces and move people,” said Amonson.
Dig deeper and Amonson explains Daytona’s secret to its success: building from the ground up, the importance of good relationships, and a focus on family.
“Our success has been because of our people,” said Amonson, who also includes passionate teams of employees, trades and suppliers as a key to its success. “We’re a people business both internally and externally.”
There there’s the relationships.
“Our strength has been having partnerships with some of the best developers,” added Amonson. “We’ve worked with Melcor, Genstar, MLC, Landrex, and so many others.”
And when it comes to family that is one of the company’s most important building blocks. “Ralph really believes in family,” said Amonson. “It is part of his core and now having it (the company) being run by a second generation of Hutchinsons is something he is very proud of.”
Family, by the way, is how Tacada became Daytona’s overarching brand. The first two letters of Hutchinson’s sons — Tally, Casey and Dallas — spell out the name.
Blueprint For The Future
Going forward, Daytona sees a future that in some ways is not much different than its past.
“Edmonton is a great city, an amazing city,” said Amonson. “When we started there were 600,000 people in Edmonton and now we’re close to one million. The type of home that people want will always be adapting, and we aim to fill that need of an ever changing market. We have to keep abreast of the changes — now we put in charging stations — but they still want a bedroom to sleep in, a kitchen to cook in and a living room to share laughs. Now we’re more environmentally friendly, and we will continue to adapt and to meet those needs.”
It will also draw from past strengths.
“We’ve become bigger with multiple brands in multiple cities,” said Amonson. “We’ve expanded into land development, into rentals. We now work on almost every type of shelter imaginable. We’ve grown from a small home builder to this big organization now called Tacada and we’re now focusing on the next 25 years and staying humble.”
Staying humble is how they celebrated their 25th anniversary last year and that humbleness also includes a charitable component.
There was no one big cake type of anniversary event. Rather, it was more about a lot of small staff-oriented activities.
Meanwhile, Daytona has and continues to be involved with various charities. In May, Daytona’s annual Spring Breakout Barbecue raised more than $52,000 in support of the Edmonton Down Syndrome Society with participation from Daytona employees, trades and business associates. As a contributor to the society over the last 23 years, it has raised $892,850 for the organization.
Daytona Gives Back
Daytona Homes won the the Community Service Award at BILD Alberta’s residential industry conference, BILD Horizons, held Sept. 12 to 15 in Jasper. The Community Service Award is presented to a company that has demonstrated qualities of compassion and service to either one organization or a variety of volunteer activities in the past year.
Daytona Homes dedicated the milestone of their 25th anniversary to challenging team members to do more in the communities where they live and work. This Daytona team volunteered for radiothons, co-ordinated “shoeboxes” for children and families during the holiday season, delivered meals for Mustard Seed, volunteered at Basically Babies, moved the Rainbow Society to their new office, and raised more than $50,000 for the Downs Syndrome Society.