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Move to Windsor makes business dream reality

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

By Dave Hall, The Windsor Star

Even as a young girl hanging out in her father's furniture restoration workshop in Saskatoon, Trena Reynolds knew what she wanted to do when she grew up.

"I loved working with my hands, I loved seeing a piece of furniture lovingly restored and I loved seeing my dad's customers excited about what he'd done for them," said Reynolds, who worked in the shop for 15 years while going to school, teaching and working at a General Motors dealership as an automotive technician.

"I've had what you'd call some nontraditional jobs in male-dominated fields but it's something I've always wanted to do," said Reynolds, 30. "It's something I have a real passion for after working with my dad for so long."

A recent move to Windsor with her husband, who was transferred by FedEx from its Saskatoon office, has enabled Reynolds to achieve her dream of opening a furniture repair and restoration business in a small workshop on Walker Road.

Named John's Furniture Repair after her father, it remains a work in progress but Reynolds envisions building a small office and filling the remaining space with work benches, a spray booth and her tools, some of which she's having shipped from her father's shop.

"I'm doing this to honour my father and for the way his business supported our family for so many years," said Reynolds. "His business was burnt out in 1998 and he had to start fresh with virtually no insurance. It was heartbreaking but he did it."

Reynolds said that her father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a year ago and he will probably be forced to close the shop within a year so "I'm trying to keep the name going."

But it wasn't always smooth sailing as one of three females in some of her shop courses.

"There were some tough days but you meet some good people who support you along the way and your learn to pick your battles," said Reynolds. "My dad always taught us that we could do whatever we wanted to do and not to let other people place limitations on us."

While continuing to work in the shop, Reynolds picked up a teaching degree from the University of Saskatoon and embarked upon a career teaching wood shop and mechanics programs in high school.

It wasn't what she wanted to spend her life doing, though. When Reynolds and her husband realized their small house in Saskatoon which they paid $98,000 for was suddenly worth $250,000, a different life choice emerged.

"We were mired in student debt like many people and we were looking for a change," said Reynolds.

After doing some research, Trena, Ron and daughter Mila decided to sell the house and move to Windsor.

"We paid off our student debt, bought two cars and now we have a mansion on Victoria (Avenue) which we have no business living in," said Reynolds. "Some nights, we look at each other and say, 'How did this happen?'"

Kim Gazo, a sales representative with Valente Real Estate, said the Reynolds' story is becoming more common.

"It helps, of course, if you have portable skills but it makes sense if you are able to make the move work for you," said Gazo. "House prices and the cost of living makes Windsor an attractive option for anyone coming for a more expensive housing market."

"It's not just active retirees now, but it's people in their 30s and 40s who are making that lifestyle choice," said Gazo.

For Reynolds, it meant leaving family behind in Saskatoon but the advantages are obvious.

"We love Windsor, the weather's great and our daughter made a pretty fast adjustment and she really likes Dougall school," said Reynolds. "So it's been very positive for all of us."

For more information on her business, contact Reynolds at 226-280-2360 or trenareynolds@yahoo.ca.

Link to article: http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2014/01/02/move-to-windsor-makes-business-dream-reality/