Ever since Dave Fast and his wife Lisa were teenagers, the two had taken many trips to Muskoka with their families. While Dave grew up in St. Catherines and Lisa in Sudbury, the two could only imagine what it would be like to live in the Muskoka area.
In 2008, once Dave and Lisa had established Fast Homes, their smart home automation business, they made it their goal to move the business to the Muskoka region. “Our clients were frequently asking us to work on their cottages,” shared Dave. In 2012, they made their first step toward accomplishing their goal and they purchased a cottage just outside Port Carling which they are now happily living at year-round.
Fast Homes has finally made the transition in offering their work primarily throughout Muskoka, which has driven the company to recently rebrand their business to Muskoka Smart Homes. The company has also just built a showroom in downtown Port Carling, conveniently right beside the Home Hardware.
Muskoka has seen tremendous growth in the construction industry, which allowed Dave to identify an opportunity for custom home automation, audio, and visual, alongside the many custom cottage builds and renovations. Dave and Lisa shared that they love Muskoka and know what their clients are looking for in the area. “They want to make the most of their time at the cottage and create a space that can be enjoyed by their families and guests,” says Dave.
Knowing the specific desires of clients helps Muskoka Smart Homes to make the most of gathering areas in family cottages such as a Muskoka room or even home theatres. The entertainment does not stop inside the cottage, especially with the recent high demand in creating the best outdoor entertainment experience. For some, this may mean installing high-end landscape speakers, lighting for the dock, or even integrating an outdoor TV that is weatherproof and specific to the lighting conditions of where it is installed.
“The best part about owning a business in Muskoka is the environment in which you get to work,” Dave says. Driving to work for Dave no longer signifies a long drive thanks to the daily city traffic. How can you complain about your commute to work when it consists of amazing views and sparkling waters?
In Muskoka, quality is everything in local trades and Dave is proud to finally be associated with them. Dave shared that “Muskoka has a strong reputation for great trade work and we put a lot of effort into our work. Quality and reliability is our number one focus. If you are up at the cottage, the last thing you need is for the system not to work. You are only there for a small window of time, so your experience should be 100 percent enjoyable.”
The grand opening of Muskoka Smart Home’s showroom in downtown Port Carling can be expected this spring. “The space gives us the opportunity to show clients what we can do for them,” says Lisa. “Most of the time you have to see it to believe it.” You have the option to select from 100 different fabrics for automated window shades, over 30 colours and finishes for your lighting control keypads, or view a TV that pops up from your marble kitchen island.
They are most proud about the work environment that has come out of Muskoka Smart Homes. “We understand that in business your employees are your number one asset,” Dave says. “We have a great team at Muskoka Smart Homes and we are happy to help staff balance work and life schedules.”
What is the one piece of advice Dave and Lisa would give to aspiring businesses looking to locate to Muskoka? “Always dedicate time to building relationships,” Dave says. The local business community is built on honesty and trust, local participation in events or with associations allows the opportunity to connect and build relationships. Dave and Lisa acknowledge that Muskoka and Port Carling specifically, is an exciting community filled with great people that continue to grow. It is important to prepare for the busy but exciting summers in Muskoka while understanding and planning for the seasonality of the area.
Visit Muskoka Smart Homes at 65 Joseph St, Port Carling, Ontario or online at www.fasthomes.ca.