Willms Electrical Contracting Ltd. has seen its renovation projects double in 2020 as North Okanagan residents forgo travelling amid COVID-19, in favour of working on the home. (Contributed)

Vernon business flourishing as pandemic leads home renovation spike

'Our renovations have increased by double,' says Graham Willms, owner of Willms Electrical Contracting

It’s been a booming business year for North Okanagan electrician Graham Willms.

The owner of Willms Electrical Contracting Ltd. has seen his business double every year since 2017, and says the trend is continuing in 2020 as the pandemic leads residents to spend their travel money on home renovations.

“Our renovations have increased by double, basically,” Willms said. “It seems like a pretty healthy construction industry right now around here.

Willms started the company straight out of high school in 2008, but left the North Okanagan a few years later during a slow-down in construction before returning to the area about three years ago.

“I was able to keep the company doors open while I was gone, and since I’ve been back it’s been absolutely booming.”

The small team of five at Willms Electrical handles anything from service calls — installing light fixtures and hot tub hookups – to wiring brand-new homes and commercial spaces.

More recently, the company has been part of a broader movement towards a greener built environment.

Willms Electrical is a member of the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals, and through that partnership, they’ve been able to offer rebates to customers for electric vehicle charger installations. They also offer LED retrofits for commercial spaces, with customers getting subsidies directly from BC Hydro.

“We pre-wire all our new houses for electric vehicle chargers, which we never used to. That’s standard now,” Willms said, adding that more electric car sales have kept him busy with charger retrofits in existing homes and commercial spaces.

“It’s just nice to see that shift happening,” Willms said.

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Brendan Shykora

Reporter, Vernon Morning Star

Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com

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