WRITTEN BY DEBRA LYNN
Jeremy Connolly of Connolly Contracting did not initially intend to open a general contracting business in Port Alice. He had been looking to get out of the big city, thinking he would eventually end up in the Caribou. After staying at his girlfriend’s parents’ home on Marine Drive and doing a few renovations for them, he soon discovered that there was a whole lot of other people in town who needed renovations.
When Connolly arrived in Port Alice in June of 2021, he hadn’t even done any advertising, but had jobs “just pouring in.”
One day when he drove his van into Port Hardy and Port McNeill, he had “everybody coming up to the van and looking for business cards… everybody has something they need done!”
Connolly specializes in home renovations, bathrooms, kitchens, painting, drywall, “pretty much everything.”
Working on construction sites in Vancouver, he found that he was doing a lot of the work himself. It prompted him to start his own company in January 2019.
“It was actually a weird time,” he said. “I couldn’t afford a vehicle… so I was getting on the bus with all my tools or getting a taxi… so I’d be on the bus with tools and getting tools dropped off and materials dropped off.”
He endured that for seven months, and “actually did quite well that first year.”
Connolly considers himself self-taught, having learned by looking over the shoulders of other contractors he worked with. Ever since he was six-years-old, he would work under the car or fix things around the house with his dad.
“Since a really young age, I was always fixing everything and able to build anything. By the time I was 14, I built my own truck… It’s something that comes natural to me.”
He is also a bit of an artist, noting it’s “always been a passion of mine to make something look beautiful and then have it come out perfect… I won’t leave the site until it looks how I want it to and that’s usually above what they were expecting anyway… if my company name is going be on my work, I want it to look perfect.”
For Connolly, Port Alice has been a good fit.
He loves fishing, anything outdoors and lakes. Since moving here, a friend took him out fishing on the ocean a few times and he just loves it. He adds, “The city is a bit too busy for me… I love it up here, ever since I came up here I’ve never looked back, really… now I keep trying to shuffle the rest of the family up here.”
He likes the calm and quiet, revelling in the fact that he has only heard one ambulance siren the whole time he’s been here. He also finds the people here in the North Island to be “really helpful and talkative.”
While he lived in Vancouver, he barely ever talked to his neighbours that he had lived next to for five years.
He says that, “out here I’ve talked to pretty much the whole town just in passing.”
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