Deborah Murphy and Wayne Hochberg’s professional lives on PEI can be summed up in three ways: they help others make PEI their home, they run a fireplace retail business, and they provide hospitality to visitors by renting out their home.
“Before we moved here from the US, we had visited many times and fell in love with the Island,” says Deborah. “We decided that when we wanted to slow down and semi-retire, this is where we wanted to be,” says Wayne.
When the couple built a house in Oyster Bed Bridge, the business ideas began. They started a company called Build My PEI Home, which helps new Islanders connect with the expertise they need to successfully manage the many steps needed to move to PEI and build or buy a house.
They help find real estate agents, home and interior designers, builders, artisans and craftspeople, flooring and window specialists, bankers, accountants, insurance agents, legal advisors, schools, service organizations, and more.
The next business idea flowed from the first. “When we built our house, we wanted a fireplace, but the costs kept escalating,” says Wayne. After purchasing a BioFlame fireplace, which is fueled by ethanol, they decided to become the Maritimes distributor. However, they needed a showroom to display the fireplaces.
Meanwhile, the couple was having great success renting out space in their home for summer visitors. They purchased the property next door and built a structure that does double duty as a fireplace showroom downstairs and an apartment for living upstairs.
Help to get the businesses started
- PEI Business Women’s Association: “We attended networking events, mentoring, workshops, and got help with our business plan.”
- InnovationPEI: “They offered us sound advice and guidance about business planning, as well as two micro grants for website development and small business investment.”
- Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce: “We became members, and attended networking events, workshops, the Biz2Biz trade show, annual meetings, mentoring, and more.”
- PEI Newcomers Association: “We attended networking events, parties and mixers, and received advice and guidance for meeting people.”
“We established a Voluntary Advisory Board of six successful professionals,” says Deborah. “They studied our business plans and our website, and provided regular updates, support, great advice and guidance, and helpful constructive criticism.
“Our graphic design partner TechnoMedia provided hours of advice, guidance, direction, and great design. Most importantly, they spent hours listening!
“Islanders are so generous. Many took the time to direct us to the information and resources we needed. We were also introduced to other people who could offer help, and before we knew it, we had developed a network on the Island. It has been great.”