The LivingCK team recently chatted with Joe and Erin Liberty who are co-owners of Liberty Home, a group of businesses specializing in home renovation.
I am a baCK to Chatham-Kent resident; I was born and raised on a family farm in Wabash. I love everything that CK has to offer - golf, boating, baseball, hockey, biking and great people. Speaking of great people, I am the father of two amazing boys Jackson (12 years old) and Hayden (9 years old). I am very active in the community from fundraising, volunteering and coaching both the boys in baseball and hockey.
I graduated from University of Windsor with a Commerce Degree and St. Clair College with a diploma in Marketing. After graduating, like most that age, I applied for about 100 jobs across North America. As luck would have it, I was hired at Union Gas in Chatham and worked there for 20 years.
Shortly after I started working, I met Erin. We both had homes in CK that we renovated together and sold. Those would have been our first projects together. When I think about how I got started in construction and design, I think about my dad. My dad was very supportive of my woodworking hobby and set me up with a woodworking shop on our farm when I was in high school. He's a pretty modest guy but he is a skilled craftsmen as well.
Also during my post-secondary years, I worked for a local contractor who taught me all areas of residential construction. I have often said "that job was probably the most valuable experience I ever had". I learned so many skills that gave me to confidence to tackle bigger projects over the years. We have always had a weekend warrior/ DIY mentality doing small construction jobs and custom woodworking projects.
After choosing to leave my corporate career, I worked for a local builder in a business development capacity. This was when I really learned of the demand in the market for Liberty Home services. Our long-term plan always included Erin and I retiring early from our corporate jobs to pursue a partnership in Residential Design and Construction in some capacity. It is fun (most of the time LOL) to work together and see how ambitious and savvy of a businessperson she is. We complement each other well.
My current title is Director Project Management & Construction for Liberty Interior Design as well as Co-Owner of Liberty Home. I think the roles I am currently in are the perfect fit for me. The part that makes me feel like I am living a bit of a fantasy camp is that as an accomplished woodworker and artisan, I get to design and build custom pieces to compliment our design service.
We feel fortunate to serve the community of Chatham-Kent. It brings us joy to drive by and see the homes that we have designed. We love working and developing relationships with the people of Chatham Kent. Most clients not only become repeat customers they also become longtime friends.
Chatham is where we both grew up, our families are here; this community formed who we are. Chatham-Kent has the best of everything in our mind; you can raise a family, have successful fulfilling corporate careers, be a small business owner, stay close to home, family and friends all at the same time. If you crave the big city life or a cottage getaway, both are just a short drive. Both of us grew up here in Chatham-Kent and we would not choose to live, raise our family and grow our business anywhere else!
I love Chatham-Kent and of course the people here. My story is similar but a little different than Joe's because I never really ever left Chatham-Kent. I grew up in Blenheim, lived briefly in British Columbia until I was six, then we relocated back to Blenheim to be closer to our extended family.
For schooling when it was time to go away to university, I was not ready to move so I started my post secondary education at St. Clair College studying accounting. I bought my first house in Blenheim and started my first corporate job all by the age of 19. I went back to school to obtain my Honours Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Laurentian University and later, my Certified General Accountant designation. And then years later again back to school for Interior Design.
Like Joe, I also worked at Union Gas (Enbridge); a great employer. We were both fortunate to work there and build our life here. Living in Chatham-Kent has really allowed us to experience so much more to life then we otherwise would have. Sometimes those who live in the big cities have long commutes with no down time in the evenings and many of those folks were my colleagues in Toronto; when they would visit here we would chuckle about our 7 minute commute home. Working at a place with flexible hours and a short commute allowed us to focus on our side hustles in the evening.
My 20-year corporate career was extremely rewarding and paved the way to my success as an entrepreneur. I have always loved everything "home" and am highly creative, so it was the perfect fit when I went back to school for Interior Design and in 2016 started Liberty Interior Design. Growing up my parents were always the DIY type and highly creative; actually, everyone in my family is creative and loves home renovation projects, I guess it's in our blood.
One of the other amazing things about Chatham-Kent is how talented the people are here! Everyone in Chatham-Kent has been so supportive of Joe and I and we want to give back to the community. This year we have expanded our team at Liberty Home and introduced the Liberty Marketplace and Liberty Interior Internship program. The Liberty Marketplace is an Ecommerce Shop and Artisan Showroom for local talent. We feature artisans work on our website and in our designs. Working with talented like-minded people is what drives me! Through the marketplace and internship program we have an opportunity to collaborate and grow together.
Honestly, I really cannot imagine a life anywhere else other than Chatham-Kent. The people here are genuine and really care about each other and that is what we want our boys to grow up appreciating is a sense of community. Being involved in pretty much all the sports offered in Chatham as parents, coaches, and volunteers the opportunities to be part of this community here is probably the number one reason we choose to raise our boys and grow our business here.