By Mark Buckshon
As OakWood, Ottawa’s leading renovation contractor, prepares to celebrate its 60th year in business, you might expect some selfcongratulatory messages.
Not so with this family-run business.
Never content to toot its own horn, the company demonstrates innovation and creativity by what it does rather than what it says. It’s always asking: “What’s next?”
These days, “what’s next” is a newly-expanded service that includes a la carte renovations and small handyman-project fix-it options. This is coupled with its flagship full-service design-build service. OakWood now has its own line of cabinetry. New custom home and custom commercial design and build services are available as well.
The company’s new LEED Platinum, 22,700 sq.ft. showroom at 865 Taylor Creek Drive (which was seven years in the making) will open soon. The building will supplement neighbourhood design and presentation centres, co-located with Randall’s in the Glebe, Bells Corners and Orleans.
It is a company that is constantly evolving, expanding and refining to meet ever-changing customer needs. It leads by example.
OakWood’s roots date back to 1956, when CEO John Liptak’s parents decided to rent, then purchase, a 100-acre rural property east of Ottawa. Its name comes from a 320-year-old oak tree in the middle of the property.
“It’s still there today,” says Patricia Liptak-Satov, John’s daughter and the company’s chief operating officer.
“My dad started in furniture,” John Liptak says. “He came from Germany where he was schooled to be a skilled tradesman.” Because of the high demand for skilled craftsmen, he evolved his business into renovations and additions. “When I was a 10-year-old child, I was sweeping up at job sites,” he recalls.
John combined his construction experience and background with an insatiable interest in technology and computers – ultimately building a successful international software business, including a proprietary design-to-completion system that today forms the backbone of OakWood’s processes.
“It’s all about the attention to detail,” John Liptak says. “Everything is documented from the start.” Homeowners can select their materials, finishes and special project details, and visualize the project from concept to completion.
“It’s all about the attention to detail,” he says. “Everything is documented from the start.” Homeowners can select their materials, finishes and special project details, and visualize the project from concept to completion. The proprietary software reflects the “secret sauce” behind the business. With systems and checks-andbalances, nothing falls through the cracks. A built-in client portal, follow-up and verification system ensures client satisfaction in an otherwise chaotic industry.
OakWood’s roots date back to 1956, when CEO John Liptak’s parents decided to rent, then purchase, a 100-acre rural property east of Ottawa. Its name comes from a 320-year-old oak tree in the middle of the property. “It’s still there today,” says Patricia Liptak-Satov, the company’s chief operating officer.
OakWood’s systems, service, and reputation have attracted the attention of television personality Mike Holmes, who sought out OakWood as a partner for a number of projects in Ottawa.
Holmes and his team were thorough in their evaluation of OakWood. “They were very direct and they wanted to know everything,” John says, “from how we were taking care of our clients and trade partners right down to our financial positon.”
Mike Holmes is interested in sharing OakWood’s proprietary software.
“There is nothing like this in the industry, “says Mike, “where all the documents and automated processes are cloud-based. Everything is transparent and organized.”
He continues: “We’ve already been partnered together for three years and we couldn’t be happier. It’s great to see a company so innovative and staying focused on keeping their clients happy in this tough industry.”
OakWood’s LEED platinum headquarters building, where there is virtually no paper and everyone works in a secure environment with lots of fresh air and light, even has noise-cancelation software for privacy. This reflects the company’s commitment to the future of green and self-sustaining communities.
There’s attention to detail everywhere.
“Little things can make a big difference,” John says. “We want our clients to have a level of assurance that they are getting exactly what they desire with real value for the money they spend.”
The new showroom will allow clients to see more than 7,200 finishes and try out everything from sink faucets to cabinet accessories. They can even flush the toilets. It will also have a virtual reality hologram environment where clients can virtually “walk through” their proposed projects.
John says there is nothing like the new showroom in Canada, and it will be a destination for anyone considering a home renovation, addition, new kitchen, bathroom or new custom home. He adds that architects and designers are already lining up to partner with his company so they can take advantage of the “one-stop-shop” benefits of the unique showroom.
OakWood hasn’t stopped there, however.
“Wait until you see what’s coming next,” says Patricia.