MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The man you’re about to meet turned a negative into a positive.
In 2007, like so many Americans, Charles Thayer, a bank loan officer, lost his job due to the recession and housing crisis. But it’s what he did after that makes him a Minnesotan to Meet.
Ten years ago, Charles Thayer was on top of his game. A beautiful wife, an expanding family, a good job at a bank and a home in St. Michael. Then it all came crashing down.
“As you know in 2007 the housing crisis happened. Houses were worth a lot less than they were at one time, so people couldn’t refinance or get a loan. And so I found myself without a career,” Thayer said.
Rather than dwell on the past, Thayer made the most of his future and started All Around Property and Cleaning Preservation.
“I looked at my wife and I said ‘What are we going to do?'” Thayer said. “Right then and there a light bulb went off. And I thought to myself, ‘Well, if we’re going through this right now, then there’s a good chance that there’s a lot of other people going through the same problem.’ And I thought, ‘Honey, you know how to clean homes,’ because she had cleaned homes before for a house cleaning service, ‘And I know a lot of realtors and bankers in the real estate industry. Why don’t we rehab homes?'”
And he did just that, picking up any work he could. Cleaning out homes one by one until he and his wife couldn’t keep up.
“It took off like a wildfire. I started making my first phone calls and in the first week we had clean-outs to do. And within four months we were so busy that we really couldn’t handle all of the work ourselves, and so we had to pull out of the field and hire a workforce,” Thayer said.
At its peak in 2013, Thayer says his company was working on 300 foreclosures a month across the region and had 28 full-time employees. He said as the market has rebounded his company and staffing needs have changed, and now All Around mainly focuses on exterior improvements.
“We knew that we were in a boom and bust market. Just like the mortgages were booming in the early 2000’s, we knew the foreclosures were booming and they would eventually bust,” Thayer said. “So we knew we had to take some of our eggs and put them in other baskets.”
Thayer says while this isn’t the career he anticipated, it’s one that gives him great pride.
“It ended up turning into a passion. It ended up turning into something we love to do,” Thayer said. “When you can stand back and take a look at the work that you’ve done to a house that may even be deemed as a tear-down, or a house that looks so undesirable that nobody would ever want to live there, and you can clean it up and make it feel great again and make it habitable for a new family, that’s extremely rewarding. We took that passion that we developed and turned it into our life-long career.”
We wanted to see one of the latest projects Thayer and his team are working on in Apple Valley, but unfortunately due to the bad weather last week, the roofing work they were doing was postponed until now.
His advice to a lot of others is look for that next opportunity, even if it’s not one you planned.