Our Ribbon Cutting – A Moment to Celebrate and Look Back

June 24, 2024

45 years ago, Cris and Robyn Douglas created DKI-CRCS at their kitchen table. Now, standing with their three sons, the new owners of the company, they cut the ribbon at the company’s official opening, a day to celebrate the completion of our new Oshawa headquarters.

It was a warm, sunny day as roughly 150 guests gathered outside to join DKI-CRCS and PetleyHare as they revelled in their accomplishments. A sense of pride filled the air as the two companies welcomed guests into their new home.

Of course, many hours of hard work were spent making the dream of this new building a reality.

The Building Process

Ryan Douglas took the lead on build-outs, dedicating many of his mornings and evenings to designing the office and watching the project come to life.

A photo of the plain white, bare warehouse during the build-outs process

“I walked into an empty shell and a little bit of chaos,” he said. “To see the finished product is incredible.”

From framing to rough-ins, Ryan led crews through each step of the way. However, this dream started long before the six months of build-outs.

The building was purchased in 2018. Then, came the planning process before the crew officially broke ground in the fall of 2022.

“I’m lucky that I could envision what it could look like and, it surpassed what I had hoped,” Ryan said. “It’s not what Ryan’s created. It’s what DKI-CRCS has created.”

Ryan said he feels grateful for the support shown throughout the project.

“A big thanks really needs to be mentioned to all of our sub-trades, our designers and my family because everyone played a part,” he said. “I just drew the lucky straw to be here to run it.”

Ryan explained that with the new building comes new opportunities for DKI-CRCS, such as the opportunity to share a facility with our long-time industry partner, PetleyHare, and an opportunity to grow.

Over the 22 years that Ryan has been with the company, he has watched it evolve. He helped move DKI-CRCS from Stanley Court to Skae Drive and he watched as more employees were hired and a water division was created.

“Every place we’ve left was because we outgrew it,” Ryan said. “We left Hopkins Street because we outgrew it. We outgrew Stanley Court. Then, we added an extension on Skae Drive, and we outgrew it before it was even done and, it’s all because of this lovely gentleman [Cris Douglas].”

Like this new building, DKI-CRCS started from a dream.

The Beginning

If you ask Cris Douglas how he got into the restoration business, he’ll tell you it was by mistake.

“I just kind of fell into it,” he said. “I knew another contractor and he needed my, I’m going to toot my horn, he needed my skill and talent to put together some custom woodworking stuff. I thought I was pretty good at what I was doing. And he hired me and told me it was an insurance claim. So, I did the job and, I thought ‘I can do this.’”

Cris continued working as a sub-trade for another contractor and shortly after that, in September 1979, he quit his job to start his dream.

“I lined up a few jobs, I had the talent and I had the tools,” he said. “I was 25 and Robyn was 24, and I decided, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it now.”

Cris did not do it alone.

“I couldn’t have done what I wanted to do without Robyn’s support,” Cris said. “No way. A lot of times, I catch myself because I say ‘I’ It’s not I. It’s we. Robyn’s always been there. She’s supported my crazy decisions along the way. We always talked about it, and we always got through it together.”

DKI-CRCS began at Robyn and Cris’s house. He called it a “kitchen table start”.

Cris started many of his mornings on job sites framing houses, fixing roofs and working the tools until 12:00-2:00 pm. Then, he would go visit clients and sell estimates.

“I had a Jack Fraser suit bag that hung behind my seat in the van,” Cris said. “I would go to a restaurant, wash up, have a bite to eat, go out in the van and change my clothes. Then, I’d go see clients, and I’d do that till five, six or seven o’clock. Then I’d come home. Robyn many times woke me up to go to bed at one o’clock in the morning because I was face down on the desk, sound asleep doing paperwork.”

After a lot of late nights and hard work, DKI-CRCS began to flourish. Growing from one truck to two, from one employee to two and moving from Cris and Robyn’s garage to their first office on Hopkins Street in Whitby.

“It didn’t come easy, but I was determined, and I had no idea,” Cris said. “I just wanted to be a contractor construction guy. I didn’t know it was going to morph into this, but it did, and here we are.”

Looking Forward

Though Ryan said he views the new building as a transition and a fresh start for the next generation of ownership, he and his brothers have not forgotten how DKI-CRCS started. The boardrooms have been named after two of DKI-CRCS’s previous homes and, memories and pieces Cris had hung at Skae Drive now line the walls of the new office.

The corner of the white and blue family room. Locks and photos of old tools line the walls with a grey couch and a blue armchair with a bright red pillow.

Cris looked at the walls in the “Family Room” with a teary-eyed smile.

“Those are Robyn’s grandfather’s locks from the farm,” he said. “These are photos of my grandfather’s hand tools. He was a farmer carpenter.”

“I knew this was their next step, not mine, but for a year now, I’ve wondered ‘where’s all that going to go,’” Cris said. “I knew it was all wrapped in a box but I had no idea where it was going to be, and I never asked. And here it is. That’s special. It means a lot to Robyn and I.”

DKI-CRCS strives to continue to uphold the values upon which Robyn and Cris Douglas founded it: honesty, integrity and hard work.

Kyle Douglas said the ribbon cutting is about celebrating all the good days the company has had and all the good days that are yet to come.

“45 years ago, my mom and dad had a dream for DKI-CRCS, and that dream started in their house,” Kyle said. “Now, we’re in this state-of-the-art building, we have a great team behind us and my brothers and I are really excited and proud of it.”

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