Published On: Friday, 25 May 2018
26-Year-Old Businessman Makes Evergreen Grow
KELOWNA - UBCO grad Ranjit Takhar has a green thumb when it comes to growing businesses. Evergreen Building Maintenance is rooted in Kelowna, but has recently grown into a company that services communities all across BC.
For the past seven years, Evergreen has been managed full time by 26-year-old Ranjit, who is largely responsible for the company’s recent province-wide expansion.
Evergreen is a maintenance company that offers a wide variety of services. This includes: office cleaning, floor stipping and waxing, entrance mat supply and maintenance, sanitary product supply, landscaping, snow removal, public washroom cleaning, garbage and recycling removal, and post construction cleanup.
The company was founded just over 30 years ago in Calgary by Ranjit’s father, Gurmit Takhar.
“He started as a door to door steam extraction carpet cleaning salesman, and slowly moved into the commercial market as the business grew,” says Ranjit.
“He eventually realized that clients and business owners were asking for additional services, including various types of maintenance, landscaping, floor cleaning, and washroom stocking.”
Gurmit kept expanding his services until he was running a full-scale building maintenance company, operating in both the Calgary and Washington areas.
After a few years, Gurmit saw Kelowna as an ideal location for starting a family, and uprooted his established business in Calgary to break into the Okanagan market.
“He had a crew of about 10 in Calgary and five in Washington State, but when he moved to Kelowna, he had to start at zero,” says Ranjit.
Now, a few decades later, Gurmit is semi-retired, and Ranjit is running the company, which maintains over 7,500,000 square feet of commercial building space across BC.
Ranjit has been involved in the family business from as early as grade 3. “I would go to work with my parents, doing odd jobs like vacuuming, sweeping, or washing floors,” he says. “However, I’ve been professionally involved for about 10 years.”
When his father became ill, 16-year-old Ranjit found himself skipping high school classes to attend meetings and work with complex business proposals.
While attending UBCO, he continued to work three-quarters time for the family business. Upon graduating, Ranjit dove in to the family business, regularly putting in 80+ hour weeks to ensure the company’s success.
At the helm of his father’s company, Ranjit has made many significant changes.
“First, I wanted to make sure our brand was forward-focussed and green, so we changed the logos and branding, and updated our website,” he says.
He also ensured that he was adequately trained in all levels of the maintenance business by attending a six-month school for building service workers.
“I wanted to be hands-on in order to know what I was doing, and I learned all the necessary health and safety procedures as well,” says Ranjit.
His accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2016, Ranjit was named one of Kelowna’s Top Forty Under 40.
Most notably, Ranjit brought fresh vision to Evergreen. He developed a new service formula that would be easier to teach and repeat, and implemented a more professional, forward-focused vision.
“I learned early on that if you’re always on the front lines, you’re always going to remain a small business,” he says. “I decided to lift myself up from the day-to-day, and hired a new manager, Michael Amouei, and business sales executive, Louis Stephen.”
Ranjit holds these core team members in high regard.
“I try to hire people who are better than me,” he says. “Both of them bring a lot of relevant experience to the table and, and they have a lot of skills that have been key in the company’s success.”
The company now has regional supervisors in Abbotsford, Vancouver, Kamloops, Kootenays, Prince George and Victoria Island.
Evergreen’s future is looking bright, thanks to Ranjit’s goal of constantly improving and expanding his business.
“Initially, I wanted to expand, expand, expand,” he says. “I had to learn through experience that I need to pace myself. Now I’m working on developing and sustaining more infrastructure in the company. I’ve found that quality is more important than expansion, and we will only be successful if customers are coming back to us.”
Ranjit has decided on a three-year plan that involves hiring new staff developing company infrastructure, and working toward offering nation-wide services.
The company already services provincial brands such as BC Hydro, BC Liquor Distribution, Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart, and offers their product to businesses ranging from small tire shops to prominent shopping centres.
While his father focused on building a strong reputation in Kelowna, Ranjit’s fresh vision has seen the company grow to operate province-wide. Now, over 30 years after its beginning, Evergreen Building Maintenance employs over 230 staff.
Even though Ranjit has demonstrated exceptional business acumen, he still believes he has a lot to learn.
“Constantly learning and expanding your outlook is for success in business,” he says. “I do this by reading books and investing my time in self-improvement.”