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Golden Homes of Poulsbo has a new manager
POULSBO — Golden Homes of Poulsbo’s new manager, Cassie O'Hara, has some big ideas for the manufactured-home seller on Viking Avenue.
Make aesthetic improvements to the site. Improve the signage. Get more new Skyline models on the lot. Resolve some lingering customer disputes. Host an open house and manufactured-home tour. Get the business involved in the community. Keep overhead down and see current projects through as efficiently as possible.
And, equally important, she wants to help more people see manufactured homes as an affordable avenue to home ownership.
“By selling new and used homes, we can facilitate the needs of a greater base of customers,” O’Hara said. “It’s an opportunity to meet the needs of people. It’s kind of a way to serve the community by helping them [achieve home ownership]. It’s a beautiful gateway for young couples, and for older people because [manufactured homes] are all ADA compliant.”
O’Hara became manager of Golden Homes in October, with the anticipation of buying the business when current owner Kelly Rohr retires. She’s managing Golden Homes, assisted by Janet Bayly in sales and marketing. Rohr comes in periodically, but is focusing on construction work elsewhere. His wife, Shannon, now works elsewhere but comes in to take care of payroll and permitting.
O’Hara brings experience in business, real estate and community involvement to the job. She earned a degree in natural history and social studies from University of Washington in 1994. She is livestock director of the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede and former youth development coordinator for WSU Cooperative Extension 4-H. She worked with her mom — a retired nuclear-sub machinist foreman at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard who’s owned more than 300 acres of land in her lifetime — in developing O’Hara Hills, a neighborhood between Keyport and Brownsville.
O'Hara's family has lived in Kitsap County since 1883.
Golden Homes was founded about 20 years ago and was purchased by Rohr, a general contractor, in 2003. Golden Homes won "Outstanding Sales Awards" each year from Skyline manufactured homes in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. It also sells Silvercrest homes and used homes.
Company sales reflected the economy: Sales of Skyline homes rose from $1.6 million in 2003 to $2.3 million in 2004, then steadily dropped to $1 million in 2008. In the ensuing years, Rohr was beset by court judgments, fines for unlicensed work, expired permits, and unpaid workers compensation premiums.
A customer dispute was settled in mediation in March; O’Hara is trying to resolve another lingering dispute and get the tarnish behind Golden Homes.
O’Hara’s goal is to get sales up to four or five homes a month. “We have four projects going on now. It’s kind of a slow time,” she said, adding that several potential clients are waiting until after the holidays to make their move.
She’s developing ways to keep overhead down so savings can be passed on to buyers. For one, Golden Homes has historically bought used homes and moved them to the lot on Viking Avenue, them moved them again once purchased. She wants to sell the home while it’s on its original site so it’s moved once — to the buyer’s lot — reducing overall transport costs.
“By keeping our overhead down, we can turn that over to our customers and give them savings they can’t find anywhere else,” she said.
She also believes Golden Homes can do a better job of presenting itself. “Our site is admittedly tired looking,” she said. “We’re going to paint our office space and have some people work on the grounds on a relatively regular basis to make it more inviting. I also want to work with Olympic College and establish an internship for students who want to work in business.”
Golden Homes’ new management is one of several changes taking place on Viking Avenue. North Kitsap Fishline bought the former Poulsbo RV site and will move in by February. Several new businesses have cropped up. And Poulsbo Farmers Market officials are looking for a permanent location where they can expand the market to year-round; Viking Avenue is one of the preferred sites.