Builder shares how housing development impacts whole community during EDA gala

Geoff Griffin tells about his business, G-Cubed, and all its facets during the EDA gala. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Chatfield Mayor Russ Smith speaks during the EDA's annual gala, introducing Geoff Griffin as the business owner sharing his story for the evening. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
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Modern-day pioneering, continued.

 “There were 20 new houses built in Chatfield over the last year, and per capita, Chatfield built more houses than Rochester,” said Chatfield Mayor Russ Smith. “None of this would be possible if it weren’t for the original builders of Chatfield. They were the settlers who ventured west from Winona, looking for an exceptionally beautiful spot for their new settlement.”

Smith, standing before the attendees of the 2018 Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) gala, went on to introduce a new tradition that was begun last year — inviting a local business owner to highlight his or her contributions to the community.

This year’s speaker was one who doesn’t own a store or factory, he noted, but one who has affected the town in great measure. “You may not think about it right away, but in order for the town to grow, we have to continue to add new businesses and homes, because homes are what make the community,” Smith said.

And Chatfield’s most well-known homebuilder, Geoff Griffin of G-Cubed, stood to speak about his career in raising homes from building sites all across town.

He said he obtained an education in civil engineering, became business partners with Vern Speer in a land ownership venture in Dover, and learned, after some time, that if they were going to sell the land, the best way to do so would be to build a house on it. So they did, giving Griffin his start at engineering, designing, developing and selling real estate.

Griffen related that after he sold a certain number of homes he’d built each year, he was informed he’d have to have a real estate broker’s license. In turn, that meant he is now owner of five different businesses within the G-Cubed realm and currently has projects underway on Chatfield’s southeast edge.

He still adheres to the advice given him years ago — that selling a lot, unless it’s being bought by someone who wants to hire someone specific to build on it, happens most efficiently when a new house stands upon it.

Griffin took questions from the gala attendees, and City Clerk Joel Young was the first to ask, “What are people looking for when they look in Chatfield? Why do they build houses in Chatfield?”

Griffin replied that he feels it’s a matter of cost and the proximity to Rochester, as well as the landscape that attracts people — that they have “the sun at their backs when they go to Rochester and when they come home,” as opposed to living in Byron, where the east-west commute leaves the sunrise and sunset glaring into drivers’ eyes. Also, the flat ground lays out subdivisions that don’t have any notable topography in other communities.

“Chatfield is prettier than the communities out west, and I’ve checked with my project manager about how many people are on a job at a house. He said that 55 to 65 people work on one house, so it does make an impact on the community,” he concluded.

Smith picked up the discussion, adding, “Building homes…that’s what people did and that’s what builds Chatfield, just like the settlers who came here and picked this place.”

EDA Director Chris Giesen and Smith congratulated the businesses that have chosen to locate in Chatfield over the past year, including some that have expanded from home business ventures to downtown Main Street, such as Big Girl Stickers & Stems, and those that have found other venues within the city, such as Advanced Chiropractic, Chatfield Auto and 52 Bottle Shop.

Smith also thanked the city’s volunteers and employees who have lent their time and dedication to making the last 11 months successful.

“It’s been another good year in Chatfield, and I want to thank all the people who have played a role in that, whether they’re volunteers or employees. Your work has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated,” he said.