Rock Solid Builds bringing rock solid boost to Brigus summer tourism

·3 min read
Byron Rodway, mayor of Brigus, says the town continues to see a boost in tourism thanks to HGTV's Rock Solid Builds. (Heather Barrett/CBC - image credit)
Byron Rodway, mayor of Brigus, says the town continues to see a boost in tourism thanks to HGTV's Rock Solid Builds. (Heather Barrett/CBC - image credit)
Heather Barrett/CBC
Heather Barrett/CBC

With a successful first season of Rock Solid Builds in the books, the mayor of Brigus, N.L. says the community is seeing a boost in tourism thanks to the home renovation show.

Rock Solid Builds premiered on HGTV in February, and follows third-generation homebuilder Randy Spracklin and his team at Newfound Builders in Brigus. The show centres around breathing new life into properties across Newfoundland's east coast, including homes in the community.

Once the first episode aired, Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway said people quickly flocked to the area to see the team's handiwork.

"It's had a great effect, especially last year when the show first aired," Rodway told CBC Radio's Weekend AM.

"Brigus is normally pretty laid back in March, April, May. It was noticeable after the first show appeared on TV. We were seeing a lot of traffic."

Heather Barrett/CBC
Heather Barrett/CBC

Rodway said most of the first season was shot in late 2019, before the province began dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic limiting travel, he said a lot of people visited Brigus to admire what they had seen on TV.

"As a result of the television show, there were so many people coming to visit and looking around.… People would say 'Excuse me sir, can you tell me where the Earle house is?," he said, referring to a property worked on during one of the show's early episodes.

"They're coming to see the development, the work done by Newfound Builders … 'Let's go to Brigus and have a look and see what they're talking about'. We see quite a number of vehicles and people walking and asking questions."

LISTEN | The CBC's Heather Barrett takes a tour of Brigus and the houses featured on Rock Solid Builds:

Rodway said the show's success has also translated to boosts for other businesses in the community, like restaurants, serving as another feather in the cap of the region.

It's something Spracklin says he noticed almost instantly after the first few episodes of the show aired.

"You'd drive out to Brigus and it looked like a sunny day, you'd say it's almost [like] the Blueberry Festival with the line of traffic and people walking the roads," he said.

"Brigus was always full, but since the show came out [there's] definitely a lot more people wanting to visit and see the builds that we're doing."

Heather Barrett/CBC
Heather Barrett/CBC

When asked about how Brigus and the newly renovated homes being put on display could affect the local real estate market, Rodway said the show serves as the latest chapter in a story of development in the community and surrounding area.

"Most of the land that was vacant when I was going to school up until a few years ago [has] been all bought up, and the houses, there's houses built on property now. I can go back 55 years there was nothing there," he said.

"That's a good sign for the community, the community's doing really well."

Heather Barrett/CBC
Heather Barrett/CBC

Spracklin and his team are hoping to continue the success from season one with the show's second season expected to air later this year, full of new builds and new experiences.

The experience is something Spracklin says he's still getting used to — especially being noticed like a celebrity whenever he comes back to Brigus.

"I stopped in Brigus today, people knowing who I am is still a surreal thing. I'm not used to that yet. But [there's] definitely a lot of buzz. We're working hard to try and pull off better projects."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting