The founder of Edina Realty in Ellsworth has returned and, this time, he'll be doing construction and landscaping as well as being a real estate agent.
Daren Edwards has rejoined the local Edina Realty office after four years of working for Cargill, Inc., in three states. Besides serving as an agent along with Heidi Albarado and the rest of the staff, he's introducing Edward's Construction and Edward's Landscaping, he said Thursday.
"I plan to cover all aspects related to real estate," he said.
The builder and landscape architect said he retained the agent's license he got in 1993, though his jobs for Cargill were quite different. Employed in the animal nutrition division with a specialty in the manufacturing sector, he was plant manager, equipment operator and troubleshooter in Alabama, Nebraska and Illinois, plus assisted with training in Florida and helped establish an operation in Poland, all since leaving this area in 1998.
The decision to come back was a quality-of-life issue, he said.
"All of our nieces and nephews are here, our goddaughter is here, and we were missing too much of the growing up," he said, referring to himself and wife Faith, a native of this vicinity. The couple has two children, Dustin, a high school senior, and Heather, age 14.
So Edwards decided to trade what he described as good compensation but a lot of moving around for a new, more extensive approach to serving this market's real estate needs.
"I wanted to be involved with community events and wasn't able to," he said, mentioning his support for FFA and he's signed up for the Master Gardeners program.
He's familiar with the market, having opened the Edina Realty office in the village's midway district in 1994. He'll concentrate on developing rural properties and generally be in the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, unless he's out on a construction site.
Edwards said he's been involved with construction for over 20 years. He's prepared to build new homes, garages and decks, plus do remodeling, roofing, siding, framing and custom design. He has a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) system at home.
During the last year, he built a new home for his family along CTH D southeast of Ellsworth, he said. The Victorian-style house features a turret, front porch and unique appointments, all hand-done. He's offering it for sale and considering building another one on a spec basis.
"I had a couple of people ask me if I'd build houses for them last fall," he said.
His residence is on 18 acres, where he's considering planting an orchard, he said. He hopes to grow "a bit of everything" to be processed for preserves, having recipes for jams and jellies. He sees a demand for farm-fresh products.
He's also worked in landscape architecture since age 16, doing landscape design for shopping malls on the East Coast in the past, he said. He's ready to handle finish grading projects, lawn installation, trees, shrubs, decks, patios and retaining walls.
Edwards originally came from Upstate New York to Ellsworth, his wife's home area, in late 1991 to own and operate the former Ranch House, now known as DuWayne's on Main. He continued at that west business district bar and grill until starting the Edina Realty office three years later.