Donald Brashear Builds Houses
It's a great time to be a local athlete in business. LaVar's starting his sports bar in P.G. Gilbert's got his cartoon series. Caron Butler's wife, Andrea, is considering opening a salon/spa; yesterday she was downtown for a business meeting at Clyde's.
(Before the meeting, though, she came to the Verizon Center to say goodbye to Caron before he left for training camp, and to give him his new business card holder, which can store up to 100 business cards. He's been jealous of hers and asking for his own for quite some time. I asked her where an NBA star gets a business card holder. She told me the Dollar Store.)
And then there's Donald Brashear; the Caps enforcer often gets bored during the early stages of the offseason, and so this summer he took the natural step of opening a house construction business. "DEC Construction," it's called, after the three founding partners: Donald Brashear, Eric Lesages and Christian Bernier.
Brashear's father had been in real estate, and he always wanted to get involved in that industry, and he's already thinking about what he'll do post-hockey. And so he and his buddies formed the company and built two houses-a one-level home and a cottage--this summer in Quebec City. And yes, Brashear was out at the sites, using nail guns and making cuts with electric saws and doing some roofing and lifting trusses and putting in hardwood floors and working on ceramic tiles. You know, the usual offseason stuff.
"It's my company; I want to show the guys that I can be out there and working," he told me. "You learn everything. I didn't do it by myself, they first showed me, but I'm a quick learner....Some things I had no clue, [but] it's much more simple than it looks."
(Hobby interruption I: As has often been noted, Brashear spent some time as an amateur boxer during the NHL lockout and amassed a record of 2-1. He's thinking that next summer, in addition to building houses, he might resume boxing , if he can find time to do the proper workouts during the season. He likes individual sports, because "you've got to take it upon yourself and do all the work.")
On the construction sites he would back off some of the dangerous duties for insurance and hockey reasons, and he isn't trying to get too crazy into the biz just yet. If you haven't heard, there's a real estate crisis afoot, which is why he decided against buying a 40-lot property. Instead his goal is to build five or six houses a year in the $200k range, plus maybe a few renovations. The home designs come from the Internet for a few hundred bucks.
Of course, Quebec City is a pretty small town where everybody seems to know everybody, and the NHL is sort of a big deal there, and Brashear happens to be a fairly recognizable sort of guy. And so when the trucks would roll up to deliver supplies and the NHL tough guy was part of the receiving crew, well, there would be looks.
"They actually see me there and some are like, 'Is that Brashear?' " he said. "'Is he working in construction? Why would he work in construction if he's playing in the NHL?' But, you know, it's all good."
(Hobby Interruption II: Did you know that Brashear learned to play piano in grade school? And that two years ago he began transitioning to acoustic guitar, and that he's gotten to the point where he can switch chords and strum a bit, and that the likes to listen to the acoustic stylings of Cat Stevens and John Mayer when he wakes up in the morning?)
Anyhow, Brashear was there for the completion of both houses this summer, and he described the process as "kind of a dream come true."
"People live in it, they're happy, you make a name for yourself," he said. "It's just doing something and wanting to put your hands on it and do it right. And then you make money in doing it."
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