Nfld. & Labrador

Rock Solid Builds bringing rock solid boost to Brigus summer tourism

Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway says as soon as the first episode of Rock Solid Builds aired, people started flocking to the area to see the team's handiwork.

HGTV show bringing lots of people into Brigus, says mayor

Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway says the town has seen a boost in tourism thanks to HGTV's Rock Solid Builds. (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 on the team breathing new life into properties across Newfoundland's east coast, including homes in the community.

After the first episode aired, Brigus Mayor Byron Rodway said, people started flocking 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."

The Gushue house was one of the houses renovated in the first season of Rock Solid Builds. (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:

Jing Xia plays the guzheng, Kendra Jacque has plans to bring violin training to young people in Makkovik, and Brigus is feeling the love from HGTV's Rock Solid Builds. 27:57

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 region's cap.

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."

Randy Spracklin, who owns NewFound Builders in Brigus, says there's a lot of buzz around town about Rock Solid Builds. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

When asked about how the newly renovated homes could affect the local real estate market, Rodway said the show is 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."

Rodway says many people have come into the community looking to see the houses featured on Rock Solid Builds, like this one. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

Spracklin and his team hope to continue the success of Season 1 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.

"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

With files from Weekend AM

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