Chappell carving out his niche
Brodye Chappell’s high school friends thought he would be one of the first to leave Prince Edward Island in search of opportunity elsewhere, but nearly two decades later he’s still here and creating his own opportunities.
The custom design and finish carpentry of Brodye Chappell Builds is visible in the interiors of some of the popular spots in Charlottetown such as Receiver Coffee’s second location on Water Street, the hipster hangout Kettle Black on Queen Street, and the back bar at the Brickhouse restaurant. He also just finished a redesign of Matheson Eyewear in Parkdale.
“I love it when clients want to go outside the box,” says Chappell, who just last month won an entrepreneurial award from Fusion Charlottetown for urban development.
Brodye got his start working for his father’s custom home building company for 15 years before branching out on his own.
“It’s been amazing to watch the evolution of this place,” he said. The hardest part was telling Dad I was done.”
But he says he has no regrets and feels fortunate to be able to stay on PEI and make a living doing what he loves. His own business is booming, and every day brings a new challenge.
One of Chappell’s more notable projects are the four-metre hexagon hives known as the “urban beehives” in Charlottetown’s legacy garden, located behind the experimental farm on University Avenue.
The one-of-a-kind project - a partnership with architects Shallyn Murray and Silva Stojak – created a stir when he was building and painting the gigantic beehives at his Sherwood shop.
“My neighbours were coming out and asking me what the heck I was doing,” he said.
The first hive took him a few months to complete, and gave him a whole new appreciation for honeybees and the integral role they play in sustainability and food security. One day, Brodye recalled, he was sitting in his truck when a bee landed on the windshield, walking in circles.
“I had read about this, they do it when they’re exhausted,” he said. “I put some sugar water on a stick and dropped some on the windshield. It rolled down and the bee consumed it. Then a few minutes later the bee took off.”
Chappell continues to come up with innovative ideas to make his business unique. His latest endeavour is expanding his locally-sourced materials to include wood salvaged from a local arborist company, The Branch Manager.
“They let me know when they’re taking down a tree and I salvage it and turn it into furniture,” he said. “It’s cool being able to tell people this is that elm from Queen Street or a silver maple from Euston Street; it adds character like old barn board.
“It adds an extra layer to my business.”