Brandon Elliott came to the Coast from Orangeville, Ontario which is near Toronto in Canada. He played hockey his entire life, steadily moving up the ranks and set his sights on a professional career in the sport that he loved so much. He moved away from home at the very young age of 16 in order to play Junior A hockey, and lived on his own for the next five years. He endured a major trial during this time, when his house burned to the ground. As a result, he wound up living at the skating rink for five days. It was a huge turning point in his young life. At 20 years old, Brandon decided to lay it all on the line to make it into the highest level team available…and he made it. His job was “enforcing” and he had the highest penalty minutes in the league. Almost immediately he was drafted to the Tampa Bay Lightening of the NHL. Brandon went straight from high school into the world of professional hockey, an extraordinary opportunity. Going to college was put on hold because his life had taken him elsewhere. He regrets missing the experience but the path in professional hockey was a marvelous maturation process that served him well.
While hockey was always number one. Brandon discovered that he was fascinated with construction. He was only 18 when he began to study the nuances of the shape and form of buildings. He saw great potential in every house he looked at and could envision them as true works of art. It came very naturally to him, and he had a gut instinct about property and design. Up and down in the minors, Brandon worked odd jobs to help support his income. He worked in tire shops, home supply stores, and learned how to frame houses.
Brandon became acquainted with South Mississippi as a member of the Mississippi Sea Wolves hockey team. He had lost his position with a higher level team and was picked up by the Sea Wolves to play on the Coast. He fell in love with the area as most people do. Through all his experience, he was now a jack of all trades, and particularly good at construction work. While working at a flooring store, Brandon learned about rental properties and how lucrative they were. He paid very close attention and learned everything he could about handling rental property and real estate. He was fast becoming very well schooled in housing, real estate, construction, and design.
A partnership made in heaven, Brandon fell in love with Adrienne, a woman who shared his passion. She is a self taught interior designer, with a remarkable eye for style and a great talent for knowing what goes together. They married and began working side by side in the business they can’t get enough of. Brandon said,”My wife is honestly the best interior designer I have ever seen. She is just naturally gifted, like the very rare athlete who is born with amazing skills without any training, she can do anything!” They were an unbeatable team and it was clear that a very successful career was ahead of them.
When playing hockey became a thing of the past, Brandon chose to work in real estate and develop properties. He threw himself into a brand new venture with someone he hardly knew. He was filled with enthusiasm and gave it very little thought. Everyone that knew and cared about him were very concerned about the outcome, and rightly so. It turned out very badly. I learned that integrity in business is most important, and success comes from hard work and it doesn’t come easy,” he said. From that moment on, Brandon was a changed man. He decided to focus on doing good works and changing the lives of others through his skills as a builder, doing what he loves and giving back to the community.
Last year, Adrienne, Brandon, and partner Mike Butler, made the decision to build a home for charity, a house that would literally be given away. As the plans were falling into place, Scott Perkins of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee contacted the Elliotts when he had heard about what they were doing. He asked them to come and speak with them, to interview for the opportunity of being selected as the builders for the next St. Jude Dream Home in 2012. They were so honored and changed gears immediately to speak to the representatives at St. Jude. After a few interviews, Elliott Homes was chosen to carry out the remarkable task.
The Elliotts visited St. Jude and were given a guided tour of the facility. They were rendered speechless, and lives were changed forever when they met a little boy who was from the Coast, being treated there at the hospital. The child was a family member of someone Brandon knew, who served on the Executive Committee. The meeting almost brought Brandon to his knees in a flood of emotion, and before he knew it, he told the young mother that he would try and raise one million dollars to help her son and all the families at St. Jude. On the way back down the hall, not a word was spoken because everyone was so choked up. Brandon explained, “I couldn’t breathe, and my heart was pounding so hard. It was right then and there that I knew the St. Jude Dream House was not going to be built by Elliott Homes…It was going to be built by the entire Coast!”
Over 500k came in from the generous people of this area. This St. Jude Dream House house was completed at the lowest cost ever on the Coast. Anyone that was asked to help, couldn’t do enough and volunteers called daily and numbered in the hundreds. Everyone wanted to be a part of the project. Some people worked on site for the past six months, giving so freely of their time and their money. Emotions ran high and joy filled every inch of the house and the property. “I wish it were possible to name every individual and every business that contributed. Ocean Springs Lumber donated over 80k worth of building materials, and as the house got bigger, they continued to give us what we needed. The team at Sublime Construction (Siding Company) gave up their weekends to work on the house. Hesler Painting was on site for five straight weeks and did not take one dime for the beautiful work they did. Metro Concrete, Keller Smith Supply, and Tradition all rolled up their sleeves and did so much to help…it was just the most amazing experience, one I will never forget,” Brandon said. The St. Jude Dream Home represents the love and commitment of the Coast as a whole. Mississippians are known for their kindness and generosity and their willingness to help those in need.
Brandon said, “when one person decides to make a difference it will create a ripple but when an army of people decide to make a difference, you have a title wave and the United States military is one of the largest forces in the world.” The Seabees and the U. S Coast Guard gave so much of their time and hard work for the St. Jude house. They weren’t worried about the time of day or how many hours a job would take, they just did it! Brandon was often concerned about being too bossy or authoritative with the volunteers, as they were working free of charge, out of the goodness of their hearts. He would often apologize for asking too much or giving too many directions. One day he commented to a young woman’s Commanding Officer and apologized for giving her too much to do and that it was too difficult. The Commander quickly reminded Brandon that she had recently built a 5000 square foot building with a machine gun strapped to her body and bullets flying over her head!
This magnificent home was designed by Jeff Elder. Landscaping was designed by Bobby Sergeant. Merchiston Hall Galleries designed the Master Bedroom Suite and the Observatory Tower. Adrienne Elliott designed the color scheme throughout the house, selected all the fixtures and planned the entire layout. Her company is A.E Designs. The tradition of the floor signing is a beautiful feature that exemplifies the love and care that each and every volunteer put into the St. Jude Dream Home. Participants signed their names but also left heartfelt messages and sweet little notes from one end of the room to the other. The canvas for all the artwork? Hardwood flooring.
Brandon explained that nothing in construction ever goes according to plan. This build was very difficult because Elliott Homes had to work around the volunteer’s comings and goings, it was impossible to have a set schedule because it was all free labor. There were some very big hurdles to overcome but everyone was always so cooperative and the task was completed beautifully.
The internet has really changed the construction industry. Prospective buyers can go online and see exactly what they want, there is very little guess work. Budgets are tighter and people are being more careful with their money and in planning their investments. “People are able to get higher end finishes for lower end pricing. Building ‘Green’ is gaining popularity on the Coast, but it is happening slowly. I feel that building new homes is the way to go these days and when all these foreclosures stop, the housing market will explode,” Brandon said. There are two times as many foreclosure sales over new construction sales right now. He continued, “Prospective buyers are going after those because there are some amazing deals to be had but I feel that purchasing new will pay off more in the end simply because new homes have more amenities than ever before. My best advice is this…shop around, take your time, don’t committ to the first builder you talk to. Enjoy the experience of home buying and don’t feel pressure to buy the biggest and the finest unless you can truly afford to do that. You can get into real trouble if you over extend yourself. Most importantly, relax and have fun – take your time and you will do it right.”
Go To Places Monthly is very proud to name Brandon Elliott of Elliott Homes our Mover and Shaker figure for the month of June. He is truly an asset to the Gulf Coast.