Merchant’s quiet voice belies his large heart

Kyle Juran, Keizer’s 2019 Merchant of the Year, was honored by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce in January for his efforts throughout the community.

Kyle Juran is rarely the loudest voice in a room but, when he does speak or act, it comes from the heart.

For evidence, look no further than this past year. In May 2018, he volunteered his services and the employees of Remodeling by Classic Homes to build a massive playhouse that served as the prize in a raffle to boost the Keizer Network of Women’s annual Giving Basket Program. The idea came together in just a few short weeks, sold out all 500 available tickets and raised more than $2,000 for the giving baskets.

Later in the year, Juran spearheaded the effort to remodel the interior of the new Keizer Chamber of Commerce office on River Road North. Juran downplays the significance, but the project included rearranging most of the walls inside the space to fit the needs of the chamber.

He’s also a volunteer on the Keizer Planning Commission and a board member of the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties.

This year, he’s planning another fundraiser for a local nonprofit to coincide with another playhouse/float (See sidebar, Page A8).

“I got involved in the chamber because one of my customers encouraged me, and I began to enjoy being available to other business people, but it goes both ways. They are there for me with friendship and more,” Juran said.

Depending on how one counts, Juran is either the second-generation owner of Classic Homes or the first-generation owner of Remodeling by Classic Homes. His father started Classic Homes out of a love for remodeling his own family’s spaces and then moved on to building them whole cloth.

“He started with one or two at a time and then he built 28 homes, a few at a time, on Staats Lake,” Juran said. “It’s still fun to drive around the area and point out the ones he built to my kids.”

Juran’s mother had been pestering him for a while to join the family business by the turn of the century. However, he was like his father in that he didn’t want to do all the management associated with constructing multiple homes in one go, he preferred remodeling. He was already working as a design engineer with huge projects and the allure of turning old spaces into something new was preferable.

Juran’s own grandmother was his first real client. Her home had flooded and the family was planning to hire another remodeling business to repair the damages. Juran took the work as an opportunity to see if he could pay his own wages with the money insurance companies were willing to pay.

“I figured out I could do it and make some money. I enjoyed it and had a good time, then I quit my job,” Juran said.

In 2003, he joined Classic Homes under the newly-formed remodeling arm of the business. He had his first large client lined up before making the leap and, during dry spells, made ends meet by finishing the interiors of the homes his father was building.

Both businesses managed to navigate the tumultuous market downturns during The Great Recession and with relatively low losses.

“In 2007, we had four houses going in Monmouth with a lot of other lots reserved. We ended turning over the [undeveloped lots] back to the developer and ended up with only one house we couldn’t sell for about six months,” he said. “Other builders in that same subdivision went bankrupt.”

While the market for new homes would spend seven years rebuilding, Juran’s remodel business maintained a more even keel and even grew, albeit slowly, over the next decade.

He jumped back into the new home market in 2014, but remodeling is still his main focus.

Juran’s daughter, Claire, now works for him and he expects to pass along the business to her one day.

“That was my goal when I started this 16 years ago, to build something I would then be able to pass on,” Juran said. “There are still people who know me as Gary’s son and I’m sure Claire will hear the same things.”

As for his high level of community involvement, Juran doesn’t view it as much of a burden.

“It’s nice to be involved in what is going on around here and I appreciate the opportunity to be involved – part of the direction of where things are going. I love Keizer and I think it’s a great community,” Juran said.