Profits + Purpose: Trico Homes – A Calgary Success Story

By Rachel Adrian


Is it possible for a company to achieve a social purpose while also delivering solid profits? Forward-looking organizations are already focusing on how to balance profit and purpose. Calgary-based Trico Homes is an excellent example of a business that has integrated a strong social purpose into its very core. Wayne Chiu and Trico Homes have redefined how they support community in a way that delivers value for the community and the business. We are thrilled to share this case study about a recent Trico Homes project that will benefit Calgarian families for years to come.

Project Description

getimage.aspxA while back, the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter had purchased the former Shell Gas Station site located on the corner of 24th Ave NE Calgary. Plans were to re-zone the area and build a new facility. Unfortunately they soon discovered that rezoning this property was going to be a lot more work than they had originally imagined and the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter knew that they had to make a decision.

They decided to sell the property and reinvest the money made from the sale into their existing facility. The CWES needed to make enough money to be able to renovate their existing facility, so their asking price was above market value for redevelopment.

Kevin Screpnechuk , an experienced real estate professional and Harvey Russell, Vice President of investment sales from Calgary’s CBRE office, had been keeping a close watch on the situation, and saw the opportunity for shared value.


The Opportunity

Harvey Russell contacted Wayne Chiu from Trico Homes, and told him about the situation. Trico purchased the property at full asking price and came up with a plan to strengthen their business and the community simultaneously.

Often, social problems can be some of businesses biggest opportunities. Creating shared value requires business leaders to look at social problems through a different lens, and strategically leverage them into business opportunities.


The Strategy

Trico Homes determined that this could be an opportunity to address the gaps in Calgary’s affordable rental market while also creating value for the company.

Trico strategically evaluated current rental needs and determined that there was an opportunity to fill a critical gap in accessible rental units within the city. They approached Accessible Housing Calgary with an offer to move their offices into the main floor and have them manage the building. Half of the affordable residential rental units would be wheelchair accessible, while the rest would serve as dedicated market rentals, desperately needed in our city. Many of their clients would be able to live in the accessible rental units upstairs. Like all great partnerships, this one is definitely win-win-win for Trico, Accessible Housing Calgary and the community.screen-shot-2011-12-01-at-11-36-55-am1



Social Outcomes:

  • 40 new rental units will be built in a desirable location, helping to fill a gap in Calgary’s harsh rental market. 8 of these units will be wheelchair accessible
  • The Accessible Housing Society will have a prime, wheelchair accessible office space. By managing the building, they will also obtain extra income that will help in supporting their objectives
  • The CWES was able to sell the property for their full asking price and complete renovations on their existing facility

Business Outcomes:

  • Trico was able to reduce capital cost investment, and added a rental property to its portfolio that will generate long-term revenues for the company
  • Development of a successful public/private partnership that created long term Shared Value for all involved


Key Learnings

Businesses can contribute to the greater social good by determining their social purpose and strategically leveraging opportunities. Trico Homes has strategically woven a social purpose into everything they do, and this allows Trico to look at social problems differently than many other businesses. This type of strategic thinking infuses their business with long-term value and allows for Trico to give back to the community in a sustainable manner. More now than ever before, businesses are expected to play an important role in improving society.


Trico Founder Recognized with the Order of Canada for his Social Impactindex

Wayne Chiu and Trico Homes have had an incredible impact on Calgarian communities. For this reason, we were delighted to learn this past July 1, 2015, Mr. Chiu has been made a member of the Order of Canada.

In 2008, Wayne and his wife, Eleanor founded the Trico Charitable Foundation, which promotes innovation and the social entrepreneurism movement through a number of initiatives. He is a visionary that proves that it is possible for business and community to work sustainably and in harmony. Congratulations Wayne and thank you for all that you do!