– Words by David Wylie Photography by Don Denton
Selling beautiful furniture was a business Glenn Rogers could get behind.
He’d seen the value of quality furnishings in staging his own real estate investments in Calgary. It was that background, plus a bit of happenstance, that brought Glenn and Kelowna-based Marshall’s Home Living together in 2022.
Glenn has been involved in buying, selling and investing in businesses for decades, but Marshall’s is his first personal acquisition as president of his company, Reverety Financial Group.
Looking back, he says his fascination with business came early. He grew up in a single-parent household, which he describes as “middle-class at best.”
“We didn’t have a ton of money, but I was always interested in how to make money. There were other kids who had the nice stuff, and it made me curious. It wasn’t [even] to buy a nice car, or anything like that,” he says: it was curiosity more than anything else.
He started working as early as he could, delivering newspapers and flyers. He earned a business degree at the University of Calgary and started working in economics and finance, consulting in the power industry. He worked at an investment bank doing research, and writing buy, sell and hold reports for companies.
He settled in for a decade at the energy and pipeline company Enbridge, undertaking investment review, including buying and selling assets and companies. He looked at everything from potential million-dollar investments into tech start-ups to a billion-dollar new pipeline build.
“I like variety in what I do, and the diversity of projects was fascinating,” he says. “The interesting thing about making good investments is that you have to think differently from everybody else, and you have to be right. You need to know the value of the business and you need to know the price of the business.”
Then illness forced a life change.
In 2016, Glenn left his career to care for his wife, Jacqueline, whose health had been in decline for about a decade. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and by this time had undergone four brain operations.
“I was home for the last two years of her life,” he says. “I’m sure glad I wasn’t working so I had the time to be with her. And after that I took about six months to figure out what I was going to do with my life. And I watched a lot of Netflix. I read somewhere that losing a spouse early is one of the most stressful things that can happen to somebody.”
After his wife’s death, Glenn made a few moves to get back into the oil and gas sector, but the industry had weakened.
“I didn’t really have a ton of success breaking back into any of the companies, although I did try. At the end of the day, I think my heart was elsewhere,” he says.
In 2020, Glenn started Reverety Financial Group—a financial and investment coaching company. He looked for businesses that he could run with a private equity backer, but nothing solidified.
“I started thinking about what I could buy just myself,” he says, and he began looking at smaller businesses, including operations he didn’t have much expertise in, such as concrete work.
“If you have a really small business, a lot depends on the owner in terms of how you get the stuff done properly. If I was owning a business like that with no understanding of concrete it wouldn’t work very well,” he says.
He eventually looked at a furniture operation in Calgary. Glenn had staged homes during real estate deals and could see a clear value proposition. But that deal fell through.
However, over the summer he was visiting Kelowna and a whim turned into something more.
“Out of curiosity I googled: ‘Businesses for sale in Kelowna.’ Sure enough, Marshall’s was for sale,” he says.
“It was the right size. It had a good reputation within the community. It matched with what I was trying to do. It was in Kelowna, which is a selling feature, and I got excited about the prospect,” he says. “The business had good bones.”
He closed the deal in May 2022.
A year later, and Glenn is happy with his decision and thrilled with his staff at Marshall’s.
“The people here really try to help give customers great experiences,” he says. “I’ve been blessed. The team is awesome.”
Glenn also remarried last year. He’s been travelling back and forth between the Okanagan and his home in Calgary, where his wife Julia and two sons, aged 15 and 12, live.
He’s working to grow the business and is looking at expansion.
While selling furniture is the part of the business you must get right, Glenn says, there’s lots more to it.
“We don’t just sell nice furniture. We try to support local charities, such as Mamas for Mamas and Kelowna Women’s Shelter,” he says, adding that he’d like to become more involved in the community.
Glenn predicts that Kelowna will grow significantly over the next decade, which is a good thing for a furniture store.
“Come back in 10 years and it will look wildly different,” he says.
However, he adds, it’s also important for the community to have affordable housing, especially for young people.
“We need young people for a vibrant community. If they leave due to cost of living, it’s not a good thing for the community. That’s one of the risks going forward in what is a really nice place to be,” he says.
“Ever since my first wife passed, I’ve asked myself the question: ‘What am I doing here?’ Aside from buying the business, do I have any big goal for a particular role? I still haven’t landed on that. But I’m happy where we’re at, doing what we’re doing right now.”