Lemonade Makers

brendanbarry150Profiles of people who are seeing opportunity in a pile of economic lemons.

Brendan Barry, Rainwater Harvester

Location: Raleigh-Durham, NC

Before recession: Excavating Contractor

Now: Owner at North Carolina Rainwater Harvesting. Barry’s company installs above/underground systems for home and business owners.

Q. When did you notice a shift in the economic climate?

A. As an excavating contractor, I saw a building slowdown in Massachusetts in 2007. Watching friends fight over any crumb that fell from the home building table became too much to bear. Coaxed by siblings and a perception of a better local economy down south, I closed my sewer, water and grading biz and moved to NC the following December.

jimwall-4Profiles of people who are seeing opportunity in a pile of economic lemons.

Jim Dowd, 40
Gloucester, MA

Before recession: Technology Strategist
Now: Entrepreneur and Co-founder, HelpGuest Technologies. HelpGuest connects people who need tech support with people who can provide it.

How are you making lemonade?

A. We want to be the good guys. Remember Jimmy Stuart’s character George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life?” How he used his business to make people’s lives better during hard times? That’s who we want to be.

With all of the layoffs and companies going under, a lot of people have been cut adrift. Either they have been pushed out from under the corporate IT support umbrella or they have support to give but no means by which to offer it efficiently without the context of a corporation. That’s the niche we fill.

Profiles of people who are seeing opportunity in a pile of economic lemons.

James YoungJames Young
East Hampton, N.Y.
Before recession:
Commercial real estate broker
Now: Co-founder of Rosehip Partners, a Hamptons real estate business

In the Hamptons, one of the most privileged parts of the country, the real estate boom is firmly at an end. The number of sales was down 40 percent in 2008. Prices are being slashed on multi-million-dollar mansions. Lavish spec houses sit empty.

It would seem like the worst possible time to start a real estate company. But last summer, James Young and Joe Kazickas founded Rosehip Partners, an agency that covers the east end of Long Island, from West Hampton to Montauk. In September, as the recession was gathering speed, they unveiled their website, HamptonsRentals.com.

Profiles of people who turn economic lemons into lemonade.

This week’s Lemonade Maker: Chris Hand
: Upper West Side, New York City
Before recession
: Running a visual communications agency and recruiting marketing executives.
: Building CareerHandlers, a personal marketing agency designed to help job seekers launch professional campaigns.

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