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Higgins Lake Builders celebrates 40 years

By Theresa Ekdom

ROSCOMMON – Higgins Lake is known as the sixth most beautiful lake in the world. For one young lad, it’s what changed the course of his life.

As a boy, Bryan Costello grew up in the Oak Park, Royal Oak area, suburbs of Detroit, and eventually in Armada. In 1974, at age 17 he came to Higgins Lake, a visit which changed his life.

“I fell in love with the lake itself,” Costello said. I moved here at 19. I still love it, I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”

Costello found a job with the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department marine division, and attended Kirtland Community College studying police administration. His grandfather was a police officer, as were his two uncles. He had planned on becoming an officer also.

“But Crawford County didn’t pay for their police to go to the academy. My first wife was pregnant with our son, I couldn’t afford to go. So I switched it up,” Costello said.

And that switch led to a whole new career. The day his son was born in 1978, Costello started his own construction business, “Higgins Lake Builders.” October 20, 2018 marks the company’s 40th anniversary.

At the time it was the best paying job for laborers, and Bryan loved working with his hands. He started small, working out of a pickup truck. His reputation helped build his business.

“As long as you do a good job, your last referral becomes your next job,” he said.

His business, and company, grew. In addition to remodeling, decks, kitchens and other ‘small’ jobs, they have built commercial buildings such as the Fairfeld Inn in Novi and the Holiday Inn Express and Lone Star Steakhouse in Brighton. Closer to home, he did the carpentry work for the Gaylord Kmart, and Hilltop Manor nursing home in Roscommon and East Tawas.

But his specialty is large custom homes. He has built, lived in and then sold 24 homes. Some years he would build two such homes a year.

“We never fully unpacked,” Costello said.

What Bryan likes best of his career are his customers.

“I enjoyed working with 98% of them,” he said with a laugh. “Let them wonder if they are one of the 2%!”

Even after 40 years, Costello’s enthusiasm for his work shows.

“The fun is in the chase, when you are trying to get the job. Once you get it, then the work begins.

“I still enjoy it; I still get up excited to do what I do. I don’t have any plans on retiring. I love doing what I’m doing and don’t want to quit.”

If the day ever comes when he does retire, he would like to teach kids the business.

“I would like to see more kids go into it. All the trades say that – they would like to mentor kids to get into the trades.”

His back yard hints at another past time of Bryan’s. Young apple trees fill a field next to his large barn/workshop. Chickens can be heard from a small coop.

“I’d open an orchard, where you could pick apples. I’d make cider, give wagon rides.”

He hopes to raise bees next year to help pollinate his trees.

He and his wife, Barb, opened a second business in the early 2000s, Emergency Restoration Disaster Repair, LLC. The company primarily restores water and fire damaged buildings.

They are also both active in the Roscommon Rotary club. The couple visited Nigeria on a Polio Administration trip, giving oral polio vaccine to the children there – a “once in a lifetime” trip. They have also attended an international Rotary meeting in Utah.

“It makes you appreciate living in a small town; That living in a large town you wouldn’t have the opportunities to do what you can here,” Costello said.


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