After 35 years in snow county, Don Harley, owner of HDH Construction, decided it was time to move to a more temperate climate. As an avid skier, Harley is not one to shy away from the cold but wanted to move somewhere with a small-town feel, something that he says Lake Tahoe has lost.
“Tahoe was getting really crowded,” Harley said. “This Airbnb thing has really changed the world up there and I was getting tired of it even though I was working and getting good jobs.”
A year ago, he decided to move from Lake Tahoe’s north shore to the Central Coast.
Familiar with the area from visiting it throughout the years, he purchased an acre lot, set up shop and scratched out a bucket list item.
“I always said that if I could move anywhere,” Harley said, “I was going to go somewhere I could grow stuff.” He explained that the short seasons were a hindrance to his agricultural ambitions.
The general contractor discovered he also possesses a green thumb. “Now,” Harley said, “I’m growing tomatoes, cucumbers, cantaloupes, peaches and nectarines and grapes and all kinds of good stuff.”
Apart from his garden, Harley put in a golf green to practice his chipping. Last July he shot a 79, but says that he has not been able to get close to that since. Although he does not get a chance to golf as much as he would like, once a month he participates in a tournament in the San Jose and Bay area with some buddies of his.
Currently, HDH focuses on small projects such as bathroom remodels and decks. With San Luis Obispo County’s unemployment rate floating around three percent in the county, Harley has found it difficult to find an experienced crew to take on larger projects. He also recognizes that moving from a profitable area that held a secure network grid for his company to a place where he knows virtually no one was a huge leap and it will take time to build his business.
“I don’t’ typically look back once I decide on something,” Harley said, “I’m just moving forward. This is the life I’ve chosen, now I’m making the most of it.”
Publisher’s note: We feel honored to be one of the first places Don looked to to get integrated into the community. Paso Robles Magazine continues to connect the community, and we are proud to introduce him and say it is our impression that Don and his dog are welcome new Roblans.