SALEM — A longtime Salem contractor has found his calling after opening the first Granite State branch of a national home improvement franchise.
Jim Matthieu, 48, purchased the local N-Hance Revolutionary Wood Renewal franchise last spring.
A 2013 Harvard University study says home improvement spending this year is expected to increase by up to 20 percent, compared with spending in 2012. That, along with a recent increase in home sales, has led to a rebirth for N-Hance, franchise spokeswoman Stacy Rubenstein said.
“As homeowners embark on home improvement projects, such as refinishing cabinets, they’re faced with many important decisions and may not know where to turn,” Rubenstein said.
After working in the construction industry on and off since the age of 15, Matthieu now spends his days on the road, helping homeowners improve the look of their cabinets and floors.
The company, which is a partner of The Home Depot retail chain, is known for Light Speed, a patented ultraviolet light technology that uses ultraviolet light to instantly dry and cure refinished wood surfaces.
N-Hance Wood Renewal specializes in cabinet and floor renewal services, allowing homeowners to see quick results without the typical dust and fumes associated with some home improvements.
Services range from basic cabinet renewal, whereby existing cabinets are cleaned and touched up, to complete surface and color changes.
In many cases, the process — which can also be applied to flooring, paneling and furniture — can be completed in one day and can cost one-fifth of the price of refacing or replacing cabinets.
Matthieu’s franchise works in partnership with a dozen Home Depot stores in southern New Hampshire and the Merrimack Valley. N-Hance Wood Renewal offers something for every price range, he said.
“If your cabinets are basically in good shape, you can get an entirely new look for less money,” he said.
Wood finishes are retouched using pigments rather than paint, with a poly coating then applied for extended durability.
He said the Light Speed process has proved particularly popular with business owners because it allows improvements to be made without forcing a business to close temporarily.
“The finish can be put on at night, and the business will be ready to open the next morning,” he said, noting that the process also appeals to homeowners who are seeking a quick return on investment when preparing a home for sale.
Since the business opened, in June, Matthieu has hired one part-time employee and one full-time employee to assist with growing demands.
In the coming years, he hopes to continue to expand his territory and hire several more workers.
“For a startup, we’re doing quite well,” Matthieu said.
For more information, go to www.nhance.com/merrimackvalley.