Never bought a Wieland home. But I’ve met the guy who makes them.

A few years back, he took about 500 employees and their guests on a free trip to Hawaii. Airfare, luxury hotel, the works. FOR FREE.

While on the trip, I was free to roam about the island. And everywhere I went, I bumped into John.

He was eating on a cabana when I moseyed up for a drink at the bar. He was walking on the beach when I hit the surf. When I went to get an authentic hawaiian shirt, yep, John was in line with me.

So we had plenty of time for idle chit-chat, even though he didn’t know me and (probably) didn’t know he’d paid for my trip. And he was the nicest guy ever.

Wieland Homes has had a lot of layoffs, and there’s probably no going back to the 500 employee-free-Hawaii-trip-days. Instead, he’s going old-school and doing this:

(John Wieland is) going to travel around the Southeast in his customized motor home — his “Wiebago” — until 101 homes go under contract, and sleep in unfurnished, unsold homes in Wieland neighborhoods.

The homes will have carpeting, running water, heat and little else. Wieland will bring his own mattress for the floor.

In an effort to ignite sales, the builder will talk to potential buyers at Wieland communities in Georgia and three other states about low interest rates and price cuts. “It’s time to get back to fundamentals,” he said, thus the 101 sales target.

Hope it works, John. You deserve it.

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