January 1, 2016
by Martha Beach
An entrepreneur since the age of 17, Nova Scotia-based CPA Matthew Moore now is a partner in Oceanstone resort in Canada and two luxury villa rentals in Barbados.
Matthew Moore already has three degrees, his CPA and two management titles under his belt. The co-owner and director of Oceanstone Seaside Resort in Indian Harbour, NS, Moore also manages a luxury villa rentals in Barbados and is cofounder and director of Moore Executive Suites/Moore Student Living Canada. His entrepreneurial path started with a moving company — just him and a pickup truck — when he was 17. “I wanted to do my own thing and it was better money-wise to run a business,” he says. His career has only picked up speed. These days he wears many hats, “and they’re not all fun,” he admits. “But I enjoy the challenge.” He says his CPA still comes in handy for everything from strategy implementation and project management to decision-making and critical thinking. “It’s not just a normal nine-to-five. But by doing something I’m passionate about, it’s not as much like work.”
Firm focuses on student digs
BRETT BUNDALE Business Reporter
Published February 25, 2015
Matthew Moore landed on Halifax’s apartment rental scene as a Saint Mary’s University student.
He bought a three-story house on a leafy street near Dalhousie University and rented out rooms to help cover his tuition costs.
But over the last decade, he has amassed several more properties and launched Moore Student Living Canada and Moore Executive Suites, offering short-term furnished and unfurnished rentals to students and executives.
“I started by just renting out a couple rooms to students and it gradually grew over time,” Moore said in an interview Tuesday. “I first bought the house on Edward Street and eventually invested in four or five other buildings.”
Matthew is already a veteran entrepreneur, having launched Moore Moving at age 17. He’s also a co-owner of Oceanstone Seaside Resort, a sprawling vacation property on the South Shore.
Although Halifax’s rental market appears to be flooded with new units, Moore said he caters specifically to the needs of students.
“In order to be successful, we’ve really focused on this segment of business.”
The bulk of Moore’s tenants tend to be international students seeking short-term leases for furnished apartments. He said students appreciate the flexibility of shorter leases and more upscale accommodations.
“Many of the apartments in Halifax marketed to students tend to be run down. Landlords don’t seem to be taking care of some of the properties as well as they could.”
Moore said students opt for his apartments because they want a higher-end, newly renovated unit.
And his company is making an effort to offer private bathrooms in as many units as possible.
“When I was studying in Sweden, just about all the rooms were pretty upscale with private bathrooms. They also had lots of extra storage space, which makes a difference when you’re a student.”
Moore Student Living has more than 30 units and is aiming to be the largest supplier of student housing in Halifax within five years.
St Mary's University Halifax Alumni profile
Matthew Moore has always had a good head for business.
At 17, fresh out of high school, he started his first company—Moore Moving—with only a pick-up truck and an inner drive to make his own way. He worked like crazy, regularly putting in 16- or 17-hour days, and built up a solid business reputation with enough moving gigs to help finance a university degree.
Now Moore has diversified his business interests to the property sector, both residential and vacation rentals. Starting when he was a student, sub-letting rooms in a house he bought, Moore recognized the value in property ownership beyond just building personal equity. He now owns Moore Student Living Canada and is a partner in Moore Executive Suites, providing short- and long-term rental units to students and executives in the Halifax area.
Skipping University Was Never An Option
With Moore’s aptitude for business he could easily have rationalized skipping university, but that wasn’t ever an option. “I learned a lot by running my own business, but I knew that to be effective over the long term, I needed a solid business education.”
Time spent studying toward a Bachelor of Commerce at Saint Mary’s was the right fit. “I loved my experience at SMU. It gave me the theoretical tools I needed and a much deeper understanding of business.”
Next stop was the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto. With an MBA under his belt, Moore decided to travel and ended up in Sweden, where he attended Lund University to study finance and accounting.
Sweden’s innovative storage solutions for apartment living (think Ikea’s ingenious product designs for small living spaces) inspired Moore. Once back in Canada, he began to buy and renovate student rental suites with similar storage and design ideas.
“In Sweden, rooms are functional and smart in their design. I’ve tried to take those same ideas to the student and executive rental suites,” says Moore, who has received incredibly positive feedback.
He attributes his success in business to the conscious efforts he makes to encourage feedback from his student tenants, who he genuinely enjoys for their optimistic outlook on life. “Being in business is all about making mistakes and learning from them,” he says. “I’ve always asked my customers how I can improve my business. I listen to what they have to say and act on it. They appreciate that and my business has consistently improved because of it.”
At a time when concerns about the economy and youth employment are top of mind, Moore says there are a lot of advantages to creating your own job. “There are so many great business ideas that don’t cost a lot to start up,” he says. “Now with social media, it’s even easier to launch a business.”
His best piece of advice? “Look for opportunities, follow your instincts, and do what you love doing–that’s what is most important.”
Tim Moore & family targets student renters
Geoff Bird, Allnovascotia.com
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Moore Student Living is a family affair with a lofty ambition- to become Halifax’s biggest landlord to students in the next five years.
Launched publicly Monday by Matt Moore, the son on the entrepreneurial Tim Moore, the company has access to 40 one- bedroom suites and 20 apartment units centered around Dalhousie and Saint Mary’s universities.
Matt Moore, CEO of the company, said they’ll need to hit 1,000 units to become the city’s leader in student housing.
“We realize that’s a pretty big goal, but we certainly see the demand and it’s something that we enjoy,”he said.
The fledging company boasts that its units are 100% rented as apartment vacancies in Halifax are forecast to hit 4.5% this year. It’s an achievement Moore attributed to the high-end finished in his apartments.
The units are all newly renovated with hardwood floors, designer kitchens, bathrooms and fixtures and appliances that don’t leave an impression of college living.
“We keep the tenants happy by offering a premium product,” he said.
The business is also offering short-term leases- some as short as four months- to appeal more to students who like to avoid paying rent in the summer months when they head home or for students who are studying on exchange.
Moore’s father, who built and sold national moving firm AMJ Campbell Van Lines, and later launched and sold another national mover, Premiere Van Lines, is a shareholder in the business.
So is his brother, Chris Moore, a partner in Premiere Self Storage and executive VP of Atlantic Signature Mortgage & Loan, and sister-in-law, Lizzie Moore, who is president of Oceanstone, a resort near Peggy’s Cove in which the Moore clan has a significant ownership stake.
Matt Moore said he first started renting to students in the Edward Street home he owned when he was studying business at SMU.
But the idea crystallized when he was later studying in Sweden, where student accommodations are often high-end suites with private bathrooms, granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.
The Moore’s bought a four-unit apartment building at 1131 Wellington last year for $602,000 and renovated its three-bedroom units to fit that vision.
Each unit rents for $1550 a month. All have large balconies and interiors designed to look like a page from a magazine rather than a scene from Animal House.
They also control a three-bedroom condo unit on Inglis Street where the rooms are each rented individually for $700. They purchased the condo for $312,500 in September.
And the business also has access to the Mary Queen of Scots building at 1266 Queen St.
Moore Executive Suites, an extended stay business recently launched by Moore and his father and brother, bought that building for $1.45 million from Premiere Executive Suites, where Jim Spatz is the majority owner.
Kath Perry is an equity partner and president in Moore Executive Suites. So is Colin Dodds, the Saint Mary’s University president, and fashion TV host Jeanne Beker of Toronto.
As a spirited entrepreneur who founded his first business at 17, Matthew Moore was quick to recognize the importance of building a business through innovation and good, old-fashioned customer service.
Today, the Moore Moving founder keeps those early sentiments close, doing what he can to offer homeowners and business travellers alike a full-service experience with the launch of Moore Realty and Moore Suites.
“There are a lot of synergies between moving and real estate and the extended-stay business,” Moore said Wednesday. “We’re looking to change up the traditional business a bit by being innovative, creating more customer value and benchmarking with similar firms in different countries.”
Moore, a business and finance graduate who is pursuing his professional accounting designation, returned to Halifax in 2011 after two years studying in Sweden. He put his original business, Moore Moving, on hiatus until his return, when he then diversified to launch Moore Realty and Moore Suites.
The time abroad, Moore said, shed light on unique ways to approach the traditional.
As a result, Moore Realty does homebuying and selling a little differently, offering architectural drawings of each listing and offering a free truck or cleaning service on move-in day. All transactions are completed through Royal LePage Atlantic.
Moore Suites complements the real estate business with 12 (and counting) fully furnished suites available to rent in Halifax and the surrounding area; two properties in Barbados and one in Canmore, Alta., are also available. The service is targeted at business travellers, long-term vacationers and those who want to rent their property while out of town.
“One advantage of using us is we provide a wide variety of locations around the city at different price ranges,” Moore said. “We want to make it easy on renters and for the people who have an apartment they’d like to rent out but don’t know where to begin.”
Moore said his interest in the moving and real estate industries was piqued thanks to his father, Tim Moore, founder of moving firm AMJ Campbell and Premiere Executive Suites in Halifax.