Best-selling author and financial advisor David Chilton has been looking into opportunities in the Sarnia real estate market.
And though it might come as a surprise to some, Chilton was born in Sarnia and still calls the city home — or one of them anyway.
The Wealthy Barber author and former dragon on the hit CBC show Dragons’ Den has eyed both residential and commercial properties lately, including a Front Street storefront.
“I look at real estate everywhere I am, partly as a hobby but also because you’re always looking for investment opportunities,’ said Chilton, who bought and renovated a cottage in the city four years ago.
“But it’s a not a celebrity coming to Sarnia. I’m from Sarnia, and I spend a lot of my time here.”
Chilton, 55, has deep family roots and spent his high school summers in the city, he said.
These days, he’s on the road or tending to his business interests for about half of the year and spends the other half in Sarnia, he told The Journal in a phone message.
And he has a membership at a local golf course.
“I’m actually in Sarnia now more than I’m in Waterloo. I have a huge group of friends here and I love Sarnia,” he said.
Chilton graduated in economics from Wilfrid Laurier University and holds the record for the highest score ever on the Canadian Securities Course.
His financial planning book franchise, The Wealthy Barber, has sold two million copies, making it the best selling Canadian book of all time.
The original volume is set in Sarnia and tells the story of a teacher, business owner and refinery worker who are taught sound financial decision-making by a savvy local barber.
After publishing The Wealthy Barber, Chilton took time off to homeschool his two children, who are now in their 20s.
In 2015, he ended a three-year stint on Dragons’ Den, the popular TV show in which would-be entrepreneurs pitch ideas to businesspeople.
Chilton invested in 22 of those enterprises, ranging from an ergonomic snow shovel attachment to a loose-leaf tea company that is now flourishing.
He is also a sought-after guest on TV and radio, where, with a touch of humour, he shares his personal finance and investment knowledge.
As for snapping up some of the supposedly undervalued real estate available in his hometown, Chilton said he’s still kicking tires.
“I only own the one property,” he said. “I have looked at a few others but haven’t taken the plunge yet.”