Over the years, my approach to life and business has evolved from an “I Love Too Much!” attitude to a “Less but Better” approach. Here’s a snapshot of my journey.
I was born on the tiny island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, which has a rich history of people learning to do a lot with little... and in the process living bright, rich lives in compact and beautiful spaces. I was the youngest of 5 siblings and, together with my parents, we shared a very small apartment overlooking the beautiful capital city of Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
When we immigrated to Canada in my boyhood, I vividly remember being amazed at the sheer amount of space in my newly adopted country as well as in our new, modest house. I had no idea what to do with all of Canada’s expansiveness! Despite finally being able to spread my wings as I grew older I kept finding myself drawn to more compact spaces. In my thirties I built a number of progressively smaller homes - starting with a 4500 sq.ft. (450M2) home and ending up with a 450 sq.ft (45M2) cottage! Start big and go small - the complete opposite of the North American norm.
In my thirties I also fell in love with sailing, and would spend much of my free time living on my 30 foot boat, exploring the nooks and crannies of Northeastern Nova Scotia, while sleeping at night on my dinette-table-turned-double-bed. There was a place for everything - and everything had to be in its place. A great lesson in Micro Boat-ique Living!
In 2011 I took a summer teaching position with Semester at Sea, a floating campus run by the University of Virginia, that took me, my soon-to-be fiancee/business/life partner Alyson and my two daughters, Martha and Norah, around the Mediterranean for two months. My living quarters during that time were a compact but high design living space of around 200 sq.ft. (20M2). These tiny living arrangements fascinated me - I had everything I needed and more in a smaller area than most people’s garages!
As I moved through life thinking about how people use the spaces they have, I came to realize that although space is important, it’s what you do with it that truly matters. And thus began my pursuit for less - and a better less at that. The first Micro Boutique Lofts were designed with this principle in mind; creating compact but beautiful, modern spaces that were highly livable and fun to be in. I wanted our Micro Lofts to mix exceptional functionality with superior quality and design, and yet be compact enough to be affordable to our tenants and overnight guests. Moreover, I made sure to locate our building in the heart of the city - in this way our tenants and guests could enjoy the excitement and vibrancy of downtown as part of their new lifestyle without needing a car.
This combination of compact spaces, combined with superior design, quality and functionality, added to a superb, downtown location and all supported by advanced technology allows for the emergence of a whole new and unique lifestyle - the Micro Boutique way! Our guests and tenants can now stay and play affordably in beautiful, hip, high-design spaces within walking distance of everything they need.
Our first prototype Micro Lofts were built in the summer of 2011 in Antigonish, a beautiful university town in northeastern Nova Scotia. The response was immediate and very positive - all our suites leased out in a week! Due to this quick success we then built a new 30 unit addition. These suites were leased out six months before we opened in September 2012.
By August 2014 we had expanded Micro Boutique Living to Wolfville, Nova Scotia, with the opening of a new 60 unit building. Again, all our lofts were leased out 6 months before our opening date.
Following the positive response that we have seen with Micro Boutique Living so far, we have now started construction on a new development in Charlottetown, PEI. We are also evaluating other development options in other locations across Canada. Stay tuned!
Moreover, my (now!) lovely wife Alyson has joined the company full-time and is overseeing all day-to-day operations of Micro Boutique Living. As we expand we are building a very capable and enthusiastic team to help us get there!
Chris and Alyson
"When I first came to Canada I found more; with Micro Boutique Living I found a better less."
Chris Galea, Owner
Founder and President of Micro Boutique Living
CEO and Owner
Chris Galea is the entrepreneurial Founder and President of Micro Boutique Living. He developed the concept of living in small but high design, high efficiency spaces in the course of visiting over 50 countries and during many hours spent on his 30ft sailboat.
Chris was a professor of Business Administration for over 25 years and taught in universities across Canada. His focus was on sustainable development and has published a number of books on the subject. In 2013 he resigned his tenured position to focus exclusively on Micro Boutique Living.
Prior to his academic career Chris had started a number of entrepreneurial ventures ranging from the food and catering world to the tourism and hospitality industry.
In addition to living and breathing ‘All Things Micro’ Chris is also a husband to Alyson Roberts, father to Martha and Norah, an avid reader and active outdoors person. He loves being on or near the ocean, tackling any hiking trail, playing winter beach volleyball and peddling fun, two-wheeled vehicles.
Alyson is the ‘get-it-done’ CEO and Owner of Micro Boutique Living overseeing the management of all day-to-day operations. She brings exceptional leadership, organizational, human resource and marketing skills to the Micro Boutique Living team. Alyson joined Micro Boutique Living in 2014 after a successful career as the co-owner of Portland Physiotherapy Health & Wellness Centre, a private interdisciplinary rehabilitation clinic in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Alyson completed her Bachelor of Commerce degree at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and then worked for four years in marketing and sales. She returned to university for a Degree in Occupational Therapy after which she started working in the field as a Project & Disability Manager for a regional network of clinics. In 2001 she joined Portland Physiotherapy and became co-owner in 2008.
Alyson has been involved with many organizations. Most recently she served as the Chair of the Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission and was the driving force in their major rebranding campaign.
When Alyson is not working with the Micro Boutique Living team she can be found outdoors hiking or cycling with her husband Chris. In addition Alyson loves yoga, squash, golfing and walks with her beagle dog Georgette. She also enjoys travelling and spending time with friends, family and people that inspire her to be a better person.
Sales & Administration Manager
Rhyanna brings exceptional customer service, strong organizational skills and a “can do” approach to Micro Boutique Living. Her positive attitude and friendly, yet professional, approach will leave you with a smile - even when dealing with tough situations.
Rhyanna has worked for the Owners for over 10 years, starting out as a part time employee with one of their businesses, South Side Vacations, along with her full time employment as an Early Childhood educator. Rhyanna finds it very satisfying working at Micro Boutique Living, knowing that she is helping to provide an exciting living space that our customers can truly enjoy. She also likes the positive and supportive team with whom she works.
When Rhyanna is not on the phone or behind her laptop, she enjoys spending time outdoors: running, hiking and/or at the beach with a good book.
If you have a question or concern regarding sales and/or customer service, please contact Rhyanna directly.
Sales & Administrative Assistant
Cheryl comes to Micro Boutique Living with a diverse resume but her focus has always been on quality customer service. A former small business owner, she understands how important it is to find solutions for each and every guest at Micro Boutique Living, whether it’s a simple request for more towels, or something a little more challenging.
Her outgoing nature allows her an ease with customers and fellow staff alike and she will quickly strike up a conversation with anyone. She loves the diversity of each and every day with Micro Boutique Living and enjoys helping the Front Office with administrative tasks.
In her downtime, Cheryl can be found editing Salty, a monthly food digest, enjoying beaches around the world, gardening and snapping photos of everything she sees.
General Maintenance - Antigonish
Paul brings to Micro Boutique Living over 25 years of experience in building construction and maintenance. His knowledge, attention to detail and the pride he takes in his work keeps our micro suites in top condition and supports our customer focused approach.
He enjoys the friendly and welcoming atmosphere at Micro Boutique Living with its supportive staff and owners, making it enjoyable to come to work each day.
When Paul is not working to make our buildings great, he can be found outdoors, coaching hockey, remodelling his lakefront cabin or spending time with his family.
Buildings & Operations Manager
Chad is a ‘big picture thinker’ with exceptional problem solving and leadership skills. He also takes great pride in a job well done.
These skills and attitude make him outstanding as the Buildings & Operations Manager for Micro Boutique Living. Chad, who has a degree in Computer Science from Acadia University, joined the Micro Boutique Living team in 2014. His impressive skills and great ‘get-it-done’ attitude were quickly noticed by the Owners and he was equally quickly promoted to the key management team. Chad enjoys working with Micro Boutique guests and clients. He finds the growth of the company to be rewarding and exciting.
When Chad is not problem solving or figuring out how to make our operations work better, he enjoys spending time with his family and volunteering at the Wolfville Fire Department where he serves his community as a Captain.
If you have a question or concern regarding the operation of the building, please contact Chad directly.
Property/Hotel Supervisor - Wolfville
Linda joined the Micro Boutique Living team in 2014, where her attention to detail and her ‘stay-on-top-of-things’ attitude made her the perfect choice for our Wolfville Property/Hotel Supervisor. Linda loves meeting new people, talking with Micro Boutique Living tenants and guests and hearing about where they have come from.
Her previous experience with running an in-home daycare for 20+ years, as well as her work as the manager of a local convenience store, makes her a great asset to our team. She is dependable, customer-service focused and enthusiastic.
When Linda is not working to ensure that our customers are 100% satisfied with their accommodation, answering her phone or showing a potential tenant a new suite, she enjoys enjoys quilting and sewing. Her grandchildren are everything to her and she spends time with them camping and attending sports events.
Sales & Administrative Assistant & Antigonish Property Supervisor
Karen brings an exceptional customer service background combined with strong organizational and problem solving skills to help to keep our customers, tenants and team happy. Karen believes that the Micro Boutique Team is a big family where everyone helps one another and takes pride in their work. We all have the same goal: to make Micro Boutique Living a great place to stay!
Karen and her husband, who are originally from the United States, fell in love with Nova Scotia a few years ago while vacationing in the area. Following this they moved to Nova Scotia and became permanent residents. While in the United States Karen and her husband were the Owner/Operators for 23 years of a small heating and air conditioning company; since 2012 Karen has also been the Owner/Operator of The Garden Studio in Nova Scotia. Karen also has an Associate Degree in Horticulture and Agriculture from Cumberland College.
When not in the office or corresponding with customers and staff, Karen enjoys painting, gardening, travelling and teaching art classes.
If you have a question or concern regarding sales and/or customer service, please contact Karen directly.
General Maintenance - Wolfville
You may not always catch a glimpse of David, but you will see his stellar work throughout Micro Boutique Living. As our maintenance “go-to” team member, David goes above and beyond to ensure that our guests have the best possible space to enjoy. His pride in his work shows in every repair and his problem solving skills are a valuable tool to our team.
David, who was an automotive mechanic for 25 years and ran a repair shop for a number of years, joined the Micro Boutique Living team in 2015 where his impressive skills and quiet leadership were quickly noticed. David enjoys the diverse tasks that keep his job interesting. He also enjoys talking to the tenants and hearing about how they are doing in school and what brought them to Wolfville.
When David is not problem solving or figuring out how to make our buildings work better, he enjoys projects at home or at friends’ homes. He also enjoys attending sporting events with his grandchildren and taking them camping.