FEATURE — The dust has settled on the 99.9 KONY Country’s “Huge Tiny Home Giveaway,” and Teena Cowan of Cedar City walked away May 5 with the keys to a brand new tiny home from Zion’s Tiny Homes.
Cowan works at Southern Utah Animal Hospital and is married to a police officer of over 45 years. She is the grandmother of 11 children and is getting set to retire.
At the start of the giveaway, Zion’s Tiny Homes and Zion’s Tiny Getaway owner Autumn McGregor said that she hoped the home would go to someone who could really use it.
“When I first decided to give a tiny home away, I said to myself, ‘We’re doing this for people in need, and I’m praying and hoping that someone gets it who really needs it,’” McGregor said in a previous St. George News report.
McGregor’s desire to help others in need stems from a lifetime of overcoming personal hardships and building success despite tremendous difficulties. It is her hope that she can use her business and her life experiences to uplift, inspire and encourage others to push through their trials and to help them find a safe place to rest while they are working toward a better life.
McGregor’s young adult life in California was characterized by homelessness and abuse – a cycle that is often difficult to break.
In her own words McGregor tells her story:
I grew up with my mother having six children. She was never married. I didn’t know my father. My mother was a single mom so it was really hard sometimes. In the rough times it got as bad as we were living in a tent next to my school. For about two years we lived in a tent. All my brothers and sisters who knew their fathers would go off to their fathers, so most of the time it was just me and my mom in a tent. When I was about 14, I decided I was going to try this on my own so I moved out of my mom’s tent.
McGregor moved in with a friend who had an older brother. He and McGregor began dating but McGregor said the brother turned out to be abusive and possesive of her.
“I ended up being pregnant at the age of 16, and I had my child at the age of 17,” she said.
At one point, McGregor said the abuse and control was so bad that she was not allowed to leave the house and never had the opportunity to finish high school and receive her diploma.
Eventually McGregor was able to get away from the abusive relationship. And despite her setbacks – including life as a single mother to a son – McGregor got a job, worked hard and was able to save enough money to rent her own apartment.
Not long after, fate knocked on McGregor’s door in the form of a Directv salesman from Utah. McGregor said he told her about how beautiful Utah was and introduced her to missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
That salesman would later become her husband.
Living with purpose
The couple’s path to owning a successful business was neither straight nor easy but rather was marked by debt, the loss of a family member, job loss, flipping homes in Illinois and the birth of a daughter. It was also marked by hard work and taking risks.
Fed up with an unsatisfying job in northern Utah, the couple decided to sell their house, move to Southern Utah and go into business for themselves building tiny homes.
Their original plan, McGregor said, was to build a self-sustaining tiny home community where people could go in their time of need and be able to sustain themselves as they rebuilt their lives.
In the design, residents of the tiny home community would have been able to grow crops and use wind and solar power so that their utility costs and other costs would be low.
McGregor said if her mother would have had a place like that while she was going through tough times it would have made a world of difference.
“That would have changed our whole entire lives,” McGregor said, adding she would have had a home base to feel safe.
As it turned out, it was a lot more difficult to build an off-grid community than they had originally thought and they were unable to accomplish that goal, McGregor said. At least not yet.
Though building a self-sustaining community is still a goal of hers, McGregor said that in the meantime she is using her business to help others in any way she can.
Zion’s Tiny Homes allows owners to use their tiny homes as an extra source of income. The company will help owners rent their tiny homes to bring in extra cash flow when they need it, McGregor said.
The company also donates 5 percent of the profits from their Zion’s Tiny Getaway rentals to different charities in Southern Utah.
As a successful business owner now – Zion’s Tiny Homes has orders clear into October – McGregor said that she is able to see now how her hardships shaped her into the person she is today.
For those going through similar trials, she said to just keep going through it.
“There’s always going to be that light at the end of the tunnel even if you don’t see it now,” she said. “A lot of times my hardships became the best qualities in me.”
About Zion’s Tiny Homes
Zion’s Tiny Homes is a travel trailer manufacturer that specializes in tiny home recreational vehicles. They are dedicated to helping people live a larger life in a smaller space and go by the motto of “live free, live happy, live tiny.”
The homes are all custom built to the highest standards and have a cozy feel to them. Each of them is fully outfitted with a kitchen, bathroom, shower and a mini split system for cooling and heating. Zion’s Tiny Homes are continually adding amenities to make each home more comfortable.
“We can build anything,” McGregor said.
Zion’s Tiny Homes also offers a unique Zion’s Tiny Getaway for customers to experience a tiny home. Four tiny home units are available as a nightly rental for customers to enjoy the feeling of living large in a tiny home. To learn more about the Zion’s Tiny Getaway, click here.
For more information about Zion’s Tiny Homes, including photos and information on getting a quote, visit their website.
Written by HOLLIE REINA, St. George News
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