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Business Review

r e t t e b s i n d #b

Private investment confirms Brandon’s competitive advantage far better than statistics, studies and marketing ever can…..

Assiniboine Industrial Services is developing a 50 acre site, creating 15 new jobs. Behlen Industries continues to make notable investments in advanced manufacturing equipment. B.O.B. Headquarters constructed a new 20,000 sq. ft. warehouse to keep pace with their growing wholesale and retail business. Browns Socialhouse, a hybrid between an upscale casual dining restaurant and a neighbourhood pub, is under construction.


Cascadia Metals built a new building, expanding their square footage by 86,000 sq. ft. • 11% population growth according to 2011 Census, median age is decreasing • 14 active oil fields within 160 km radius of Brandon, 6 within an hour’s drive

Commercial Expansion – over 30,000 sq. ft. of commercial space is under construction at 2405 Victoria Avenue, with Sunrise Credit Union as the anchor tenant. Koch Fertilizer Canada is investing over $30 million in their Brandon Plant. Saputo is in the midst of doubling their plant size (adding 40,000 sq. ft.) and their workforce. Trican constructed a new facility and hired approximately 75 employees in order to service the rapidly expanding oil sector activity in southwest Manitoba. Western Asphalt opened an emulsions manufacturing facility and has announced plans to add an 80 acre rail transload facility. • Lowest utility and labour costs for manufacturing in Canada • Brandon’s GDP projected to grow by 2.3% in 2015 • In 2013, Brandon led Manitoba urban markets in housing sales per capita

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Messages & Regular Reports & Board

6 Greetings from the Brandon Chamber of Commerce President Todd Birkhan 7  Greetings from the Brandon Chamber of Commerce General Manager Carolynn Cancade

8 2014-2015 Board of Directors 10 Greetings from the Mayor of Brandon Shari Decter Hirst 12 The Benefits of Chamber Membership

Features 13  The Times Are a Changing –

Brandon is experiencing unprecedented growth in all sectors

16 Black Gold – Brandon looks to growing oil opportunities 20  Long May the Tradition Continue –

The agricultural industry in Brandon remains strong and healthy

24  A Woman’s Work is Never Done –

Brandon’s business women are kicking ass and taking names

30  Changing Ways – General perception of the state of our workforce is bleak, but when did you decide that?

32  Achieving Balance and Growth –

Workforce Development Committee has plan to remove barriers

34  There’s No Place Like Home –

The Chamber’s Shop Local program promotes Brandon businesses

36  Social Media Smackdown –

What to do when your company is being trashed on social media

38  Business Person of the Year – All in the Family –

Murray Auto Group’s Doug Murray continues family legacy

40  Lifetime Business Builder Award – One for the Team –

MNP’s Jeff Cristall awarded Chamber’s Lifetime Business Builder Award

41  Business Excellence Award – Made Strong –

Brandon’s Behlen Industries a global industry leader

42 Outstanding New Business Award – A Purr-fect Fit –

The Paw Resort & Wellness Centre is Brandon’s best new business

44  Community Service Award – A True Community Champion –

Bernie Chrisp awarded Chamber’s inaugural Community Service Award

45  Every Woman Deserves a New Beginning –

New Beginnings Intimate Apparel makes customers feel good inside and out

46  Stand and Deliver –

Brandon University Students Aid Community Development

48  Building an Icon – Olympic buildings made possible by Brandon’s own BEHLEN Industries LP

52  On the Go – Go Tire and MASC’s Rural Entrepreneur Assistance Program 54  Finding a Roof – Mobilizing local capacity to end youth homelessness 56  Where it Grows – Digging into community gardening with the BNRC


Business Review

is published by DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3L 0G5 President David Langstaff Publisher Jason Stefanik Managing Editor Carly Peters Sales Manager Dayna Oulion Advertising Account Executives Cheryl Ezinicki Jennifer Hebert Gladwyn Nickel Production services provided by: S.G. Bennett Marketing Services Art Director Kathy Cable Layout / Design joel gunter Advertising Art Dana Jensen © Copyright 2014 DEL Communications Inc. All rights reserved.The contents of this pub­lica­tion may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher­. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in and the reliability of the source, the publisher­in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers­or employees. Publications mail agreement #40934510 Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to: DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Canada R3L 0G5 Email:


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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Greetings from the Brandon Chamber of Commerce President

Todd Birkhan

As president of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the seventh edition of the Brandon Business Review. This magazine showcases businesses in Westman, sharing some of the many success stories that are occurring in Western Manitoba. The Westman business climate has been a strong one for the last number of years, and the future indeed looks bright. Westjet is experiencing strong loads, not only providing a strong argument for retention of service, but also creating the possibility for expansion in routes and numbers of flights. The Bakken oilfield in the southwest corner of the province is providing increased opportunities for businesses as Brandon is ideally situated to service the oil sector. Agriculture has been quite healthy for the past couple of years, further buoying our economy. The Arabian horse show has chosen Brandon for another two years (and hopefully longer), providing some activity in one of the slower times of the year for the retail, restaurant, and lodging businesses. This positive momentum is good news for our members. Westman has a lot to offer. Brandon is home to The Keystone Centre, a dynamic facility that is one of a kind in the opportunities it provides. We have a community college that is working hard to predict future needs through increased programming. We have a

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

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university that has recently announced a new president who shows energy and passion to push BU to new heights. These are but a few of the pillars that the people of Westman can be truly proud of. Yet, our strong economy carries its share of challenges. Attraction and retention of labour continues to be one of the biggest issues facing our businesses. The oil field with its opportunities for workers provides businesses a challenge in retaining employees. Changes being made to the temporary foreign worker program could further stress this market as employers such as Maple Leaf depend on this supply to help supplement their labour needs. The Chamber’s Workforce Development Committee is looking to get out in front of some of these issues and support our members in their labour challenges. Coupled with labour difficulties, Maple Leaf is also dealing with reduced hog supply, forcing it to operate below capacity. Hog supply numbers are decreasing due to the rules in place relating to barn expansion and new development. Our Agriculture Committee is trying to determine where we can best use our influence to help the province get to a practical, sustainable solution that is based upon facts and balances business needs with common sense, not political perceptions. The high water event of 2014 proved the decision to put one in 300 year flood protection in Brandon to be a wise one. Yet, our economy will feel the pinch that this flood put on the crop production in our agriculture sector and the temporary shutdown in oil sector activities. Infrastructure deficits will also be further enlarged with damage to roads and bridges. The Brandon Chamber Board of Directors, staff team, and committee members are working hard to help Westman deal with these, and other challenges head on. We are here to support our members, to help reduce obstacles for success, and aid in solutions to these challenges. In this magazine, you will read of businesses that have taken challenges head on and seized opportunities. As you read these stories, be proud of these businesses and their accomplishments and let their stories be motivation to you in your own business. •••

Greetings from the Brandon Chamber of Commerce General Manager

Carolynn Cancade

Welcome to the annual edition of the Brandon Business Review. At the Brandon Chamber of Commerce we know that our greatest strength is our membership and we take tremendous pride in this publication because it allows us to showcase our members and their successes. In this issue, we once again recognize the recipients of our Business Achievement Awards. The Chamber Awards were revised this past year to better recognize the contributions of our business community. While we continue to honour business excellence, new entrepreneurship, lifetime achievement, and those in the “peak” of their career, this year was also the recognition of a business/individual for their service to the community. As in previous issues, the featured awards recipients are all great examples of business success and leadership. Like our membership at large, they represent a diverse business community – from new entrepreneurs to long established family businesses, from large multinational corporations to not-for-profit organizations. After reading the business profiles you will know why we are so proud of our city and its entrepreneurs and why it is a great place to live, work, play, and do business. Along with stories that profile our award recipients, you will find

stories that highlight local women in business, the agriculture sector, and the continuing boom in the oil and gas industry. You will find articles about the challenges of social media and the work of our workforce development committee, and Shop Brandon campaign. There are many exciting things happening in our city and we encourage you to read all the great stories to learn more. At the Chamber, we advocate, connect, and educate but we also do so much more. We will continue to provide great networking opportunities, professional development sessions, and cost saving benefits, as well as advocating on behalf of business. Whether it is municipal budget matters, provincial and federal policy issues or discussions and collaborations with other community stakeholders we will represent your business interests. We have been the voice of business for over 131 years in our community. We are proud of our long history of helping Brandon businesses succeed and look forward to serving our members and community in the year ahead. Please contact us to learn more about the tools the Brandon Chamber of Commerce can give your business to prosper and grow. Visit us at •••


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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••



board of Directors

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vice-President Jordan Ludwig Brandon Business Interiors

Secretary-Treasurer Terry Burgess RBC Royal Bank

PAST President Craig Senchuk Agri-Trend Business Management 8

••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

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Brandon Chamber of Commerce 2014-2015 Board of Directors. 2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Greetings from the Mayor of Brandon

Shari Decter Hirst

These are certainly interesting and per-

the past few years, doubling the shifts and

haps challenging times for many of the

expanding the plant have benefited both

key sectors that underpin the Brandon

our construction and manufacturing sec-


tors. But Maple Leaf has got some chal-

The Conference Board of Canada puts

lenges ahead. Meat processing margins

manufacturing growth in Brandon at a

are notoriously thin and are very depen-

very healthy 6.2 per cent, with much of

dent on volume. It has become increas-

that growth driven by Maple Leaf. Over

ingly difficult to source enough hogs for

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

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a double shift capacity, initially because of the provincial hog moratorium, and now hog shortages in the U.S. and Saskatchewan caused by the PED virus. If we can get the supply issues resolved, there is the opportunity to expand the shifts yet again, similar to the production capacity of the U.S. plants they compete with, which would mean more growth in the region. However, if maintaining production is difficult in the current climate, expanding production will be even more challenging because of recent policy announcement at the federal level that will have a negative effect on Maple Leaf and other meat processing operations. Changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) have had an immediate impact with the first ever denial of an application to renew 75 workers. As well, the federal government’s new intent to phase out the low wage low skill component of the TFWP over the next few years will have significant repercussions for the business model of Maple Leaf Foods and other meat processors. Chamber President Todd Birkhan and I have been working closely with Maple Leaf, both locally and nationally, in an effort to bring some stability and certainty to this very import element of the Brandon economy. Brandon’s construction sector is softening, in large part because of the slowdown in large capital public sector projects that

are traditionally cost shared with other levels of government. The uncertainty in the application process for the Building Canada Fund has postponed several important projects in the city. If we can get confirmation of our Building Canada Fund applications soon, we might be able to take advantage of the 2014 construction season for the airport terminal expansion. If not, it will mean a very busy 2015 for us all, with the airport, water treatment plant, Koch Fertilizer upgrades, and Agri-Food Canada facility being some of the big projects on deck. Residential construction continues to be strong, with a record 466 units in 2013. Several large multi-family units are set to open this fall, setting the stage for another successful year. Brandon is sitting next door to a booming resource-based economic opportunity. Frankly, I’m tired of being envious of Saskatchewan and their revenues. The City can do its part by making sure our business and industrial parks are serviced and ready to go, and that the Brandon region is well promoted at trade shows and con-

ferences. However, the private sector also needs to be part of this momentum. There will be further opportunities for the City and the Chamber to work together, opening the door to a stronger economy just a bit wider. A well-diversified economy is critical in order to give Brandon the ability to offset slowdowns in one area with momentum in others. And that diversity is needed now more than ever. Weather certainly has played havoc in our all-important ag sector in the Westman region. A harsh winter and wet spring has delayed or prevented seeding. We won’t see the cash flow impact of that until next year, but it has certainly had a negative impact on optimism in the area. The transportation sector, while dealing with high fuel prices, continues to thrive in Brandon. The further opportunities of air, passenger and freight, await the federal decision around the airport terminal expansion. Rail has, of yet, unrealized potential. The offloading centres in Saskatchewan show what can happen when you

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marry the resource sector to rail transportation. The upgrades to the TransCanada and Highway 10, as well as the 24-hour border crossing will benefit transport businesses. One of the central characteristics of any thriving economy is a stable, well-educated/trained labour market. Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College are keen to tie their growth and success to some of the evolving opportunities in Brandon. Running a city and running a business have a lot in common. It’s all about managing risk, whether that’s weather, public policy, environmental regulations, or employment impacts. This involves planning, forecasting, and deliberately setting out to build a strong economy. It also means leveraging opportunities so that our economy continues to thrive and grow. The City’s partnership with the Chamber is one of the many strengths in our region, and together we can continue to build a great city. •••

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


BENEFITS OF CHAMBER MEMBERSHIP Five Reasons to be a Chamber Member


Lobbying & Advocacy


Leads, Referrals & Networking

With approximately 600 member companies, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce is the credible Voice of Business, speaking out on behalf of all members on a variety of topics, including working with the City of Brandon and Brandon School Division on business related issues. The Chamber also lobbies municipal, provincial and federal government representatives regarding issues that face our Chamber members.

The Brandon Chamber is about making connections...whether it’s chamber staff getting to know you and telling others about you or whether it’s you attending a variety of gatherings from small group events (Committee meetings and Business After 5’s) to larger functions (Luncheons, the Annual Dinner or Golf Tournament). Or whether it’s you connecting with other Chamber members through our business directory, with its nearly 70 pages of listings and contacts - a who’s who of the business community.


Awareness & Promotion of Your Business


Cost Reduction Programs


Learning, Education and Development

Joining the Brandon Chamber is about raising your profile in the business community. The Chamber offers you numerous opportunities to promote your business through sponsorship of a variety of events from luncheons and networking events to dinner’s and golf tournaments. The Brandon Chamber of Commerce also provides advertising opportunities for your company in both print and electronic media, getting your message out to more than 800 business owners and their employees.

The Brandon Chamber can save you money and make it easier to do business through such member benefits as group insurance, merchant discounts and payroll.

Whether it’s attending our luncheons and hearing from key political, business and community leaders or coming out to our Special Events throughout the year, the Brandon Chamber keeps you up-to-date on topics of current interest. The Brandon Chamber also provides you an opportunity to volunteer and grow as an individual - whether it’s helping to develop policy, speaking at a Chamber meeting or welcoming guests at a Chamber event.


800 business people with one unified voice for business means protection for your business. Businesses faced with unfair government administration, taxation, or legislation can use the Chamber as a valuable resource. Wellestablished channels to government and the power of representing over 800 delegates business people give the Chamber a voice that speaks louder than each business can alone.

Making the Most of It ADVERTISING

Advertise to a targeted audience through our various marketing opportunities: the Chamber Insider e-Newsletter, Chamber at a Glance printed newsletter, Business Review Magazine, website, Membership Roster, mailer inserts and Event Sponsorship. As a new member, you also receive recognition at the first luncheon you attend and an opportunity for a free member profile in the Chamber @ a Glance.


You are your greatest asset in teaching other people about what your business can do for them. By attending a Luncheon, Business After 5, Friday morning Coffee Break and other special events you can spread the word about your business to other Chamber members in the Brandon community. This is also your opportunity to learn about other businesses and how they can be of service to you.


There are many opportunities to assist on a Chamber committee to lend your hand towards various Chamber initiatives on behalf of the business community. To maximize your membership benefit—get involved, meet people and be available for other members. Use the Chamber to broaden your personal network. Other business leaders, who know the pressures of ownership, can offer insight to the local marketplace or can be a sounding board for your newest idea.


Various discounts are available to Chamber members, such as; AAA Security Systems; Ceridian (payroll); Christie’s Office Plus; MTS; The Chamber of Commerce Group Insurance Plan; and the TD Visa/Mastercard/Interac Merchant Plan.

Through membership in the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, you also benefit directly from your chamber's membership with the Manitoba and Canadian Chambers, whose advocacy efforts and initiatives advance public policy issues that are critical to all businesses here in our community and in communities across the country. For more information please contact the Brandon Chamber of Commerce (204) 571-5344 or email at


••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

The Times Are a Changing Brandon is experiencing unprecedented growth in all sectors.

By Sandy Trudel, Director of Economic Development, City of Brandon

The second-largest city in Manitoba, Bran-

in 2015. In the past decade close to 3,100

their work force when fully operational

don’s economy is diverse and expanding.

new dwelling units have been construct-

later this year. Cascadia Metals completed

A city of nearly 50,000 people with rapidly

ed and residential construction remains

an 86,000 square foot expansion and add-

expanding oil and manufacturing sectors,


ed advanced manufacturing equipment

the regional centre for health and educa-

Local business growth is testament to

to their Brandon site. Western Asphalt,

tion, and a robust retail and wholesale

Brandon’s positive business climate. Sa-

opened an asphalt emulsions manufac-

cluster combine to make Brandon a di-

puto is undergoing a significant expan-

turing facility in Brandon and recently

versified business environment. Brandon’s

sion at their Brandon facility that will more

announced they will be expanding their

GDP is projected to grow by 2.3 per cent

than double both their physical size and

Brandon operations to include an 80-acre



2014 ••• Brandon Business Review ••• b&w



transload facility serviced by both CN & CP

ment to Russia. Koch Fertilizer Canada is

railways. The transload facility is expected

investing over $30 million in their Bran-

to serve the logistics needs of a variety of

don facility. Trican’s new Brandon site is

industrial customers with a focus on the

proving to be an effective location from

expanding oil industry. Behlen Industries

which to service the expanding oil sector

continues to make notable investments in

in southwest Manitoba, and now employs

advanced manufacturing equipment. The

approximately 75 employees. Assiniboine

global reach of the company was high-

Industrial Services is developing a 50-acre

lighted this year when they were assem-

site, creating 15 new jobs. Browns Social-

bling the largest convex style building in

house, a hybrid between an upscale casu-

the world at their Brandon facility for ship-

al dining restaurant and a neighbourhood

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pub, is under construction. Over 30,000 square feet of commercial space is under construction on Victoria Avenue West. The 2011 census showed Brandon experienced a population growth of approximately 11 per cent, a notable jump from the 4.5 per cent population growth that was recorded in the 2006 census. Projections are that Brandon’s population will continue to grow at a rate of roughly 1.5 per cent annually for years to come. The growing population has brought untold opportunities and placed Brandon in the enviable position of bucking the national trend with a population whose median age is actually decreasing rather than aging. Brandon has been fortunate over time to consistently experience positive economic growth, but as they say, the times they are a changing. Competition for investment attraction is fierce. New global trade linkages emerge daily, both capital and talent are highly mobile, technology and new international economic power houses are transforming the global economy. All these new realities hold the potential to challenge Brandon’s opportunities for future growth. At the same time Brandon’s success and resulting growth is catching up with the community. Our infrastructure is strained, the base of read-




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ily developable industrial and commercial land is shrinking, real estate costs are rising, and unemployment rates continue to be low. Given the new realities, the time was right to update the existing Economic Development Strategy which has guided the activities of the Economic Development Department over the past decade. With the assistance of a business oriented advisory committee, development of an updated economic development strategy commenced in 2013, culminating in Prosperity by Design – 2014 / 2019 Economic Growth Strategy. The strategy builds on Brandon’s existing competitive advantages and focuses resources on six strategic directions and five key sectors; Advanced Manufacturing, Agribusiness

and Food Processing, Event Tourism, Oil Services, and Regional Retail. The strategy recognizes the shared responsibility for economic prosperity and provides the blue print for continued growth, moving Brandon closer to the vision of being a fiscally sustainable city with a growing and diversified economy, where prosperity is matched by quality of place. WestJet’s daily service between Brandon and Calgary has proven to be extremely successful and efforts continue to see service expand. Not only has air service enhanced the quality of life of southwest Manitoba’s residents but it removed a barrier to global connectivity for the area’s businesses. With ridership high and a united voice from Westman with regards

to the necessity of an expanded Brandon airport terminal, the three levels of government recently confirmed they will cost share an approximately $8.8 million airport terminal expansion which includes improved information technology infrastructure. The project is underway and is anticipated to be completed in 2016. A growing population, sustained investments from existing and new businesses, and a strategic yet flexible plan for economic prosperity combined with an abundance of rich agricultural resources, close proximity to an expanding oil services sector and an engaged business community form a solid foundation for continued economic prosperity. Optimism is high in Brandon and rightly so. •••

Protect your assets Our business world has changed. We live and work amid new and emerging threats that can wreak havoc on our business and operating environments without warning. Compounding those threats are globalization and fierce competition, making it more difficult than ever to shield your wealth and business from risk and uncertainty. To safeguard your assets and your future, MNP’s Business Resilience specialists will develop personalized strategies that enable you to effectively respond to market trends, recover from setbacks and protect your future. Contact Carla Milne at 204.571.7660 or

2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Black Gold

Brandon looks to growing oil opportunities.

By Melanie Franner

Photo Credit to Economic Development Brandon. Oil production in Manitoba in 2012 was a record 18.46 million barrels. Although the province has been producing oil since 1951, it only came into its own in recent years – thanks in large part to ongoing development in the Williston Basin. This puts Brandon, located in the southwest corner of the province, in an ideal position to capitalize on an expanding industry that is, in turn, fuelling the growth of a dynamic and ever-evolving city.

“The oil sector in southwestern Manitoba is creating great opportunity for the region,” states Sandy Trudel, director of Brandon Economic Development. “The sector is growing at a very significant rate. It is very important to the province’s overall economy. In our region alone, the local economy is benefitting from $190 million in royalties – that doesn’t include labour and capital expenditures. That’s just royalties.”

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

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According to Trudel, there are 14 active oil fields situated within a 160-kilometre radius of the city, six of which are located within a one-hour drive. “Brandon has always been the service centre of southwestern Manitoba,” she says. “Now, we are the service centre for the oil sector as well.” Being a service centre translates into having a strong labour pool for companies to draw from, along with a wealth of support companies, good housing, and the availability of quality of life items such as education, entertainment, recreation, and other amenities. “From a holistic approach, the oil sector is benefitting everyone,” explains Trudel, who adds that the city of Brandon proper has a population of around 46,000 (according to the last 2011 census). “Historically, Brandon’s growth has been minimal, around the one to two per cent range. In the last census period, we grew by 11 per cent. That is a significant shift in growth patterns for Brandon.” Trudel credits Brandon prosperity with being very diversified, which can prove to be a real advantage in tough economic times and strongly appealing on a day-byday basis. “Brandon has a strong agriculture

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Photo credit Photography by Sandy Black. base,” she says. “We have a growing presence in the oil sector. We have a solid manufacturing base over and above the oil industry. And we have built a service sector to meet the needs of industry.” Putting Down Roots Calgary-based Trican Well Service Ltd. is an example of a company that recognizes Brandon’s growing attributes – so much so that the firm set up a branch office in Brandon. “We officially opened here on January 1, 2012,” says Curtis Nerlien, base manager, Trican Well Service. “Right now, we have 70 employees but our plan to is grow and continue to hire more people.” The international pressure pumping company uses its base in Brandon to offer cementing and fracturing services to Manitoba’s southwestern oil fields. Prior to opening this branch, the company serviced the area from its Estevan location in Saskatchewan (about a three-hour drive). “Things have been going very well since we set up shop here,” adds Nerlien. “We’re getting great feedback from our customers – they’re happy that we’re here.”


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When the company first arrived in

and a 2,000-square-foot shop.

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Brandon, it made use of an existing

Interra Energy Services offers tools and

3,000-square-foot shop. It recently cel-

technologies designed to improve oil

It’s not just new businesses that are

ebrated the grand opening of a new

throughput at the wells. Its customers are

calling Brandon home these days. Long-

23,000-square-foot facility – one that will

the oil well companies themselves.

time, established companies are also

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answering the call of the oil fields by

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ample of a recent Brandon transplant.

fields,” explains Pat Gervin, Station Man-

the growing oil sector.

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ager of the Brandon branch, Interra En-

Kansteel Mfg. Inc. has been in Brandon

but the firm opened a branch office in

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has since carved out a strong market in the oil fields. “At this point, I would estimate that 97 to 98 per cent of our work is in the oil patch,” states Murray Yarema, plant manager at the Brandon Kansteel Mfg. facility. The company produces processing equipment for oil wells, including treaters, free water knockouts, oil/gas separators, and oil storage tanks. “Our sister company, Fre-Flo Oil Industries Ltd. in Estevan, Saskatchewan, has been instrumental in establishing our niche in the oil field, as the products that we build are of their design and, for the most part, are designed for the southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba oil patch. We’ve basically adapted the company to better service the oil patch industry in this area.” Yarema is quick to add that Brandon offers more than just business opportunities in the oil field. “We have access to a good pool of qualified workers here in Brandon,” he says. “We also have access to a large number of suppliers. There are a lot of amenities here for us – everything from a supply of raw materials to the people we need to have a strong support network. For us, it has turned out to be an ideal location.” An Important Hub With a wealth of industry at its fingertips, the city of Brandon has established itself as the centre of activity for southwestern Manitoba. Whether it’s new businesses coming in to service the oil fields or whether it’s existing local companies adapting their existing business models to better service these businesses, Brandon is home to a wide and growing number of firms that cumulatively, are broadening the city’s repertoire. “We have a basket of goods and services to offer that would typically only be available in larger cities,” states Brandon Economic Development’s Trudel. “We are at the hub of a 180,000-person trading area. We may be a small centre but we have the comfort and convenience – not to mention the benefits – of a large urban centre.” Not surprisingly, a 2011 survey from the Brandon Chamber of Commerce found

that over 60 per cent of the local businesses had benefitted from the oil boom. “That number is probably higher now,” adds Trudel. “Brandon is the service centre for rural Manitoba. There is a real strong interdependence between the two. They are tightly linked. And because we are the service centre for rural Manitoba, we have to be able to provide a range of professional goods and services.”

toba oil sector remains positive, with the provincial government estimating that some 59.8 million barrels of oil reserves were available as of December 31, 2009. “The forecasts we’ve been hearing about the province’s oil industry is that it’s strong, healthy and growing,” concludes Trudel. “Now, it’s just a matter of how we can fully tap into the opportunities out there – how effectively we identify

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and transform those opportunities into reality.” •••

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Long may the tradition continue

The agricultural industry in Brandon remains strong and healthy. By Melanie Franner

The agriculture sector is to the city of Brandon as is water to plants. It is the life breath of a community; the very essence of what has nurtured the city into a growing mix of service, supply, and manufacturing companies that it is today. And it is one that can boast a long and diversified history, capable of adapting to new technologies and new demands by constantly evolving to become bigger, better, and best in class. “Agriculture is the city’s largest industrial sector,” states Gerald Cathcart, Business Development Specialist, Brandon Economic Development. “We have over 4,000 people directly employed in agriculture related business.” At the core of the city’s strength in the agricultural industry is the Brandon Research Centre (BRC), one of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s national network

of research and development centres and one of the original five experimental farms established in 1886. Its focus? To conduct research to “increase the efficiency and sustainability of farming systems to improve productivity, reduce economic risk, minimize the negative environmental impact of their production practices, and maintain access to international markets.” “The research centre is a major employer in the city,” notes Cathcart. “But more than that, it conducts the primary research required if we are going to continue to sustainably grow enough food to meet the demands of a growing population.” The research centre is well supplemented by an expanding breadth of companies in the community, many with deep roots supplying to and/or providing for the agriculture sector.

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“Agriculture in Brandon is a vertically integrated industry,” continues Cathcart. “We have everything here – a research centre, a fertilizer manufacturer, several machinery dealers, and other necessary inputs needed for crops and livestock production, and, the technology to process the finished product. Brandon can deliver ‘fertilizer to fork’ for all of our major markets – pork, flax, and dairy.” Cathcart is quick to add that the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries are another market sector being fuelled by the city’s agriculture industry. “I think the fact that we are vertically integrated is what makes us different from other cities,” states Cathcart, noting other benefits inherent in Brandon include the availability of land, infrastructure in its well-established transportation system, and both potable water supply and

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wastewater treatment capacity. Not surprisingly, many food-processing facilities have set up shop in Brandon to avail themselves of the city’s copious resources. Maple Leaf Foods is an example of one of the larger ones, with 2,000+ employees. Saputo Dairy Products is another good example. The company is expanding its Brandon facility and will double the size of its work force as a result. The Intelligence Factor The fact that the city of Brandon is vertically integrated means it can support a broad and diversified agriculture industry. It also means it can attract the types of businesses that enable these agricultural companies to stay current. Agri-Trend was founded in 1997 with the goal of helping farmers make better decisions on crop input purchases. The company has branches spread throughout North America. Craig Senchuk, vice president of Agri-Trend Business Management, is based in Brandon. “We’re seeing an increased demand for the types of coaching services being offered by our firm,” he explains. “The farms are getting larger and more complicated. Farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to wear all the different hats. They may be dealing with different crops but the issue is the same: adapting to new technologies and running the farm as a business instead of a way of life.” Companies like Agri-Trend and its professional coaching network can make the difference in how quickly a company can adapt to change and how financially viable that company can become. “One of the strengths of Brandon’s farming community is that our longstanding history has given us an excellent equity basis,” states Senchuk. “And this equity basis lends itself to being able to try new things and adapt more quickly.” The Necessities Fertilizers and input providers are another key component of Brandon’s strong and healthy agriculture industry. Dale McKay is general manager of the local, full-service fertilizer retailer Shur-

Gro & Munro (Shur-Gro was founded in

crops being introduced and new equip-

Brandon in 1968, and acquired Munro

ment and practices being developed,”

Farm Supplies in 1990). The company

notes McKay. “It’s more important than

currently has 11 locations spread across

ever to stay on top of change. We’re seen

southern Manitoba.

as a source of information by our custom-

“Technology changes very quickly in

ers. Things change and opportunities

this industry, with new crop varieties, new

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industry changes.” Redfern Farm Services is another multiple-location ag product and services retailer operating throughout the province. Founder Ray Redfern established the company in 1973 at Rivers in “the shadow of Brandon” but later moved his corporate office to the city where they already had a retail location. “Brandon isn’t one of our larger retail

outlets but it is certainly vital to our business,” states Redfern. “One of its strengths is in terms of it being a good place for our people to raise their families. It allows us to bring people into our administration in that it provides a good life-work balance. From a business perspective, Brandon also affords us a presence that enables much better interaction with our suppliers. We have all types of resources here at

our disposal to support our business – access to technology, relationships, and ongoing partners who understand the need to support each other.” Ag Committee Alive and Well To underscore the importance of the agriculture industry to the city’s continued growth and prosperity, the Chamber of Commerce recently re-established

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its Agriculture Committee. This group of people, of which Dale McKay is chairman, represents all sectors of the industry. “Our committee’s mission is to strengthen and grow the agriculture industry in Western Manitoba,” states McKay, himself having spent his entire career in the city. “I believe that one of the strengths of this industry is the strong commitment of our primary producers to provide food for the rest of Canada and beyond.” Brandon



Cathcart believes that the Agriculture Committee will help the city prosper in the coming years. “The Agriculture Committee brings another resource into the mix,” states Cathcart. “There is no resting on our laurels. Agriculture has been – and will continue to be – a strong sector for our city, if not the strongest sector. We need to be proactive, building the type of environment that continues to attract agriculture companies. The Agriculture Committee will be an excellent conduit for growth.”

Redfern is another strong proponent of the Agriculture Committee. “With the advent of new technology, the agriculture industry has become a very exciting industry to be involved in,” he states. “It’s changed light years in the last several decades. Who would have thought that we’d see the kinds of ser-

vices that are being offered today, like knowledge providers. Agriculture is what put Brandon on the map. We have the opportunity to continue to ride our longstanding agriculture history by ensuring it remains a strong and viable industry in our future.” •••

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


A Woman’s Work is Never Done

How some of Brandon’s business women have found success in their field. By Lea Currie

Representing a “we can do it” attitude and pushing female ca-

Anita Haigh, owner of Blinds By Anita, agrees: “Brandon is a

pability into the spotlight during World War II, Rosie the Riv-

phenomenal place to start a business because it’s big enough

eter became a cultural icon for women in a time when females

and you have lots of opportunity here and in the surrounding

working outside the home were rare. Since her introduction

areas as well. The actual business community and people of

in 1942, the business scene has done a 180 degree turn, but

Brandon have been nothing but fantastic.” The strong community in Brandon and thriving business

Rosie is still a symbol that women can admire. Today, women entrepreneurs in Brandon are not forced into the workforce due to the war and tough economic times but

scene, along with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, has created a perfect storm for entrepreneurs to prosper here.

they do more than ever embody the same strength, perse-

“We can all benefit from the knowledge of other people, so

verance, and dedication that Rosie stands for. While being a

I think that’s definitely a great asset of the chamber. To have

global icon would be the ultimate for any entrepreneur, these

someone there to back you or look out for your needs as a

women are proving that they can indeed “do it” and more.

small business owner is definitely an asset as well,” says Jen

“I really feel like Brandon has a group of very strong busi-

Ludwig, owner of Brandon’s Richmond Avenue SuperThrifty.

nesswomen in the community so you see a lot of support, a lot

Meet five of Brandon’s female entrepreneurs who are show-

of young women making their way up around here, which is

ing off their business muscles. And like Rosie the Riveter, these

huge,” says Katrina Sigurdson, owner of The Party Professionals

business owners are leading by example and beckoning wom-

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

Anita Haigh Blinds by Anita Anita Haigh has worn many different hats throughout the years, working as a waitress, in a hair salon and for a major bank. But as so many women before her, she knew that she wanted more. In 2007, Anita, along with husband Glen, started Blinds by Anita. “I’ve done many different things, all of

them people-related,” says Haigh. “I’ve always really enjoyed anything to do with home décor and design, so it just felt like such a great fit to be able to do this. And I really enjoy working with people, so this kind of ticks all the boxes – you get to go into people’s homes, businesses and cottages, all while building relationships. A home-based business, Blinds by Anita specializes in custom window coverings and is a priority dealer for Hunter Douglas. Between one-on-one with clients and personalized service that includes sourcing out other décor items, like area rugs, artwork and lighting, Haigh is in her element. “In my business, and I think in most businesses, it’s about nurturing and building relationships. Naturally if you meet more people, you have more opportunity to maybe get business from that.” To help with networking, Haigh became a member of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce when she first started the business and since then, she’s been able to meet many people from all different

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industries. Haigh has seen direct business from being a chamber member, whether it’s through outfitting chamber businesses or the homes and cottages of members. “I actually took some of the courses that the chamber offered. One was on Twitter. Of course I was completely clueless. I was very fortunate to have learned the basics about Twitter,” laugh Haigh. “In general, they offer lots of opportunities through the chamber. I try to take advantage of as many of those as a I can because I think you can learn something every time you go.” Haigh has learned a lot through owning her own business, and relishes putting her skill set to work. “The best part is, all the decisions – good or bad – I get to make and that’s very exciting. From the littlest thing like what style of business card I’m going to do to what kind of marketing we’ll have in the next year. Every decision is mine. I don’t have to go to someone else to get permission.”

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“I wanted to be involved in a clinic that was much more sports-oriented and I wanted to stay in Brandon.” treats patients with physical impairments,

Sharon Shepherd West-Fit Physiotherapy Women’s sports became increasingly popular in the 20th century, and today, local stars like Clara Hughes and Jennifer Jones, have made a name for themselves, their sports and their country. Behind the sports bench, Sharon Shep-

commonly from sports injuries.

“There’s a lot of things in our community that would never happen if it wasn’t for

Shepherd voice fills with pride when

businesses in Brandon donating money

speaking about the clinic’s neurological

and it’s a lot of behind-the-scenes things

cognitive testing that aides people with

that happen that a lot of people aren’t

concussions. Tests are done at the begin-

aware of,” says the avid donor to many

ning of the sports season to establish a

local and regional foundations, includ-

baseline score; if the player suffers a con-

ing Brandon Regional Health Foundation,

cussion sometime during the season, fur-

YMCA and Cancer Care Manitoba.

ther testing can be done and compared

Shepherd is also known for donating

West-Fit Physiotherapy. It was Shepherd’s

to the initial score to ensure the player

her time as well. She has previously sat on

love of sports – volleyball and softball

is back at full neurological health before

the legislative committee for the College

when she was younger; skiing, running

returning. The Manitoba Ski Association

of Physiotherapists in Manitoba. She was

and biking nowadays – that swayed her

now requires all of their athletes involved

involved in a concussion committee with

into physiotherapy in the first place and

in jumps to be tested, and Shepherd feels

Brandon Youth Hockey that wrapped ear-

has influenced her career.

this is something all sports teams and as-

lier this year. She’s been an on-site trainer

sociations can benefit from.

for every sports team her sons (now 17

herd is making strides as the owner of

“I wanted to be involved in a clinic that

and 20) have been on and administered

was much more sports-oriented and I

Apart from helping clients bounce back

wanted to stay in Brandon,” says Shepherd

from an injury, Shepherd is most apprecia-

of starting the business in 1990.

tive of the opportunity that her business

Based on her track record, Shepherd will

provides in allowing her to give back to

continue to excel in the world of sports,

the community.

business or philanthropy.

The clinic – with a staff of five physiotherapists and 2.5 massage therapists –

first aid to their teammates.

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

Jennifer Ludwig Super Thrifty Drugs Canada The pharmacy industry is one where women excel ten-fold. Female pharmacists have outnumbered male pharmacists for nearly half a century (over 75 per cent females in hospital pharmacies and 69 per cent in staff or community pharmacies as of 2009 according to the Canadian Phar-

macists Journal). This occupation often appeals to females because of its flexible schedule, focus on patient care and the opportunity to use more (so-called) feminine attributes, such as communication and empathy. But for Jennifer Ludwig, these femalefriendly reasons had no impact on her decision to go into pharmacy. It was actually her love of science (often considered a male-dominated area) and her uncle, Joss March, which impacted her decision to go into pharmacy. “It actually kind of started with my uncle, who is a pharmacist within the Super Thrifty chain as well,” says Ludwig, who went to work with March during her grade 9’s “take your kid to work” day. “He’s been my role model throughout. Just seeing the things he’s accomplished made me want to do the same.” In 2008, after working with Super Thrifty for a decade in a variety of roles, Ludwig became owner of Brandon’s Richmond Avenue store – one of 17 locations for this independent chain of pharmacies – and

now manages a staff of 12. “Even when I was working just as a pharmacist, I wasn’t just leaving at the end of the day. I felt I couldn’t just leave – I was taking it with me. I knew being an owner and taking some control over what I do would be the way to go,” says Ludwig. In talking to her colleagues at Super Thrifty, she’s been reassured that her youth (Ludwig is now 31) doesn’t affect anything. “The group I’m working with [at Super Thrifty’s head office]… I’m very lucky because they view me as an equal and they treat me as an equal. They’ve said, ‘I don’t see you as any different. You’re an owner and that’s how we look at you,’” says Ludwig, who would like to move up within the chain and sit on its board one day. “Pharmacy has always been it, but the business aspect now is what really excites me and keeps me interested,” says Ludwig. Ludwig may have followed in her uncle’s footsteps, but her shoes have quickly started to make their own path.

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Sue Harrison Sutton-Harrison Realty For Sue Harrison, real estate just might be the ideal career. The flexible hours with solid earning potential have allowed her to find the equitable balance between family and business. Although real estate was a fairly new venture for Harrison when she opened Sutton-Harrison Realty 11 years ago – with her husband and established realtor, Kit – sales was something she knew well. Harrison previously worked for the Brandon Sun selling ads and as a travelling salesperson for Xerox. At those previous jobs, Harrison travelled quite a bit and found it hard to maintain her home life: “It’s really hard to go to a soccer game when you’re travelling.” But with real estate, the mother of two has found the right fit. The small (originally home-based) business grew exponentially and now two dozen agents work with the partners in their new 2,500 square foot office on 18th and Rosser. “I love selling. Iove people. And it’s fun! In most cases, real estate is the single largest investment people make and it’s really

exciting to help people buy their home or sell their home or help with their growing needs and growing families,” says Harrison. While keeping her focus on the customers, Harrison must also don her second hat while in the office – business owner: “The other part of my career is helping grow the business and helping to grow the agents, which I really enjoy.” A recent development at Sutton-Harrison will help cultivate both: “We have just offered partnership of Sutton-Harrison Realty to all of our staff. Ownership isn’t for everyone, but for those who want to have a long term commitment and help grow the business and be part of it, they now have that opportunity,” says Harrison. The response from staff has been very positive and has helped to invigorate enthusiasm around the office, including Harrison’s. A piece of advise that Harrison offers up for entrepreneurs, or really anyone, is to surround yourself with great, honest, caring people. Advice she herself has followed. “Everybody in our office has a great soul,” says Harrison of the company’s sales people. She speaks proudly of her staff’s donations to those in need, whether it’s helping a family after a house fire, or decorating a chemo patient’s house for Halloween.

Harrison has found her home – a place where she doesn’t have to choose between her business and making money or her family and time for herself. She has found that equitable balance everyone is searching for.

Katrina Sigurdson The Party Professionals & Rental Co. Maybe it’s cliché – a woman owning a company in the wedding industry, but as the average costs of weddings balloon to over $30,000, getting involved in this $4 billion industry just makes sense no matter what your gender. Katrina Sigurdson wasn’t looking to run a wedding-centric business when she bought The Party Professionals & Rental Co., a wedding and corporate rental décor company. She and her husband, Sean, stumbled upon the company while they were in the midst of planning their own wedding. The couple both have interior design backgrounds, so the décor side of things was a natural fit. But Sigurdson could not have anticipated the extent of work that the business side would entail. “We had no idea what scope it would have. It was bigger than we thought and it grew to a point that I couldn’t even imagine it growing,” says Sigurdson. “The wedding industry has just grown in a way you can’t even imagine. The wedding décor industry is a huge trend. It’s gotten a little crazy. I mean, eventually we’ll reach some sort of peak, but I really feel like it’s going to continue to grow over the next ten years.”


••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

Since taking over in 2010, Sigurdson has continually developed The Party Professionals & Rental Co. and it is now the largest company of its kind in Western Manitoba. Inventory has nearly doubled and last year a new building was purchased to house everything. Sigurdson has also expanded into trade shows and has her eye on new markets, including Winnipeg. But the biggest business is still right at home from local weddings to corporate affairs. “We get the honour of decorating the (Brandon Chamber of Commerce) gala every year. They’ve allowed us to be very creative and show what we do to the rest of the city, which is awesome. They’re a huge support system for small businesses in general,” says Sigurdson. “I definitely would not be here without the chamber.” Sigurdson’s support system also includes fellow businesswomen in the community, as well as her mom, mother-inlaw, entrepreneur friends and the décor company’s previous owner for mentoring her and offering wisdom. Unfortunately, women may occasionally question themselves, but Sigurdson thinks that can only help make females in business strong. “It’s a lot of work to try and prove yourself. There’s always a little bit of doubt, but I think that’s what drives you to be a better businessperson. It keeps me on my toes. The doubts I have – I force myself to figure them out, make myself better, grow my business and be stronger.”

her interest was piqued. Versavel chose to

and bussed tables when they saw how

come out of retirement when she opened

busy the eatery was.

Coffee Culture Café & Eatery in July 2013.

The now established business has a full

Versavel’s previous job as a Certified

staff and Versavel is finding her groove.

General Accountant has definitely come in

She credits her amazing staff, their knowl-

handy when it’s time to do the books, but

edge about the hospitality industry and

the transition to businesswoman came

commitment to making the business a

with a steep learning curve.

success. (“I can pretty much do all of the

“The biggest issue, whether it be a man or a woman – you have this idea and you go for it, but it can be really challenging to understand everything that’s involved,” says Versavel. “Learning this business was really an uphill battle for an accountant with a background in medical management, farm supplies and investments.” For Versavel, the support of the community has been invaluable. When the café first opened its door, the businesswoman quickly discovered they were

jobs, but my staff does a better job of all of them!”) Coffee Culture’s loyal customers and Versavel’s husband (“He’s a really great maintenance man – I’m not very good with plumbing!”) also contribute to the success of the business. Although she had achieved the goal people wait 40-50 years for, Versavel doesn’t regret giving up retirement. “Some morning when the alarm goes off, I think, ‘oh I could just roll over and go

short-staffed. The small staff of 10 was

back to sleep.’ But I have absolutely no re-

working double time to keep the business

grets. Coming up to our first year and the

open. A neighbour business, Accent Strip-

growing pains are really getting sorted

ing & Lettering Co., surreptitiously pitched

out and everything is so much more solid.

in and made a sign for them alerting cus-

There might have been times in the first

tomers about the issue and asked people

couple weeks when I was pulling out my

to please be patient. Her landlord, Dave

hair, but no regrets at all. I really do enjoy

Thompson and his staff and her accoun-


tant Jeanne Millis of BDO Dunwoody came

And really, isn’t that the dream? •••

Lori Versavel

Coffee Culture Café & Eatery Lori Versavel had achieved the dream every working person dreams about – retirement. But when a friend from Ontario mentioned an eastern-based coffee chain, 2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Changing Ways

General perception of the state of our workforce is bleak, but when did you decide that? By Charlotte Larocque, CHRP (Certified Human Resources Professional), Spirit Staffing & Consulting Inc.

Forecasts of talent shortages appear to be a prime concern. The number of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprise – under 500 employees) is on the rise. A large number of supervisors are preparing for retirement. The lack of engagement and retention carries a high price tag for companies, which feeds into the inability for owners to offer employers increases in salaries and other benefits. Companies state that many of today’s workers have a sense of entitlement. Safety concerns and mandated compliance to specific programs substantially increases overhead costs. Industry as a whole has become entangled in the theory that money is the bottom line and that it is the end-all, beall of business. It may be perceived as that. However, when you focus on the money you lose sight of what really makes your business money – people. Retention, engagement, and succession planning are the buzz words in the HR world. Over two and a quarter million employees quit their jobs in October 2013, the highest number since 2010. One of the greatest challenges facing employers today is finding and keeping good employ30

••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

ees. So how do employers accomplish this? It stems within the strategy that fosters the corporate culture. The challenge is often how companies approach retention, engagement, and growth of their current workforce – reactively. Retention issues are ignored until the company suspects an employee might bail, at which point it’s addressed by offering the employee some kind of enticement to stay, and then it’s back to business as usual. Engagement is often rewarded by promoting the individual to their level of incompetency, then, like disengagement, is met with reprimand. At this point, even the most engaged employees start to withdraw and may quickly join the ranks of those who are contemplating alternate employment. These approaches might work in the short-run, but does nothing to cultivate longer-term loyalty. A better approach is to address retention, engagement, and employee advancement proactively, as a strategic issue which remedies the root cause. The human aspect must be considered while developing a strategy. Research shows that building a highly

engaged workforce takes a combination of many things, each impacting people in different ways. With the influx of younger workers and the explosion of technology at work, the whole environment has to be more flexible and transparent. The majority of reasons why employees quit their job are under the control of the employer. In fact, any element of the current workplace, the culture and environment, the employee’s perception of the job and opportunities are all factors that the employer affects. The best way to retain and engage employees, in order to develop them to meet future needs, is to stay in touch with what they’re thinking and how they are feeling. Are they happy with their work? Are their needs for challenge, belonging, development, and meaningful work met? Do they have the communication, problem solving, feedback, and recognition that they need? Do they see themselves growing within the company? Are their human needs being met? The only way you can know is to ask. Keeping in mind, they may not know the answers yet. Creating a culture with the trust, rapport, and transparent communication allows for development of the thinking to occur. There are many great employees that have gone unrecognized. Employers must attune themselves and identify talent in a different way. If you stay in touch with your employees’ psychological states, you can ward off potential issues. But, you must focus on the people every day. You must have a plan and work towards that plan constantly. When employers decide to change their perception of their people and the workforce, they change their results. •••

Achieving Balance and Growth

Workforce Development Committee has plans to remove barriers. By Donna Minkus also recognized that we needed to get recruiters on board because they compete for workers, and know the kind of employees that are in demand.” The first meeting was a brain storming session to decide if the committee was a good idea, and if the various sectors could work together toward a solution to the labour shortage, explains Senchuk. Three more sessions were held to decide what the committee wanted to accomplish, and then a strategic plan was developed.

Build it, and they will come. That’s the premise on which the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with Economic Development, has laid the groundwork to solve an ongoing labour shortage problem in the city of Brandon. While the Chamber doesn’t plan to build a ball field, it has put together a team called the Workforce Development Committee, which has come up with a game plan aimed at removing barriers to economic growth. Craig Senchuk, past president of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce was the driving force behind the Workforce Development Committee. “For several years, we had been hearing that labour shortage of skilled and unskilled workers was top of the mind for Chamber membership, and that an inability to hire was the primary restraint to growth,” says Senchuk. “Based on this feedback, and the Chamber annual busi32

••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

ness climate survey confirming labour shortage was top of mind with members, it was clear that we needed to develop a long term action plan to address the issue.” Employers and educators play a role in developing solutions to employee skills gap, which is a barrier to growth, points out Senchuk. So collaboration was key to creating the Workforce Development Committee, which brought together representation from all sectors of the community, including large and small business, and educational institutions like Brandon University and Assiniboine Community College. “If we want our educational institutions to turn out the skilled workforce that employers need, we have to communicate with them and suggest changes to training programs so they are more in line with the labour force needs,” says Senchuk. “We

New committee chair The Workforce Development Committee, along with individuals from businesses, academics and government participated in the strategic planning session to craft the mission of the committee, and its responsibilities and activities for the year, says Bonnie Nay-Draper, the new chair of the Workforce Development Committee, and regional manager with Entrepreneurship Manitoba. “Developing our workforce is a need and an opportunity for all business in our area – private sector, non-profit, First Nation, academic, and government,” says Nay-Draper. “We will be reaching out to the business community for input and participation in achieving the goals outlined in the strategic plan.” With the support of incoming Chamber President Todd Birkhan, the committee will begin to work through the areas it has decided to address. “Going forward, we will further refine goals and priorities, outline plans to achieve these goals, and begin to implement,” adds Nay-Draper.

The issues of workforce development and skilled labour shortages have been an ongoing conversation in the community, she states. “We have an option now to be open to the opportunities we have, and that we can create, in Brandon and area.” Economic Development on board Sandy Trudel, director of Economic Development, and a member of the Workforce Development committee, reiterates Nay-Draper’s commitment to finding solutions to the labour shortage problem. “We have heard time and time again that the labour force is stable, productive and loyal,” contends Trudel, adding with a labour force of roughly 32,000 individuals, Brandon’s unemployment rates are lower than the national rates, and typically lower than the rest of Manitoba. “But we also hear at our annual business retention and expansion visitations, and throughout the year, that the labour shortage is the biggest barrier to business success. If a business is thinking about expanding, that may not happen if they can’t be sure they have access to sufficient skilled employees. Even if the business owner goes ahead with the expansion, depending on skill needs, that business may be in stiff competition with local and regional companies for a limited labour pool.” Welders, machinists, and other skilled trade workers are in high demand across the country, and Brandon is a small urban centre, she says, adding “we have great offerings. And once we attract folks to the community, they love the quality of life and tend to stay.” Employers are also competing for professionals, like engineers and doctors. Usually the higher level professions are dual working families, so while one family member may find employment, there may not necessarily be employment that matches the skill set of the spouse. Trudel notes this is an issue Economic Development has been working on for years, and she welcomes the involvement of the Workforce Development Committee in addressing spousal placement.

“We have a highly mobile workforce so employers that provide skill development will retain their workers, and attract new ones. While a shift in the labour pool can be good for employees, the trick is to find a balance between what employees need and what business can sustain,” she states. Although the labour shortage remains a challenge for many employers, Trudel points out that there are many success stories, citing Trican, which set up operation in Brandon in 2012 and had no trouble attracting 70 skilled employees; and,

Saputo Dairy Products, which is planning to double its workforce within the next year. Regardless of how you look at it, business success is tied to the labour force. As the Workforce Development Committee works through its strategic plan, the team will implement actions aimed at developing a workforce consistent with labour market demand. Achieving that balance will be a giant step toward removing barriers to economic growth. •••

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


There’s No Place Like Home

The Chamber’s Shop Local program promotes Brandon businesses.

8 stays y $100 spent, $6 atistic “for ever st as they e l th ca iti ow cr kn e ar all We e local dollars os Th ”. rough ity th un s m in the com health service ote education and om nd pr fu d s, an t job en te crea rhood improvem ou hb ig ne in t es taxation, inv lopment. OCAL. community deve ER. SHOP L







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The costs of a weekend shopping trip to Winnipeg or across the border will last longer than your next credit card bill. Spending money outside of Brandon can be expensive for the local economy, and in ways consumers don’t usually consider: rising league fees when sponsorship dollars from local businesses are not as fruitful; suffering non-profits from a lack of fundraising support; employees losing jobs when business is slow. Brandon business owners don’t want you to shop local just to help line their own pockets – they want to help make the community better. To encourage shoppers to stay close to home, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce established the Shop Local committee in April 2013. “We really needed to do this. Shopping local is one of the challenges we’re seeing in the business community. It’s just easier to shop somewhere else. This is something the Chamber can bite into and really make a change with,” says Jordan Ludwig, who chaired the committee during its first year. The team of 15, now being led by Whitney Tomchak since June 2014, was able to accomplish a lot in the inaugural year, from Black Friday’s promotion “Brandon is Better. Shop Local” to the educational push, “Connecting the Dots.” “The goal was to change the conversation about shopping in Brandon. There’s been a stigma; when you’re talking to people in the community, one of the first things people say is Brandon doesn’t have what they want. We wanted to change that conversation and say if you look around a little bit, Brandon probably does have what you want and we want you to keep your money here,” says Ludwig, owner of Brandon Business Interiors. An important first step was putting the onus on the business community to ensure stores do indeed have what customers want in stock and prices are competitive. Stores have jumped to the challenge and local residents responded in kind. During the educational campaign, the committee turned the tables and put the spotlight on shoppers.


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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

telephone: cell: fax: e-mail: address:

204-726-0283 204-570-2326 204-726-0784 398 Park Ave. East Brandon, MB R7A 7A8

“It wasn’t a ‘if you don’t shop local, businesses are going to die’ type campaign. It was more, ‘this is how it’s going to affect your pocketbook,’” says Ludwig. “Feedback was quite great. I had a lot of messages saying, ‘hey I didn’t realize shopping local was this important.’ ‘I didn’t realize the effect of the churn of dollars.’ You keep that cycle going, more dollars stay in the community. If you spend that money on, all of a sudden that dollar disappears and it’s never going to come back again.” Regardless of the hard work being done by the Shop Local committee, Brian Bromley, owner of Bromley’s Menswear on Rosser Avenue, is still concerned about the ease of shopping elsewhere, especially over the border, and wants more to be done by the federal government. “At one time you crossed the border and could only bring back so much merchandise. They’ve upped that limit so much it’s no longer a deterrent,” says Bromley, something many in the business community are likely thinking too. While Ludwig agrees he’d like to see the limit lowered, the merits of the Shop Local committee and its various initiatives here at home are more than necessary. “Cross-border shopping is not the only challenge that shop local committees have to face. Would it be nice if people couldn’t bring as much across the border? Of course. But in the grand scheme, there are also other factors competing for shopping dollars – bigger centres like Winnipeg that can offer a better selection or


re you a videographer or social media guru who wants to tout the shop local message? The Chamber is looking for people to help with an upcoming campaign. Contact 204-571-5340 or to get involved and make a difference in your community.

online shopping with cut-rate prices. I can guarantee you that if the cross-border allowance were reduced to zero we’d still be running a Shop Local campaign to promote our local businesses,” says Ludwig. He also confirms the Chamber is using its platform to ensure the government hears the voice of member businesses. “I would never put a ceiling on the capabilities of the Chamber.” For now, the Shop Local committee will continue to focus on just that – shopping local. And shopping local is about more than just being a customer – it’s about supporting your neighbours, backing your city and showing community spirit, all while still getting what you want at the store. •••

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Social Media Smackdown

What to do when your company is being trashed on social media. By Jillian Mitchell

increase loyalty. Simply put, disgruntled customers can be won back if the appropriate action is taken. (World-renowned chefs, however? Less likely.) Parker offers the following three tips as a means of winning back the nay-sayers.

Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Ari-

ness owners participating in social media.

zona, is legendary – but for all the wrong

“This is an example of going down in


Erjavec Parker, owner of Winnipeg-based

could save the bakery’s owners, Amy and

SPARKER Strategy Group, of the Bouza-

Samy Bouzaglo, from themselves. During

glos’ behaviour. “There was no sense of

a 2013, taping of the popular U.S. televi-

professionalism or brand integrity. It was

sion show Kitchen Nightmares, the show’s

the exact antithesis of what a customer

host threw in the towel for the first time

experience should be. And they are infa-

in the program’s 82-episode history as a

mous for all the wrong reasons.”

result of the eccentric couple’s “bizarre” in-

As Parker adds, the couple’s first of

ability to accept constructive criticism.

many mistakes was focusing on short

As if that’s not enough, it got worse.

term gratification, as opposed to long

After the episode’s airing last May, the

term affects of their actions. “No matter

bakery co-owners took to Facebook to ini-

how much someone slams you, you are

tiate a now infamous social media melt-

not allowed to lose your cool online; you

down, blaming “haters,” “bloggers” – even

have to keep it professional,” she says. “On-

Ramsay himself – for their troubled busi-

line complaints have a way of taking on a


life of their own.”

An expert weighs in

Top three tips to win

Albeit, the above example falls on the


flames,” says social media expert Susie

Not even celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay

back customers

extreme side of the spectrum, but never-

A little known paradox: effective ser-

theless it offers valuable lessons for busi-

vice recovery can (and in most cases will)

••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

#1 Make it quick Addressing an online complaint in public view is a delicate dance. The online realm makes it exceptionally easy for customers to air complaints, and it only takes one mishandled comment to create an online frenzy. Parker stresses the importance of addressing nay-sayers as quickly as possible or within 24 hours. “As an owner, burying your head in the sand is not going to help,” she says. “Rather it will simply keep you out of the conversation. It goes back to the old PR adage: when there’s silence, there’s speculation.” #2 Make it personal (and professional) A full-on PR crisis can be nipped in the bud through listening (active listening) to customers, says Parker, before calmly and appropriately communicating how a situation will be rectified. An empathetic, personal response instils confidence within the customer, she says. “Make that extra effort to put a face behind the brand,” she adds. “If it’s Joe’s Snow Removal, then Joe’s brand promise needs to be first and forefront when responding to customer concerns.” Parker offers the following response as an example: “We’re very sorry to hear that you had a bad experience. We’d love to deal with this issue offline. Please send us your details and we’ll make this right. Here’s our [contact in-

formation]; we definitely want to hear from you.” In the above scenario the social media expert stresses the importance of moving the conversation offline – an integral step to a successful resolution. If the slanderous comment is not on a business’s page, but rather on an individual’s page, tread carefully. There are privacy laws in affect that prevent businesses from contacting individuals online. A business owner acting under his or her personal social media account should follow the same procedure and attempt to take the resolution offline. “Above all, be professional and objective as you deal with the unsatisfied customer,” Parker says. #3 Be proactive It all comes back to the old adage, if you have a good experience you’ll tell three people; if you have a bad experience you’ll tell 10. Parker begins this tip with a series of questions: “Every move that your brand makes speaks to your customers – so ask yourself, ‘What are we really saying with how we execute our brand promise?’ ” she suggests. “Are you building up good will or are you building up aggravation? And with social media, your customers are talking about you, whether you like it or not, so would you like to be a part of the conversation or not?” The social media guru suggests keeping Facebook and Twitter business pages as positive as possible. Posting a terms of service on all social media pages, under the “About” section, for example, is a key place to start. “This will define the parameters of how your community is allowed to interact and engage on your page,” she says, “and it explains that rude, profane, or explicit languages will not be allowed on your page.” Parker offers the following as an example of a terms of service: If you are participating on this page, you will not engage in any sort of negative, violent or inflammatory speech. “The comments may still happen,” she adds, “but [a terms of service] gives you the ability to reach out to negative feed-

back while pruning harsh language from

alization, it is appropriate for an owner to

your page.”

request the removal of a negative post from the online platform, if it has not yet

Closing the Deal

been taken down, says Parker. “You can

Once the resolution is seen through

certainly ask. And if nothing else, do re-

to the customer’s satisfaction, incentives

quest that the customer use the social

can sweeten the deal. “They may not ever

network to announce the problem was

come back, but if the problem is dealt

solved,” she says. “And this is where being

with quickly and to the customer’s satis-

on top of your corporate social media can

faction, your business may have created a

help. Tweet or post that you were happy

customer for life,” says Parker.

to solve a customer issue and make some-

Furthermore, after the resolution’s re-

one happy again.” •••

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Business Person r of the Yea

All in the Family

Murray Auto Group’s Doug Murray continues family legacy. By Jillian Mitchell

Four generations of Murrays can’t be wrong – the Brandon-based family has an obvious knack for automobiles, as if gasoline pumps through their veins. It all started in 1929, with A.A (Andy) Murray, who began to sell cars from his agricultural implements business in Souris, Manitoba. Son Clair soon followed his father’s footsteps, moving to Brandon

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

in 1959 to work as a General Motors dealer. The 1980s saw Clair’s four sons (Paul, Dan, Chris, and Doug) following suit, this time taking the path as entrepreneurs. Today, the Murray Auto Centre ranks among Brandon’s largest private employers, at 172 employees, and boasts over 1,500 employees in their 28 dealerships coast to coast. The Murray Auto Group operates in the country’s top percentile of profit and operational excellence – as a Platinum Member of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies and a recipient of 39 President Triple Crown Awards. “We have been lucky enough to grow as a family business, yet we have kept family values first,” says Murray Auto Group CEO Doug Murray, whose daughter Lyndsay marks the fourth generation to join

the family industry. “My father and three

fective leadership and strategic vision he

tients and their families travelling to Bran-

brothers all continue to be best friends 30

brings to his work life to his background

don for cancer treatment.

plus years later.”

in sports. “At the Murray Auto Centre we

The long-time Chamber of Commerce

In 1979, Doug Murray began working

work hard to build the best team possible

member was recently awarded the Bran-

at what was then known as Murray Chev

and then encourage our team to do the

don Chamber of Commerce’s Business

Olds Cadillac, leaving behind his dreams

best job possible to look after our valued

Person of the Year Award. Of the win, Mur-

of a career in hockey for the family busi-

customers,” he says. “We are always striv-

ness. (Murray is a former WHL Wheat King

ing to become better, to reach our full po-

ray says it was a team effort.

and was drafted to the NHL’s Vancouver

tential for our customers.”

Canucks.) Thirty-five years later, Murray

Murray’s influence directly attributed

stands at the helm of the family’s national

to the family business being awarded the

automotive enterprise and oversees op-

Manitoba Chambers of Commerce’s Long

erations at the three local dealerships that

Term Business Achievement Award in Ru-

comprise the Murray Auto Centre: Mur-

ral Manitoba in 2013. The Murray Auto

ray Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC, Murray

Centre has also been well-recognized for

Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Westman, and

their contribution to Brandon’s business

Marshall Motors Used Vehicle Clearance.

“I would like to think our customers, our employees, and my father, Clair, all take pride in the Murray Auto Centre being recognized. We work hard to run a very good business and take pride when we do a good job for our customers. It is nice to be recognized for that. “The Chamber [keeps] our city moving

development and charitable initiatives

ahead in a practical common sense fash-

Amid the busy day-to-day, the husband

including arts and culture, amateur sport,

ion. The Chamber has always attracted the

and father of two makes it a priority to

education, volunteer and community

best business people in Brandon to serve

enjoy life. His passion for the outdoors is


as presidents and executive on the board;

undeniable, as an avid sports lover, year

A prime example, the Murray Auto

these people give up a significant amount

round outdoor enthusiast, and Instru-

Group has been a strong supporter of the

of their time to serve their city and fellow

ment Flight Rated (IFR) pilot.

Murray House, an affordable “home away

business people, and I very much appreci-

from home” for hundreds of regional pa-

ate it.” •••

Admittedly, Murray attributes the ef-

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Lifetime Business d war A r e d l i u B

One for the Team

MNP’s Jeff Cristall awarded Chamber’s Lifetime Business Builder Award. By Jillian Mitchell

Jeff Cristall’s life motto is simple: Just say “yes.” “You get out of life what you put into it,” says the Valuations and Corporate Finance consultant at Brandon’s Myers Norris and Penny (MNP). “If you say ‘yes,’ you’ve taken advantage of opportunity. Sometimes that means taking a risk, and you’ve got to do that in a balanced kind of way.” For the husband and fatherof-two, balance is key in numbers and in life. “Perhaps my family would say that I say ‘yes’ too often,” chuckles Cristall, “but I think this is about how you do things as opposed to what you do.”

The how, adds Cristall, is fostered thorough teamwork. “Without the fantastic team we have [at MNP], I wouldn’t be given the opportunity to take on the challenges that get you recognition,” he adds. Cristall, a long-time Brandon Chamber of Commerce member, was recently awarded the Chamber’s Lifetime Business Builder Award for his successful career that has spanned more than three decades. It is an acknowledgement that he graciously accepts on behalf of his workplace teammates. “It feels good, but I really view this as a team award,” he says of the win. “It takes a whole team of people to make anyone successful. You don’t get there on your own; there are very few endeavours you have that you become successful all by yourself.” When Cristall began with the Brandonbased accounting firm in 1982, his knack for numbers quickly earned him a position as the firm’s 12th partner. Back then, MNP consisted of a small collection of Brandon

and rural Manitoba accounting offices totalling 50 employees. Today, MNP boasts approximately 500 partners and 4,000 employees at its 65 offices across the nation. Cristall’s division of MNP, the Southern Manitoba Region, also boasts the highest ratio of female partners in all of the firm’s 17 regions – an impressive 50 per cent. Age diversity among staff and partners is another plus cited by Cristall. “A great team has variety,” he says. “Our industry 30 years ago was white AngloSaxon males. That’s not what the marketplace is today, and that’s not what business looks like. We’ve changed what we do here to be much more inclusive.” For Cristall, Brandon is home. And though he spent a brief stint in Vancouver, B.C., working for Dunwoody & Co.’s Valuation and Special Services department, he soon headed the call home to the Wheat City where he joined MNP and has remained ever since. Cristall, an accredited member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, has earned a reputation as a trusted and highly regarded advisor in the Westman region, his outstanding service to the profession and community recognized by organizations like the Brandon Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, who awarded him with the prestigious Fellow of Chartered Accountants (FCA) designation. •••


••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

Business e Excellenc Award

Made Strong

Brandon’s Behlen Industries a global industry leader.

By Jillian Mitchell What drives Behlen Industries? In three words, quality, innovation, and customer service. In fact, it is the execution of these three principles that garners the steel manufacturing solutions company many accolades, including the Brandon Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award. “It’s truly an honour to be recognized in front of our peers in the business community of Brandon,” says Sean Lepper, vice president and general manager of Behlen Industries LP. “The chamber has been a great support network.” From the shop floor on up the corporate ladder, Behlen Industries’ three guiding principles well-facilitate daily operations, from small decisions to monumental moves like the recent upgrade of the Brandon factory, originally built in 1969. “We’re spending millions of dollars over the next two years to radically change how we manufacture steel,” Lepper says of the factory’s upgrade. “We’re getting into automation and robotics so that we can become a modern, fast-moving company to supply the needs of our customers quickly.” Since the late 1960s, the Wheat City has been home to Behlen Industries, which today is owned and operated by local entrepreneurial company Westman Group Inc. (WGI), and over the years Behlen has grown to significant heights – the company has been nationally recognized as Canada’s largest manufacturer of steel building systems and one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Private Companies, with Platinum status since 2003. “Geographically, we’re really well-situated to the industries we supply,” Lepper says of the company’s Brandon base. “But

we’re also able to tap into a great labour market in Southern Manitoba. It does suit us well.” A recent development, the 300-employee steel solutions manufacturer has entered the worldwide market, shipping globally through an authorized dealer network spanning North America and parts of Europe. Just last year, Behlen opened a five-employee office in Moscow, Russia, marking the company’s first office outside of North America. The office is anticipated to foster inroads within a burgeoning market. Add to that, Behlen recently was awarded a contract to construct the world’s largest frameless steel building in Siberia that will house an international-sized soccer field. As Lepper confirms, it is the diversity of their product line that empowers the company to provide a variety of cost effective building systems to the industrial,

institutional, commercial and recreational markets. Lepper adds, “Our push into the global economy, it’s really been able to move us into an all-season economy.” All told, the company vice president attributes Behlen’s wild success to their team, strong as the steel they manufacture. “We’ve got a motivated, dedicated staff that is constantly innovating,” he says. “There’s always new technologies coming out and better ways to do things, and it’s our people that drive our quality forward.” •••

Interprovincial Association on Native Employment – Westman We are not an employment agency, but we do: • Enhance talent search options • Provide engagement strategies • Assist in workplace assessments • Make appropriate referrals to employment seekers Working together to Promote Native Employment For more information, email 2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


ing Outstand ss ne i s u B w e N Award

A Purr-fect Fit

The Paw Resort & Wellness Centre is Brandon’s best new business.

By Jillian Mitchell ments, “We were honoured to receive the award. The Brandon Chamber went on to nominate us for the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Small Business in Manitoba Award.” For many years the Nichols family have boarded pets in their home, at first for friends, then for the local community. In 2010, the couple relocated their in-home business to a brand new 7,000-square-foot facility on the family acreage. “We had been planning this for 14

Husband and wife Frank and Joanne Nich-

fering boarding, grooming, training,

ols met in 1980. Two years later, the veteri-

and play care. Displayed proudly on the family busi-

narian and his assistant married. Over the years, the couple has gone on

ness’ reception counter is their new-

to raise four children (Katherine, Amie,

est accolade: the Brandon Chamber of

Cailey and Andrew) and a number of pets

Commerce Outstanding New Business

(horses, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, dogs,


hamsters, rabbits, pigeons, fish, and one

“It was a nice surprise,” says Joanne

beautiful but cranky macaw) and have

Nichols of the big win. “There are a lot of

successfully built a thriving business in

businesses in Brandon, so we were quite

Brandon, The Paw Resort & Wellness Cen-

honoured to receive it.”

tre, a resort for Westman’s family pets of-

Cal Morrow

Husband Frank echoes her senti-

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

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“Caring for pets is a huge responsibility, one we never take lightly. We work very hard seven days a week, late at night and bright and early in the morning. Our customers trust us and that’s big.” years,” recalls Frank of the entrepreneurial endeavour, as his wife playfully adds, “The first year and a half of being open, there was one day every week that I just never went to bed. It was busy right from the beginning. The schedule of the walking, feeding, and medicating, it just kept going. It’s better now, and I get my sleep.” The two-story rust-coloured facility located on Gray Road (off of Grand Valley Road) was custom-built to promote pet comfort, with special attention given to natural lighting, noise reduction, ventilation and air filtration. Additional sustainable design features include geothermal heating/cooling, low-VOC and recycled building materials, drought tolerant landscaping, low-flow washroom fixtures, and low-wattage lighting.

Paw Resort & Wellness Centre is a home

duo is a firm believer in continual educa-

away from home for pets, offering supe-

tion. As such, the Nichols are long-stand-

rior dog and cat boarding, pet grooming,

ing members of several pet care and

dog day care, and dog training classes. The

training associations, the latest of which

team readily offers a meet and greet and

is the Dog Guru community, a nationally

complementary tour for potential clients.

accredited group focused on raising the

“It’s important to ensure a good fit,” says

bar in off-leash dog safety for their doggie

Joanne of this offering. “The clientele that

play care. The couple also makes a point of

we have here, they feel that their pets are

regularly attending conventions and semi-

family. So the pets are treated like family

nars across the country and encourages

members here.

their staff to do the same.

“Caring for pets is a huge responsibility,

“We’ve built a lot of nice relationships,”

one we never take lightly. We work very

says Joanne. “It is a lot of fun, and we feel

hard seven days a week, late at night and

very privileged to get the pets and owners

bright and early in the morning. Our cus-

that we get. It’s rewarding for us to hear ‘I

tomers trust us and that’s big.”

didn’t feel guilty and I never worried one

A complement to their combined 60plus years of experience in pet care, the

bit while I was away; thank you for what you do.’” •••

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Tel: 204-578-5500 Website: 2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


ty Communi Service Award

A True Community Champion

Bernie Chrisp awarded Chamber’s inaugural Community Service Award. By Jillian Mitchell The Wheat City’s Bernie Chrisp is a community leader through and through – so much so that Riverbank Discovery Centre colleague Lois MacDonald nominated him for the Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Community Service Award. Of the nomination and subsequent win, Chrisp says he was honoured. “I thought it was super. It was much appreciated,” says the husband of 46 years, father of two, and grandfather of five. “I fully support the Chamber of Commerce. We have a very active and dynamic chamber and people are involved and do a great job.” Since retiring in 2003, the former regional director for the Manitoba Department of Environment (Park West Region) has garnered a long record of service within the Westman region, having worked extensively on programs and initiatives within local service and athletic clubs and various boards of community organization.


••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

Admittedly, sports hold a special place in the former minor hockey coach’s heart. As such, Chrisp continually represents his hometown of Brandon, Manitoba, provincially and nationally through Sports Manitoba, the Manitoba Games Council, and Special Olympics. In the past, he played an active role in many of the region’s highprofile events, such as the 1997 Summer Games, the 2006 Special Olympics Canada Games, and the 2010 Mastercard Memorial Cup, as well as the 1999 World Junior Hockey Championships, the 1999 Pan Am Games, the Scott Tournament of Hearts, and the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life. Most recently, Chrisp sits on the 2017 Canada Summer Games Bid Committee as vice president. “I love all kinds of sports,” says Chrisp of his involvement. “Sports has just been one of the things that really got me involved. I’ve always been in sports in one way or another. It’s just something I felt I could give back to the community.” For his efforts in athletics, Chrisp was awarded the Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012, the Brandon Wheat King’s Innovator of the Month Award in 2012, and was granted the honour of carrying the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch as it passed through the Wheat City. And the list continues. Most recently, Chrisp holds the position of president for Brandon Riverbank Inc. (and has been board member since 2008), as well as vice president of Career Connections, concurrently. He is also an active member of Brandon’s Communities in Bloom, the Kinsmen Club of Canada, the Brandon Rotary Club, and the Brandon Planning Commission. And though Chrisp’s resume reads much like a “What’s Going On Brandon” listing, he is humble about his involvement, insisting that he simply headed the call. “My feeling is I’m giving back to the community. I live in a great community, Brandon is a great city, and it’s an opportunity for me to get involved. If I can make Brandon a better place to live, I’m certainly willing to do that. I like people, working with people, and if I can mentor some people to come along, then it’s an opportunity.” •••


New Beginnings Intimate Apparel is making customers look and feel good from the inside out. My story first started back in 1981. It was while working in a store that catered to women, I became aware of a growing need for the proper fitting and sizing of undergarments. My interest soon became a serious and heartfelt concern that something needed to be done. I established my first lingerie boutique in May1982, and as the saying goes “never looked back.” It was a wonderful learning experience, of which I gained an invaluable education in communication and understanding which has grown and taught me through the years in my business. Through the last 32 years, we have moved our store three times, but now our fourth location has been the best as it is my “dream store.” I wanted something to excite and offer a unique shopping experience. We have achieved this by offering a European Flair design to our store – a hand-painted Parisian mural surrounds the ceiling, and vintage hand-painted women decorate the walls, and dressing rooms. This certainly blends well with the European lines that we carry for our merchandise. We have definitely become a “destination” store as customers are always bringing in visiting friends not just to see the store, but to enjoy our service and expertise we are known for. We take the term “Bra Fit Expert” very seriously. When we mix our levels of education, knowledge, and advice with our passionate dedication towards our customers, we create that “wow” experience that we desire for our clients to have. We work with ages from teens and up, so we are constantly evolving in our teaching and educating methods when fitting bras. We take a great deal of satisfaction knowing we have done our absolute best in bringing our customer into the understanding of being fit properly, and how important a great fitting bra is, not just physically, but emotionally as well. Our European brands extend from A – I cup sizes, and we offer a substantial collection of which to choose from. We also offer mastectomy fittings, and are Certified Mastectomy Consultants. We believe in helping women look great from the inside out. Our store collections include not just bras, but sleepwear, day-

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wear, swimwear, accessories (such as jewelry, belts, scarves), cruise wear, and casual wear (unique clothing lines from Italy, Australia, and USA). We believe that every woman who comes into our store is coming in for a “new beginning”. We want her to feel and look as special as we believe her to be. •••

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Phone - Fax (204) 725-4080 2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Stand and Deliver

Brandon University students aid community development. By Glen Kirby, Communications Officer, Brandon University

BU Enactus students ranked third among 50 teams at national conference in Calgary, 2010. “You don’t realize how much of a difference you can make in someone’s life,” says Allison Large, “until they come up to you and say ‘thanks’.” Large is reflecting on her time in the Brandon chapter of Enactus, an international volunteer program which aims to improve local residents’ quality

of life and standard of living through financial literacy. Previously known as Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), Enactus is a global, non-profit organization that mobilizes university students to make meaningful change in their communities while developing the skills to become socially

responsible business leaders. Each year at Brandon University (BU), as many as 30 students participate in a range of outreach projects. “Enactus was a great, rewarding experience,” says Large, who got involved as a student in BU’s Business Administration program. “You gain invaluable skills that you don’t get in the classroom. Opportunities to practice public speaking, team work, time management – stuff you need to work in the real world.” “This is just one example of what we call ‘service learning’,” says David Taylor, the assistant professor of Business Administration responsible for starting and nurturing Enactus at BU over the past 10 years. “Students have the opportunity to contribute outside the classroom by engaging with local partners. There’s also remarkable student growth. They have put together top notch projects, awardwinning projects, emulated by other larger universities.” One BU initiative called Green Futures established dozens of garden beds at Brandon community centres where Grade 4 to 6 students could grow their own produce, and learn about sustainable gardening practices.

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Allison Large and Monique Patel from Brandon University with BC delegate at Enactus World Cup. “We started with an idea,” recalls Whitney Tomchak, who had a lead role in the creation of Green Futures, “and partnered with King George School and nearby East End Community Centre. One month later, we had raised $25,000 to cover start-up costs and make it happen.” The result was more than 900 pounds of food for 200 families, and national recognition for the Brandon University students. “I feel that the time I spent with Enactus and SIFE really helped turn me into a professional,” says Tomchak, now a chartered accountant with BDO in Brandon, and active in SIFE as both a BU student and board member following her graduation. “I became confident in my abilities.” In the last 10 years, students have created a wealth of projects with lasting impact. “It’s all about meeting community needs,” says Taylor, noting a few of the successes: Money Matters, a learning series on budgeting geared to low income families, developed in collaboration with the Brandon Regional Health Authority; the annual Trendsetters Fashion Show; and a board game patterned after Monopoly, called Buyer Beware, used to educate school children about money management. “We had a lot of fun, collaborating with a great group of dedicated people,” says Large. During her three years with Enactus, Large worked with Westman Immigrant Services to offer seminars for new Canadians on financial literacy, including banking, taxes, and investment. She managed the program, offering 10 seminars per year, averaging 20 participants per session.

CJ Grambo, Whitney Tomchak and Katie Lee from BU Enactus with students at King George School. “I feel it’s important to give back to my community,” says Large, who graduated from Brandon University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and is pursuing a law degree at Dalhousie University. “I’ve travelled and understand how frustrating it is to not know the language, culture, and ways of business. I feel it is important to help new immigrants get better established within their new community.” Corporations including Canadian Tire, TD Bank, and WestJet like the polish that Enactus students present. “They call us ‘the next leaders of Canada’,” says Tomchak, who traded business cards with recruiters from HSBC, The Forzani Group, and

Loblaws during student-led conventions. “Employers are looking for community commitment,” says Taylor. “It takes time and effort but the benefits are unbelievable. The students make connections, apply learned knowledge, and get a sense of the real world. Employers hire from that talent pool.” “You have to love it,” says Tomchak, who estimates she was devoting 30 hours a week to Enactus activities, on top of her full student course load and a part-time paying job. “Since graduating, I have been seeking out similar opportunities with local organizations but I miss the handson experience. In Enactus, we didn’t just sit around and talk. We did the work.” •••

I feel it’s important to give back to my community. You don’t realize how much of a difference you can make in someone’s life, until they come up to you and say “thanks”. Allison, BU and Enactus Alumnae Contributing to Community. Creating Opportunity.

2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Building an Icon

Olympic buildings made possible by Brandon’s own BEHLEN Industries LP. When asked if he would recommend BEHLEN Industries LP to others, Colony Buildings (Colony) President David Thompson, answered quickly, “Absolutely. Except to my competition.” In fact, Colony may have missed out on


••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola terminal project, where it built one of Canada’s iconic sports structures, if it weren’t for BEHLEN’s cost effective and versatile pre-engineered steel buildings. “Working with Colony and the project

designers during the PEAK 2 PEAK project, we were able to keep the original design very similar while drastically lowering the budget for the building by changing the style to pre-engineered steel,” says BEHLEN’s Pat Versavel, vice president, Engineering and Innovation. “Typically, pre-engineered steel buildings are perceived by the construction community as looking boxy. That perception just isn’t accurate. I think we proved with the PEAK 2 PEAK project that pre-engineered buildings can have skewed walls and compound angles and still be much cheaper than their conventional steel counterparts.” The PEAK 2 PEAK gondola terminals became an essential feature in the alpine skyline of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic

games and are still a major tourism draw.

the project, hired architectural firm

The 24,000-square-foot structures are

CannonDesign (Cannon) to design the

an entry point for visitors wishing to ride

gondola terminals. Everyone wanted

the highest gondola in the world, which


runs between the Whistler Mountain and

became clear that the cost of the iconic

Blackcomb Mountain in British Columbia.

conventional steel buildings they sketched

During the lead up to the Olympics, company






exceeded their budget.

Intrawest, the mountain resort and adventure


Intrawest was under pressure to come up with a solution that would elegantly



connect Blackcomb Mountain with the amenities at the top of Whistler Mountain. Should they make the buildings less iconic to save money or keep them as they were and make other sacrifices? Intrawest called in Colony to help, and Colony turned to BEHLEN. “It was very important that the building itself be very iconic,” says Thompson. “The moment I looked at the structure I developed a concept in my mind of how it could be built and remain iconic while drastically reducing the budget.” Instead of hiding the steel structure behind a façade, Cannon designed the terminals to embrace its steel structure, using translucent panels to show the beams inside the walls. With help from BEHLEN, Colony was able to keep the spirit of the original building, while converting the architect’s conventional steel design into a pre-engineered hybrid building which was much more cost efficient. “When Colony approached us and described their idea for the terminals’ design we knew we wanted to be involved

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with the project,” says Versavel. “This

allowing it to be completed on budget.

that our engineers are capable of working

was a chance for us to have a big part

BEHLEN manufactured the buildings in its

with almost any design to achieve our

in creating an iconic structure and to

Brandon, Manitoba plant and shipped it in

customers’ visions.”

show that our system of pre-engineered

pieces to the mountain top construction

buildings legitimately can save money

sites where Colony put it up.

when compared apples to apples with conventional steel buildings.” The new design was embraced by Cannon, who appreciated that Colony

“It certainly was the partnering with BEHLEN that was the deciding factor on the project,” says Thompson. “We couldn’t






president of development said that Colony and BEHLEN were able to answer design and budgeting questions very quickly, allowing Intrawest to explore its options

have done it with anyone else.”

and make the best decisions.

and BEHLEN respected the original design

The altitude, high snow loads and

concept and were enthusiastic about

strong winds made both engineering and

“I guess the deciding factor was

being involved in such a unique project.

building the terminals difficult. Despite

primarily that Colony was able to deliver

“We had the design well-developed

the conditions and weather delays in

the building that everybody wanted

as kind of a conventional steel building

preparing the foundation, Colony was able

within our budget and the added bonus

before Colony came on board and we

to erect the buildings on schedule.

to that was the ability to work with us to

had to make a few compromises, but it

“Creating the terminals for the PEAK

wasn’t a dumbing down of the project, it

2 PEAK gondola was an honour for us,”

was kind of streamlining of the design…a

says Versavel. “We love how the building

very good collaboration,” says Christopher

design showcased its steel structure while

Rowe, Cannon’s vice president.

being unique, modern and beautiful.


With the new pre-engineered design

I think this project proves that steel

as an architectural, engineering and

the project’s cost dropped significantly,

buildings don’t have to look like boxes and

construction feat. •••

fine tune the design and I think improve the building,” he said in a testimonial. Today the gondola buildings are recognized


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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


on the go

Go Tire and MASC’s Rural Entrepreneur Assistance Program. Submitted by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation

The story of Go Tire Mobile Tire Service began in January 2013, as Cory Popplestone was watching Dragon’s Den – the television show where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas hoping to secure business financing. He learned that Go Tire Mobile Service provides mobile tire repair and replacement, windshield replacement, vehicle detailing, and more. “It was a great idea,” Popplestone remembers of his introduction to Go Tire. “I was really attracted to the convenience.” The idea stuck with Popplestone and would soon transform his life. Discussing it with his wife, they realized it was something they both wanted to pursue. Within two days, they contacted Go Tire to discuss franchising opportunities. “But at that point, the idea was still a long way out,” explains Popplestone. 52

••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

Like many start-up businesses, Popplestone says the biggest, most obvious challenge was securing finances for franchising and establishing costs. When someone first decides to go into business, so many other challenges arise, such as location, suppliers and how to get the word out. A first-time entrepreneur might not have the experience to recognize all that’s needed to get started and become successful. With so many important decisions to make, Popplestone remembered the Rural Entrepreneur Assistance (REA) program. Offered by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), the REA program provides a guarantee of up to 80 per cent to financial institutions that finance rural Manitoban entrepreneurs on loans of up to $200,000. Eligible small business-

es include those located in rural Manitoba (outside of Winnipeg) with $2 million or less in annual income/sales. Applicants are expected to present a solid business plan, including a review of the competition and suppliers, market size, pricing, budgeting, cash flow and more. As Popplestone explains, “It really makes you look at the numbers.” Today, Go Tire Mobile Service, Popplestone’s successful entrepreneurial venture, delivers the convenience of mobile vehicle services to customers in the Brandon and Bossevain area. And, as Popplestone learned, the real numbers can be quite different from those projected in a business plan. “Go Tire is getting more calls than ex-

pected for detailing and glass and those differences are always welcome,” says Popplestone. Since opening, they’ve secured a shop space in Bossevain to handle the extra workload. Looking back, Popplestone is impressed by how things happened so quickly – from a concept on Dragon’s Den in January 2013, to securing a REA guarantee in February, to a grand opening in July 2013. The REA program is aimed at entrepreneurs wanting to start a new business or to expand an existing business. Loans can be made to owners/operators, partnerships and co-operatives, and may be used to purchase fixed assets, inventory and/or working capital. While access to capital is vital to business, access to operating credit with reasonable terms and conditions is equally important. MASC’s Operating Credit Guarantees for Rural Small Business provide a guarantee on operating lines of credit from private lenders. MASC proudly supports rural Manitoba entrepreneurs and are happy to contribute to their successes. “We wouldn’t be here without REA,” says Popplestone, although without the hard work of himself and his wife, Go Tire would still be just an idea. To contact Go Tire Mobile Tire Service, call 204-761-2253 or fax 204-534-2999. For more information about MASC’s Rural Entrepreneur Assistance program or Operating Credit Guarantees for Rural Small Business, contact MASC’s program specialist at 1-204945-2180 or visit •••


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Brandon Now! 2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Finding a Roof

Graduates from the Neelin Off-Campus program, 2013.

Mobilizing local capacity to end youth homelessness.

On June 24, 2014, the Brandon Neighbour-hood Renewal Corporation (BNRC) was pleased to announce a new partner-

ship with Eva’s Initiatives and the National Learning Community to develop a strategic plan to end youth homelessness in 






••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014




Brandon. That’s a tall order, and not one taken lightly by the seven member steering committee that has formed to lead this program. The steering committee has representatives from different sectors including the City of Brandon, Neelin Off-Campus, Career and Youth Employment Services, the BNRC, Brandon University, LaBuick Consulting, and the Brandon Friendship Centre. The steering committee will consult with a number of other community partners during the planning process, and will monitor youth homelessness with service providers, landlords and, of course, the youth. The issue of youth homelessness in the city of Brandon has grown increasingly over the past five years. Brandon has less than one per cent vacancy rate at present. As a result, youth with limited financial resources are often left without suitable housing options.

Similar to medium sized Canadian cities, Brandon experiences a high rate of youth migration from the surrounding rural areas into the city of Brandon. Often, youth who have limited experience in independent living and no previous tenancy history are viewed as less desirable tenants. Many youth have experienced family breakdowns, personal traumas, failure at school, and may have limited social networks. Even when migration is the right choice, many youth do not succeed because of the lack of a support system. Such youth move to the city to access resources or because of a lack of affordable housing in their home communities. As the homeless and transitory youth population increases in Brandon, so does the demand on services, supports and housing (Migration & Homelessness Robinson, White & Pachkowski, 2014). Youth at risk, including those released from jail, or those moving and graduating from the foster care system are faced with no access to housing and barriers to accessing community resources. Jobs that

attract youth to Brandon are low paying and cannot support basic living needs. Youth homeless who are couch surfing place themselves at risk, as well as the residents they rely on for shelter, because these youth can be evicted for breeches in their tenancy agreements. Brandon has a wealth of programming that serves youth including Career and Youth Employment Services, programs at Neelin Off-Campus, and new housing initiatives such as the pocket suites recently constructed by Youth for Christ. These programs, whether educational, health, or housing related all strive to ensure no youth is left out. The Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness program seeks to strengthen existing partnership and form new partnerships that will actively engage youth and strengthen their support networks. As part of the Mobilizing Local Capacity community, the BNRC will gather data to implement strategic plans that will reduce and end youth homelessness. The BNRC will engage community partners

to ensure youth homelessness is not only on the public agenda, but partners are actively pursuing solutions. The BNRC will form a youth advisory council, create a systematic approach and see a measurable reduction in youth homelessness in Brandon. The 2013-2014 Safe & Warm report indicates that 5,810 people in Brandon are at imminent risk of eviction, losing housing, or living in unacceptable conditions. While this number does not tell us how many youth are included in it, it does show an opportunity to support people before they are homeless. For more information on the Safe & Warm report, and how homelessness is tracked across Brandon, please contact: Rhonda Smith at 204-727-6271 or For more information on Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness, please contact Naomi Leadbeater, Community Development Coordinator for the BNRC at 204-729-2494 or n.leadbeater@ •••

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2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


East End Community Centre Garden ‘Green Futures East’ has 30 beds, and serves the area surrounding the hospital.

Where it Grows

Digging into community gardening with the BNRC. You may see raised boxes as you walk or drive past your local community centre, or large ground plots on Maryland & 26th Street. You might even notice a hidden one at Brandon University. Over the past few years, community gardening in Brandon has taken off like a bad weed that can’t be tamed.

Nine of the 14 community garden locations are in the Neighbourhoods Alive! district. Garden locations supported by community projects funding through the Brandon Neighbourhood Renewal Corporation (BNRC). Locations include Rock Park near Hobbs Manor, East End Community Centre, Park Community

Centre, Green Futures North, Brandon University, Alexandra Gardens, New Era School, Park Community Centre, and West End Community Centre and others with over 300 gardeners total. Close to half of all community gardens are within the Neighbourhoods Alive! area and allow people in high rental areas access

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••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

New Era School Community Garden is both a community garden and provides vegetables and learning opportunities to students at New Era School. to outdoor activity and increased food security. The Community Garden network has grown organically over the years and now encompasses more than 14 locations and close to 650 garden plots throughout the city. Each garden has at least one volunteer coordinator. At many gardens, gardeners share group responsibilities such as filling water tanks, mowing, and ensuring the site is clean and safe for everyone. The level of volunteerism in this community organization is astounding. It speaks to both the need for community gardens, and the vitality of Brandon’s citizens. BNRC has supported building a number of community gardens along with Healthy Brandon and the City of Brandon. The network committee consists of a representative from each community garden, the City of Brandon, and partners including the BNRC, Healthy Brandon, and The Research Station. Recently the network has discussed incorporating to formalize the organization and allow it to

grow and expand even more. Community gardeners are hopeful this will mean the expansion of the coordinator position to a full-time job, with support from partners, gardener fees, and a strong volunteer base to get things growing. The garden coordinator is responsible for helping the gardeners in many ways including on ground support, workshops, mentorship programs, and community outreach. There’s no simple answer for why gardening has become so popular in the last five years in Brandon. We know that each year the requests for garden plots increase, and gardeners don’t just garden for a year or two. Gardening becomes part of their everyday life, and not simply a fad that fizzles out. Gardeners range from old to young, long term residents to newcomers, and from groups of friends to a family activity every member can enjoy. There’s so much interest about why people garden that Brandon University Professor Dr. Serena Petrella has developed a research project with financial support

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This is of the ENACTUS North Garden located on 6th and Stickney Ave. The garden is coordinated by BU Business Administration students and people renting receive two plots, one for themselves and one for marketing to the public. from the Rural Development Institute. This year the network opened new locations at Brandon University, West End Community Centre, Riverview School, and replaced aging beds at Park Community Centre and the Alexandra gardens by Betty Gibson school. New Era School, which has coordinated a community garden for many years added an indoor garden to the school, and has received funding to start an indoor salad bar. Gardening is an easy fit for school curriculums as you can teach math, science, health and physical activity in one setting. The kids really enjoy it too. Enquiries about the Garden Network, plot rentals, workshops & how to start your own community garden should be directed to Blake Hamilton, Community Garden Network Coordinator or Naomi Leadbeater, Community Development Coordinator for the BNRC. Blake can be reached at: 204-720-6213 or and Naomi can be reached at 204-729-2494 or •••

                 2014 ••• Brandon Business Review •••


Index to Advertisers Accel Towing & Transport Ltd.................................................17 Alternative Landscaping Ltd...................................................35 Altus Geomatics Manitoba.....................................................53 Assiniboine Community College............................................16 Behlen Industries LP...............................................................49 Blue Moon Water Inc................................................................6 Brandon Bus Lines Ltd..............................................................7 Brandon Business Interiors.....................................................14 Brandon Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram..........................................5 Brandon Economic Development.......................................... IFC Brandon Neighborhood Renewal Corporation................54, 55 Brandon University.................................................................47 Branstone Financial Strategies Inc..........................................43 Burns Maendel Consulting Engineers......................................7 C&E Locksmiths......................................................................46 C.M.S. Services Inc..................................................................42 Canada Moving & Storage......................................................46 Canadian Linen & Uniform Service........................................34 Cando Rail Services.................................................................14 Chancellor Dental Group.........................................................25 Cliff Cullen & Reg Helwer, MLAs.............................................22 CloudWest Computing & Consulting.....................................27 Coffee Culture Cafe & Eatery.....................................................5 D&B Sprinklers........................................................................34 Dominion Lending Centres Powerhouse Mortgages.............56

Ducks Unlimited Canada........................................................35 Entrepreneurship Manitoba....................................................10 Excel Design & Construction...................................................25 G.D. Newton & Associates Inc.................................................42 Giant Tiger...............................................................................48 Gold Business Solutions.........................................................55 Guild Insurance Brokers Inc......................................................9 Hamilton Iron Ltd....................................................................18 Harvest Salvage Co. Ltd...........................................................20 IANE.........................................................................................41 Image & Wellness Centre........................................................53 J&G Homes.............................................................................56 J&M Industries........................................................................57 J&M Window & Door Company.............................................44 Jani-King of Manitoba............................................................57 Keystone Centre......................................................................29 Manitoba Hydro......................................................................33 Manitoba Pork Council............................................................13 Maple Leaf Foods....................................................................25 MASC.......................................................................................11 Mazergroup.............................................................................38 McMunn & Yates Building Supplies Ltd.................................39 Minute Muffler & Brake..........................................................27 MNP LLP..................................................................................15 MPI..........................................................................................23

MTS Connect & New Beginnings Intimate Apparel.........................................45 Overland Waste & Recycling Ltd.............................................58 Paddock Drilling Ltd................................................................50 Party Professionals & Rental Company..................................22 Pinchin Ltd..............................................................................28 Progressive Sanitation............................................................18 Pyramid Steel Construction Ltd..............................................19 Roland Weir Realty & Appraisal.............................................26 Roy Johnston TDS................................................................ OBC Spirit Staffing & Consulting Brandon.....................................31 Sunrise Credit Union.................................................................3 Sutton Harrison Realty............................................................40 The Counselling Centre...........................................................26 The Green Spot Home & Garden............................................24 The Paw Resort & Wellness Centre.........................................27 Vanguard Credit Union...........................................................39 WCB........................................................................................37 Western Financial Group........................................................58 Westman Communications Group.........................................21 Westoba Credit Union.............................................................51 Wheat City Concrete Products Ltd..........................................14 Windsor Plywood...................................................................20 Workplace Education Manitoba.............................................58 Zenith Paving Ltd....................................................................50

FREE ESSENTIAL SKILLS SUPPORT FOR THE TRADES WEST Centre Brandon provides free individualized Essential Skills support for registered Apprentices and Trades Qualifiers. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1PM to 9PM. Saturdays, 9AM to 1PM.

To get started, call (204) 726-6023


let’s talk insurance. Business insurance • Life insurance • Car insurance • Home insurance • Employee benefits

BRANDON, MB 1 - 1830 Park Avenue | 204-728-8510 Unit 15, 825 - 18 Street North | 204-728-8510


••• Brandon Business Review ••• 2014

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At Roy Johnston TDS, we not only serve our clients, we also speak the language of their communities. In our Brandon, Boissevain and Carberry offices, you’ll find the same local lawyers, committed to the same local communities. With our expanded Manitoba presence, including our Portage la Prairie and Winnipeg offices, we offer our clients the benefit of a full-service firm covering 24 areas of practice, with global connections in 100+ markets around the world. For a diverse team of lawyers, who understand your needs and your community, you never need to look further than Roy Johnston TDS.

363 Tenth Street, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada R7A 4E9 | Direct: 204.727.0761 | Toll-Free: 855.483.7529

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