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Jan/Feb APRIL2013 2011


$1,500 of free training up for grabs Kenzie Andrews, Business Gazette


The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce honours the Valley's best and brightest January 26 at its annual Community Awards. Four Business Gazette columnists are nominated this year, plus the Business Gazette itself for New Business of the Year. (Thanks for all the support!) Pictured (L to R) are Gazette columnists Bob Wells (My Tech Guys), Ann Scott (Presley & Partners), Robert Mulrooney (DundeeWealth) and Matt Behrens (PrimeTek IT Solutions.) For more on the Chamber awards, see page 5.

What drives success in the 21st century?

Kenzie Andrews, Business Gazette


his month, the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce honours the best of local business at its annual Community Awards (see page five). It’s a perfect time, then, to reflect on a question that most businesspeople confront at one point or another: “What does it take to be a successful business owner or entrepreneur?” “Access to capital,” states Marc Crane, general manager of Community Futures Strathcona. “You need skill to start off and a great idea that someone is going to buy. Then it’s access to capital — it’s necessary and where a lot of businesses go broke. You can develop all of the other skills along the way.” “It’s the person,” opines Helen Furgale, a longtime business advisor and owner of BizWorks Business Training and Support. “I’ve noticed successful people have this

special something — this persistent problem-solving optimism, this charisma. and a love of challenges. You have to believe in Clemens Rettich, a yourself and your product. Vancouver Island-based WHAT YOU “ITELL also US think that planning small business consultant isTHINK super important,” she and social media advoadds. “You need to be well cate, points to another prepared when going into important characteristic of business for yourself. … At today’s successful entreleast have a preneur: sociavision for your bility. I want a place first year.” “We are now in where I know Their answers the social age,” the owner, and speak to some says Rettich. “I they know me as often get basic business truths; the top asked, ‘what a human being. two reasons do you think of businesses fail social media? is a lack of planning (or What do you think about poor management) and a selling stuff on shortage of capital. Facebook?’ I say you need Research also shows that to be a social business. successful business ownYou can’t just be an olders and entrepreneurs school, pre-21st century share some basic characbusiness and just glue a teristics, from drive and social marketing camenergy to self-confidence, paign like a weird

Christmas ornament onto the side of yourself and think it’s going to work. You need to re-think your entire enterprise from your mission statement outwards.” Social media, says Rettich, has magnified the qualities that are already present in exceptional businesses and is creating unique opportunities for current and future business owners. Those most likely to succeed will have a commitment to relationships, a clear understanding of their purpose in business and “flatter,” less hierarchal organizations that allow customers to interact with key personnel. “I tell a lot of people that See ‘Success’ Pg. 2

SOUNDADVICE The Logical Consumer


hy is a Harley rider a ‘biker’, while a person on a Kawasaki is a ‘motorcyclist’? Why is a person who wears Nike running shoes an athlete, while those wearing other brands are joggers? And more importantly, why are Harley Davidson and Nike able to command higher profit margins than their

competitors? Make a charitable gift. It’s because these astute marketers have learned that consumer decisions are based upon feelings, rather than logic alone. The Harley rider might want to feel like a weekend warrior, while the Kawasaki rider wants to feel the rush of the wind on a winding road. Most purchase decisions are rooted in the subcon-

Richard Skinner, Operations/ Sales Manager, 97.3 The Eagle

scious at an emotional level, and only justified or rationalized at the conscious or logical level. When you survey your customers, most are not aware of, or don’t See ‘Logical’ Pg. 2

ocal businesses could qualify for up to $1,500 of hands-on, real world skills and training on the government’s dime — and that suits Ricia Adair just fine. Adair is the Founder of Zenith Training International, which provides needs-based training services for small businesses. The company works with business owners to build the skills that lead to improved profit centres, greater customer retention, higher employee morale and market growth. Until the end of the year (depending on funding availability), qualifying businesses can receive full funding for Zenith’s Success Series for Small Business, an entire weekend of busi-

Ricia Adair, Founder, Zenith Training International

ness workshops. Funding is provided through the Micro Business Training (MBT) Pilot Program, a provincial initiative aimed at providing training for businesses with fewer than five employees. “A big part of success in See ‘$1500’ Pg. 2

It’s up to YOU to make the Valley a tech/design hub Part of being recognized as a bona fide economic sector is having the ability to say “here we are.” It seems reasonable that if the tech/design community shows that it’s an important part of the economy, it would increase its ability to attract new firms and professionals. James Smith, Royal LePage


’d like to dedicate this column to the co-working technology/design office space that is currently under renovation in downtown Courtenay. Ever since I managed to convince the landlords of a humble building on Fourth Street to design a technology-oriented coworking office space with common boardroom, kitchen, lounge and an open desk area, I’ve been getting great compliments on the idea and endeavour. While that’s all lovely, what I’d really like to see is the local technology/design sector stand up and demand to be counted as a real and successful local industry.

“Will your business increase if you surround yourself with like-minded people?

By saying “Here we are!” to the broader West Coast tech/design community, downtown Courtenay becomes a place that says “Innovation is happening here and you should join us.” The Fourth Street space, which currently has five offices and six desks still available for February 1, offers not only the lowest priced office space downtown (this is my volunteer job and the landlords are See ‘Hub’ Pg. 2

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

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Logical - con’t from pg. 1 acknowledge, the powerful role their subconscious emotions play in making their decisions. So their answers will come from their logical conscious reasoning. The Harley rider might tell you the resale value of a Harley is better, or the Kawasaki rider might convince themselves the Kawasaki is more reliable than the Harley.

Hub - con’t from pg. 1 sweethearts), but the opportunity to work alongside like-minded professionals. Ask yourself: Will your business increase if you surround yourself with likeminded people? Will the networking opportunities inherent in a co-working environment help build your business? Will it be more fun to work in a professional environment

Success - con’t from pg. 1 there is only one size of business that is in trouble, and that’s medium,” says Rettich. “I know there is a highly price-sensitive, bigbox world but most businesses aren’t large

Truth be told, most purchase decisions only ‘logically’ justify what we wanted to buy emotionally. Decisions rooted in emotion are always difficult to change with logic. Consumers only search for, or accept, information or data that justifies their heartfelt decision. The most effective marketers use the marketing funnel to develop strategies which appeal to their prospects

at both the emotional and logical levels.

where you can meet with clients in your boardroom? Would it be nice to have coffee and lunch options that are not limited by what’s left in the fridge? What’s the downside? The additional cost, naturally, and of course you’ll have to change out of your pajamas for work.

forward to the day when this Valley is well known as a hub of innovation, and I can look back at the humble beginnings of a building on Fourth Street that was filled with people who believed that this slice of paradise could be more then retired people and their servants. James Smith is one of the top five Royal LePage Realtors in the Comox Valley. He can be reached at 250.218.2324 or at

Ultimately, it’s up to you, the technology/design/ innovators of the Comox Valley. Only you can make this idea successful. I look

enough to benefit from that. If you’re going to fight on the battlefield of price, that’s a tough, ugly war to fight. “We need alternatives,” he continues. “I don’t want to drink my wine at

“emotion Decisions rooted in are always difficult to change with logic.

To get the marketing funnel, to help you develop a marketing strategy that appeals to emotions and logic, email

Costco. I want a boutique, a place where I know the owner and they know who I am as a human being.” Richard Skinner has an extensive background in media and advertising and has held positions with Maclean Hunter, Central Interior Radio, Rogers Media, Monarch Broadcasting, Black Press, and for the past 10 years as Operations/Sales Manager — The Eagle with Island Radio, a division of The Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Visit www. or call 250.703.2200.

$1500 - con’t from pg. 1 business is having up-todate abilities and knowledge, especially when it comes to essential skills like sales and marketing, social media, strategizing and planning,” says Adair. “Business owners are often so busy running their businesses, they don’t always take the time to learn these skills. Yet investing in their business education and personal development are as criti-

cal to their success as any other investment in their business.” Zenith’s Success Series for Small Business offers the sort of training many small businesses need the most, including brand identity, marketing and business plans, social media strategies and networking skills. The next workshop dates are Feb. 16-17 and Mar. 23-24, 2013 in Parksville. “Our client’s feedback is that they get a lot out the Success Series, so much more than was expected,” says Adair. “They were getting great value before the MBT program, and now that they can get the training without spending a dime, it just makes total sense. For those business people who may not qualify for the funding, it’s good to know that we offer several options, including an attractive referral program and discounts for Business Gazette readers.” To learn more about Zenith Training International and its programs, and if you qualify for funding visit or call 1.800.547.9041.

A key attribute of successful, 21st century businesses is sociability, says consultant Clemens Rettich.

The Danger of an Untrained Manager efore you read this advertisement, I would suggest reading my column on Page 12 — We Wait Too Long to Train Our Leaders. The average manager is on the job for 9 years before receiving any management training. This means they are practicing on the job with your staff and customers. Not a great business model, is it? The damage that can be done in the loss of great staff is a tragedy. After all, a bad manager causes the best staff to leave. With the key people in your company on the way out the door, it’s not too long before customers follow.

B The Comox Valley Business Gazette is delivered eight times per year to every business address in the Comox Valley.

Associate Publisher: Jim McQuillan Executive Editor: Ryan Parton Writers: Kenzie Andrews Nancy Miller Web: Maya Payton-Schmid Advertising Inquiries: 250.897.5064 / 250.702.1103 or Editorial inquiries: Left Coast Publishing 2440 B First Street, Courtenay BC, V9N 8X9 The opinions, ideas and advice of columnists and contributors to the Comox Valley Business Gazette are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.

Your managers are your Leaders. Their talents and skills should be able to retain and attract the best workers in the industry. They are an investment in your company’s future and should be treated that way by giving them the best tools to do their job effectively.

Yet, the skill set of a valued employee is much different than that of a manager. Communication, conflict resolution and leadership are the building blocks of management. Yet, having your key managers off the job in a 1 day training program doesn’t make financial sense. Frankly, what are you going to be able to implement from a 1-day program that actually has long lasting effects?

listening, paraphrasing, conflict resolution, team building, collaboration and leadership. It`s about making people want to perform vs. have to perform. The program is also popular with non-sales managers who wish to learn the skills of persuasion and empowerment.

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Dave Warawa “Dave’s method of partnering and coaching coupled with his ability to empower salespeople caused a dramatic increase in revenues. It also increased employee retention.” Neil Cunningham 8 “Dave is one of the hardest working individuals I know.” - Rick Flintoft 8 “Dave is personable and an expert with high integrity.” - Louise Reinich 8 “One of Dave’s qualities is he leads by example! I recommend Dave to any business.” - Mark Bogusky 8 “If you’re looking for a true hard working, educated, polished, salt of the earth, “real” individual to be an asset to your company, well then you don’t have to look much further than Dave Warawa!” - Sean Smith 8


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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

Up in the Cloud: an argument in favour of online storage

Pieter Vorster, CP-SMS


’m amazed how often I still hear statements like “Can I give it to you on a flash drive?” or “My backups are done to an external hard drive.” Hearing those things really makes me wonder about the awareness surrounding online (Cloud-based, if you prefer) storage options such as Dropbox or Google Drive. In a rapidly evolving world of mobile devices and wireless information sharing, even the smallest (size) largest (capacity) memory stick seems both fragile and cumbersome by comparison. The most prominent arguments in favour of online storage are: 1. Not having to remember, transport or protect your memory stick, flash drive or external hard drive.

2. Having your data or media accessible across all of your connected devices, e.g. desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet and smartphone. 3. Being able to easily share your data or media through a variety of channels. Of the online storage options available, I can confidently recommend the following two:

“seem ... memory sticks both fragile and cumbersome by comparison.

• Dropbox ( — This free service lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. A free account gives you 5GB of space and the ability to increase that space through referrals (**please see the note at the bottom of this article!). For heavy-duty users, pro accounts start from $10/mo. for 100GB. One of the great features of your Dropbox is that it allows you to store media

and then link to that media externally, so you don’t have to upload big files to your website server anymore. Nice. • Google Drive ( does pretty much the same thing as Dropbox, with a slightly lighter pricing structure. Being big fans of Google Apps, whether they be domain-specific or through public Google accounts (Gmail), we at CP-SMS consistently use our Drive for creating/ editing/collaborating on docs and uploading media from our mobile devices. Those files can then be easily embedded into web pages. Watch for more online marketing tips from CPSMS in future issues of the Business Gazette! **Note! If you’re signing up for Dropbox, please consider giving the Comox Valley Business Gazette some free space by signing up via this URL: Pieter Vorster is the owner of CP-SMS, which provides personal, practical guidance in the basic tools of social media to help you find your own online presence. To learn more, visit or call 250.792.2874.

Five ways to improve your sales presentation


hatever your business, if you offer a product or service, you are a salesperson. And if you’re anything like me, that can be a scary thought. It is all well and good to have fun with the marketing aspect of getting the word out about you or your company, but when it comes down to securing clients, that’s when the hard work really starts. For those of us who run businesses but aren’t natural salespeople, putting together a great sales presentation can be a daunting task. That said, there are some basic steps you can take to make the most of your presentation and put yourself at ease before you get into the boardroom: 1. Do your research. Find out a little bit about who you will be presenting to. Being able to connect on a personal level, not just about business, can help build a relationship and put both parties at ease. 2. Plan, plan, plan. Map out what you need to say and the order in which you want to say it. Of course, during the meeting you have to allow things to flow where they are going to go, but at least you know which points you need to get across. Thorough planning will keep you focused and ensure you hit on all the

key items. 3. Do a rehearsal. It’s important to run through what you’re going to say, and to say it out loud so you can sort out any potential problems. Even better, try it out on someone else and ask for feedback.

“and Don't be afraid, don't feel sheepish about pushing your product or service.

4. Stand back and look at the big picture. Sometimes we get so caught up in the details that we overlook the obvious. Recently, I was getting ready to make a presentation and I looked around and realized the room was full of clutter. Think about the environment — is there enough light? Are there chairs for everyone? Do you have a glass of water if needed? 5. Re-centre and re-focus. Allow yourself time before the meeting to gather your thoughts and get comfortable. There is nothing worse than rushing in at the last minute and scrambling to get your props or information together. Maybe even give

Ann Scott, Presley & Partners Chartered Accountants

yourself a pep talk about why you are doing this and what you want to achieve. With the prep work out of the way, during the meeting make sure to focus on the client and avoid getting into your own past experiences. Afterward, forgive yourself. Don’t replay the meeting and get into “should’ve, could’ve” mode. Chances are, if you prepared well, things went just fine. Don’t be afraid, and don’t feel sheepish about pushing your product or service. After all, your clients expect you to give them all the information they need to make an informed decision. In that sense, sales is the greatest form of service you can provide. Ann Scott is a chartered accountant, business advisor and a partner with Presley & Partners Chartered Accountants. She can be reached at 250.338.1394 or ascott@presleyand

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

Your financial New Year’s resolutions

Robert Mulrooney, DundeeWealth


ow that the fiscal cliff is behind us, many New Year’s resolutions this year involve money management. If getting your financial house in order is on your to-do list for 2013, here are five resolutions

you should take to heart: 1. I will take full advantage of my TFSA. I strongly believe that TFSAs (tax-free savings accounts) are going to save a great many Canadians come retirement. Unlike RRSPs, which are taxable when cashed in, money in a TFSA grows and can be withdrawn tax-free. TFSAs are especially beneficial to self-employed workers in lower tax brackets; many people will find their financial “sweet spot” in a combination of TFSA and RRSPs. As of January 2013, every Canadian is allowed to have up to $25,500 in a TFSA — set up yours be talking with your advisor. 2. I will maximize my

RRSP contributions. Maximizing RRSP contributions makes sense for a lot of people, especially those in higher tax brackets. Not only do RRSPs offer immediate tax savings, but every contribution you make adds to your own personal pension.

“Aa GMWB acts like pension plan with contractual guarantees on future income.

This is increasingly important since fewer and fewer people have pension plans. Your contribution limit is 18 per cent of your previous year’s income, to a maximum of

$22,970 (to find out your exact limit, see your 2011 Notice of Assessment or call Canada Revenue Agency at 1.800.267.6999.) The deadline for contributing to your 2012 RRSP is March 1. 3. I will educate myself. Do one thing to improve your investment knowledge this year. We believe educated investors make better decisions over time, and attending an investment seminar or taking an investment course is a great option. For starters, DundeeWealth is hosting a “2013 Look Ahead” educational seminar on Feb. 2 at Crown Isle from 9:30 am to 1 pm. RSVP by January 26 to

Reducing your office energy expenditure

Kristen Pronick, Pro Star Mechanical Technologies


id you know that lighting an office overnight consumes enough energy to heat water for 1,000 cups of tea? Or that a photocopier left on overnight uses enough energy to produce 1,500 copies? Want more? Leaving a PC monitor on all night wastes enough energy to microwave six dinners. Here are some simple ways to reduce both your energy bills and your

Lighting environmental footprint. Lighting can account for Heating & Cooling 30 to 65 per cent of office Equipment energy use, depending on 1. Baseboard heaters and the office layout and types window air conditioning of light fittings and control units can contribute up to systems. Here’s how to 75 per cent of your hydro reduce that: cost. Replace them (and 1. Make sure your window a/c lights are units) with a turned off single ductless Lighting can split heat pump. account for 30 to 65 when not in use. The units are per cent of office nearly silent 2. Replace energy use. and will slash old lights your energy cost with more by a third. energy 2. Install programmable efficient models. thermostats, and ensure 3. Install daylight sensors, the heat is turned down timers or movement while the office is closed. sensors, especially in 3. Ensure your HVAC areas that are not always equipment is regularly occupied, such as meetserviced and maintained ing rooms, storage areas by a licensed contractor to and restrooms. ensure it’s running at 4. Reduce the overall peak efficiency. number of lights. Many office spaces are over-lit, which can also cause dis-

An intro to Direct Mail Marketing

comfort and strain for workers. Computers and other equipment Computers and equipment such as printers, photocopiers and fax machines typically contribute between 30 and 55 per cent to office energy use. 1. Instead of desktop computers, consider laptops, which can use as much as 85 per cent less energy. 2. Consider upgrading to LCD monitors. CRT monitors can consume close to twice as much power. 3. Reduce the brightness of your screen display. 4. Turn off computers and equipment every night. In the kitchen 1. Always check the energy rating label on appli-


o you’re ready to get your message out. Maybe it’s the launch of a new business, the acquisition of new equipment or simply a sale or promotional offer. Given the amount of marketing tools available, you may find yourself at a loss as to how best to Adil Amlani, disseminate your Sure Copy Centre message. Email? Print? effective and, because so Social media? Don’t many worry; this is a marketers are familiar switching to feeling, even ... because so email, your for those who many marketers are mailing is are in “the switching to email, more likely to industry.” your mailing is more stand out than There’s no likely to stand out. it would have universal solubeen, say, five tion for every years ago. instance, but Next issue I’ll there are some very effecdiscuss some specific tive tools — like Direct types of DMM, like Mail Marketing (DMM). variable data printing There are two main types (VDP), mail merge and of DMM: addressed and list integration, as well unaddressed. If you have as how to prepare your an existing contact list of marketing materials. prospects, use addressed DMM. If not, unaddressed DMM lets you target one or more geographic areas defined by Canada Post letter carrier routes. DMM can be very

Adil Amlani is the owner of Sure Copy Centre in Courtenay. He can be reached at 250.334.2836 or online at www.sure

5. I’m going to get professional advice. Investors that consult a financial advisor are statistically more likely to outperform those that go it alone. Give yourself the best chance of long-term financial success by setting up an appointment with a

professional investment advisor today. Robert Mulrooney is a senior Investment advisor with DWM Securities Inc. in Courtenay. If you don’t already have an investment advisor, or you want a second opinion on your financial situation, contact the investment coach at 250.338.5222 or Please consult a professional investment advisor before acting on any information presented in this column. This article is solely the work of Robert Mulrooney for the private information of his clients. Although the author is a registered Investment Advisor with DWM Securities Inc., a DundeeWealth Inc. Company, this is not an official publication of DWM Securities Inc. The views (including any recommendations) expressed in this article are those of the author alone, and they have not been approved by, and are not necessarily those of, DWM Securities Inc.

ances. The higher the efficiency level, the cheaper it is to run. 2. If you have hot water only at one tap, a pointof-use tankless water heater can be installed right under the sink at a reasonable cost.

Kristin Pronick and husband Mikhail own Pro Star Mechanical Technologies, located at 2459 Cousins Avenue across from Tin Town. They can be reached at 250.331.0888 or online at

Rainy Day Books Internet Book Store Ruth Dilts Courtenay, BC


Phone: (250) 338-7550 Toll Free 1-888-281-9646

Do you love your car so much you name it?


ecently, CBC’s Doc Zone did a show on a modern-day scourge: counterfeiting. And we’re not talking money! So while buying a fake purse or watch is one thing, having counterfeit parts on your vehicle is another. It can be downright dangerous. Poorly made, unstructurally sound metal parts. Brake pads made with sawdust, kitty litter, even compressed grass in them! We look after your vehicle like it belonged to our mom’s. If you love your car, bring it to us and let us demonstrate our superior service to you, too.

Glenn’s Import & Domestic Auto 160 Headquarters Road, Courtenay


4. I’m not going to stress over the stock market. If the markets have been stressing you out, you’re paying too much attention to them; the moment you let your emotions colour your investment choices, you’re already behind the eight ball. Though the markets may dip, dive, shimmy and shake, the long-term trend is growth. If the stock market is keeping you up at night then it might be time to make some changes — otherwise, forget it.

Our mission is to offer you high quality printer supplies at unbeatable prices without compromising on genuine quality and service. Simultaneously save money and be environmentally conscious! Serving Beautiful B.C. since 1997

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

Chamber of Commerce Honours Our Community’s Finest Celebrating excellence with all the pomp and ceremony fit for royalty!


fter the final flurry of nominations poured in during the first week of January, the Chamber of Commerce wound up with close to 50 nominations for their Annual Community Awards to be held 6 - 9:00 p.m., Saturday, January 26th at the Florence Filberg Centre in Courtenay. “We are grateful to the five volunteer judges who spent much of a weekend pouring over nomination packages to make their final selections,” adds Hawkins. The judges were: Susan Auchterlonie, North Island College Foundation; Fred Bigelow, CEO Comox Valley Airport Commission; McKenzie Gartside, Top 40 Award recipient and Verico Select Mortgages; Bob Scales, Chair, CV Chamber of Commerce; and Joe Smith, Artist and former Chamber Chair.

There will be three finalists in each of the 11 award categories. In the days leading up to the gala awards, Daniel Kooman, videographer, will visit all 33 finalists to film an Academy Awards-style video presentation to showcase each business and/or individual. Shown on Awards night and later posted on the Chamber website, this professional production is always a much-anticipated highlight of the evening. A Royal Affair — January 26th Tickets to the Chamber’s gala awards celebration are $75 each (+HST) and include: A champagne reception sponsored by the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa; A four-course gourmet meal catered by Custom Gourmet Catering; Plus live and silent auctions, with 50 per cent of the proceeds going to charity.

And the 2012 award nominees (and sponsors) are...

Remember, this is a gala event and you will be expected to dress up for the occasion! FMI call the Chamber of Commerce at 250.334.3234 or visit www.comoxvalley

Agricultural Business of the Year — sponsored by MNP LLP • Coastal Black Estate Winery & Meadery • Dee Kay Tee Ranch & Farm Market • Glen Alwin Farm • McClintok Farm • South Country Feed & Supply Business of the Year — sponsored by Thrifty Foods • ABC Printing • Beltone Hearing • Finneron Hyundai

EVENT SPONSORS: Sincere thanks to the many businesses who will contribute to the Awards Gala:

Citizen of the Year — sponsored by Canadian Tire • Pamela Crowe • Robert Mulrooney • Linda Oprica • Ron Webber

97.3 The Eagle Radio — Platinum sponsor Ambassador Shuttle Service — Safe rides home Gordon Ross Photography — Event photography Kingfisher Resort and Spa — Champagne reception West Coast Home Theatre — Audio/Visual equipment

Customer Service — sponsored by Downtown Comox Valley • Amanda Ferguson - Pacific Mist Spa at the Kingfisher Resort • Sherry Howell - Pacific Mist Spa at Kingfisher Resort • David Keating - Ohh So Yummy Café • Roxanne Kirby — The Breakwater Restaurant at Kingfisher Resort • Mare Mitchell - WesternOne Rentals & Sales

PLUS … many silent auction and door prize donations too numerous to list!

• Christine Morgan — McKinnon Photography • Eric Toneff - Toneff Funeral Services • Kyla Trottier — Kingfisher Oceanside Resort Guest Services • Bryan Wiley - ABC Printing Environmental Leadership — sponsored by Comox Strathcona Waste Management • Hornby Island Recycling Depot • School District 71 • Woodland Flooring Heritage Recognition — sponsored by Vancouver Island InsuranceCentres • Chinook Forest Products • Courtenay Elks Lodge • McElhanney Consulting • Whyte’s Framing New Business of the Year — sponsored by Presley & Partners • Comox Valley Business Gazette • Daryl Robbins, CGA, Notary Public • Keystone Eldercare Solutions • Primetek IT Solutions • Toneff Funeral Services • Weinberg’s Good Food Professional Merit — sponsored by First Insurance Agencies • Elevate the Arts Consortium

• Lourdes Gant — Manatee Holdings Ltd. • Dr. Jan Lindsay — North Island college • Ann Scott — Presley & Partners • Bob Wells — My Tech Guys Small Business of the Year — sponsored by Glacierview Financial Services • Ambassador Shuttle Service • Grape Expectations • Manatee Holdings Ltd. • South Country Feed & Supply • Two Eagles Lodge Young Entrepreneur — sponsored by Wedler Engineering • Chris Ketch - BodyNetix Professional Fitness Training • Scott DiGuistini & Merissa Myles — Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt • Kory Wagstaff — Prime Chophouse & Wine Bar Youth Leadership — sponsored by WCG International • Des Larson • Joey Clarkson • Keisja Cox President’s Merit Award — sponsored by North Island College Nominations are not accepted for this award.

Brent Young and Kevin East, owner, Ambassador Shuttle Service

Small Business of the Year — Nominee

Ambassador Shuttle Service


Customer Service — Nominee

ABC Printing and Signs


reat staff are the heart and soul of ABC Printing & Signs, say owners Berni & Steve Hansen and Bryan & Joanne Wiley. “We can’t say enough about our employees,” says Bryan. “They bring myriad skills, talent and dedication to quality and service, and a strong desire to make the customer’s experience positive in every way.”

New Business of the Year — Nominee

Daryl Robbins, Certified General Accountant



ince opening in November, 2011, Daryl Robbins’ accounting firm has quickly grown from a one-man operation to two locations and eight employees. Robbins has quickly established himself as a professional committed to getting local residents’ finances on track and affairs in order. “I was thrilled to find out we had been nominated as a new business,” says Robbins, a Certified General Accountant and also a Notary Public. “It’s been a great year and the future is looking even brighter.” Robbins’ CGA firm provides full accounting and financial planning services, and the Notary practice provides legal documents to individuals and businesses. Both practices focus on personalized care with a strong commitment to helping clients attain their goals. Valley-born Robbins encourages strong relationships within his community and donates time, funds and services to local organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Comox Valley Baseball Association and CV Skating Club. “Giving back is a priority, so I anticipate being an even bigger part of the community as we continue to grow and serve our clients the best we can.” 250.871.0050

nyone who’s ever needed to get from point A to point B knows that a good ride can make the difference between an enjoyable experience and something you’d much rather forget. Ambassador Shuttle Service knows this and has built a business around the vision of providing the best ground transportation service in the Comox Valley and surrounding communities. Ambassador Shuttle Service was founded in 2005 by the late Ray Crossley and is now owned and operated by Kevin and Angie East. The Easts have capitalized on their extensive knowledge of Vancouver Island to create a high-level shuttle service at very competitive prices. Their entire team consists of experts in transportation service and can provide local information that makes any visit or trip even more enjoyable. Ambassador’s services include airport pick-up and drop-off, private chauffeur service, a wedding and private-party designated driver program, wine/historical/culinary tours and private group outings, to name just a few. Since purchasing the company in 2010, the Easts have seen nothing but increased demand for their service. In 2011, the company endured a grueling application process through the Passenger Transportation Branch to increase their capacity. Ambassador had to prove a public need for expansion if they hoped to be successful with the application. They were, and much of that proof came from the local public that supported the company throughout the application process. While comfort is important to Ambassador, safety is paramount; all of Ambassador’s drivers are licensed with the BC Passenger Transportation Board and the National Safety Certification Board. The company is fully insured and in compliance with all provincial and federal regulations, and its entire fleet meets or exceeds all safety requirements. The Easts know they wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for the community’s support and their top-notch team. “Our drivers and other staff provide the best experience possible for ground transportation in the Comox Valley,” says Kevin. “That includes Brent Young, Greg Saunders, Grant Dykeman, Neil Rathbone, Jacob Gregory, Sidney Pickard and Claude Mitchell — we’d be nowhere without them!”

250.339.5252 www.ambassador

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

Small Business of the Year — Nominee

Manatee Holdings Ltd.


Merissa Myles (L) and Scott DiGuistini (R), pictured with their two children, are the young entrepreneurs behind Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year — Nominee

Scott DiGuistini & Merissa Myles,

Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt


hough much too humble to ever say so themselves, the charismatic husband-wife team of Scott DiGuistini (36) and Merissa Myles (33) are shining examples of true entrepreneurial spirit. Spurred by a vision to create gourmet yogurt in the Comox Valley, and to uphold the highest standards of artisanal production, DiGuistini and Myles realized their dream last year with the opening of Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt. Their signature cream-top yogurt, made entirely from local ingredients, is already lining the shelves of health & specialty grocers across Vancouver Island and metro Vancouver. Tree Island Yogurt, however, is anything but an overnight success story — it’s the culmination of more than two years of fastidious planning, gutwrenching setbacks and, underscoring it all, unbridled determination. Already armed with a Ph.D in microbiology, DiGuistini studied Cultured Dairy at Cornell University before he and Myles, who’s background is in community-level economic development, began perfecting their cream-top recipe in a small space rented from a local cheesemaker. Then they conducted considerable research into international yogurt trends, including a comprehensive tasting tour of France’s artisan yogurt producers. Today, Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt is the only yogurt made from fresh, non-homogenized milk from grass-fed Comox Valley cows. Health food enthusiasts love it because it’s naturally rich in Omega 3s and CLA; locavores love it because it supports local agriculture; and just about everyone else loves it because its rich natural flavours, slowcooked in traditional kettles and capped with a golden layer of decadent golden cream, is like no yogurt they’ve ever tasted. Though DiGuistini and Myles possess many of the qualities of successful entrepreneurs, they’re also in no short supply of something not often associated with the movers and shakers of business: humility. “There are so many inspiring young people in the Comox Valley doing so many great things,” says DiGuuistini. “We’re just honoured to be considered among them.” “We owe everything we are to the people who have enthusiastically supported us, and who by extension have supported healthy food, local business and local agriculture,” adds Myles. “To everyone who shares these values, we simply can’t thank you enough.”

n the late ‘80’s, Manatee Holdings Ltd. realized that the fishing industry was based on unsustainable fishing practices. That’s when they made a decision to shift their focus toward “ocean ranching,” and to create a management strategy that would not only be sustainable but environmentally beneficial as well. More than 20 years later, Manatee Holdings Ltd. is a leader in development of the geoduck and sea cucumber aquaculture industry supplying international gourmet markets with organically raised product. Manatee Holdings Ltd. credits its progress to both a determined effort to be environmental stewards and their desire to form sustainable partnerships with the communities within which they operate. Their Gartley Point hatchery facility, for example, is a key component of the residential neighbourhood in which it resides. The company has also forged joint venture partnerships with First Nations throughout British Columbia in an effort to return those communities to their water based heritage in a modern day context as ecological caretakers within their traditional territories Over the past three years, Manatee Holdings Ltd. has directly or indirectly added more than $2 million to the economy of the Comox Valley. They remain committed to pioneering the development of sub-tidal geoduck aquaculture and free-range sea cucumber aquaculture in ways that will help offset the damage done to our oceans by the wild fisheries and human occupation along our shorelines.


Ian Whitehead, vice-president of McElhanney Vancouver Island, with engineering technologists Chris Ewing and Matt Sanderson.

Heritage Recognition Award — Nominee

McElhanney Consulting Services


hen your company has been around for more than 100 years, you must be doing something right. McElhanney Consulting Services has been providing professional engineering, surveying, mapping, community planning and environmental services since 1910, and the company has been proud to participate in the development of BC’s infrastructure ever since. The Courtenay office, one of 19 branches across Western Canada, has been open since 1976. Initially providing civil engineering services, the practice has expanded to include land surveying, environmental services, materials testing and structural engineering. Owned by managers and senior staff, the office employs 24 technical and professional workers. “McElhanney is pleased to have been an active member of the community for such a long time and to be recognized for our contributions,” says Ian Whitehead, branch manager and VP for Vancouver Island region. “We are thankful to have played a role in the development of this beautiful area and we look forward to continuing to help shape its future.”

Chris Ketch, owner and lead trainer at BodyNetix.

Young Entrepreneur Award — Nominee

Chris Ketch, BODYNETIX


ince 2006, BodyNetix Professional Fitness Training has grown from small home-based studio operation to a 5,000-square foot training studio with a staff of five. Owner Chris Ketch attributes his company’s remarkable growth to a winning combination of exercise and community. Under Ketch’s vision and guidance, BodyNetix has done a tonne for the community. They’ve raised more than $10,000 for Y.A.N.A, worked with many sport and high school fundraising projects and donated thousands of dollars in services to organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Rotary International and many others. Recently, the BodyNetix “Agent Challenge,” a fitness challenge involving several Comox Valley Realtors, raised nearly $10,000 for various charities in just six weeks. What’s near and dear to Ketch’s heart, though, is helping out his fellow Valley citizens. Through BodyNetix, Ketch has participated in “Support for Jord,” helping out fellow class-of-2000 Highland Grad Jennifer Nordhous whose husband Jord was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. He’s also proud to employ homegrown fitness trainers such as Highland grad and BC Games bronze medalist Kendra Parker, Vanier grad Megan Penney and Steve Martin, a former Comox Valley Realtor. Ketch and the rest of the BodyNetix team are also leaders in promoting youth activity and fitness. They’ve provided demonstration fitness classes free of charge to many local schools, and they continually encourage and inspire underactive youth to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle. An astute businessman with a keen eye for strategic partnerships and new opportunities, Ketch partnered on an Annual Youth Leadership Workshop in 2012 with Inglis Professional Tutoring, a company he helped launch in 2010 (it became profitable in just three years). Of course, none of this a surprise to anyone who knows Chris Ketch — a young man just as determined to achieve business success as he is to help you burn that flab from your waistline. As Ketch himself would say: “Live long. Live Srong!” 250.871.2400

250.338.5495 250.334.0608

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

Y Pictured (L to R) are Darren Leary, Matt Behrens, Edith Carlson and Kevin Dryden.

New Business of the Year — Nominee

PrimeTek IT Solutions


ust two years old, PrimeTek IT Solutions is already making an impact on small business technology services in the Comox Valley. The young company has provided reliable and professional on-site and remote IT services to clients in industries as varied as medical, dental, accounting, financial and the hospitality sector. Founded on a philosophy of fair rates and long-term relationships with clients, PrimeTek’s hallmark is cost-effective solutions that many small-businesses otherwise couldn’t afford. Some

innovations include server virtualization, managed services (services offered on a subscription basis, giving clients more accuracy in budgeting their IT expenses) and Mesh WiFi technology (a less expensive, easily scalable technology). PrimeTek has strong ties with a number of community groups and offers pro-bono or reduced-rate services to several others, as well as donating to various community fundraising efforts. 250.871.8547

ou may not need a Notary Public very often, but when you do you want him or her to be accurate, timely and trustworthy. Daryl Robbins is that Notary, working with clients to ensure the integrity of their legal documents stands up over time. Whether documenting an agreement, a mortgage or the particulars of family estate planning, Robbins makes certain his clients’ affairs are in order for peace of mind that’s both immediate and enduring. As a member of the Society of Notaries Public of BC, Robbins has been offering his services to residents of the Comox Valley and the North Island since 2011. “We work with individuals and businesses, providing a professional environment committed to reliable, confidential service,” notes Robbins, who is also a Certified General Accountant. With an inviting, newly renovated office on Fourth Street in Courtenay, Robbins can provide the legal documentation that accompanies life’s big decisions.

New Business of the Year — Nominee

Daryl Robbins, Notary Public


Reminiscence —

Courtesy Glacierview Financial

“Very nice to be nominated of course, it escalates as you’re shortlisted, and actually receiving the award felt pretty good, great really. It was great to be part of the process, I was humbled to be recognized as raising the bar.” Bruce Curror, (former owner) Mudsharks Coffee Bar 2006 Small Business of the Year

Abel O'Brennan, Coastal Black Estate Winery & Meadery owner and wine maker.

Agricultural Business of the Year — Nominee

Coastal Black Estate Winery & Meadery


aunched in the summer of 2010, Coastal Black Estate Winery produces nine varieties of fruit wine on 650 acres at the base of Mt. Washington. With 80 acres of blackberries plus raspberries and blueberries, the winery is the largest cultivated blackberry farm in Canada. Four generations — ranging in age from one to 74 — live and work together to transform the fruit into Coastal Black’s tremendously successful Wines and Meads. From its traditional roots as a dairy farm, Coastal Black has emerged as a modern and much-admired winery. Its most recent addition — a new bottling line custom-made in Rome — washes, fills, corks and labels 1,200 bottles per hour and is the first piece of equipment of its kind to be used in the wine industry on Vancouver Island. The winery also boasts a beautiful, West Coast-inspired tasting room that’s open noon to 5 pm almost year round, an outdoor patio with a brick pizza oven and an open barn-style event space. In addition to its mead and fruit wines — sold in more than 80 private liquor stores on Vancouver Island — the farm produces fresh fruit, raw honey and custom-milled lumber. Coastal Black is passionate about making wine and has recently earned two silver and three bronze medals at the Northwest Wine Summit. In addition, Coastal Black’s Wines and Meads won two gold and three silver awards at the 2012 Savor Northwest Wine Awards and they won three silver and three bronze awards — against entries from around the world — at the 2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. Take a Break from the Grape — From dry and crisp to bold and intense, Coastal Black’s hand-crafted fruit wines and meads are a unique Island taste. Tour the family owned and operated vineyard in the beautiful Comox Valley, then sample their award-winning fruit wines and meads as you relax in their West Coast-inspired tasting room. Call to book a tour or visit them online.


“In 2004 my partner, Sandy Felgenhauer, and I were so honoured to be chosen for the Small Business of the Year Award, and I imagine that everyone nominated for an award feels just as honoured. Even if you don’t win, being nominated show’s you’re on the right track.” Catherine Black North Island Laboratories 2004 Small Business of the Year

“I can not fathom the words to describe just how great it was. To be recognized by others as having the kind of top quality, above the bar service that you strive to give is such an honour. Congratulations to all!” Dawn McRae Custom Gourmet 2011 Customer Service Award

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013



Courtesy Glacierview Financial

“It was quite a surprise the night I won. I had booked tickets, but had no idea I had been chosen. The committee had not taken my picture, which they did if you were in the top 3. So you can imagine my surprise when my picture from the previous year was put up on the screen. What an honor to chosen by your peers. It was, and still is, a great feeling. The award put my business on the map and I am grateful to all who nominated me.” Anne Delaney CPCA, Delaney Relocation Service 2010 Small Business of the Year

“We were very thrilled and honoured to be nominated and to win, feedback from the customers coming in the store has been wonderful.” Ann Ward, Appletree Market 2011 Small Business of the Year

“It was an amazing experience to be welcomed into the community in such a way, not something I expected. The chamber has been very supportive, great for small businesses, I think everyone should be a part of it.” Anne Delaney with Darren Kardynal Glacierview Financial

Steven Meier Courtenay 5th Street Florist 2005 Small Business of the Year

Environmental Leadership Award — Nominee

Woodland Flooring

Steve Roscoe, holding Mistic Award, with staff

Carol McColl, co-owner of South Country Feed and Supply

Agricultural Business of the Year — Nominee

South Country Feed and Supply


eed or fencing, seeds or soil — if you need something for your small farm or patio garden, South Country Feed and Supply will have it. In business for 16 years, Valley residents rely on the store for everything from riding tack and livestock rigging to hardware, veterinary supplies and baby chicks. But South Country is more than just a farm supply store. Not only do they provide their customers with the products they need to succeed, they also offer educational seminars on various aspects of agriculture, such as livestock care, equine health, seeds and fertilizers. “When my husband Scott and I took over five years ago, we wanted to make sure that we had a business that really puts customers first,” says owner Carol McColl. “We work hard to create good one-onone relationships so that we understand what our clients need and want. And if we don’t have it, we’ll do our homework and get it. “The other concept that matters to us, especially since I grew up here, is working toward a more healthier environment and healthier Valley residents. Having both been raised on hobby farms, we really support the philosophy of people growing their own food, eating locally and being environmentally sensitive.” As such, the McColls do extensive research into the products that they purchase, always looking for healthier, more earth-friendly items for resale. They communicate with suppliers, many of which are from BC, to find organic and non-genetically modified seeds, livestock feeds and fertilizers. In addition to working to increase knowledge and sustainability within the agriculture community, the store contributes time and products to help sponsor local organizations, such as the 4-H Club, the Therapeutic Riding Society, the Fall Fair and others. All of which has led to their Chamber nomination of Agricultural Business of the Year. “We are thrilled to be nominated; it’s a real honour,” says Carol. “And it’s great to be a recognized with the other local small businesses that help make this Valley what it is.”



hen Steven Roscoe started Woodland Flooring Company in 1998, his vision was to manufacture fine wood flooring from underutilized and sustainably harvested BC woods. Over the past 15 years, he’s grown an innovative and environmentally sensitive business that brings tremendous value to the Comox Valley and to each customer’s home. Woodland Flooring’s primary raw material is wood salvaged from natural forest mortality, including beetlekilled, fire-killed and wind-fallen woods. The floors themselves are handmade to order and incorporate nontoxic coatings from naturally re-grown vegetable oils and waxes. Typical Woodland floors have wider planks, longer lengths and unique finishes that add to their natural

warmth and charm. The business uses a 5-R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Re-think and Re-create) approach to manufacturing. In fact, the David Suzuki foundation helped Woodland evaluate its carbon footprint and build a carbon-neutral model of production. Woodland’s attention to craftsmanship has earned it high profile projects like the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the new Prime Chophouse and Wine Bar in Courtenay. The company is a testament to what can be accomplished when you put your best foot forward.


Professional Merit Award — Nominee

Lourdes Gant,

Manatee Holdings Ltd.


ourdes Gant has a resumé that would impress just about anyone. As well as being vice-president of Manatee Holdings, a commercial aquaculture company, she’s also the head of her own professional audit and business advisory firm. Lourdes holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy (cum laude) and a Master’s degree in business administration, and she was ranked among Canada’s Top 100 Women Entrepreneurs by PROFIT & Chatelaine magazines in 2012. (The women of the W100 offer shining examples of Canadian entrepreneurship. They have achieved their elite status by creating value and services, applying deft management skills, and exercising the determination required to succeed in today’s business environment.) As a consultant, Lourdes provides assurance on core business processes in risk management and governance, educates management and the audit committee on risk management concepts, focuses on strategic organizational risks and adds value for your organization. As a founding leader of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Canada, she helps promote and develop the value of the internal audit profession in Canada through activities that include: advocating the value of Internal Audit and proactively addressing issues affecting the profession; coordinating research, guidance and national training for practitioners; providing input to the IIA Global Council on Canadian viewpoints; and linking internal auditors from all Canadian sectors, industries and geographic areas to share information and experiences. Currently focusing her attention on her role with Manatee Holdings Ltd and its mission to be profitable ecological caretakers of the ocean, Lourdes is a wealth of business knowledge and an asset to anyone whose goal is to be a business success in a responsible manner to our environment and community.


Finneron Hyundai credits its success to its amazing staff and loyal customers.

Business of the Year — Nominee

Finneron Hyundai


inneron Hyundai’s nomination for Business of the Year reflects how successful they are at fulfilling their two primary goals: To provide the best customer service possible, and to make a positive contribution to the Comox Valley. “Our success is due our amazing staff and loyal customers,” says Sue Finneron. “Last year we finished #1 in Canada for Customer Service Satisfaction out of 206 Hyundai dealers. Our team does an incredible job of looking after people!” Since Mike and Sue Finneron started the company in 2009, they’ve grown the local Hyundai market share from 2.46 per cent to an impressive 9.95 per cent. Finneron Hyundai also supports countless community groups, including school sports teams and local charities. This year, they began working on a program called Hyundai Hockey Helpers that helps local kids get involved in minor hockey. Mike and Sue are also involved in Rotary and are both past presidents of their respective clubs.


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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

Shaw to launch free Wi-Fi throughout Valley use the Internet. Shaw pushed the limits of the Internet and I was proud to be part of it. So, in the spirit of full disclosure and all that, I’ll let you know upfront that I’m biased toward Shaw given my history with them — plus their local service tends to be better and much faster than their competition. Bob Wells (The Extreme Geek), My Tech Guys


hose that know me have heard the tales of when I launched Shaw high-speed Internet (Shaw Home) in Victoria. It was like the Wild West way back in 1998, and many lessons were learned about expanding too fast, network saturation and how a network designed for people to check emails and surf faster than dial-up would be used for downloading music, sending photos and streaming videos — forever changing how we


he dust has settled on our recent renovations and we are slowly (but surely) getting our offices back in order while, at the same time, working on our Annual Awards to be held on January 26 at the Florence Filberg Centre. Please see the special supplement in the centre of this issue for information on A Royal Affair — 2012 Annual Community Awards, our sponsors, nominees and how to purchase tickets. In past years, this event has been a sell-out. Avoid disappointment and book your tickets as soon as possible. And in other news… In our ongoing efforts to provide quality membership services and foster community involvement, the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce recently established a Bursary Endowment Fund at North Island College. The bursary will provide financial support to NIC Business Administration students who otherwise may not be in the position to pursue post-secondary education. On December 6, 2012, The Comox Valley Chamber published a three minute YouTube video: Rappin’ up a Comox Valley Christmas: Twelve Days of LOCAL Christmas Spirit. Within about a week the video had topped about 2,000 views and the number of views continued to grow

Think your business would be a great location for a hotspot?

So now to the topic at hand: Shaw is at it again. This time, Shaw has an extremely ambitious goal — provide Shaw Wi-Fi hotspots EVERYWHERE so that their customers can access the Internet and stream videos and data without using their costly mobile network’s data plans. My Tech Guys is proud to be the first such hot spot in the Comox Valley for the launch of Shaw Go, a complimentary service available to Shaw’s residential customers. Installations are taking place at local businesses across the Valley as we speak, since the North

throughout the following weeks. This ‘Shop Local’ video was a true testament to a spirit of collaboration and cooperation and we are thrilled with the feedback we have received. More than two dozen local businesses and individuals participated in the production. Benefits of Belonging Meetings in the Chamber board room Did you know that the Chamber now rents its boardroom to members and affiliated organizations for a reasonable fee? The room can

Island launch began in January. Initially, the Shaw Go coverage area encompassed major cities from Victoria to Winnipeg, but the ultimate goal is to provide their Internet customers with seamless connectivity nationally across Shaw’s entire service footprint. To connect to the network, simply download the free “Shaw Go Wi-Fi” app and you’ll automatically connect to any of the Shaw Go hotspots that are within range. Shaw also provides free HBO, Movie Central and NFL apps for people like to watch shows on the go, with many more apps planned for the future. Want to try out the new Shaw Go hotspot? Just stop by one of the My Tech Guy stores in Comox or Courtenay. Think your business would a great location for a Shaw Go hotspot? Call Allison Bligh, Shaw’s Regional Wi-Fi Site Advisor at 250.898.2556 for more information. ob Wells is the “Extreme Geek” and owner of My Tech Guys. He can be reached at 250.890.1065 or

accommodate up to 12 people. Coffee and tea are provided for an additional fee and you may bring in your own refreshments. Wi-Fi is available for free and a projector is available for a small charge. Rental of the board room is a ‘Members Only!’ benefit of belonging and has proven useful for business owners to host training sessions, planning meetings, job interviews and other business-related events in a private and professional setting. Call 250-334-3234 for bookings and more information.

Upcoming Comox Valley Chamber Events: Annual Chamber Business Showcase Tradeshow Crown Isle Resort 1:00 - 6:00 p.m., Thursday, February 28 Book your table now! Chamber members who book by February 8 enjoy half price table rental fees. This event is extensively promoted to both businesses and the general public and is always well attended. Admission is free to the public. March is Chamber Membership Month — more details coming soon! Joining the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce enables you to save money on many business-related products and services. Members connect with other business people; promote their events and achievements, and so much more! As importantly, membership with the Chamber of Commerce shows customers that your business is: • Committed to a high standard of professionalism • Dedicated to life-long learning and business development, and • An active part of our community. For more information on the Comox Valley Chamber membership, events and services visit: www.comox or call 250.334.3234.

Question of the Month: “Whatmakes a successful entrepreneur?”

Word Street

on the

“Well developed self esteem (not to be mistaken by a well developed ego). Having a strong belief in oneself helps to keep the entrepreneur on course and resilient despite the naysayers and truth-slayers.” — Angela Holmes, Creative Employment Access Society

“A successful entrepreneur is a blend of many attributes, more than I realized before I b e c a m e one! Drive. Passion and vision are vital qualities for any successful businessperson but without drive neither would come to fruition.” — Kris Trudeau, Halftone Pixel Website Design and Consulting

“For me in my business I think the top five are: 1. Listen and learn from your clients. Without them the business wouldn’t exist. 2. Don’t over-extend yourself or you’ll burn out. Balance work with relaxation time. 3. Really enjoy your business. If you’re not having fun anymore then it’s time to move on. 4. Know who your competition is and then refer or work with them if you can. Find a niche market that sets you apart from the rest. 5. Get involved in your community and businesses associations. Sit on a board of directors and volunteer your time. It is so worth it!” — Linda Graceffo, Sparkling Graphics

“First, one needs to know what their definition of “Successful” is. If Success has a material end result like Money, then it’s a constant battle to balance business. But if you choose PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS, you may not attain wealth on a grand scale like Bill Gates, but you will live well, have a great job, sleep well at night, and every day know that you have given your best to those who have been your support network. So the most important attributes? HONESTY and INTEGRITY. Be Honest with yourself, and always be honest with others. Always be who you are, be compassionate and passionate at the same time and never be afraid to extend yourself to others; for every one that bites you, there are hundreds that become a reward. Be Respectful in every interaction and ALWAYS be true to your values. “ — Garry Baraniuk, All Secure Storage “One thing is to give with out expecting or demanding anything back, and truly believe with every fibre of your body that you are selling a great product and love your business.” — Katherine Kirk, Yummies & Gyros Greek Café

LadysmithPress Web press printers of: • Newspapers • Flyers • Catalogues • Newsletters • Vacation & Recreation Guides • Newsprint Magazines

940 Oyster Bay Drive, Ladysmith, BC A division of


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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

effortlessly restored. Information Traditional back-ups protect your data. That’s OK if your data is the only thing there’s ever a problem with. But what if Imaging creates a “snapyour operating system gets shot” of your computer: corrupted or your operating your hard system, all your drive fails? ... merely restore programs and all your files. Usually that that snapshot means you If a drive fails and you’re back end up or you have in business. re-installing another big your problem, you operating system and all merely restore that snapyour programs, including shot and you’re back in your back-up software, business. and, finally, restoring your data. That can be a lot of down time.



Naomi Carmichael, OnDeck Systems Inc. 250.334.0638

omputer imaging; and we’re not talking CAT scans or MRIs. Imaging is backing up computers in a way that lets them be quickly and


he most significant technology tool for business has to be auto-magic, proactive off-site back-ups. I remember using the


complex dial-up systems that of the early ‘90s to get the important data backed up back-ups off-site — but they were have stopped not for the faint of heart. working because the exterSure, there have been nal drive has several crashed or the back-up software has systems The biggest become from tape impediment to back- corrupted, that drives, ups are humans. truly is Magic. DVDs, Flash Drives Programs like and even CrashPlan and external Carbonite leverage the hard drives, but nothing power of the Cloud for beats modern back-up real time, local and off-site systems that actually tell back-ups that report when you if they’re not working backups are failing. (that’s the proactive part). The biggest impediment to back-ups are humans. If our only role is to react to an email saying

The importance of a strong logo

Kris Trudeau, Halftone Pixel Website Design and Consulting


ith the new year, we tend to look inward. With the best intentions, we resolve to stop, start, do more, do less or do better. Inner reflection is not limited to us personally, but is applicable to our businesses as well; it’s as good a time as any to take inventory of how your business presents itself to the world. While there are many public-facing aspects of your business, your logo is the foundation and needs to be strong to stand up to the task. Here are five quick questions you can ask yourself to test how well your logo measures up: Is my logo simple and easy to understand? Your logo needs to be simple enough that viewers can instantly understand it should they only get a fleeting glance of it off vehicle graphics or a passing road sign.


“What is the most significant technology tool for business that I don’t know about?”

Bob Wells (The Extreme Geek), My Tech Guys 250.792.1945

hile Google Apps has been making headlines the last few years with its online products such as Gmail, Google Calendar and other applications, Microsoft has traditionally struggled to keep up with the innovations and features of the Google products. The result of

Complicated logos can be hard to comprehend, and detailed logos may experience output problems if printed too small. Does my logo fit my industry’s visual conventions? Some industries have a certain look associated with them; most financial organizations use conservative colours and serif fonts, whereas fast-food restaurants will use trendier fonts and

“Complicated logos can be hard to comprehend. ” bright colours. Over time, these similarities have been engrained in our subconscious as the norm. If a business doesn’t fit our expectation of the norm, we instantly become wary. Some organizations defy this convention successfully — if your organization can pull it off, you’ll reap the rewards of standing head and shoulders above your competition. It may be a long and expensive road, however, with significant marketing required to remind customers of your organization’s amazing capabilities, despite its unorthodox appearance. How many versions of my logo do I currently employ? Do you have a website displaying your new logo but a box of business cards with your

old one that you want to finish up before ordering more? If so, stop right now! Different logos confuse your viewers and will dilute your brand. How timeless is my logo? Was your logo created in 1994? Does it look like it was created in 1994? Unless you’re selling antiques, it’s more important now than ever to ensure your business looks up-to-date, knowledgeable and trustworthy. Your customers want to know that your business is current, which they will assume if your logo reflects this. A simple logo usually means a long-lasting logo. Timeless fonts (like Helvetica and Avenir) and simple illustrations will stand the test of time. Just look at the Nike swoosh, created in 1971, or the Coca-Cola logo, which is more than 100 years old. If done right, your logo will nest itself neatly in your customers’ minds forever. How much is that real estate worth to you? Don’t underestimate the value of your logo. Kris Trudeau is the owner of Halftone Pixel Website Design and Consulting (formerly PixelPoint Design and Consulting). She offers experienced and professional website and graphic design. Reach Kris at or 250.871.0623.

Google eliminating the free version of their “Google Apps for Business” program, combined with Microsoft’s re-packaging of their online services, is that the Office 365 solutions have

... as low as $5 per user per month could make Office 365 a significant tool.

suddenly become much more appealing. Online and mobile access to mail, calendars and documents, combined with the rich features of traditional Microsoft Office programs such as Outlook, Word and Excel for a price as low as

Paid services like Carbonite, or free ones like DropBox, SugarSync, GoogleDrive and Microsoft’s Skydrive autoata is one of the matically back up files in most important specified locations to the aspects of runCloud. They can then synning a business. From chronize your data with any sales figures and number of other inventory to computers, accounts and customer ... businesses who automatically lists, your lose all their data, ensuring your data is accessidata IS your 89 per cent go out ble to the peobusiness. Of of business within ple who need it. the businessthe next year. These systems es that lose are easy to set all their data, up, but you may 89 per cent need professional advice to go out of business within ensure your data is securely the next year. Backing up encrypted. Then you can that data while keeping it sleep easy at night. readily accessible is vital.

Matt Behrens, PrimeTek IT Solutions 250.871.8547

$5 per user per month could make Office 365 a significant tool for simplifying your business.


Richard Boyle, Integrated Technologies 250.334.8383 www.integrated

Tips for post-holiday debt re-payment involves borrowing extra money through a lowinterest mortgage to pay off higher interest debts. The result is equal or lower monthly payments and faster progress paying

Mackenzie Gartside Verico Select Mortgage


ost of us, especially at this time of year, have debts. Our first priority should always be making the minimum required payments, on time, for all our loans. Once those are covered, start paying down debts with the highest interest costs first. For example, credit cards typically have an annual percentage rate (APR) of 10 to 20 per cent, while a ‘typical’ mortgage APR is three to four per cent. So a dollar toward your credit card balance is going to be three to five times more beneficial than a dollar toward your mortgage. If you’re struggling to pay anything more than those minimum payments, however, you may benefit from a mortgage refinance/consolidation. This strategy is possible if you have built-up equity in your property (i.e. your property value is greater than your mortgage) and

off your debt. Find today’s rates online at For a free debt review and mortgage consultation, call Mackenzie at 250.331.0800.

Massage therapy — the pain and the gain


oes therapeutic massage hurt? When will you feel results? Well, it depends... here’s why: Therapeutic massage can feel nice, mildly uncomfortable and sometimes painful depending on your natural pain tolerance and how your tissues react. You need to try it to find out, but keep in mind that you control how much pressure is used. Some believe in the ‘no pain, no gain’ adage, but it doesn’t have to be a painful experience. As far as results go, some people feel relief immediately while others experience some temporary soreness. This soreness is normal and will fade, to be followed by relief. Of course, there are times when no change is felt at all, especially after one appointment. Generally, your first treatment will determine priorities, reactions and tolerances, while your second treatment is more focused on a clear goal.

Heather Saunders, RMT

You may also decide to try another massage therapist; his or her different approach and style may work better for you. Occasionally, therapeutic massage simply isn’t the answer for a particular individual or condition, and other therapies need to be explored. Heather Saunders is a registered massage therapist practicing at the Comox Valley Therapeutic Massage Centre. Her focus is promoting body awareness and patient education. For more free resources, like stretches, home care tips, articles, visit www.HeatherSaundersRMT. com or call 250.339.9912.

Page 11

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

Stay on top of business in the Comox Valley. Get your FREE Business Gazette email subscription at .

Small businesses. Self-employed entrepreneurs. Home based companies. Year-round farms and ranches.

3 Guaranteed Coverage 3 Plan Flexibility 3 Rate Stability 3 Unbeatable Service

Norm Starling, BEST Solution’s founder and CEO

‘Value-added’ veteran offers support for manufacturers

The key to success isn’t knowing all of the answers; it’s knowing where to find them.” Thus is the tag line of BEST Solutions, a local company that helps valueadded manufacturing companies develop new markets, improve profitability and fine-tune operational aspects of their business such as sales, supply chains and staff retention. If you run a small valuedadded manufacturing business with 10 to 50 employees, chances are good that Norm Starling, BEST Solution’s founder and CEO, can likely help you do things better. “Most manufacturing businesses start with a single person who feels they are good at making something,” explains Starling. “However, the specific technology of what the manufacturer

does is really a small part of their business.” “When a business grows,” he says, “the 101 other things that go into making a business become necessary to address. And most don’t have training in those areas: marketing and market research, product engineering and development, employee retention and human resources, customer relations and services, and so on. BEST Solutions is the mentor that sees them through

Starling is a veteran of the value-added wood industry.

the growing pains.” Starling is a veteran of the value-added wood industry who saw an

New Business Profile brought to you by:

opportunity to improve the value-added manufacturing sector. In 2011, he brought together business specialists with more than 30 years of experience in wood products production, process engineering, product development, sales and marketing, and small business management to create BEST Solutions. Just don’t call BEST Solutions a consulting company. “BEST Solutions is a client resource, and we start from the perspective that our clients are doing a lot of things right,” explains Starling. The goal, he says, is to guide clients toward improved implementation. Services include standard operating procedures, manufacturing solutions, marketing solutions, project management, product development, training, client relations and process controls. “BEST helps value-added product manufacturers develop the infrastructure necessary to support a profitable business,” says Starling. “Then we help those manufacturers find and develop the right markets for their products.” For more information, visit or call 250.337.1972.

Exclusive distributor of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce Group Plan & Employee Benefit Plans

Your local benefit plan expert, Darren Kardynal

Call for FREE Quote & Advice Glacierview Financial Services Ltd. 338-7 7577 Phone: 250-3

Page 12

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2013

We wait too long to train our leaders program around 42. This means that management was on the job for nine years, untrained without any guidance or direction. Frankly, I’m not surprised. Our business culture seems to recognize the need for staff training far before management training, a dangerous business practise Dave Warawa, that could result in losing PROSALESGUY Training quality staff and even worse — customers. recent article in the How many of us can Harvard Business recall leaving a job Review caught my because of a bad relationinterest. In their database ship with our manager? of approximately 17,000 There is credible research worldwide companies in that clearly shows this virtually every business tends to be a leading sector, they found the cause of frustration at the average age of a manager workplace, to the degree or supervisor to be 33. that popular sitcoms have They also concluded that been created in this the average manager regard. While we all laugh received their first at the antics of Michael leadership training Scott, the bumbling (former) manager of the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in The Office, many people claim to have their own version of Dilbert at Average age at which we train our managers. their


workplace. Practising management for nearly a decade without specific training should not be likened to having a Learner’s permit to operate a motor vehicle. Management is not an easy job! It takes great communication skills, patience and the understanding of people to be successful. Here are three reasons why practising leadership without professional training should concern you: 1. Managing without training ingrains bad habits. Can your company afford to have a bad manager? 2. Poor management causes good staff to leave and the rest to stay. How will this affect your customers? 3. Your inexperienced managers are practising on the job. It’s hard to break a bad habit and easier to create a good one from the start. Dave Warawa, the PROSALESGUY, provides practical sales training based on proven, streetlevel techniques. For a list of his training programs, visit or call 250.339.3355. “I was completely surprised to be the recipient of the Small Business of the Year award. I feel fortunate to make a living in a creative pursuit, and being applauded as a successful business was incredibly affirming. I truly hope that each of the amazing recipients this year walk a little taller and, from here forward, take time to regularly congratulate themselves for their ongoing growth. Congratulations!” Karen McKinnon, McKinnon Photography 2008 Small Business of the Year

See Chamber of Commerce Award coverage starting on page 5

The elusive paperless office physical invoices, and payments can be approved or recorded quickly and remotely via mobile devices. We’ve helped companies as diverse as professional services firms and contractors streamline their A/P process. Don Linder, AGS Business Systems


he paperless office — does it really exist? Or, like Sasquatch and Ogopogo, is it just a legend, built upon the fanciful dreams of idealistic office managers? While not yet a reality for most businesses, it is a worthwhile pursuit. Aside from the obvious benefits to the environment, there are a number of scenarios in which “paperless” is the best option for increased productivity and reduced costs and clutter. The Accounts Payable Pickle — Difficulty in managing invoice paper trails can often lead to late or even missed payments. This situation is particularly problematic when a business is quite large, has multiple locations or people are in the field and communication is intermittent. Appropriate document software can eliminate the need for

...our goal is to increase our clients productivity and reduce costs

The Fax Fix — Print it out, get up and fax it off, bring it back and file it away. Believe it or not, faxes are still predominant in some industries — but it can be a frustrating waste of time and paper. Desktop faxing programs can send and record faxes without paper ever being used. This is particularly useful for medical offices and notaries. The Retrieval Conundrum — Many businesses, whether by law or other regulations, are required to keep documents for years. This can use up valuable office space and retrieval can sometimes take hours. Many businesses, such as real estate and medical offices, are turning to

management software to electronically store and index their records so that they can be retrieved at a moment’s notice. The Disaster Dilemma — As the saying goes, “back it up or pack it up.” Though we all hope nothing will happen to us, in the case of disaster, very few companies have back-ups of everything they need to restart quickly in case the unthinkable does occur. Like any new approach, going paperless can come with a learning curve, but nothing good comes without some effort. As an aside, it may seem contradictory that a premium provider of printing solutions takes the time to promote going paperless, but our goal is to help our clients increase productivity and reduce costs wherever they can. If you’re ready to take the paperless plunge, give us a call. AGS Business Systems has been providing office technology to Vancouver Island customers since 1976 and prides itself on being 100% locally Island owned and operated. Don Linder can be contacted at the AGS office on Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay at 250.871.0116 or

Comox Valley Business Gazette JanFeb 2013  

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