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BUSINESS GAZETTE THE COMOX VALLEY

JAN/FEB APRIL2012 2011

WWW.BUSINESSGAZETTE.CA

Meet the Valley's best and brightest

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he Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce annual awards gala is January 28. Meet some of the nominees from eight categories in our special Chamber Awards Supplement, beginning on page 5. The business peo-

ple profiled in these pages have been recognized by their peers and are soon to be applauded for their hard work, ingenuity and success. But only one will win in each category... can you pick the winners?

Points to consider when negotiating your lease

Gazette columnist wins big award The Comox Valley’s own Bob Wells was named one of Business in Vancouver’s “Forty Under 40” this month. The award goes to young business people who are leaders in their fields and also volunteer in their community. Wells owns My Tech Guys and volunteers for organizations such as Rotary, CYMC, Comox Valley Child Development, YANA and ElderCollege. “It was pretty amazing when I found out,” said Wells. “I think I’m the only person on Vancouver Island to win, and only a handful of winners live outside Vancouver, so it’s a tremendous honour. was a great end to an awesome year!” TELL US WHATIt YOU Read Bob’s column on page 3.THINK The Business Gazette welcomes a new local professional to our Advisory Board. Proper signage can be a highly effective method of advertising. Here to run you through the in’s-and-out’s of getting the best return on your signage, here is Mike Tottenham of Klitsa Signs.

Three things to consider for effective signage

porations to evaluate the anticipated costs to renew or replace common property and to maintain a reserve fund to cover anticipated expenses. Common property can include things like balcony railings, fences and other equipment and fixtures shared by individual strata owners. “The regulation change does a lot to protect strata owners and prospective buyers,” says Dan Wilson, See ‘Strata’ Pg. 2

See ‘Signs’ Pg. 2

Dan Wilson, the local representative of Vision Property Advisors Inc., says new rules requiring strata corporations to maintain an adequate reserve fund, are a win for consumers.

New rules a boon for strata owners, says local appraiser Strata corporations must commission a depreciation report before December 2013

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he provincial government’s decision to require strata corporations to maintain a fund for maintenance and repairs is great news for consumers, says a Comox Valley real estate appraiser. In December, the B.C. government enacted changes to the Strata Property Act that make it mandatory for strata cor-

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our business signage is one of your most important assets. It's not onlya how customers Make charitable gift. find you, it's also gives them a vital first impression. Here are three things to consider when creating a new sign or replacing on old one: Visibility: With any sign, you want to maximize visibility. If surrounding buildings partially block your frontage, consider a freestanding sign or one that extends out from the building. Illuminated signs are a great way to increase visibility, as is choosing colours with high contrast to their surroundings. Bylaws: Familiarize yourself with any local bylaws that could affect your signage. Local rules commonly dictate the size and type of signage and whether illumination is

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s we ease into the new year, now’s a perfect time to review your lease. This small document does a big job - making sure your business has a secure and appropriate place to operate - and if it’s not done right you can end up with big problems down the road. A lease is almost always landlord-oriented; in other words, it’s prepared by the landlord (or the landlord’s lawyer) and thus favours that party, so close scrutiny is essential. So whether you’re reviewing your current lease or considering a new one, here’s an overview of some key issues: length of term: In a commercial tenancy, you often can’t give notice. If you sign a five-year lease, you’re usually obligated to stay for five years. So consider carefully the pros and cons of a short- versus long-term rental. signature: If your lease is in your company’s name, avoid signing it personally. Make sure the proper business or corporate name is used.

“If overlooked,

any one of these issues can come to back to haunt you.

financial obligations: Rent is always expressed on a monthly basis and can be “gross” or “triple net.” The former is one simple amount; the latter includes taxes, insurance and maintenance costs, which can vary. If your lease is triple net, you’ll want to look closely at how “maintenance” is defined so that it doesn’t include carrying costs. You should also examine what is meant by “taxes” so you always know what to expect. definitions of use: Most

leases have a clause stating what uses are permitted. It you’re looking for exclusive use of the whole space, make sure you have that in writing. See ‘Lease’ Pg. 2

Paul R. Ives, B.A., LL.B, Partner, IvesBurger

How can I improve my credit score to better qualify for a mortgage?

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irst of all, in order to have a credit score you have to be using some sort of “credit instruments” that report your borrowing and payment history. These could include credit cards, vehicle loans or personal loans. Most lenders require at least two different instruments reporting with two or more years of history in order to qualify for a mortgage. So how do you improve your score? The best thing you can do is make all your minimum payments on time. A single late payment, even by a few days, will stay on your credit report for years and negatively impact your score. You can also improve

Mackenzie Gartside Verico Select Mortgage

your credit score by keeping the balances of your credit cards and lines of credit as low as possible. The closer your balances are to their limits, the more it looks like you’re struggling with your debt. Find today’s rates online at comoxmortgages.com. For a free personalized quote call Mackenzie at 250.331.0800.


Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Page 2

Your financial New Year’s resolutions

Robert Mulrooney, CPE (DundeeWealth Certified Portfolio Engineer), Senior Investment Advisor, DWM Securities Inc.

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iven the roller coaster ride the economy has taken, many New Year’s resolutions this year involve money management. If getting your financial house in order is on your to-do list for 2012, 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 invested in a TFSA grows and can be withdrawn tax-free. TFSAs are especially beneficial to selfemployed professionals or workers in lower tax brackets; many people will find their financial “sweet spot” in a combination of TFSA deposits and RRSPs. As of January 2012, every Canadian is allowed to have up to $20,000 in a TFSA — set up yours by talking with your advisor. 2. I will maximize my RRSP contributions

expense,” he explains. “There’s a huge variation a real estate appraiser in strata fees on the with Jackson & Associates market. But a $75 fee and the Comox Valley’s without a depreciation representative for Vision report carries a much Property Advisors Inc. higher risk of escalating “The leaky condo fiasco of versus, say, a $100 fee not long ago demonstratwith a report and a ed how individual property sufficient reserve fund. owners can be on the “Though strata corporahook if the strata doesn’t tions can vote to exempt have enough reserve themselves from the new funds to cover repairs.” regulation,” he adds, “I Under the new rules, strathink we’ll see that the ta corporations have until market will force them to December 2013 to comcomply. Units in stratas mission a depreciation that can’t show they’re report, which includes an fully funded inventory of all will sell at a common propdiscount.” Without a erty and depreciation report, The easiest estimates the the buyer has no way for strata cost of guarantee that the corporations renewals and to obtain a maintenance. strata fee won't depreciation double overnight. Another report is amendment through a that allows company such prospective strata as Vision Property property buyers to request Advisors, a partnership of a copy of the depreciation five certified reserve fund report. This amendment, planners that formed a says Wilson, gives year ago to address the consumers a significant then-forthcoming advantage when shopping regulation change. To for real estate. request a consultation and estimate, call “Without a depreciation 250.338.7323 or email report, the buyer has no dan@visionpa.com. guarantee that the strata fee won’t double overnight To learn more, visit www.visionpa.com. to cover some unforeseen Strata - con’t from pg. 1

to your RRSP for 2011 is Wednesday, February 29, 2012. Your contribution limit is 18 per cent of your previous year’s earned income, to a maximum of $22,450. The contribution limit for 2012 is 18 per cent, to a maximum of markets $22,970.

Maximizing RRSP contributions makes sense for a lot of people, especially those in higher tax brackets. Not only do RRSPs offer immediate If the tax savings (they’re often have been the only tax 3. I will get a stressing you out, financial deduction for you're paying too plan done many employed A financial much attention workers), but plan is a bigto them. every contripicture snapbution you shot of your make adds to financial situyour own personal ation, pension. including your investments, insurance, This is increasingly pensions and everything important since fewer and that contributes to your fewer people have formal wealth. It will show you pension plans. You can what you’re doing well, find out your limit on your where your shortcomings 2010 Notice of are and how you can maxAssessment, or call the imize your savings and Canada Revenue Agency growth. at 1.800.267.6999. The deadline for contributing Just as goals are more

Lease - con’t from pg. 1

repairs: Usually the client is expected to take care of damages they inflict, but your lease should specify that you’re not responsible for structural repairs. release: If there’s a restraint on sub-letting or assigning the lease to someone else, it should be reasonable and allow you options if you need to be released. insurance: Check with your insurance broker to make sure your insurance obligations mesh with those of your landlord. renovations: Leases usually have a prohibition

on improvements without the landlord’s consent, and often set out which types of renovations are the landlord’s responsibility, and which are the tenant’s. default: Make sure your lease gives you sufficient time to rectify any default, such as 15 days as opposed to five. renewal: Your lease should include provisions for possible renewal (for instance, a five-year lease will often include the option of a five-year renewal), and leave you room to negotiate the rent upon renewal. It’s also a

apt to be achieved when they’re written down, you’re more likely to have a stronger financial footing if you have a plan in place. 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 about it. 5. I’m going to get professional advice Investors who consult a professional investment advisor are statistically more likely to outperform those who go good idea to have an arbitration clause in the case of a dispute. If overlooked, any one of these issues can come to back to haunt you. Your lawyer will be able to provide a straightforward lease review for anywhere from $500 to $1000 often money well spent to secure your premises. Paul Ives is a lawyer with Ives Burger Barristers & Solicitors in Courtenay. He can be reached at 250.334.2416 or www.ivesburgerlaw.com

it alone. So 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 www.investmentcoach.com Please consult a professional investment advisor before acting on any information presented in this column. This article was prepared by Robert Mulrooney, Senior 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.

Signs - con’t from pg. 1

allowed. Budget: Materials, durability and size all contribute to the cost of a sign. Illuminated signs are usually on the higher end of the scale, while some types of plastics are often more affordable. The key is to find your sweet spot between functionality and cost. Mike Tottenham owns Klitsa Signs in Tin Town. He can be reached at 250.338.4935 or www.klitsasigns.com.

www. businessgazette.ca

Get Networking. Get Business. The Comox Valley Women’s Business Network meetings feature top-notch speakers, business coaches and innovative networking sessions. As a member of the Comox Valley Women’s Business Network you will have opportunities to: Develop business skills, learn from speakers and through workshops. Network with other women in business. Promote your business through our Facebook page, website and at meetings. Stay motivated to move your business forward!

www.businessgazette.ca 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 Advertising Inquiries: 250.897.5064 / 250.702.1103 or sales@businessgazette.ca Editorial inquiries: editor@businessgazette.ca

www.cvwbn.org info@cvwbn.org


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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Dec 2011/Jan 2012

Your new year’s geeky resolutions

Bob Wells (The Extreme Geek), My Tech Guys

1. I will back up my data Regardless of how new or old your computer is, the reality is that it could kick the bucket tomorrow, taking all your files, photos and documents with it. So let 2012 be the year you back up your data. If you already have a backup, make sure it’s working properly. Though most backups we check are working exactly as they were set up, almost all need to be updated to ensure everything that matters is being protected. You should have your backup checked at least once a year or whenever you install new software. 2. I will update my software Running out-of-date software is one of the best ways to pick up a computer virus. As new viruses are found, software updates are issued to patch the holes; they’re free, and they could save your backside. Here are two simple ways to check if your software is up to date: PC users: run the free scan at www.secunia.com/ vulnerability_scanning/ online. Mac users: download MacUpdate at www.macupdate.com/ desktop.

YQQ Surpasses Industry Trend for Growth in 2011

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he Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) announced today that it served 308,937 passengers in 2011, an increase of 4.2 per cent or 12,370 passengers over the previous year. This new data puts YQQ well above the minimal passenger growth experienced by most airports across North America, as reported by Airports Council International. The airport’s busiest month was August, which saw a total of 34,580 passengers - an increase of 992 passengers over the same month in 2010. The busy holiday travel month of December saw a total of 26,711 passengers or an increase of 1,978 passengers for the same time period in the previous year. For more information about YQQ’s strategic direction visit: www.comoxairport.com under about us/reports.

I recommend sticking to 3. I will update my just two to four passantivirus software words. Keep two, for At the risk of sounding like example, for high-level your junior high sex ed sites like your email and teacher, If you use a PC, online banking, and you need to protect youranother two reserved for self. Currently, we recommore loosey-goosey mend either Vipre or accounts. Microsoft Stop by one of Security Essentials Running out-of- our stores for both are effecdate software is a free computer book for tive, and the one of the best keeping your latter is even free. If you’re a ways to pick up a passwords in computer virus. one convenMac user, you ient place. can substitute 5. I will this resolution vanquish all killer with one to stop gloating dust bunnies to your PC-using friends. Over time, dust accumu4. I will organize lates in the nooks and my passwords crannies inside your comIf your online presence puter, acting as insulation involves a couple dozen and potentially leading to random passwords that its untimely demise. are as hard to remember Having your computer as your in-laws’ anniverserviced at least once a sary, 2012 is your year get year will vanquish these organized.

killer dust bunnies, as well as give you a heads up of any other problems that may be lurking within. You can still take advan-

tage of our special New Year pricing on in home (and in-office) service. Call today to get a jump on your geeky resolutions!

IRONS IN THE FIRE

Better Mousetrap Marketing gives you the opportunity to spread the word about new business, mergers, acquisitions, new hires and awards. Simply email your 30 word, non-time-sensitive newsworthy announcement and contact information to emma@bettermousetrap.ca and, if space permits, we will include it in our column. Please note: Inclusion is not guaranteed.

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Comox Valley Fitness

Real Estate Accountability Log

Brett Hall of Comox Valley Fitness is pleased to welcome Bill Fraser to teach Brazilian Jui Jitsu and Women’s Self Defense, and Leonard Murphy to teach Tang Soo Do Karate. www.comoxvalleyfitness.com

Never lose track of leads or listings with the “Real Estate Accountability Log” published by Bryce Hansen, Realtor at RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty. http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=N0BjX98HuJY

Ronni Lister, REALTOR®

Comox Valley’s Visitor’s Guide

Congratulations to Ronni Lister for making the Top 25 Individual RE/MAX Realtors in Canada this year. She credits her wonderful clients for her success. www.ronnilister.com

The 2012 Comox Valley Visitor’s Guide will be launched in April. Many new features including an iPhone app and re-design of DiscoverComoxValley.com. For advertising options, call Jenny at 250-792-1296

Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa

Rattan Plus

Your local benefit plan expert, Darren Kardynal

Call for FREE Quote & Advice Glacierview Financial Services Ltd. Phone: 250-890-7580 gview@uniserve.com

Bob Wells is the “Extreme Geek” and owner of My Tech Guys. He can be reached at 250.890.1065 or www.mytechguys.ca

Rattan Plus invites you to visit their 5th Street location to see the new changes they have made to the store: new paint, new displays and an upstairs dedicated to outdoor patio furniture.

Kingfisher Oceanside Resort & Spa is thrilled to announce the Love Story Wedding Show on March 17, 2012. Your Love Story Begins in the Comox Valley. www.kingfisherspa.com

Better Mousetrap Marketing

The Medicine Shoppe Paharmacy

To accomodate their growth, Better Mousetrap Marketing has moved to new, larger premises. Find them on the 2nd floor at 350 - 17th Street, above Coldwell Banker. www.bettermousetrap.ca

The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy in Comox is still offering free flu shots to anyone over the age of 65 or anyone with chronic health conditions. Phone (250) 339-5050

Courtenay Clinical Sleep Solutions

Tracy Fogtmann, REALTOR®

Courtenay Clinical Sleep Solutions has a new name, look and feel! Their new name is Pacific Sleep Care. To contact your sleep apnea and snoring professionals, call 250-334-0789

Tracy Fogtmann has launched her own business as a realtor with RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty, specializing in listing and selling homes in the Comox Valley. Contact Tracy at tracy@tracyfogtmann.ca.

Better Mousetrap Marketing is a full-service marketing agency located in the Comox Valley. With our clients’ unique goals in mind, our team excels at creating dynamic marketing concepts and implementing them on time and on budget. We specialize in deceptively simple marketing plans, brand establishment, and web development for any size of business - big or small.

BRANDING WEB ADVERTISING

#2nd Floor, 350 - 17th Street Courtenay, BC V9N 1Y4 p. 250.871.TRAP (8727) e. info@bettermousetrap.ca w. www.bettermousetrap.ca


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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Get fit with goals, not resolutions

Chris Ketch Owner — BodyNetix www.bodynetix.com

Specific, Measureable and with a Deadline. With a New Year’s resolution, you might say “I’m going to get fit this year.” With an “SMD” goal, you’ll say “I will lose 10 pounds and complete a 10-km. run by the end of March.”

individuals are driven by instinct rather than conscious thought or rational thinking. As January comes to a close, the once-crowded And because you’ve gym becomes much identified what you’re quieter. The fight or flight going to accomplish and response has passed, and when, you’ll probably do it. most people slip back in Now that you’ve to their daily routines of established your goal, sloth and over-indulgence. what steps will you need Thus ends the life cycle to take to accomplish it by of the typical your deadline? New Year’s For example, resolution. start with to lose 10 Unlike a resothe end in pounds, you’ll lution, a goal need to create mind and work is proactive a calorie deficit rather than your way through reactive. backwards. exercise, meal Whereas planning and resolutions lifestyle are usually changes. based on doing something To run a 10-k, you might you start by hiring a trainer or didn’t do in the year past, joining a running club. a goal is a plan for success for the days and Once you’ve identified weeks to come; you start everything you need to do with the end in mind and to achieve your goal, now work your way backwards. formulate a working plan. Book all of your tasks into You may have heard of your schedule, and treat SMART goals: those that your workouts like any are Specific, Measurable, other important Achievable, Relevant and appointment. Time-based. I like to keep mine even simpler: Con’t bottom of Pg. 5

Torry and Sons Plumbing & Heating is one of the largest mechanical contractors on Vancouver Island. They employ more than 100 people in the Comox Valley alone. On top of being one of the Valley's largest employers, Torry and Sons has proven to be a generous corporate citizen. Still, inquiring minds want to know about the owners...

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very December, each of us starts thinking about how we want to change or improve in the year to come. Often, fitness and health are at the top of the list. The eating and drinking frenzy that usually accompanies the holiday season gives us guilt-inspired motivation to accomplish our hastily made resolutions. In January, hordes of determined people run out and buy gym memberships. As predictable as the tides, these well-intentioned

Who the heck are Scott Torry and Brian Farnham... and what the hell are they up to?

Q: What kind of jobs do you get calls for these days? ST: Everything from $50 residential calls to $20 million projects. BF: We have two divisions: residential and commercial. We specialize in everything from 4” ducts for home owners to giant 88” ducts. Q: What’s good advice to those hiring a contractor? ST: Buy from people who’ve been around — and will be around. That, and the cheapest option is rarely anywhere near the best value. Q: What trends do you see? ST: No where to go but up. From my point of view I think we’ve seen the bottom of the economy. Encouraging news is the number of large scale projects coming online. The John Hart Dam, North Island hospitals, the Esquimalt ship building; serious money is going to flow through the economy. Q: The secret to your success? BF & ST: (Looking at each other and laughing.) “A good partner.” BF: Actually, our customers. They seem to keep coming back because of the great people who go into their homes and on to their job sites. ST: And because we guarantee — and are reliable! That’s important. Q: Who is your biggest influence? ST: My dad. (Bill Torry, who started the company 30 years ago.) He instilled a strong work ethic and solid direction. Thanks dad!

BF: My grandfather. And my first employer. They were all good business people who really understood what service is all about. They believed in giving people the opportunities to succeed. Q: How has your industry changed in the last number of years? BF: No question, it’s technology. All estimates are computerized now. And projects are modeled with BIM (Building Information Modeling.) It allows us to overlay all drawings and build the project in 3D on the computer in advance. It eliminates many problems before they occur in actual construction. This is a real time, money and hassle saver. Which is probably why our clients like it so much. Q: If you could change one thing in your industry, it would be? BF: The tender process. 90% of the time there is absolutely no looking into backgrounds and qualifications of trades, which would help make sure clients get what they pay for. Q: What do you enjoy most about your work? ST & BF: Being involved in projects right from the beginning, troubleshooting and taking them through to completion. That’s always a real thrill. Q: Is there anything you would do differently? BF & ST: No! We have learned from everything we have done.

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Chamber of Commerce Hands Out Top Honours ‘Hats off to Leadership’ is the theme for Annual Awards Gala

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aturday, January 28th, at the Florence Filberg Centre, there will be a sense of excitement in the air as 300 people from our community gather to celebrate at the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 38th Annual Awards. “Our annual Awards Gala has become one of the premier events in the Comox Valley,” says Chamber president and CEO, Dianne Hawkins, “and is our way of acknowledging businesses and individuals who have made significant contributions to quality of life in the Comox Valley. Here is a summary of this year’s event: Fantastic food and entertainment The formal event kicks off with a champagne reception with appetizers, followed by a four-course meal catered by the new Westerly Catering Company. CBC and CHEK TV news anchor Tony Parsons will provide what is sure to be an entertaining and fun monologue in his role as the Master of

Ceremonies. Throughout the evening, attendees can participate in live and silent auctions, with 50 percent of the proceeds being donated to Parson’s charity of choice: the Comox Valley Food Bank. A highlight of the evening will be a video compilation of interviews with previous award recipients reminiscing on how it felt to be recognized by their community, produced by Dan Kooman, Unveil Studios.

Want to know more? Tickets are $75 per person and include the champagne reception, appetizers, and gourmet meal. (Discounts are available for tables of 8 or 10.) FMI call the Chamber of Commerce at 250.334.3234 or visit www.comoxvalleychamber.com.

Award presentations

97.3 The Eagle Radio — platinum sponsor Ambassador Shuttle Service — safe rides home Gordon Ross Photography — event photography Kingfisher Resort and Spa — champagne reception The Flying Canoe Westcoast Pub — appetizers West Coast Home Theatre — video equipment

The Chamber received a total of 41 nominations in 11 award categories (see sidebar). Members of the Comox Valley Chamber and the public were both encouraged to nominate local business leaders and individuals. “In the past, members of our Board of Directors chose the finalists and the award recipients,” adds Hawkins. “This year, an Awards Panel comprised of a delegation of community leaders reviewed the nominations and made the selections.”

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

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

And the 2011 award nominees (and sponsors) are... Agricultural Business of the Year — sponsored by MNP LLP Ironwood Farm Lazo & Tyee Farm Business of the Year — sponsored by Thrifty Foods Best Western Plus, The Westerly Hotel & Convention Centre Billy D's Pub & Bistro Desolation Sound Yacht Charters Level 10 Eurospa Mount Washington Alpine Resort My Tech Guys Citizen of the Year — sponsored by Canadian Tire Paul Berry Dave Mellin Normand Potvin David & Kathrine Stevens Eric Toneff Bob Wells Customer Service — sponsored by Coastal Community Credit Union Xander Holmes (My Tech Guys) Dawn McRae (Custom Gourmet Catering) Jon Rankin (Mountain City Cycle) Environmental Initiative — sponsored by BC Hydro Powersmart Courtenay & District Fish and Game Protective Association Gunter Bros. Meat Co. Old House Village Suites Hotel & Spa Heritage Recognition — sponsored

by Vancouver Island InsuranceCentres Comox Valley Record Comox Valley Rotary Clubs Courtenay & District Fish & Game Protective Assn Local Hero Award — sponsored by St. John Ambulance TO BE ANNOUNCED New Business of the Year — sponsored by Presley & Partners Better Mousetrap Marketing Blue Toque Sports Swap Primetek IT Solutions Professional Merit — sponsored by First Insurance Agencies Maj Birch Philip Round Bob Wells Recycling Recognition — sponsored by Comox Strathcona Waste Management CRUSH Consignment Recycled Clothing The Green Room Small Business of the Year — sponsored by Glacierview Financial Services Appletree Market Hitec Printing - Brazen Sportswear Indigo Lounge Monterra Developments Planet Kids Ski & Surf Shop Sound Security Two Eagles Lodge

Customer Service Award

Small Business of the Year

Dawn McRae, Custom Gourmet Catering & Personal Chef Services

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hen it comes to custom catering, it’s hard to beat the sophistication, creativity and attention to client needs that Dawn McRae brings to the table. A certified Red Seal chef, Dawn goes above and beyond at every occasion, making her clients look fabulous by association. Though guests rave about her food and service, Dawns starts working long before the cooking starts, creating custom menu ideas and pretouring the venue. At the event itself, she’s a flurry of activity. From liaising with clients, to personally serving guests, to handling special requests with poise, Dawn does it all. And she does it with a smile.

103B-1705 Comox Ave, Comox 250.339.0500 www.indigolounge.webs.com

250.338.4350 • www.customgourmetchef.com

“Xander defies the stereotype of the typical computer geek”

Customer Service Award

Xander Holmes (the African geek)

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hough affectionately titled “The African Geek”, Xander Holmes defies the stereotype of the typical computer geek. Xander studied both engineering and computer science in his native South Africa and has a vast and intricate knowledge of various IT platforms and systems. He combines his technical expertise with a friendly, helpful demeanour not often associated with “techies.” “His professional manner, experience and dedication are absolutely outstanding,” says My Tech Guys regional manager Bryan Tisdale. “On a daily and weekly basis, we receive phone calls, emails and happy customers who come into the store just to rave about Xander. He’s a dedicated employee who exemplifies our model of placing customer service and a warm fuzzy atmosphere above profits.” A small sample of email testimonials submitted by Xander’s clients speaks to his dedication to great service. He’s alternately described as “brilliant,” “extremely beneficial,” “a great guy” and even “a champion techie.” One email in particular says it all: “I’m happy as a large clam,” writes one satisfied customer. “Xander was wonderful - he didn’t make me feel like a computer dummy. He was and is very patient.” 5-2401 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay 1812 Comox Ave, Comox 250.338.4411 • www.mytechguys.ca

ndigo Lounge is a small hair salon doing big things for the community. Since 2007, owners Elton and Heather Joseph and their staff of six stylists, have pitched in to help a great number of local groups, including YANA, Cops for Cancer and St. Joseph’s Hospital. They’ve shaved countless heads for cancer, volunteered 10 of 12 years for the Highland Grad Fashion Show and have even trained other young stylists through their apprenticeship program. Heather and Elton never seek the limelight, however. Says Elton, “It truly is a privilege to be a small part of the big picture.”

“Renkema himself has also won several awards, from Builder of the Year to Customer Choice awards.”

“Kevin has a way of bringing out excellence in all that have the opportunity to work with him.”

Small Business of the Year

Small Business of the Year

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Monterra Developments Ltd. ince its inception in 2004, Monterra Developments has established itself as one the Comox Valley’s premiere builders, most notably for its homes within the Crown Isle Resort Community. With Garry Renkema as president, Monterra Developments has built approximately 75 homes and small commercial projects over the past eight years, earning a fair share of accolades along the way. The BC chapter of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, for example, awarded Monterra its prestigious Gold Customer Choice Georgie Award for excellence in both 2007 and 2008. Renkema himself has also won several awards, from Builder of the Year to Customer Choice awards. It is Monterra’s contributions to the community, however, that truly distinguish it. The company has not only staked a reputation as a proud supporter of local initiatives, such as the Rotary Air Park playground and even home repairs for local families in times of need, it also extends its humanitarian reach to other communities in need of assistance. Working through Northgate Foursquare Church, Monterra has lent a hand in remote communities such as Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) and Esperanza, a sheltered hamlet on BC’s west coast. 250.338.2414 www.homesbymonterra.com

Ski & Surf Shop

hile every business has its genesis story, few are as remarkable as that of Ski & Surf Shop. Owner Kevin Lawrence launched the business, then known as Windsurfing Unlimited, in 1989 out of the back of his Plymouth Caravan. He’d cruise the North Island visiting popular windsurfing beaches offering equipment, lessons, rentals and repairs to the windsurfing community. In 1991, Kevin moved his tiny business into a storefront at the corner of Cliffe and 17th, expanded his inventory and changed the name to Ski & Surf Shop. Five years later, the shop moved again to its present site in the heart of downtown Courtenay. Now open approximately 360 days a year and employing up to nine employees at a time, Ski & Surf Shop is a well-established and well-respected fixture of the Comox Valley retail scene. Respected equally by his customers and his suppliers, Kevin is a trusted, community-minded entrepreneur whose traits are eloquently summed up in the glowing words of one of his longtime suppliers: “Kevin has a way of bringing out excellence in all that work with him. The customers that he serves are well valued as a result of his commitment to the finest customer service.” 333 Fifth St, Courtenay 250.338.8844 www.skiandsurf.ca


Page 6

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Customer Service Award

Small Business of the Year

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Jon Rankin, Mountain City Cycles hile Mountain City Cycles is a longtime local favourite for its extensive selection of bikes and accessories, owner Jon Rankin is perhaps best known for his customer service. Jon knows his customers by name and treats them like old friends. This friendliness, along with his ability to help customers select bicycles and equipment that precisely met their needs, has earned Mountain City Cycles a loyal clientele that expects, and receives, exceptional service upon every visit. Jon exemplifies the practices and principles of excellence in customer service – traits that have proven infectious with his entire staff. 120 Fifth Street, Courtenay • 250.338 0084 • www.mountaincitycycles.com

Hitec Screen Printing ntering its 25th year of continual operation in the Comox Valley, Hitec Screen Printing has earned a sound reputation for both the quality of its work and its contributions to the community. Since 1987, Hitec has been providing businesses, teams, schools and individuals with branded promotional products, including garments, caps, signs and team sportswear. Though the small company boasts a client base of more than 1,000 active files, it has never compromised its commitment to outstanding work. As Jim and Margaret, along with their team of dedicated local employees, like to say, “your image is our business!”

479 Fourth St, Courtenay 250.334.3656 • www.hitecprint.com

New Business of the Year

New Business of the Year

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Primetek IT Solutions

Blue Toque Sports Swap

rimetek IT Solutions provides technology support and forwardthinking solutions to small to medium sized businesses in the Comox Valley. Since opening their doors in November 2010, owners Kevin Dryden and Matt Behrens have experienced consistent growth, from a simple two-man operation to an employer of two full-time employees in a spiffy downtown location. Kevin and Matt project growth will continue by another 25 per cent in 2012. While earning references and accolades from happy customers, Primetek IT Solutions has also earned the respect of the community through its involvement with the CV Boys and Girls Club, the CV Transition Society and other non-profits.

hen Paul and Salinas LaPerriere opened Blue Toque Sports Swap three years ago, some had doubts that a sports consignment store could flourish in the Valley. Today, however, the numbers speak for themselves. Sales are up more than 300 per cent, and Blue Toque boasts more than 2,000 consignors, with more added every day. Building on their success, Paul and Salinas are starting to eye new markets on the horizon, such as online retailing or even a second location. Whatever lies ahead, one thing is certain — Blue Toque will continue to be a proud supporter of local athletes, teams and sporting events. 120B Fifth St, Courtenay • 250.871.0302 www.bluetoquesports.com

4-420 Fitzgerald Ave, Courtenay • 250.871.8547 • www.primetek.ca

‘The Old House is a shining example of a business that embraces the triple bottom line.’

Environmental Initiative Award

Old House Village Hotel & Spa

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he Old House Village Hotel & Spa, an integral part of the Comox Valley’s hospitality industry, needs no introduction locally. But though its service and luxury are well known, the 79-room boutique hotel’s environmental initiatives are more apt to fly under the radar. In the past 18 months, the Old House Village Hotel & Spa has undertaken a number of energy retrofit projects to reduce its environmental footprint. Most notably was the replacement of inefficient lighting replaced throughout the hotel with energy efficient technology. This one change is expected to reduce the hotel’s electricity consumption by more than 32,000 kWh per year - that’s more electricity than three single-family homes consume in an entire year! Other environmental initiatives the Old House has undertaken include low flush toilets, flow regulators on showerheads, thermal films on exterior windows, environmentally friendly pool chemicals, and new policies that minimize the unnecessary use of heating and lighting. The Old House Village Hotel & Spa is also a leader when it comes to recycling. The hotel has extensive recycling programs in place for cardboard, bottles, cans and even guest towels, and blue bins have been installed in every guest suite. The hotel even distributes half-full shampoo bottles to a group that supports local street youth. The Old House is a shining example of a business that embraces the triple bottom line - economic, social and environmental. Indeed, when BC Hydro’s Power Smart team recommends its “green” initiatives as a model for other local businesses and the community at large, you know they’re doing something right. Located just blocks from downtown Courtenay, the Old House Village Hotel & Spa has a spectacular riverfront location and features spacious suites with kitchen, fireplace, soaker tub and free wireless Internet. Its luxurious amenities include a barbecue terrace, lush grounds, a year-round outdoor pool, fitness room, infrared sauna and both indoor and outdoor hot tubs. Pampering guests come naturally at the Old House Village Hotel & Spa. Doing it without the spectre of environmental guilt is something the hotel’s staff and management work hard to accomplish every day. 1730 Riverside Lane, Courtenay 250.703.0202 www.oldhousevillage.com

“Bob and Lois are widely considered the ‘Mom and Dad’ of their industry.”

Business of the Year

Desolation Sound Yacht Charters

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hough Desolation Sound Yacht Charters often flies under the radar of Comox Valley locals, the Comox-based company brings up to 2,000 people to the Valley every year and is directly or indirectly responsible for injecting an estimated $2 million into the local economy annually. Owners Bob and Lois Stevenson have operated Desolation Sound Yacht Charters (DSYC) since 1988. Since then, DSYC has developed a stellar reputation, and Bob and Lois are widely considered the “Mom and Dad” of their industry. A bareboat yacht charter company, DSYC operates 25 to 30 privately owned sail and power yachts. As such, Bob and Lois not only offer an exceptional service to its vacationing clients, but also a vital resource for local boat owners. The yacht charter business is one in which honesty and integrity are essential — indeed, Bob and Lois have been entrusted with a fleet of yachts worth well over $6 million! To have thrived for so many years in such a challenging business environment is a testament to their ethics and ingenuity.As well as being successful business people, Bob and Lois are committed to the environmental and social health of their community. They’ve actively worked to designate more areas of Vancouver Island’s inland coast as marine parks, and they take great care to protect the fragile marine environment through recycling, zero discharge initiatives and awareness programs. Additionally, the company employs up to 20 people and has been the first “real job” for many Comox Valley high school and university students. In addition to being a dedicated father and business man, Bob has also distinguished himself as a member or director of a number of community organizations, including Rotary, Harbour Days and the Town of Comox Revitalization Committee. He’s currently president of the BC Bareboat Charter Association. Thanks to Desolation Sound Yacht Charters, the Comox Valley has a prominent place in the hearts and memories of thousands of tourists who have discovered its beauty and hospitality through a yacht charter. 250.339.7222 • www.desolationsoundyachtcharters.com


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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Heritage Recognition Award

celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2011 and is the oldest of the Valley’s four clubs. Since its inception, Courtenay Rotary members have donated more than $1 million toward local initiatives. The other three clubs, with their charter years, are Comox (1974), Strathcona Sunrise (1987) and Cumberland Centennial (2005). Rotarians operate on the principle of “service above self.” The fruits of their generous fundraising and “sweat equity” can be found

Comox Valley Rotary Clubs

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otary International is the world’s oldest modern-day service organization. In the Valley, more than 200 business and community leaders are members of four distinct Rotary clubs that have together contributed 146 years of service to the community.. The Courtenay Rotary Club, chartered in 1936,

throughout the Valley in projects such as the outdoor swimming pool at Lewis Park (19371947), Simms Millennium Park (2004-2005) and the Rotary Sky Park (2010), the Valley’s first universally accessible park. Other Rotary initiatives include popular events like the Ducky 500, as well as yearly bursaries to deserving local students. The contributions of our local Rotary clubs are also felt internationally through money raised for relief efforts around the globe and through its long-running international student exchange program.

"My Tech Guys is an inspiration for all small businesses to never give up in the face of challenge." “The Siefferts strive to empower local youth to make informed decisions about their food.” l-r, ruddy from early morning work: Charlene Sieffert, Chris Edwards, Alysha Sieffert & Bob Sieffert

Agricultural Business of the Year

Lazo & Tyee Farm (“Sieffert's Farm”)

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ince Norm and Jean Sieffert began working the land that’s now commonly known as “Sieffert’s Farm” back in 1961, their farm has been a model of growth, initiative and environmental stewardship. The second- and third-generation Siefferts who now work the land on Lazo & Tyee Farm are responsible for 30,000 square feet of greenhouse production, 100 acres of potatoes and 50 acres of mixed vegetables. Their farm market, established in 1975 long before the popular “locavore” movement, is kept stocked with fresh vegetables, and the farm also supplies wholesalers and retailers across the Island with potatoes, corn and other produce. Lazo & Tyee Farm has consistently been a champion of environmental stewardship and sustainable agriculture. The Siefferts use low impact irrigation techniques, leave hedgerows between crops to serve as habitat for the farm’s abundant wildlife and follow innovative crop rotation schedules to minimize soil and mineral erosion. They also augment traditional winter cover crops with leftover vegetable crops, providing a significant food source for the ducks, geese and trumpeter swans that winter on the property. This practice, which also helps preserve and enhance the farm’s rich soils, has earned the recognition of Ducks Unlimited Canada, with which the farm has proudly partnered for more than 30 years. The Siefferts strive to empower local youth to make informed decisions about their food. “Over the years we’ve taken many school classes on tours of the farm,” says Charlene Sieffert, Norm and Jean’s daughter-in-law. “We love to encourage kids to learn where their food comes from and how it’s grown. The earlier they learn about their food the more health-conscious they’ll become.” The Siefferts attribute a great deal of their success to the hard work of their dedicated employees, whose numbers swell in the summer and late fall. Whatever the reason, however, one thing is certain. In an industry as tough as agriculture, Lazo & Tyee Farm has not only weathered the storm, but has shown a strong ability to generate income, employ local families and demonstrate an inspiring aptitude for sustained growth. 720 Knight Rd, Comox • 250.339.2988

Business of the Year

My Tech Guys

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y Tech Guys has proven beyond a doubt that hard work, a positive attitude and caring for the community are powerful catalysts for business success. After launching its first store in 2006 with a promise to provide in-home computer service from “the friendliest geeks in town,” My Tech Guys grew from four employees to 15 in just four years. Though not without its growing pains, the company continued to grow exponentially, spurred by its relentless commitment to customer satisfaction. In 2009 they opened their second store and became an authorized Apple retailer. Over the years, the staff and management of My Tech Guys have worked tirelessly to ensure they’re building a business that’s not just profitable, but also a great place to work and a positive influence in the community. On the employment side, they’ve always worked hard to create meaningful, full-time jobs that pay more than minimum wage. In what’s primarily a service industry, after all, happy employees are integral to success. Despite being a dedicated father and an in-demand business man, My Tech Guys owner Bob Wells is extremely involved with a number of community groups, including Rotary, CYMC, Child Development and YANA. His company contributes countless hours to Comox Valley non-profit groups and public services, often working behind the scenes to ensure technical challenges are overcome for the groups they support. For example, Bob and his team streamed the federal and municipal election debates for thousands of online viewers, as they do each year for the Comox Valley Child Development Association Telethon. Perhaps not surprisingly, My Tech Guys is no stranger to business awards and recognition for its outstanding achievements. Its accolades have included 2008 Best IT Service from MISTIC, 2009 Small Business of the Year from the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, 2010 Small Business BC’s Business Growth Award and even Best Themed Float in that year’s Canada Day Parade. As My Tech Guys continues its growth trajectory in terms of sales, employees and customer goodwill, the company remains an inspiration for all small businesses to never give up in the face of challenge, and to operate at all times with ethics, accountability and community mindedness. 5-2401 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay 1812 Comox Ave, Comox 250.338.4411 www.mytechguys.ca


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Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Heritage Recognition Award

Comox Valley Record

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he Comox Valley Record, one of the Black Press flagship community newspapers on Vancouver Island, has faithfully and accurately reported on what matters to Valley readers for more than a quarter century. The first issue of the Comox Valley Record was distributed on March 26, 1986. The publication was then known as the Courtenay Comox Valley Record, and it was a broadsheet rather than the tabloid we know and love today, but the commitment to journalism and honest reportage that defines today’s Record has been there from the start. From a single, 20-24 page paper, the Comox Valley Record has grown to an average of more than 140 pages per week often spread over three sections, plus more than 30 specialty supplements every year — and that’s not even mentioning its significant online presence! Though originally published only once a week, by 1989 the Record was arriving on doorsteps twice weekly. Today, the Record employs 22 in-house personnel, 200 plus carriers, 16 contract drivers and numerous freelance writers and columnists. Several of its employees have been around since the beginning; some have logged close to two decades of service with the newspaper. Far from just reporting on Comox Valley happenings, the Record is also an active part of the community. The paper sponsors or otherwise supports more than 50 local non-profits every year, from charities and fundraisers to sports teams, music festivals and iconic events like the Filberg Festival and Royal LePage Snow to Surf. With 26 years under their belts, the folks at the Comox Valley Record know a thing or two about running a successful newspaper, and they have the awards to prove it. The paper’s many accolades include Best Special Section, Best Use of Colour, Best Ad Campaign, Best Sustained Feature, Best New Idea and even Best Community Newspaper in Canada for its circulation category. The Record’s mission, in part, is to “deliver a quality product,” “give a voice to our community through local news, information and services” and “act with integrity at all times.” Mission accomplished for more than 25 years!

"The Record's commitment to journalism and honest reportage has been there from the start."

765 McPhee Ave, Courtenay • 250.338.5811 • www.comoxvalleyrecord.com

Recycling Recognition Award

The Green Room he Green Room is a downtown Courtenay eco-home and gift boutique offering re-purposed, fair trade, organic, local, T natural, non-toxic and undeniably stylish products. Owners Rebecca Wood and Cortney Upham incorporate the 4 R's (reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink) into nearly everything they do at the Green Room. From encouraging their customers to rethink how they consume, where their products come from and how they're made, to reducing waste by offering products like reusable bags, compost pails and plastic bag dryers, Cortney and Rebecca are helping their community live a greener lifestyle and leading by example every step of the way. 214 Fifth St, Courtenay • 250.898.0400 www.greenroominteriors.com

Small Business of the Year

Sound Security Inc. he Comox Valley’s only locally owned alarm company, Sound T Security continually shows leadership by embracing proven new technologies and giving back to the Comox Valley. Recently, Sound Security became the authorized dealer for LifeSentry, a new medical alarm system that improves upon weaknesses in established two-way voice systems. It now offers this potentially life-saving system alongside more traditional services like alarm, CCTV and even home theatre systems. In the community, Sound Security supports groups like YANA, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Rotary and Scouts Canada. In everything that it does, Sound Security demonstrates a caring attitude and irreproachable ethical standards.

Business of the Year

BEST WESTERN PLUS The

Westerly Hotel & Convention Centre

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Leanne supports many local charities including YANA, CV Hospice, 19 Wing Comox, Child Development Telethon, school and youth club fundraisers, projects and events of all CV Rotaries as well as Ducks Unlimited. She is also a strong advocate of shopping locally and supporting fellow businesses.

ourtenay’s only full-service hotel, BEST WESTERN PLUS The Westerly Hotel & Convention Centre has been an integral and active member of the Comox Valley community since 1979. Each year, The Westerly Hotel supports a wide variety of non-profits and community events. In 2011 alone, the hotel donated gift certificates and services valued at more than $75,000! A small selection of causes it has supported includes the Variety Children’s Radiothon, Operation Red Nose, YANA and Dine Out for Life in support of AIDS Vancouver Island. The hotel is also a generous supporter of community events such as Vancouver Island MusicFest, Comox Nautical Days, the BC Shellfish Festival and the Canadian Waterman Festival. In addition to its 143 guest suites, the hotel also features the Top Shelf Specialty Liquor Store, the Flying Canoe West Coast Pub, Westerly Catering Company and more than 10,000 square feet of unique meeting and event space. The International Rotary flag is proudly flown at the entrance to the hotel, which is home to both the Courtenay and Strathcona Sunrise Rotary Clubs. BEST WESTERN PLUS The Westerly Hotel & Convention Centre is also one of the Valley’s largest employers, with 86 employees, most of whom have permanent, fulltime positions. Last summer, the hotel honoured the dedicated service of 19 employees who together accumulated 272 years of employment with the hotel. In addition to its extensive local staff, The Westerly Hotel promotes economic welfare throughout the Valley through a “buy local” and “hire local” philosophy. Never has this community benefit been more evident than during its recent renovations, when the hotel became a significant contractor of local trades people and construction professionals. The entire project injected more than $600,000 into the local economy. Both for the services it offers and the support it gives the community, BEST WESTERN PLUS The Westerly Hotel & Convention Centre has earned the respect of the local business community.

204-1025 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay 250.334.0209 www.level10eurospa.com

1590 Cliffe Ave, Courtenay 250.338.7741 www.thewesterlyhotel.ca

250.339.7200 • www.soundsecurity.ca

Business of the Year

Level 10 Eurospa

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ver 50 per cent of Level 10's clients have been with them for all of their 21 years of operation. That’s an amazing testament to their commitment to the Comox Valley and its economic growth. Level 10 Eurospa is a full service salon, spa and store offering professional hair design, aesthetics, skin rejuvenation, massage and spa treatments in a friendly, relaxing and comfortable environment. Owner Leanne Boyd employs more than 20 professionals (all local residents), and provides a place clients “feel very special and love to come and visit,” says Presley & Partners Colleen Ellison. Level 10 personifies the responsible corporate citizen. Leanne continues to hire graduates from local cosmetology schools providing training and mentoring, participates in apprenticeship programs and encourages and supports career advancement for all. Level 10 has always demonstrated care for the planet even before it was fashionable. Along with recycling, energy efficient appliances and environmentally friendly cleaning products, they are dedicated to whatever changes they can make to protect our environment.

The Westerly Hotel promotes the Valley economy with a “buy local” and “hire local” philosophy.

“We promise your every visit will be a Beautiful Experience.”


Page 9

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

How (not) to Write Great Web Content — Part Two Climb Google's rankings without alienating your clients

Ryan Parton is a owner of Ryan Parton Writing Solutions and professional copywriter . He’s also exec-

utive editor of the Comox Valley Business Gazette. Visit www.ryanparton.ca or call 250.702.1103.

RBC DOMINION SECURITIES

Ryan Parton, Ryan Parton Writing Solutions

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ast issue, I explained that writing great web content is not all about SEO (search engine optimization). Now here comes the shocker - great web copywriting is at least a little bit about SEO. To dumb down Google’s complicated algorithm to its most basic level, the two most important deter-

minants of your web page’s ranking are relevance and importance. To determine your page’s importance, Google looks at how many other pages link to it, and how relevant and credible those pages are. Essentially, if Google sees lots of other relevant pages linking to yours, it figures your page must be important. This has little to do with writing web content, though, so let’s move on. On the relevance side, Google simply compares the content on your page to the search term entered. Your page will rank higher if it contains those terms (keywords) in title tags and/or early and often in the body (but not too often, as you’ll see).

When writing your content, you’ll want to find out which terms people are actually searching for when looking for products or services like yours. For example, are they searching for “jewellery” or “jewelry”? “Autobody shop” or “auto body shop”? A good place to start is Google’s free keyword tool — just Google it. Once you’ve decided which keywords to target, you can then incorporate them into your copy, focusing on no more than one or two terms per page. Warning: Before you go stuffing your pages with keywords, remember that the focus of your writing should always be to provide compelling

content for your customers. Keyword overload will drive them away, and it could also draw the wrath of Google. The good folks at Google know when you’re trying to pull a fast one on them, and they don’t like it. If you’re cramming your pages full of keywords just to rank higher, they could blacklist you from the rankings altogether. And then you’ll feel pretty silly. And lonely. It’s important to understand how the content on your website affects its Google rankings, but it’s more important to know when to use SEO techniques and when it’s best to lay off. See you at the top of the search results!

BNI Olympic Gold Every Thursday; 7:00 am 8:30 am; Westerly Hotel. Keynote speaker, networking and referrals. FMI, call Robert Mulrooney at 250.338.5222. Comox Valley Business Network Every Wednesday; 7:30 am - 8:30 am; White Spot. Supporting business growth through networking and referral partnerships. FMI, visit www.cvbn.ca.

Comox Valley Chamber Community Awards Dinner & Presentation Jan. 28; 6pm - 9pm; Florence Filberg Centre. Join your Chamber as they recognize our community’s best! This year’s theme: Hats off to leadership! $75. FMI, visit www.comoxvalley chamber.com. The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce hosts Minister Pat Bell Jan. 31; 7:30 am - 9:30 am; Best Western Westerly Hotel. Enjoy a buffet breakfast with Minister Bell and get an update on the BC

Jobs Plan. $20. FMI, visit www.comoxvalley chamber.com Showcase 2012 - Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce Tradeshow Feb. 23; 1pm - 6pm; Crown Isle Resort. More than 25 vendors showcasing their wares. Book your table by Jan. 21 for early bird savings! FMI, visit www.comox valleychamber.com. How to Communicate Effectively When Language is a Barrier Feb. 28; 8:30 am - 12pm; Courtenay. Learn to com-

municate more effectively with people who speak a language other than your own at this interactive workshop. $50. FMI, contact Kathie Landry at 250.871.7700 ext. 4 or kathie@ceas.ca. Comox Valley Chamber Business Mixer - hosted by Laser Light & Sound Feb. 13; 5pm - 6:30 pm; 274A Fifth St. A proven way to make business connections. Attendance is free, door prizes welcome. FMI and to register, visit www.comoxvalleychamber. com/events.

Call me today to learn more

Lara D. Austin, F.M.A, C.I.M Investment Advisor 250-334-5606 lara.austin@rbc.com www.LaraAustin.com

Professional Wealth Management Since 1901

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus of the Jarislowsky Select Balanced Fund (the Fund) before investing. The funds securities are not insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or by any other government deposit insurer. The funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. National Bank Securities Inc. is the manager of the Jarislowsky Fraser Select Funds. RBC Dominion Securities Inc.* and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. ®Registered trademark of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. RBC Dominion Securities is a registered trademark of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. ©Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

4915 North Island Hwy, Courtenay, BC, V9N 5Y9

Phone: 250-338-6322 Fax: 250-338-1507 Toll Free: 1-800-566-1322

www.engrave-it.ca

Promote your events in the Business Gazette for as little as $10 an issue. Call 250.702.1103 or 250-897-5064 or email sales@businessgazette.ca.

Fitness Goals - from pg. 4

Chris Ketch is a professional trainer and the owner of BodyNetix Professional Fitness Training. He can be reached at 250.871.2400 or chris@bodynetix.ca.

Jarislowsky, Fraser has over four decades of experience in managing institutional balanced portfolios, so you can be confident we can help you achieve the growth, income and financial security you need to enjoy your retirement.

www. businessgazette.ca

COMOX VALLEY BUSINESS GAZETTE

Complete your tasks on schedule and before you know it, you’ll be slimmer, fitter and crossing the finish line! If you’d like a bit of assistance reaching your goals, our team of professional BodyNetix trainers can help. Unlike a conventional gym membership, we offer all the support, knowledge and motivation you need to get to where you want to be. And unlike a conventional gym that might have about a 15 per cent retention rate, more than 75 per cent of our new year’s clients are still working out with us a year later.

If you are looking for a low-risk, conservative approach that focuses on principal protection while also providing steady growth and retirement income, ask us about the Jarislowsky Fraser Select Balanced Fund.

Sponsored in part by:

Comox Valley BUSINESS EVENTS My Tech Guys’ Silent Auction Ongoing. Visit the Courtenay store daily to bid on all sorts of computer accessories — iPods and mice to software and memory sticks. 10% of proceeds go to YANA. 5-2401 Cliffe Ave.

Achieve long-term balanced growth with quarterly income

We have the ability to meet all your promotional product needs!


Page 10

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Called the Valley’s finest reasonably priced homes, Piercy Creek Estates in west Courtenay is proving quite popular.

Surgenor Brewery is a turnkey operation (and building) that represents an exciting opportunity.

By Dave Procter, coowner RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty.

There’s a 1,872-square foot commercial building on Cliffe Avenue in downtown Courtenay, for example, that’s completely leased out and bringing a good return, priced at only $299,900.

Real Estate Matters Market year-iin-rreview

December 2010. There were only 27 home sales in the Valley Within the Comox last month, and only 44 Valley, the most active new listings came on the area was Comox, which market, down seven from was home to 27.3 per a year earlier. cent of sales, or 214 Of the offers that did homes. Next come in, we was saw much Courtenay more East, with Of the offers that negotiating. 19.3 per cent did come in, we This is a (152 homes); sure sign of saw much more Cumberland a buyer’s had 63 sales, negotiating.. market, good for which I eight per expect to cent. carry through most of 2012. Month in review — Interest rates, which December 2011 just dropped again in mid January, are going December wasn’t one of our finer months, with to make real estate residential sales down investment very 56 per cent over attractive.

I

n real estate circles, 2011 will be remembered as a year of below average sales, with strong early activity slowing down at the tail end. The average sale price in the Comox Valley was $350,509, up two per cent from 2010, but we saw a three per cent decline in the number of homes sold, with 25 fewer sales. The condo market fared a bit better. Condo apartment sales were up seven per cent, patio homes were up five per cent and townhomes saw the biggest increase, up 34 per cent over 2010.

Current & future opportunities For investment properties, the Piercy Creek Estates Townhomes, at just $209,900, are something you might want to consider. These are the fastest-selling townhomes in the Comox Valley, and Phase II is set to hit the market in the next month. We also have some great commercial opportunities on the market. There’s a 1,872-square foot commercial building on Cliffe Avenue in downtown Courtenay, for example, that’s completely leased out and bringing a good return, priced at only $299,900. Also on the business

D.A. SCHAFFRICK LAW CORPORATION Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public

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front, Surgenor Brewery is a turnkey operation (and building) that represents an exciting opportunity to dive into the microbrewery business for just $1,599,900. The sky’s the limit on this one, and we have all the details on how you can get up and running. The other opportunity that I think will see a significant lift in values is Claddagh Estates at Kye Bay. These are the Valley’s finest waterfront lots and will be highly sought after in the future; pricing starts at $299,900. Later in 2012 we’ll be unveiling our new Monthly Insider Group, a service that will keep our clients informed of new opportunities as they hit the market. For details, just contact my office. Dave Procter has more than 33 years experience in commercial and

Dennis A. Schaffrick, B.A. Hons., LL.B • Real Estate/Mortgages • Wills, Estates & Representation Agreements • Corporate/Business Law

Claddagh Estates at Kye Bay. are the Valley's finest waterfront lots and will be highly sought after in the future

Gary Dry, RHI Licensed Home Inspector License #: 47355 Level I Thermographer

250-897-4330 gary@clarityhomeinspections.ca www.clarityhomeinspections.ca

residential real estate and is the owner of RE/MAX Dave Procter Realty. You can reach him at 250.339.2021.

RE/MAX

dave procter realty 282 Anderton Road Comox, BC V9M 1Y2 Phone: (250)339-2021 Fax: (250)339-5529 Email: dprocter@ comoxvalleyrealty.com


Page 11

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Mona’s ABOUT TOWN

editor@businessgazette.ca

Mona Warren Mona Warren of Mentor Me Consulting Inc. has 34 years of experience in entrepreneurship, accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll. A true entrepreneur with a passion for mentoring and coaching you to succeed.

www.mentormenow.ca 250.898.3002

When Cindy Armstrong isn’t out selling real estate in The Comox Valley, she’s enjoying some of her fav local spots. Biking to Nymph Falls for a swim at the fish ladder, jumping off the rocks at Barber’s Hole, skiing on the awesome runs of Mount Washington, or Snow shoeing with a picnic lunch (including coffee and Baileys, of course!) at Paradise Meadows.

FREE

Alicia Kent (www.akashabloom.com) has been soaking up the rays in Puerto Vallarta. She promised to bring back sunshine for all of us. Oh, and for me, she promised to have a Strawberry Margarita or two! Thank you from all of us!

Get Your Subscription Here

Stay on top of business in the Comox Valley by going to www.businessgazette.ca/ subscribe and get a free email subscription.

Tansy Pauls is the Front Desk Manager of the Travelodge Courtenay. Along with working at the Motel, Tansy spends her time volunteering for the local SPCA and taking care of her own zoo. Tansy’s Passion is helping people and Animals.

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

Bryan Wiley’s (ABC Printing & Signs) spare time is pretty well fully taken up puttering on his small acreage, spending time with his grandkids— and mountain biking when he can. Bryan’s also been on a recent learning venture to New Orleans. How did the shop ever do without him there?!

940 Oyster Bay Drive, Ladysmith, BC A division of

Beth Campbell Duke (CampbellDuke Personal Branding) and her husband, Tony Duke (Tony Duke Appraisals) are loving being on a small patch of land in Buckley Bay. Since moving here 3 years ago, they have done some work in the yard, and have recently added 'The Little Duke Coop' — with a few young hens — and a surprise rooster!

Lyle Brodie of The Wine Cottage traveled to South Africa where he witnessed a healing ceremony by a medicine woman. He also went to Robben Island to visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell. In March he’s off to China and South Korea. His goal is to travel to a different country every year.

How’s

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Page 12

Comox Valley Business Gazette — Jan/Feb 2012

Blue chip financial advice at corner store prices

I

regularly from their own magine a tool that office; if they notice would let your small trends that need business have the type addressing, they can then of professional financial meet with you over the management that only a phone with both of you big company could logged on to the network normally afford. and looking at the same If you’re thinking of a screen on your respective magic wand, that’s computers. understandable — but off You can also benefit Ann Scott, Presley & base. In fact, new Partners Chartered from sophisticated prodadvances in computing Accountants ucts your CFO brings to have made this incredible the partnership. For notion not just possible, eliminate inefficiencies instance, at our firm we but easy. and debilitating cash have some great software leaks, decide if and when In the Oct/Nov that lets us to grow and more. issue of the present key Gazette, I It may seem like magic, It may seem financial wrote about but these solutions are like magic, but information in the benefits of literally at your fingertips. these solutions a logical the “outThe firm you contract with manner. You are literally at sourced CFO.” will bring the expertise can see at a your fingertips. When you needed to set up the glance, on a entrust your system, and the learning daily basis, financial mancurve is remarkably mild. how your sales are doing, agement to an external It gives a whole new where profits are at and company, you can get a meaning to the phrase, all the other numbers you qualified CA with exten“the sky’s the limit.” need to make smart sive training, years of realAnn Scott is a chartered business decisions. world experience and accountant and a partner Smart business decigreat business acumen with Presley & Partners sions are really what this without the cost of a Chartered Accountants. is all about. Your external blue-chip salary and She can be reached at CFO can advise you on benefits package. 250.338.1394 or how to improve cash flow, ascott@presleyand Until recently, the partners.com. negotiate with your bank, mechanics of such an arrangement were awkward and inefficient, with data passed back and forth by email or • Avoid bankruptcy through a memory stick. • Know your options With the advent of cloud • 0% interest computing, the process • Low monthly payments Phil Forster Serving Parksville and Comox Valley can now be streamlined, • Relieve stress making it simple, safe • Rebuild your credit Toll Free: 1-877-848-4571 and reliable. Phone: 778-427-7775 Email: philf@4pillars.ca Though cloud computing Website: www.4pillars.ca/philf does sound a bit like magic, it’s really just the newest evolution of wireless computing — connectivity taken to the next level. For those of you who are still a little, um, cloudy about how it works, here’s the Reader’s Digest version: the work you and/or your staff do is automatically stored on a remote computer (the “Cloud”), which automatically COMOX VALLEY BUSINESS GAZETTE updates all other devices www.businessgazette.ca on the network, anywhere 250.702.1103 or 250.897.5064 in the world. Multiple users can access the same files and collaborate on projects with the assurance that all data is stored securely on a password-protected network. With cloud computing, your outsourced CFO has instant access to your most up-to-date bookkeeping, without you having to email anything, leave the office or even think about it. Your CFO can monitor your books

Comox Valley Business Network (CVBN) donates $500 The Comox Valley Business Network (CVBN) recently donated $500 to the Comox Valley Boys and Girls Club. Since its

inception in 2008, CVBN has supported several local charities, including Yana, Kidsport and others. In addition to building

business through networking, one of the founding principles of the CVBN is to support local charities through action and donations.

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Comox Valley Business Gazette Jan/Feb 2012