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JUNE APRIL2011 2011


Key to Minerva winner's success


Julie Watkins, of Valley Home Check, shows off her Minerva Award, the Women's Business Network's top honour.

here was a touch of irony in the air when Julie Watkins' name was announced as the Minerva Award winner at the May meeting of the Comox Valley Women's Business Network (WBN). The owner of Valley Home Check, who was honoured with the WBN's top annual award for her dedication to the organization and its members, was not in attendance. Instead, she was celebrating the fouryear anniversary of her immigration to Canada from the UK and had to accept the prestigious award by phone from Quadra Island. “Julie kind of goes over

and above,” says Emma Payton, who won the Minerva Award two years ago and was on the 2011 selection committee. “She's one of those people that just gets on and does things and doesn’t really talk about that they’re difficult or troublesome in any way. She just gets on and does them.” A WBN member since 2007, Watkins has served as the organization’s treasurer, newsletter editor and director-atlarge. Though she acknowledges that winning the Minerva was “a complete surprise,” she says her involvement with the WBN and organizations like it have been

The Winner is... Diane Mineault, of Chinook Media Services, was the winner of the $50 gift certificate from Atlas Café for responding to the Business Gazette’s online feedback survey. Congratulations Diane, and thanks to everyone who participated for providing such great feedback on our inaugural issue!

Con’t Pg. 4

Local businesses benefitting from local currency


M Workers board a Flair Air 737 in northern BC. Flair Air's new service between Comox and Fort Nelson is expected to move up to 100 passengers through the Comox Valley Airport every week.

New air service links Island workers with oil jobs


new charter air service linking Vancouver Island workers with lucrative oil, gas and construction jobs in Fort Nelson is expected to bring more than 8,000 new passengers through the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) over the next year. Flair Air, a charter airline based in Kelowna, leaves Comox en route to Fort Nelson every Tuesday morning and returns Tuesday after-

noon, ferrying employees of Flair Air’s oil/gas industry client to and from work sites. The inaugural flight was May 3, the first of up to 104 inbound and outbound flights over the next year. Flair Air estimates it will move up to 100 passengers through Comox each week. “This is great news for the airport,” said Comox Valley Airport CEO Shirley de Silva. “Any time we can increase our

passenger loads, that means more traffic through our terminal building and additional revenue for YQQ.” The flight from Comox Make charitable gift. to Fort aNelson, available only to company employees, takes just under two hours and cuts the total travel time by more than a day. “The direct charter flights save Island-based workers a lot of time and money,” said Chris Con’t Pg. 4

E John Hudey, RBC Mortgage Specialist

Cortney Upham, co-owner of the Green Room, says Community Way dollars have helped her attract customers who otherwise wouldn't have visited her store. or more of 36 non-profit organizations. That money is allocated, or rather delivered, by the open money development group (omdev), which administers the currency. In return, the business pledges to

accept that same amount of cw$ back at a given percentage in return for its products or services. The beneficiary nonprofits can then Con’t Pg. 2

How to protect your partnership

Which mortgage is right for you? veryone’s talking about interest rates these days. Whether you’re acquiring, renewing or refinancing your mortgage, the biggest question most people have is whether to choose a fixed rate, variable rate or a bit of both.

ore than 143,000 Community Way dollars have been issued since the Comox Valley’s local currency was launched nearly two years ago. With such a substantial pool of wealth just waiting to be spent, businesses are reaping huge benefits by accepting the new currency. “It’s definitely been a positive influence on our business,” says Mike Collins, owner of the Broken Spoke and one of the first to embrace the local currency. “It gave us a whole new group of people to work with.” “One real benefit is that we see clients revisiting the store,” echoes Adil Amlani, who owns Sure Copy in Courtenay. “Having a network of people based around the Community Way dollar brings in those clients, and that’s obviously an advantage for business.” The way it works is simple. A business contributes a certain amount of Community Way dollars (cw$) to one

So how do you know which is right for you? First, let’s consider fixed rate mortgages. Fixed rates provide a high level of stability and the security of locking in your rate for the term of your mortgage. With a Con’t Pg. 4


o you’re starting a business with one or more partners. Everyone’s happy and excited, and the future’s so bright you’ve got to wear shades. A partnership, however, is like a marriage - and we all know how many marriages end in divorce. That’s why it’s always a good idea to set up a partnership or

shareholders’ agreement before setting out. While every agreement should clearly outline what happens in specific circumstances - especially what I call “the four d’s (death, disability, divorce and default) yours should also include the following three key Con’t pg. 4

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

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

Community Way - con’t from pg. 1 exchange their cw$ for Canadian dollars with their supporters. This circulates the currency and enables individuals to provide local support with federal dollars while receiving equal value back. Increasingly, organizations are also using their cw$ to remunerate staff and cover operating expenses. “We’ve seen a ton of new business from nonprofits that wouldn’t have been able to afford printing like they can now,” says Amlani. “That’s huge. Every

dollar we receive, and every dollar that goes out, in one way or another benefits those organizations.” “It’s a win-win-win situation,” says Pieter Vorster, who operates Continual Palingenesis and is a member of omdev. “By accepting Community Way dollars, you show that you’re committed to contributing personally to the well-being of the community.” Currently, 68 Comox Valley businesses accept cw$. Vorster says he’d

like to have 150 businesses on board by the end of the year. “It’s a bit scary taking on a new currency,” acknowledges Collins, “but there’s no way you can lose from it. If you set the rate you accept at the right level you’ll always win. You’ll gain Canadian money with every transaction and you’ll gain new customers.” To start accepting Community Way dollars, simply visit and click “Get Involved.” For more information, visit the web site or call Pieter at 250.792.2874.

Adil Amlani, owner of Sure Copy, shows off some Community Way dollars.

Howitzer Amps Blows Up


ho else wants a custom guitar or bass amp made to their personal specs? A sound all your own? Richard van Nus is yet another of the many fascinating entrepreneurs populating our Valley. He’s been working with guitar and amp electronics for, as he says, ‘forever’. “I built my first guitar at 13. Wound my own

pickups with wire around magnets. I’m a tried and true technician.” Van Nus designs multifunctional amps. For example, studio amplifiers where one amp serves many, many tonal variation requirements. “Which is not computer modified, controlled or otherwise reduced in quality,” he adds. “These are the real McCoys.

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Straight ahead electronics. Straight ahead good, solid circuit design. No fancy, goofy stuff.” They are all tube amps, because, as van Nus says, “Solid state has its uses. But tubes add colour.” Howitzer Amps’ emphasis is on variations in tone, other than just tone controls. Owners get different qualities of sound. One amp van Nus is working on has two 6V6 tubes for output, producing about 25 watts. It has three different volume controls and ultralinear tap switches. It has selectable bias and a Big Muff-type tone control on one of the specialized distortion channels. Different tubes can be swapped in and out for instant sound changes. He has a tiny amp that’s only about 14” x 8” x 8”. It’s a two tube amplifier putting out about eight to ten watts, but optimized for volume and tone. It’s designed after the Fender Champ, “But louder than any Champ you’re going to buy, by a huge margin,” adds van Nus. “It’s small, portable, loud and sounds awesome. It has bias and negative feedback controls, each providing huge variations in tone. Most commercial amplifiers don’t have these.” Van Nus also helps people build their own custom amps. He can be contacted at 250.941.4119 or email

Richard van Nus, Renaissance Man and owner of Howitzer Amps RBC DOMINION SECURITIES

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Page 3

Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

How to write sales copy that KILLS!

Ryan Parton, Ryan Parton Writing Solutions Part 1 of 3


s a professional copywriter, I’m continually getting calls from business owners and brand managers who need content for their web sites, brochures, direct mail campaigns or other

marketing collateral. By far, the most common statement I hear from them, especially from small business owners, is “I find it so hard to write about myself.” If that sounds like you, I’ve got great news: You don’t have to. Which brings me to my first point: 1. Realize it’s not about you. When it comes to writing marketing collateral, nothing is more important than your customer. That’s why your writing needs to focus on your customer’s wants, needs and desires. You only come in within the con-

text of how your product or service will improve the life of the reader. For example, I recently wrote an “about” page for the web site of an executive coach. I could have written something like this: I’m a Certified Executive Coach trained through Royal Roads University and a member of the International Coach Federation. I work with professionals throughout British Columbia and around the globe. This would have been completely true. But who cares? Instead, I wrote:

I can help you find the tools to achieve, and even surpass, your personal or organizational objectives. I can help you lead a healthy, balanced life while working toward the highest level of professional and personal success. Sure, I still included the other details about the coach, but I framed the copy in the context of how she can help the reader. As such, the reader is far more likely to see the benefit in hiring her. Your readers only want to know one thing: “What’s in it for me?” So tell them. Because if

they have to guess, they won’t. 2. Focus on Benefits, Not Features First of all, what’s a feature and what’s a benefit? A feature is a particular aspect or attribute of your product or service. A benefit is how that attribute improves the life of your reader. Your reader may be interested in the features of your product or service, but it’s the benefits that will convince him to part with his hard-earned money. Here’s an example, from a web site I wrote for a device that removes oil from a ship’s bilge: Feature: The Bilge Oil Collector is completely programmable, allowing for a

fully automated oil recovery schedule. Benefit: You’ll save time! Let the Bilge Oil Collector automatically remove oil from your bilge while you focus on more enjoyable pursuits — like sailing! See the difference? Which sounds more appealing? I’ve got four more simple things you can do to improve your marketing that I’ll present in the next two issues of the Business Gazette. In the meantime, start thinking about your customers and selling those benefits! Ryan Parton is a professional copywriter and the owner of Ryan Parton Writing Solutions. He’s also the executive editor of the Comox Valley Business Gazette. Visit or call 250.702.1103.

Stepping Stones Recovery House for Women needs your help


veryone knows we just care about women need to help and addictions. Women addicts recover. So who have come through it may shock you to hear addictions themselves. that Stepping Stones, a Ladies from various recovery churches. All house for Since opening in walks of life women, is and backJanuary ‘08, the only such grounds. Stepping Stones facility on the It’s very has helped 56 Island north of rewarding.” women. Nanaimo. And Duties are they need your pretty help. straight forward. Hang out with the women. Talk Money is always with them. Oversee the welcome and extremely house. Answer the helpful. But right now phone. “Just make sure they need some of your time, compassion and assistance. “We would really like people to come forward as volunteers,” says Theresa McNicol, program coordinator of the home. Stepping Stones started through the work of five people. There was Rita and Murray Coulter (who have since stepped back), Jacquie Oldford, Terri Czegledi and Theresa McNicol. They recognized there was a big gaping hole as there wasn’t anything available — and made a decision to do something about it. The home is run by a Board of Directors under River Heights Church. “We’ve had women from as far away as Vancouver and Quesnel, there are so few resources for women trying to shake their addictions and lead fulfilling lives,” laments Theresa. Stepping Stones provides an opportunity for women who will commit to a three month supportive recovery program. “The residential aspect is so important,” explains Theresa. “These are women who desperately want to get their lives back together and live a clean and sober life. The mutual support is so valuable.” What kind of women volunteer now? “All kinds,” says Theresa. “We have people who

Theresa McNicol at the Stepping Stones dining room table, in the recovery home started by her, Rita and Murray Coulter. Jacquie Oldford and Terri Czegledi.

the women are safe and everything is functioning okay,” explains Theresa. Training is provided. “We don’t just throw them in the deep end,”

smiles Theresa. If you are interested, or know someone who is, please give Theresa McNicol a call at 250.897.0360. You’ll be glad you did.

Courtenay High Reunion and Homecoming! June 30 - July 3rd, 2011 Attention: — Business People — Get ready to welcome former Courtenay High Students back home.


giant Homecoming event is about to happen. Many people coming to town. Many will have time to eat in your restaurants, drink in your lounges and shop in your stores. This Homecoming is open to everyone who attended Courtenay High School Welcome them by putting a sign in your window and/or donate a Gift Basket for the Homecoming Banquet and Dance held in the Native Sons Hall July 2nd and we’ll make sure everyone knows who to thank! Call Jim Whyte 338-5566 or Diane EllisMineault 941-1912 for more details or View our website for more information and schedule of events Corporate Donations and Homecoming Banquet door prizes are most welcome and appreciated. Money left over is donated to the Monarch Lions Club for a scholarship for “Children at Risk”.

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

John Hudey - from pg. 1 fixed rate, you know exactly how much principal and interest you’ll be paying with each regular mortgage payment throughout the term you select. If rates go up during your term, your payments aren’t affected. However, you also can’t take advantage of a lower interest rate should rates drop. On the other hand are variable rate mortgages, which typically include some of the lowest rates available. Though many Canadians shy away from variable rate mortgages because of the potential risk of rate increases, many economic experts believe a variable rate will offer the greatest long-term savings on the interest

you’ll pay. With a variable rate mortgage, your regular payments are set for the term even though the interest rate may fluctuate. When rates go down, an increased amount of your payment goes toward the principal; you pay less interest and you pay off your mortgage faster. Of course, the opposite is also true if interest rates go up. If you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, many lenders now offer mortgages that give you the flexibility to choose both fixed and variable rate options, all in one plan. (The RBC Homeline Plan is one such option.) If you have sufficient equity in your home, you can split your mortgage between fixed and

variable rates with different terms and maturities. This gives you both the benefit of potential interest savings and the security of a predictable rate. This strategy reduces the risk of making a bad decision and could save you thousands of dollars in interest costs over the life of your mortgage. So which type of mortgage is right for you? I know it’s not what you want to hear, but the truth is ... it depends. A mortgage specialist can advise you on current rates and help you decide which option best fits your situation and risk tolerance. John Hudey is a mortgage specialist with the Royal Bank and has more than 16 years of financial experience. He can be reached at 250.898.7873 or

What type of rate is right for you? • Do you like the security of a guaranteed rate? • Are you willing to pay a slightly higher rate for that security? • Do you prefer the peace of mind of an amortization that won't change during the term of your mortgage?


• Are you comfortable with rate fluctuations to gain possible long-term interest savings? • Can you accept an increase in your amortization should rates increase?


• Do you like the security of a fixed rate but the potential long-term savings of a variable rate? • Do you have sufficient equity in your home that default insurance is not required?


Ives - con’t from pg. 1

The other most common co-operating may not be cause of partnership everybody’s top priority. elements: breakdown is the Drafting a comprehenabsence of an accurate An explanation of roles sive partnership or valuation of the busiMisunderstandings over shareholders’ agreement ness. It’s a good idea to who’s responsible for will generally cost build a valuation mechawhat are one of the between $500 and nism into your agreemost common causes of $1500, which shouldn’t ment, and partnership be insurmountable for to update breakdowns. most businesses. Having It’s crucial to “A partnership is like a it every a letter of intent written year, parlay out each on the proverbial napkin marriage — and we all ticularly partner’s is better than nothing, know how many mar- when real role well in but as things get more advance of riages end in divorce.� estate is involved you’re going to involved. any potential want to invest in a formal ugliness. Having agreement. an accuA “shotgun Paul Ives is a lawyer with rate, third-party valuation clause� - For most 50-50 Ives Burger Barristers & in place eliminates the partnerships, I like to Solicitors in Courtenay. He need to acquire one see a mechanism can be reached at after there’s a whereby one party can 250.334.2416 or disagreement, when trigger a buy-out if the relationship goes south. For example, if you and I were disgruntled Minerva Winner - con’t from pg. 1 partners, I’d offer you my share of the busikey to her success in ness for $x and you’d business. have 30 days to accept. “Networking has been If you don’t accept my crucial to us, especially offer, you’re deemed to have sold your interest as we were total newto me for $x, which comers to the Valley,� forces me to pick a fair she says. “I’m not really number. It’s called a an extrovert, but I saw a shotgun clause because way to get involved and it always has a conclujust help out with sion; once you pull the Julie Watkins things.� trigger, somebody’s out. to be helpful. She’s just Joining the WBN and Though I’ve seen many genuinely a great the Chamber of of these clauses in person.� Commerce, she says, place, I haven’t seen many utilized. helped her meet other Watkins’ best piece of local business people business advice, not surThat’s because a shotprisingly, is to network as and forge friendships gun clause forces people to focus on negotiations much as possible, and to within her new - everybody knows that, get out there and be a community. at the end of the day, part of the community “Julie’s very dedicated somebody could trigger any way you can. But the and committed to her the clause. true secret to success, business, and to supA valuation mechanism she says, is hardly a porting other people in secret at all. business,� says Payton. “Hard work,� she says. “She’s very warm and “Just keep positive, and caring and gives the don’t give up.� impression of wanting

I have no time to deal with my marketing!

Flair Air - con’t from pg. 1

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Lapointe, director of business development for Flair Air. “Prior to this service, they had to catch a plane down to Vancouver, maybe spend the night, or catch a plane to Calgary and spend a night. It was kind of a goat show to get there.� With its convenient location, modern terminal and the fact that it has access to a 10,000-foot runway that can accommodate Flair Air’s Boeing 737-400 aircraft, YQQ was an obvious choice for the new charter service. “The Comox Valley Airport is an excellent facility for this type of program,� said Lapointe. “We’re definitely excited to be coming to Vancouver Island and operating our charter air service out of Comox.� “We’re pleased to be working with Flair Air to provide transportation options for Vancouver Island-based oil and gas workers, and we look forward to a successful partnership,� echoed de Silva. The Comox Valley Airport Commission, she added, is continually looking for ways to expand its service network. “We’re committed to growing our service at the Comox Valley Airport,

Comox Valley Airport CEO Shirley de Silva. and this private charter meets that goal. We’re working hard to develop viable markets and acquire routes and service for the Comox Valley Airport and the region.� As Flair Air’s new service ramps up, Lapointe estimates the flights could carry as many as a couple hundred employees to and from job sites every week. “There’s additional opportunity here down the road as these types of projects continue to grow,� he said. “I know our client is very interested in attracting workforce personnel from Vancouver Island to assist with the construction of their northeastern BC projects. “To be able to live in the Comox Valley or elsewhere in the region,� he added, “and have the company commute you to one of these good jobs, it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.�

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

Paul Healey, of Invis, shows off the Elite Image web site at his Courtenay office. The Elite Image software, he says, is “a great investment.”

Island company invites you to put your brand online


Vancouver Island company has made it easier and less expensive than ever to create, print and make changes to promotional materials,

and Comox Valley companies have been among the first to take advantage of the new service. Elite Image, based in Nanaimo, has developed

a system that enables companies to upload their brochures, business cards and other marketing collateral and then make changes online

Exceptional quality, service and styles

without needing a graphic designer or incurring additional design fees. “I like the flexibility,” says Paul Healey, whose team at Invis in Courtenay has used the system since March. “We can now design one postcard, and all eight team members can use it by bringing in their image and information. It makes it easy for a team dynamic to work.” “The need for a small business owner to find the time or budget to work with designers for small material changes is no longer there,” says Catrina Elliott, president and founder of Elite Image. “It’s so userfriendly; you can create a postcard in under three minutes. It’s click, type, drag, drop, done.” Elite Image’s proprietary software was first envisioned five years ago by Elliott and a team of programmers with which she worked at the time. They weren’t able to work out the glitches, however, and the project died. Last spring, Elliott obtained permission to take control of the original idea. With a new developer and “hundreds of hours” of dedicated work, she perfected the system and launched Elite Image last fall. Less than a year later, her company has clients across BC and as far afield as Halifax, Toronto and Wisconsin. In March, Elite Image went one step further by

offering wholesale printing rates to all of its clients. Though the new prices are some of the lowest around - 1,000 double-sided colour business cards for just $31, for example they’ve created an unexpected challenge. “When I tell people our prices they’re like, ‘no, it’s too good to be true,’” says Elliott. “That was one of our stumbling

blocks; people didn’t believe us.” Those who did believe, however, have discovered the value is as real as it gets. “I think it’s a great investment,” says Healey. “It gives us flexibility, and the ability to create what we need to create. It’s nice that it’s just plug and play.” For more information, visit

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

Three myths of small business planning of achieving. There are a number of common reasons small business owners give for failing to develop this vital business tool. Here are three that are pure myth - and why. MYTH 1: “My business is too small to need a strategic plan” rom the home-based business on up, every business can benefit from a strategic plan. A strategic plan can help you make informed decisions about time management and budget allocations to different activities.


Ann Scott, Presley & Partners Chartered Accountants


t’s estimated that up to 70 per cent of small business owners don’t have a formal strategic plan. That means they have little idea where they are headed, change priorities constantA plan's purpose is ly, have conaction. Without action, fused their the plan is useless. employees about the purpose of their jobs and are You can use your chasing goals they strategic plan to help have little or no chance you determine whether

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it’s worthwhile attending a particular event or advertising in a particular medium. It can be used to outline for employees the specific set of goals you want the business to achieve so as to provide them with direction and focus for their activity. Your strategic plan can really form the basis of all measurement activity in the business and keep you informed of how the business is performing. Doing the right things and doing them efficiently and economically are activities that every business needs to get right, and a strategic plan is the basis for achieving that. MYTH 2: “It will take forever to produce” he real value of a strategic plan for your business is in taking some time out to think about your situation — to work on the business instead of just in it. There will be some time involved pulling together information about your current way of operating,


about what’s happening in the wider market place, about your customers — but gathering and analyzing it is actually not a burdensome job, especially with the assistance of a trained advisor who can help you do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis and draw up a strategy with an unbiased eye.

higher level — developing a new product to broaden the service base and decrease reliance on aging lines, for example. Only when a true strategy is decided is it time to think about the individual tasks needed to accomplish it. MYTH 3. “A strategic plan is out of date from the time it’s finished” oo many small business owners treat their business plan as a closed book. That’s not what they are about. A business plan should be an active document that gets reviewed and updated at least monthly. Your strategic plan won’t be doing what it is supposed to be doing unless you have regular meetings with the people responsible for making the goals in it happen and checking progress against the planned goals. When you track the results of your efforts you can make midcourse corrections to get back on track if you need to.

“Businesses that T struggle usually have no plan in place. ” Thinking strategically doesn’t involve working out all the individual tasks you will need to do to achieve them right there and then. For example, suppose a goal is to grow revenues at an annual rate of seven per cent. This sets off all kinds of nitty-gritty task-oriented thinking about labour needs, promotional materials, space planning, etc. that can immediately bog you down; whereas the strategies work on a

Regular meetings give the opportunity to make the best decisions you can as you progress, and manage the plan as a team. A plan’s purpose is action. Without action, the plan is useless and the dollars invested in creating the plan are wasted. Treat your business like a real business Small business advisors who work with different sized businesses know that those that perform at the highest level usually have some sort of formalized strategic plan in place and have implemented it well. On the other hand, those businesses that struggle usually have no plan in place and seem to flounder in their attempts to be successful. Ann Scott is a chartered accountant and a partner with Presley & Partners Chartered Accountants. She can be reached at 250.338.1394.

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new, innovative new delivery service has hit the Valley. Think cheap, clean and efficient. “We do anything from take-out food to prescription pick-up,” says Blake Bridges, owner and operator of Good Karma Delivery (GKD). “We can easily carry up to 20 lunches at a time. Our carrying cases are insulated, so hot stays hot and cold stay cold. We take blueprints to job sites, letters, office supplies and we can

fit four full bags of groceries. We can take just about anything.” The price? Just four to six dollars per delivery, and GKD is accepting 100 per cent cw$ on deliveries until the end of June. With multiple customdesigned pedal-assisted electric trikes, GKD has opportunities for highly motivated riders to join the team. To inquire, or to book a delivery, call Blake at 250.702.7152.

Blake Bridges, owner/operator of Good Karma Delivery, with one of his custom trikes that can deliver up to 20 hot lunches.

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Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

CVAC appoints vice-chair


Christine Gibson, owner of Uniglobe Travel Alliance, has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Comox Valley Airport Commission.

Mark Middleton, owner The Golfer’s Edge on 5th Street and ranked one of the world’s top 100 clubfitters

Custom-Made Golf Clubs Should you?


Factors to consider with he money spent to custom clubs are club lower golf scores! Is head speed, lie angle the Callaway Diablo and loft and steel or Octane driver the secret? graphite shafts. “A lot of Will hybrids do the trick? people base the shaft Maybe the Cleveland choice on swing speed Classic 1 BRZ putter is alone,” Mark explains. what gives you bragging “When in actual fact it’s rights on the 19th hole. a combination of factors. Mark Middleton, owner It’s when you load the of The Golfer’s Edge, has shaft, your tempo and his take on the subject: the speed.” “There are two aspects An analogy Mark uses to playing golf,” he says. is Tiger Woods and Ernie “There’s the individual. Els. “Both And have there’s The biggest miscon- roughly the ception is custom clubs the same equipamount of ment. are more expensive club head And if you than buying a set off the speed,” can elimismiles rack. They’re not. nate one Mark. of the “But Ernie variables, looks like he’s stirring his why wouldn’t you? coffee, and Tiger looks Custom fit golf clubs are like he’s trying to move a the way to go.” house. That’s why they Aside from the fact all don’t play the same good golfers, be it on TV shafts.” or wherever, have had Another key component their clubs custom fit, is the head design. what do custom fit Heads are designed to clubs do for the accomplish different average golfer? tasks. For instance, “Most golfers, the some are designed to weaker their golf skills, help get the ball in the the better off they are air if you’re a low ball with clubs perfectly hitter, and others to help matched and suited to bring the flight of the ball them,” says Mark. down if you hit high. “Because, while a bad Some people are better swing isn’t going to bring suited to graphite shafts; good results very often, some to steel. what you don’t want is to Then there’s the grip. make a reasonable swing Perhaps the single most and get poor results important part of the because your equipment club. “It’s what you hold is ill suited to you. on to. It’s the connecSwinging a golf club that tion,” says Mark, who doesn’t fit you is like then goes on to describe playing hockey in skates the ultimate stickiness of too big, or running in the new Golf Pride Tour shoes that are too tight.” Wrap grips.

he Comox Valley Airport Commission (CVAC) is has confirmed the appointment of director Christine Gibson to the position of Vice Chair of the Commission. “There are exciting things going on at the airport,” said Gibson. “It's going to be really thrilling to be part of all the changes as we move forward. I’m very confident in the potential at the airport; it’s exciting.” The position of vice-

chair was previously held by Brad Minton, who stepped into the role of chairman following the resignation of Ken Dawson in March. Gibson was appointed last month. “Christine has a clear understanding of the travel and tourism industry and is a strong proponent of community service,” said Minton. “The board believes her knowledge and experience will be a great asset in her new role as vice-chair, and I’m

As for shaft length, interestingly, how tall you are isn’t as important as where your hands are from the ground. According to Mark, 10 or 15 years ago nobody mentioned custom fit clubs. There was maybe one manufacturer. Now everybody’s jumped on the bandwagon. And just being fitted is only half the battle. Having them then made to proper specifications is the tricky part and where major manufacturers fail. “We’ve seen it hundreds of times,” says Mark. “A person says, ‘I was measured at suchand-such a spot, and I need regular flex clubs, an inch overlength.’ And when he gets the clubs they’re not quite an inch overlength. And when we test the shafts on the digital equipment we have here we discover the shafts are stiff or stiffer. Because, again,

the people making the clubs, they just put them together. They don’t test them after the fact.” The Golfer’s Edge starts from scratch. They measure you, put you on the computerized swing analyzer and build your clubs. “We’ve seen your swing, we know what you need and fully control the building process.” Mark adds the biggest misconception is that custom clubs are more expensive than buying a set off the rack. They’re not. And you can get them made one at a time, he adds. You don’t need to buy a full set. Skeptical? So was Terry Searl, says Mark. “He said to me he could not believe how having the proper shaft in his clubs could make so big a difference. He’s one of our best sales people now!” The Golfer’s Edge is located on 5th St. Their website is

looking forward to working with her in this capacity.” Gibson, the owner of Uniglobe Travel Alliance in Courtenay, has 20 years of experience in the travel industry. She served a two-year term as a Port Alberni city councillor prior to joining the CVAC board in February 2010, and

she sat on North Island College’s Board of Governors from 2002 to 2009, including more than three years as Chair. Gibson currently sits on the board of directors for the North Island College Foundation and is a member of CVAC’s audit and executive committees.

John Hudey Mortgage Specialist 250-898-7873

Your new home doesn’t come with mortgage advice. I do.

All personal lending products and residential mortgages are offered by Royal Bank of Canada and are subject to its standard lending criteria. ® Registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC and Royal Bank are registered trademarks of Royal Bank of Canada. TM Trademark of Royal Bank of Canada. 45808 (08/2010)

Page 8

Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

Real Estate Matters By Dave Procter, co-owner RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty.

Investment property - to buy or to build?


ommercial buying opportunities in the Comox Valley have never been better. When you consider what you'd pay per square foot for a commercial investment, you'll generally find it's less than what the new construction cost would be. clarity: free from obscurity Like everything in business, and easy to understand however, it's up to you to perform Surgenor Brewery in Comox your due diligence. Here's what to consider: you can then proceed to the conDeveloping your struction phase, where you'll face own project development cost charges and build-out costs. The process of developing and constructing a When planning your build, you'll commercial building has need to carefully add your Gary Dry become very expensive. A expenses, including the land cost, Licensed Home large portion of that cost is to determine what you'll need to simply the time required charge your tenant(s). Make sure Inspector for planning, re-zoning and you add a return on investment, License #: 47355 acquiring a development called a cap rate, and divide your permit; each delay total by the building size to get the 250-897-4330 increases your final cost. price per square foot to charge your tenant. For residential Once you've completed properties, you'll charge by the these preliminary steps,

location and number of bedrooms to determine the rent per suite. Purchasing an investment property Residential multi-family is a good choice for many investors. The nice thing about a multi-family property in a good location is that rents, and the value of your investment, are almost guaranteed to increase. Your cap rate will also go up over time, which will increase your return on equity when you eventually sell. Most buyers will want to find a well-managed building whose rents have kept up with market rents. The cap rate on this type of investment is generally good, in the area of five to five-and-a-half per cent. Your local market update Market conditions were off a bit in

the month of April, which was to be expected with the federal election campaign in full swing. (In my experience, we tend to put off buying decisions on major purchases during a period of indecision.) With the election over, conditions once again began to improve through May, a trend that hopefully will continue throughout the summer. Featured commercial opportunities: The first opportunity I'd like to suggest is Surgenor Brewery in Comox. This is a turnkey business that's already operational and simply awaiting a new owner to take it to the next level. The price of $1,999,999 includes land, building and equipment. There is great staff in place, and all you'll need is some energy and operating capital to drive the business. The second opportunity I'd like to feature is Taco del Mar in Courtenay. Another up-and-running business, Taco del Mar occupies leased premises and is priced well below what the current owner has invested in it. It also includes a coffee bar that is itself a standalone business, and in which the current owner has invested an extra $50,000. At just $149,900, this is truly a great opportunity. Dave Procter has more than 33 years experience in commercial and residential real estate and is the owner of RE/MAX Dave Procter Realty. You can reach him at 250.339.2021.

TD Canada Trust

1966 Gutrie Rd. Comox, BC T: 250 890 2190 Taco del Mar, in Courtenay, is an established business priced well below what the current owner has invested in it. “You probably don’t want your legal work to be exciting. You probably don’t want the experience of completing a Will, Power of Attorney, a Real Estate transaction or a Refinance to be a blood pressure raising experience. If not, call me to take all the excitement out of your legal documents.” #7 - 625 Cliffe Avenue, Courtenay,

T. Dale Roberts,

Notary Public

Ph: 250.871.7737

D.A. SCHAFFRICK LAW CORPORATION Barrister, Solicitor & Notary Public Dennis A. Schaffrick, B.A. Hons., LL.B

dave procter realty 282 Anderton Road Comox, BC V9M 1Y2

• Real Estate/Mortgages • Wills, Estates & Representation Agreements • Corporate/Business Law Tel: 250-339-3363 Fax: 250- 339-3315 E-mail:


1984 Comox Avenue, Comox, BC, V9M 3M7 (corner of Comox Avenue & Anderton Road)

Phone: (250)339-2021 Fax: (250)339-5529 Email: dprocter@

Page 9

Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

Your Turn... How does your garden grow?


y name is Alison Scott. I moved to the Comox Valley seven years ago. If people are serious about getting away from it all, they should consider Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is a different style of life. There’s no hustle. There’s no bustle. We here in Comox are a cute little tourist town. And if we’re not quite as business-like as other places, people don’t truly care. We have adopted as a town a Smart Growth

you’re saying, understand years and daddy has poetry, art, freedom, other things to do. democracy, walking Bosses don’t know what humbly on this land, and it is they’re teaching you preparing for the seven because they think they generations I are teaching hope can folsomething “What is the poem low me. quite different. I would write if I were And you’re It’s been a a poet? actually learndelight to ing something meet you, sir, entirely different from ‘Dancing with the what they intended to Octopus’. (www.dancing say. withtheoctopus.squareBut you learn, and you You are a go, and you follow, and smart fellow. I think you you read poetry. Because are artistic. I think you your mind is so busy with use both sides of your everyone else’s agenda, brain: the left, the right; you have to sit down on a the yin, the yang; the calm night, look at the male, the female, you’ve stars and try to figure embraced us all. out, “What is the poem I I don’t care if you would write if I were a believe in God, or the poet?” Goddess. Or the Because when you can Universe. Or the eternal tell your story in as few energy that flows through words as possible, people each and every one of who really want to know, us. Or the divinity that and really listen to what lives in everybody’s soul.

Plan, which is a green, economical Smart Growth Plan. We have adopted it because it looks good. And if our tourists and future residents are concerned, this is a lovely little place to be. I happen to be on a busy street. I want to be on a busy street. I am a woman, who lives alone. Without a man. And without a boss. And sometimes some people think I need a man, a daddy, a baby or a boss. But I’ve lived for 57


between design and improved performance. In other words, businesses that invest in quality design tend to see increased revenue growth.

“...surveyed nearly two-thirds see a definite link between design and improved performance.

Another study that tracked 166 British companies over 10 years showed similar results, and also revealed that effective users of design tend to outperform their peers on the stock market. These and other studies strongly indicate professional graphic design is worth the investment.

Great design can motivate your customers, cultivate brand recognition and improve the public's perception of your company and its offerings. This in turn gives your company a higher perceived value in the marketplace - allowing you to charge full value for your products and services. The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada is responsible for certifying graphic designers in this country. A CGD (Certified Graphic Designer) designation is an indication of quality and professionalism. A CGD has had his or her portfolio approved by the Society, has significant professional experience and adheres to a strict code of ethics. Quality design is effective design. When you hire a certified graphic designer, you tap into a wealth of expertise in communication strategies, effective problem-solving and some highly specialized design know-how. You also hire the experience to make sure your budget is being spent effectively. Your designer will help you articulate your objectives and crystallize your ideas, and you'll be rewarded with thoughtful visual communications that will make your message clear. While certification is not a requirement to sell design services, and many uncertified designers are extremely talented, looking for certification credentials is a sure way of finding a professional, experienced and skilled designer. (If you're hiring a design firm, ask how many of their team members carry the CGD designation.) You can find a list of certified graphic designers in the Comox Valley and nation-wide at Aaron Heppell is the

Everybody, including people who don’t think so. Because I know, in my own heart, what anybody else thinks about Alison is none of Alison’s damn business. It’s been a delight for

you to take five minutes of your busy life to listen to me. Alison Scott of Alison Scott Reflexology (acupressure foot massage) in Comox. She can be reached at 250.339.6854.

Have something you’d like to say? Send your idea/outline to or call 250.702.1103.

Cut Your Debt By Up To 70%

Is professional graphic design worth the investment? o it's time to design a new ad or brochure. Or maybe you want to update your company's logo. What's the most cost-effective way to go about it? It's tempting to use in-house talent, or that of family and friends with an artistic flair, but is that really a good cost-saving strategy? Poorly designed materials cost just as much to print or produce as professionally designed ones. In fact, they can sometimes cost more. But professional graphic design can be expensive - is it worth the investment? Last summer, Harris/Decima surveyed 500 Canadian businesses and determined that nearly two-thirds of them saw a definite link

Alison Scott in ‘Alison’s Sacred Public Garden’, currently a popular deer salad bar.

Phil Forster Serving Parksville and Comox Valley

Toll Free: 1-877-848-4571 Phone: 778-427-7775

• Avoid bankruptcy • Know your options • 0% interest • Low monthly payments • Relieve stress • Rebuild your credit Email: Website:

Aaron Heppell, Brand & Bridge Creative Services owner of Brand & Bridge Creative Services and president of Graphic Designers of Canada, Vancouver Island Chapter. He can be reached at 250.898.7996 or

Pieter Vorster C: 250-792-2874

(Skype: bloemboypw)

4040 Marsden Road, Courtenay, V9N 9N7

FREE PARKING? Attention:

Parking lot owners • Want to eliminate many of the parking problems you are forced to deal with every day? • Are vehicles parking on your lot for FREE? • Want to generate more revenue? Dan Mechalchuk, VP of United Parking Inc., is so sure he can get rid of your parking hassles and increase your revenues that, if after seeing his proposal you don’t ask, “Where do I sign?”, Dan will gladly write you a $50 cheque to your favorite charity. • One client has increased revenues by 33% • Increased Security presence — at no charge • Dramatically reduce the number of ‘problem parkers’ and cut way down on complaints • Able to check your revenues in real-time, anytime on-line. United Parking Inc. offers real time reporting of all site activity and cash flow. You can even make rate adjustments from the comfort of your home or office. All funds can be directed into your bank account directly from the meter sales in real time allowing you to control your money and show all gross revenues on your financial statements.

If you would like to stop vehicles from parking on your property for FREE call Dan for a Confidential Parking Assessment today at 1-855-703-5409.

Page 10

Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

Upcoming CV Business Events President's Forum Every 2nd Thursday; 7:00 am - 8:30 am. Hosted by Ron Berry Business Advisors. FMI, and to register, call 1.250.751.1025.

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.

Ambassador Shuttle driver extraordinaire Brent Young, and owner/operator Kevin East. Other drivers are Grant Dykeman, Kyle Lesage and Sue Medley

Ambassador Shuttle shakes ‘airport’ image


or half a decade, Ambassador Shuttle has provided reliable ground transportation throughout the Comox Valley. Yet the company still struggles to shake its image as simply an “airport shuttle.” “People don’t know all that we do,” says owner Kevin East. “We’re at the airport quite a bit, but we also do all kinds of pick-ups, from day trips to grocery runs. And we go as far afield as Nanaimo, Port Alberni and Campbell River.” Ambassador’s service, says East, has become popular with theatre-

goers enjoying dinner and a show, wedding parties looking for safe transport for guests and even resorts lacking their own shuttle service. One of his most unusual pick-ups, he says, was from a gentleman who got stuck about a kilometre offshore while boating from Denman Island. “We got his call from a sandbar out in the ocean,” recalls East. “He walked the sandbar to the airpark, where we picked him up. Then we drove him back later to pick up his boat. Now I can tell people we’ll pick them up anywhere, from

Berwick to the high sea!” Ambassador Shuttle operates a fleet of two Honda Odyssey vans, each with air conditioning, leather seating and a highly trained professional driver. The conspicuous luxury, says East, has actually led to another misconception. “A lot of people have the impression we’re more expensive because we’re a shuttle/limo type of service,” says East. “But in reality, our rates are comparable to those of a regular taxi.” Ambassador Shuttle was founded five years

ago by former Comox councillor Ray Crossley. East, a family man raising two young children in the community, took over in December 2010. “We’re proud to continue the legacy that Ray started and built up so well,” he says. “He had the vision and we want to carry on his tradition of excellence.” Ambassador Shuttle operates 24 hours a day, and reservations can be made by phone between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. or online anytime.

Chamber Summer BBQ in Union Bay June 23; 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm; Two Eagles Lodge. An evening of networking, live music, fun games and great food! FMI and to register, visit - Events & Registration.

WorldHost Fundamentals Training with Gayle Bates June 28 and 29; 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm; Chamber offices (2040 Cliffe Ave). Learn the skills and techniques of service professionalism. FMI and to register, visit - Events & Registration.

Business Mixer - CVRD Compost Education Centre July 12; 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm; 4759 Headquarters Road. FMI and to register, visit - Events & Registration. Promote your events in the Business Gazette. Just $10 an issue! Call 250.702.1103 or email

To make a reservation, call 250.339.5252 or visit www.

The Airport Backlit Advertising Program Reach over 600,000 leisure and business passengers and their guests annually.

Big Impact. Great Value Call 250-890-0829


Notice something different? At MNP you will. Our client-centric approach and partner-led engagements have always set us apart. For more than 65 years it has been our foundation, positioning MNP as one of the largest chartered accountancy and business consulting firms in Canada. Today, we celebrate the achievements of our firm and our clients by announcing our name change from Meyers Norris Penny to MNP and the unveiling of our new logo. This evolution is a reflection of our entrepreneurial spirit and our commitment to each and every client. That will never change. From Vancouver Island to Montréal and points in between, MNP is national in scope and local in focus, providing innovative solutions to help you and your business succeed. To find out what MNP can do for you, call 250.338.5464.




Our mission is to offer our customers 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

Page 11

Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

How to decide if an advertising opportunity is right for you Lisa Schroeder, owner Markitect Consulting Inc


s a business owner, you’re faced with a veritable onslaught of advertising opportunities. Everyone promises their ad offer is the best for your business, and you’d be crazy to pass it up! But would you really? Here’s a quick list of considerations to help you determine which ad offers truly are worth pursuing and which are a waste of your resources. Media Type — Make sure you’re clear on the type of media you’d be purchasing, such as online banner ads, magazine ads or billboards. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen media kits that are quite vague, especially when offers are bundled. Cost versus coverage — If a deal sounds too good to be true, look at the coverage. Make sure you know the distribution and circulation information for print, and the site visits for online. A $500 print ad may fit your budget, but if it’s only distributed to 300 people then your return will likely be low, unless those 300 readers are qualified buyers for your product or service (such as with a trade publication for your target industry). Readership — Assuming the opportunity passes the first two tests, you need to examine who’s reading the publication or site. Is it geared toward teens? Young families? Older Men? You should also consider geography - where is the audience located? Compare that readership to your ideal

Got a unique or interesting story about yourself, your business or a client or customer? Let us know about it. 250.702.1103 or 250.897.5064 Or contact us via email from www.

market; a great deal on an ad that won’t reach your target market is no deal at all. Season — What time of year will the ad will run? Does that fit your sales cycle? Ideally, you want to get your ad in front of prospective customers during their purchaseplanning stage for the products or services you offer. For impulse items, you can easily determine when that is by looking at your sales records. Location, Location, Location — Where will your ad appear? With print publications, you can usually negotiate or purchase premium placement, which will

put your ad closer to the beginning of the publication or next to related editorial. With online ads, make sure you’re clear about which page your ad will be placed on. You don’t want your ad buried in the far recesses of a web site, or your small placement to be lost in the clutter of other ads. Your Ad — If the advertising offer has passed all these tests, there’s one last item to consider: your ad itself. If you’re able, hire a professional marketer, copywriter and/or graphic designer to help you create the best possible ad within your budget. These professionals are

experts at creating ads that get results. The most critical component of your ad is its content; if your message doesn’t resonate with your target market, you’ll

be passed by. Smart, targeted advertising can be extremely effective, both online and off. Now that you know how to analyze opportunities,

you can save your time and money and get down to business. Lisa Schroeder is the owner of Markitect Consulting Inc. She can be reached at 250.667.2552 or

Hans H. Urdahl, Paul R. Ives, Mark Burger Providing consistent, quality services to meet the needs of a fast growing, dynamic community. Proud to provide prompt and cost-effective legal advice.

505 5th Street, Courtenay, BC, Canada V9N 1K2 Tel: 250-334-2416 • URL:

? Business

consulting and support planning ? Marketing strategies ? Analysis of business operations ? Systems development ? Action plans and accountability ? Business

Support + Information + Resources + Measurement = GROWTH


Page 12

Comox Valley Business Gazette — June 2011

YOU'VE GOTTA READ . . . Sacred Commerce:Business as a Path of Awakening - By Matthew and Terces Engelhart Recommended by: Tanya Harmon, Eatmore Sprouts & Greens Ltd. “Sacred Commerce has given us a framework to build our community and our business based on our core values of people, the planet, sustainability and creativity.”

— Tanya Harmon


n an age in which work consumes a massive share of most adults’ waking lives, Matthew and Terces Engelhart present a timely manual for building meaningful, spiritual communities

right in the workplace. The Engelharts provide a compelling argument for integrating the concept of “sacred commerce” in order to obtain both financial success and spiritual satisfaction. A mix of personal memoir and practical advice, Sacred Commerce offers an anecdote to our society’s spiritual, environmental and social degradation and shows how every business can make a lasting impact on the lives of both customers and employees. Got a book you feel business people should read? Send your recommendation to

For this and other titles, visit the Laughing Oyster Book Shop at 286 Fifth Street or

Big City Selection... Small Town Charm • Independent & Locally Owned • Over 10,500 titles in stock • Special Orders most welcome

Phone: 250-3 334-2 2511 286 Fifth Street Downtown Courtenay

COMOX VALLEY BUSINESS GAZETTE 250.702.1103 or 250.897.5064

Your data’s here today — but will it be gone tomorrow?


t never ceases to amaze me how many businesses aren’t backing up their data. To me, that’s like going bungee jumping with a frayed cord. Sure, it will probably hold you. But what if it doesn’t? Computers, like frayed bungee cords, eventually die. (Full disclosure: I have no idea if bungee cords do fray; I’m more of a shark cage diver.) Your hard drive, which holds all your data and is spinning around at about 7200 rpm, will eventually kick the bucket. A data backup is your fail-safe; it regularly and automagically copies your data to an external hard drive (or offsite) so that when your computer dies, your information is safe. Though the average lifespan of a computer is somewhere between three and five years, the reality is that even your brand new computer could die tomorrow. Sure, the probability is low, but will you care

about probabilities when your computer is belly up and your data is gone? Hopefully by now you’re starting to see the importance of backing up your data. The next critical part is to continually check your data backup to ensure it’s working properly.


like frayed bungee cords, eventually die.

Not long ago, I was servicing a machine that was set up four years ago to back up every day. But the log file showed there hadn’t been a backup since 2009. Two years of information could have been lost; in this case it was his backup hard drive that had quietly died. Another time I noticed some of a client’s files had been backed up but

others hadn’t. It turned out he’d installed some new software but hadn’t configured the backup to include files from the new application. The same can happen when you add a new employee or create new locations for saved files. I’d say 75 or 80 per cent of data backups are working exactly as they were set up. Most, however, need to be adjusted regularly to ensure all important data is being protected. I recommend having your backup checked at least once a year, or whenever you install new software. A great time to check is

Bob Wells (The Extreme Geek), My Tech Guys

when you get your computer’s dust bunnies cleaned out, which you should be doing every six to 12 months. The whole idea of data backups is fairly critical. An automagic, off-site backup can cost as little as $100 a year; at eight bucks a month, it’s the cheapest peace of mind in town. Bob Wells is the “Extreme Geek” and owner of My Tech Guys. He can be reached at 250.890.1065 or

Lara Austin, ba, fma, cim Investment Advisor 250-334-5600 777A Fitzgerald St. Courtenay, BC V9N 2R4 Professional Wealth Management Since 1901 *Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund.

Comox Valley Business Gazette June 2011  

If you do business in the Comox Valley, the Comox Valley Business Gazette is built for you. The Comox Valley Business Gazette provides idea...

Comox Valley Business Gazette June 2011  

If you do business in the Comox Valley, the Comox Valley Business Gazette is built for you. The Comox Valley Business Gazette provides idea...