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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Small Business 2011

Call 780-532-1110 •



Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011

small business

Best of the best celebrated Chamber of Commerce hands out Business Excellence Awards to cap Small Business Week

DAN ILIKA Herald-Tribune staff With Small Business Week coming to a close last Friday, a handful of local entrepreneurs and businesses were honoured by the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce at its awards gala. Business Excellence Awards in six categories were handed out at the event to celebrate what small business does for the community. “Just a wonderful week,” said chamber board chairman Dave Cook. “I think we did a really good job in terms of celebrating small business and again recognizing their contributions to our local economy.” Among those honoured on the night was Laura MacLean, who was awarded Best New Business for her cupcake shop, OMG Cupcakes, which opened in mid-December 2010. “I’m very proud (and) very excited,” she said. “We’ve grown really fast and for someone who has to kind of wear all the hats in the business all at the same time ... it’s been difficult to keep up.” MacLean said the road has been tough thus far, with long hours a heavy workload dominating life over the last year, but the award acts as a motivator moving forward. “When I look around the room and I see ... the group of people that I’m amongst and

the people I’ve been nominated with ... it’s a big deal,” she said. “We still have lots of room to grow, lots of things to do still to grow the business to make it even better but as far as brand-name recognition ... that’s probably been the (biggest) thing.” In what Cook described as a diverse group of recipients, the Business of the Year Award with 10 or employees went to non-profit organization Grande Prairie and District Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (GPDAPDD). “I’m totally overwhelmed and honoured that we have received this award,” said GPDAPDD board chairman Chris Turnmire. “We give full credit to the staff (and) to the volunteer board that come to work everyday (with) a total commitment to the individuals that we provide service for.” As an organization governed by a volunteer board since 1956, Turnmire said the organization’s success wouldn’t be possible without the support of the community. “It’s just a great feeling to be honoured this way,” he said. While a non-profit organization may not seem like a typical recipient of a small business award, Cook said the GPDAPDD is very deserving of the honour and it also goes to show the broad range of businesses within the chamber.


Owner of Grande Prairie’s OMG Cupcakes, Laura MacLean, was honoured as the city’s best new business at the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce 2011 Business Excellence Awards last Friday. For more photos see Page 6 of the Small Business section. “They’ve done a tremendous service in this community dealing with people who are disabled and I think that’s a recognition of just how diverse the membership of the chamber is,” Cook said. Also awarded on the night wa s C h r i s Ba l d e r st o n o f Madhatters Liquid Lounge for Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Maureen Bailey of

Recycle Plus for Employee of the Year, Beairsto Lehners Ketchum Engineering for Employer of Choice and Friesen Bain Chartered Accountants for Business of the Year with less than 10 employees. And while some of the recipients have been doing business in the community for a number a years, Fri-

day’s awards were exciting for the city thanks in large part to the number of young business people in the city. “What really excites me with the young people who were finalists and won awards it shows that the chamber is got a really good mix in our demographics of older people, people in their prime (and) there’s a really good group of

young people coming in and I think that’s really healthy for this city,” Cook said. Also at this year’s gala was co-founder of Edmontonbased software firm Yardstick Software and Grande Prairie native Chris LaBoissiere, who spoke to the 165 attendees about best business practices.


to Support

Small Business Week!

Bobbi Dawson 780-538-4747

780-539-5288 10803-100 Street

Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011


small business

New filter cleaning company identified need in the market AARon HInks Herald-Tribune staff

Finding a market is key when starting up any small business. Ma rk K ing, coow ner of U lt i mate Fi lter Clea n i n Gra nde Pra i r ie, found that market six months ago. K i ng saw a hole i n t he community when it came to air filters of large equipment. He f lew to Los A ngeles, California, where he purchased Sonic System. The equipment uses a series of vibration techniques, vacuums and compressed air to clean air filters in about four minutes. The equipment is used and recommended by t he U.S Army. W hen K ing ret urned to Canada, he approached an i nd iv idua l who reg u la rly uses turbines.

“Instead of throwing out all of their filters, which they t h row out ever y yea r, we recycled them for them. “The way I understand it, every time we do a jet engine they save $12,000.” UFC works with the larger air filters, most commonly found in construction equipment such as Cater pi lla r equipment a nd heav y machinery. King’s main goal is to keep air filters out of the junkyard. “If they’re no good at all then we’re going to take them apart and recycle the paper. We’re going to take the metal to a salvage company,” he explained. Weyerhaeuser and Canfor have taken interest in working w it h t he newly established business. “T he la rger compa n ies seem more i nterested i n the environment where the

Small buSineSS ShowcaSe

smaller companies are more interested in profit,” he said. “They’re not so concerned about it, it’s an awareness t hat I’m t r y i ng to get out there. “You can save money and still treat the environment with respect.” King said they can save 40% to 60% of the cost of a new f ilter by simply recycling. “What I’m finding is that people are not used to the word recycling, they’re afraid of the word because it costs money. “But there’s actually ways you can recycle and save tons of money.” UFC will come and pick up the filters, process them and return them to the customer. Twitter: @DHTaaron

AdAm JAckson/Daily HeralD-Tribune

Linda Gour (right) tries out Grande Prairie’s only hair rejuvenator with the help of certified technician Lee Wrigley from Vanishing Laser Esthetics at the recent Small Business Showcase at the Multiplex.



Business of the Year (10+ employees)

Grande Prairie & District Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

The GPDAPDD has been active in the city of Grande Prairie since 1956.This charity was first founded by parents of children with developmental disabilities. This organization has now grown from a staffing of a few to an employer of over 180 staff. In keeping with its mission, the GPDAPDD provides Residential Services, Day Program Supports and an Employment Supports Program. The GPDAPDD also operates several businesses. You may recognize some of the businesses but many in the community may be unaware of the connection they have to persons with developmental disabilities. *Swan Industries *Recycle Plus Bottle Depot *Recycle Plus Fibre and *Plus 11 Bottle Depot. The GPDAPDD is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The GPDAPDD is also very active in community through its business divisions such as *Bottle Donation Program *Power Plus Program *Cans for Kids and *Caps off. The GPDAPDD is currently studying the feasibility of expanding its services to provide support to persons with developmental disabilities in their homes as they age. This organization has been quietly providing several diversified benefits to the community for several years and it is time they are recognized by the community for their rich history of contribution and achievements. The professionalism of this association is highly respected by its peers across the province of Alberta.

*0 for 24 months on select models31,until Dec. 2011. payment shown *Offer good from June 1 to August 2011, on31, select newModel modelsand of Terex Compact is based on a 60 month term with down payment. The pre-configured machine** Equipment. Model and payment shown is based on a 60 month term with down payment. The pre-configured machine** represents financing TFS andset-up, does include represents financing through TFS and does includethrough taxes, freight, delivery taxes, freight, set-up, delivery and a standard dirt bucket. Additional terms and to and a standard dirt bucket. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Subject conditions may apply. Subject to change without prior notice. change without prior notice.


Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011

small business

Local entrepreneur finds success McGuinness makes the move from pipelining to online KIRSTEN GORUK Herald-Tribune staff

Brendan McGuinness, creator for, launched his website a little over two weeks ago and he’s already received postings from all over the world. “We do have some jobs in Europe right now. On the fourth day I had a company in Poland post jobs on here,” McGuinness said. was designed to be a straightforward solution for workers in the oil and gas industry who want to post their resumes and for companies looking to hire. “It seems like most of the sites out there are cluttered and confusing. There’s a bulk of information that doesn’t need to be there. If you’re looking for work, you want to find work. You want it to be quick and easy,” McGuinness

said. People can build a profile for themselves, which includes all the pertinent information for a potential employer, including things like education and certificates as well as a person’s trade and current location. “When it comes to an employer who’s looking at it, the design of the profile is always laid out the same. You’re not seeing a different format like when you read a resume,” McGuinness said. Companies can also put up job postings of their own on the site, something that McGuinness said is just as easy. “You can be on the system and have a job posted in five minutes.” McGuinness, who was born in Dawson Creek, spent a lot of time in the Grande Prairie area over the years. He cur-

rently lives in the Swan City and knows all too well what it’s like to be on the job hunt. “I started pipelining about 14 years ago as a labourer, a welder’s helper in the dirt,” he said. “I worked my way up to eventually running pipeline jobs on a small scale a few years back. I’ve kind of been on both ends of the spectrum.” The idea for the site came to him when he started doing some recruiting on the side for other companies. When he realized that the websites out there weren’t great, he decided to change that. To g e t h e r w i t h a w e b designer and the right business partners, McGuinness was able to bring the website to life in just under a year. Weeks into the launch, profiles were posted from all over the country as well as the United

Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce



Manager of Plus I and Plus II Bottle Depots Ma Maureen Bailey iis responsible Bail sibl fo for managing gi ttwo bottl bottle de depots ts iin Grande Gr de Prairie. Responsibilities include nurturing a culture of exceptional customer service, personnel management, marketing and cost control. The environment of a bottle depot is unique and challenges management’s ability on many levels. Mrs. Bailey has the ability in this environment to motivate staff, build team work and get the job done. Maureen and her staff continually reach out to meet the needs of community, both here at home and abroad. She has been instrumental in fundraisers for victims of the Haiti Earthquake, the Slave Lake Fires and Breast Cancer Research. Mrs. Bailey has worked for Recycle Plus for over four years and under her leadership we have seen the depots mature and solidify their efforts culminating in strong team work and excellent customer service.

KIRSTEN GORUK/Daily HeralD-Tribune

Brendan McGuinness launched his website,, a few weeks ago. As someone who’s worked from the ground up in the oil and gas industry, he feels that the job posting system he’s created is a better option for people looking for work in that field. States and the Middle East. And there are no plans to slow down, as work on developing a smart phone applica-

tion is already underway. “When you’re done a job you can log into your profile and click ‘available’ and it

will send your profile to every company in your category. It’s one push of a button. You don’t have to sit there and email 20 companies,” McGuinness said. The same applies for companies who are posting jobs. Once the posting is up, an alert would be sent out to each profile that has the right qualifications. R ight now, companies can try the website for free, but eventually there will be a monthly charge. However, McGuinness is adamant that the service remains free for people in search of work. “They always will be free because I decided when we first started this that people shouldn’t have to pay for this service. In this industry, I know what it’s like to go from cheque to cheque. You’re broke sometimes and this game can be pretty up and down.”

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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011




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John Dore as Operations Manager aand Loretta Shewfelt as Dispatch, Kerri Suurd D Bookkeeper and Melody B AAlden as our Girl Friday.


With fondness we say goodbye Wi to Tara Davis, our Receptionist of five years. All the best in your fu future endeavours.

Phone: 780-538-8696 •


L to R: George Westbrook, Abby Morrison, Crystal Primrose, Misty Dettling, Lee Hurst and Ryan Chislett. Instructors missing in this photo are Phil Hayman, Tara Johnson and Trevor Lysek. Fax: 780-513-8626

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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011

small business


Brian Spronk, business centre manager for Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) (left), Business of the Year with more than 10 employees recipient Chris Turnmire, board chairman for Grande Prairie and District Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities and chairman of the board for Chamber of Commerce, Dave Cook.


Rob Neil, Chamber of Commerce first vice-chair (left), Employer of Choice recipient Cody Beairsto of Beairsto Lehners Ketchum Engineering and Brent Ochsner, regional partnership manager with Alberta Employment and Immigration.


Brian Spronk, business centre manager for Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) (left), Business of the Year with less than 10 employees Alistair Bain of Friesen Bain Chartered Accountants and chairman of the board for Chamber of Commerce, Dave Cook.


Shawna Miller, Chamber of Commerce second vice-chair (left), Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner Chris Balderston of Madhatters Liquid Lounge and Grande Prairie Community Futures executive director Holly Sorgen.

Entrepreneurial spirit abounds DAN ILIKA Herald-Tribune staff

Grande Prairie’s reign as Canada’s top entrepreneurial city may not last unless local government makes it easier for small businesses to work, according to an expert. With the Canadian Federation RutLEy of IndependCRI ent Business (CFIB) rating Grande Prairie number-

one out of 100 cities nationwide in its annual Communities in Boom study, Centre for Research and Innovation (CRI) director Bruce Rutley said the nod could be in jeopardy in future years unless the municipal government makes changes to policy. “I think there’s still some work that could be done there at the local government level with respect to influence on business decision making,” Rutley said. The CFIB study uses a set of 12 key indicators, which are then divided into three main groups – presence, perspective and policy.

Presence indicates the level of entrepreneurial activity in each city, while policy and perspective GIvEN indicate the City of GP levels of local government influence on business and optimism and expectations, respectively. And while Grande Prairie ranked highest in presence (83) and tied for fourth in perspective (86), the city’s relatively low score in policy (63)

needs to be looked at in order to continue to place high, according to Rutley. “I would recommend that the municipal leaders look at those indicators and see if there isn’t something that could be done to address the areas where they don’t shine,” he said. Grande Prairie’s economic development specialist Brian Glavin agreed with Rutley and said the city plans to contact the study authors to figure out how the scores were determined in each key indicator. “What we’re going to do is take a look at where we fell down,” he said. “That’s going

to be inquiring directly with the (CFIB) to see where we can improve on those scores.” Mayor Bill Given said the city has taken notice of some potential shortcomings and plans to work to improve them where necessary. “We recognize that there (are) a number of ways that we can make it easier for businesses and entrepreneurs and we’re certainly working hard to address those areas,” Given said. A few ways the city has and continues to improve in, according to the mayor, is its land use bylaw and its business licensing process.

“We’re looking to simplify the requirements there for development,” Given said. “We’re also looking at streamlining our development approvals process.” While back-to-back first place finishes is something to be proud of, Given said city administration has no plans for complacency. “These are efforts that we are undertaking even though we are at the top of the list of entrepreneurial communities,” he said. “We think that there’s always room for improvement and for improving the processes at the city.”

Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011


small business

Networking tips for startups Productive and powerful business-building tools available to entrepreneurs

RogeR PieRce Special to QMI Agency They’ll be plenty of f lesh being pressed throughout

October as entrepreneurs countrywide attend events celebrating Small Business Month. To f re s hen up m y ne t-

work ing sk ills, I asked for some tips from my colleague M ic h ae l J. Hu g he s , a l s o known as Canada’s Networking Guru.

To grow or not to grow? That’s the big question RosalyN cRoNiN Special to QMI Agency When you are the owner/ operator of a small business, it seems inviting to be able to hire others to do the jobs you dislike or aren’t good at, from bookkeeping to sales. But when is it the right time to put money, time and energy into growth? Every company owner struggles at some point with the question — should I grow bigger? And if so, how much bigger? One key area to explore is the time left before you’d like to sell the business and retire. If you currently can’t be away from your business for a month without problems, you are working your business rather than managing it. When sales or production are affected by your absence, you don’t have a business ready to sell. If you are planning on wrapping up, this is a good time to think about hiring the right individuals to take on your jobs within the com-

pany, allowing you to spend your time on planning and executive tasks. Yours needs to be an established business in a good cash flow position before you start this process as it can create some slowdowns as the transition takes place. Another question is your own interest in your company and your ability to delegate tasks and work with others, and willingness to get out of your own way when your staff comes up with suggestions. Owners who enjoy the work and like to control the process may find themselves sabotaging their own growth with a hands-on approach to everything. Be honest about your own role in the company and how much you enjoy what you do. Try delegating a few smaller tasks to current staff, without much direction or any micromanaging. Money — cash flow and overall profitability of your company — is the last key factor in your decision. If you

have term loans and a line of credit that covers more then 50% of your receivables, you may want to focus on cost controls and sales growth with your existing staff and premises before jumping to the next level. If you believe adding a staff person will increase your sales, take a look at the impact to your bottom line as well. You need to be able to cover the salary, equipment and space requirements of the new employee, along with the extra support requirements from existing staff. The increase in gross profit needs to cover that amount and more to warrant taking your time and attention to bring the new employee onto the team. Growth can be exciting, invigorating and breathe new life into your company, but plan ahead for all eventualities, from the cost to the impact on your enjoyment of your work, before you make a decision to become the next Great Canadian Business.

• Get personal With more and more people preferring to tweet, text and e-mail instead of actually talk ing to each other, Hughes sees an opportunity for entrepreneurs to stand apart. “Face-to-face contact is now a differentiator,” he says. “Use your online social networks to complement — but not replace — your in-person networking activities.” • Let people help you New entrepreneurs often assume that others are willing and able to help spread the word about their young compa ny — a nd a re su rprised when that help doesn’t materialize. “Don’t take it for granted others will help to the extent you ant icipated,” Hughes says. “Test the waters with small requests f irst, such

as asking for a shor t endorsement to put on your website. In most cases, t he answer w ill PieRce be positive.” • Get out there No one can sell your business better than you. “Get out of your office and into the marketplace as quickly and as often as possible,” he says. “For the first six months of your business, become a professional visitor at local networking events. Use these contacts to build relationships.” • Network your target market Without money or time to waste, startup entrepreneurs must focus on a well-defined

target market. “Start by identif ying the target market you will serve,” he suggests. “Then discover the association or network that serves that target market … and make it your priority to actively participate in that organization.” Net work i ng is w idely accepted as one of the most power f u l a nd product ive business-building tools available to entrepreneurs. Use it well and you’ll see results. For additional help, visit Hughes’ website at – St ar t up e x p e r t Roge r Pierce has launched 11 businesses, co-authored a book and advised thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide. Contact him at

Presented by

Congratulations Business Excellence Award Recipients Business of the Year (10 or More Employees)

Employer of Choice

• Grande Prairie & District Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

• Beairsto Lehners Ketchum

Business of the Year (Under 10 Employees)

• OMG! Cupcakes

• Friesen Bain Chartered Accountants

Young Entrepreneur of the Year • Chris Balderston - Maddhatters Liquid Lounge

Best New Business Employee of the Year • Maureen Bailey - Recycle Plus

Thank You to the Businesses and Sponsors Behind Small Business Week 2011

Hospitality Sponsors: • Costco • Devon Canada • Esquires Coffee House

• Fletcher Mudryk & Co. LLP CA’s • New Horizon Co-op • Parties & Wishes Unlimited

• Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association • RBC Royal Bank


Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune • Tuesday, October 25, 2011

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