Message from the President and Executive Director of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce 6
Community: The Heart of West Winnipeg 8
2022-2023 Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 10
Business of the Year: Dave’s Quick Print 14
Community Builder of the Year: Peak of the Market 16
Innovator of the Year: San Vito Coffee House 18
Non-Profit of the Year: Community Ambitions Day Service Inc. 19
Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Bison Liquors 20
Winnipeg Airports Authority brings its strengths to the community 22
Bison Transport leads the way in Winnipeg and across North America 25
Birchwood Automotive Group keeps giving back 27
Keeping the Cheer Here 30
Discovering Portugal: Small Group Travel 32
Francesinha Recipe 35
Assiniboia Chamber Member Benefits 37
WEST WINNIPEG BUSINESS REVIEW
IS PUBLISHED BY
DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, MB R3L 0G5 www.delcommunications.com
PRESIDENT & CEO DAVID LANGSTAFF
MANAGING EDITOR LYNDON MCLEAN email@example.com
ADVERTISING MANAGER DAYNA OULION
GARY BARRINGTON BRIAN GEROW
JENNIFER HEBERT MICHELLE RAIKE
COVER PHOTO COURTESY OF SHAYNA WIWIERSKI
PRODUCTION SERVICES PROVIDED BY S.G. Bennett Marketing Services
CREATIVE DIRECTOR / LAYOUT & DESIGN KATHLEEN CABLE
© COPYRIGHT 2022
DEL Communications Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher.
While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in and the reliability of the source, the publisher and/or the Idaho Associated General Contractors in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees.
PRINTED IN CANADA 11/2022
MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
The past year has been amazing! Thank you for engaging with our Chamber and being a part of West Winnipeg’s business community. This annual publication allows us to showcase the business community by profiling local businesses, leaders and sharing stories that are relevant and current to our area. And this year, we are so excited to highlight our 2022 Business Excellence Award winners in the magazine.
To our members, thank you for your investment in the Assiniboia Chamber. You put our Chamber’s vision to work which is to strengthen West Winnipeg’s business environment to improve the health of our business community. We speak for employers, but the good work that we do – and more importantly, that all of you do – helps maintain our community’s quality of life.
“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” - Helen Keller
I like to walk to the talk. What I mean by that is that when I join an organization as myself or as the Assiniboia Chamber, I like to get involved so that I better understand all that is available to me and the Chamber. Information overload is inevitable with emails entering your inbox every hour, social media feeds uploading every second, and the old standbys of phone and in-person meetings still being maintained and valued. It’s a lot to take in, and more often than not, an email newsletter that contains information you’ve been racking your brain on the past week or an advertisement for a business savings program that you definitely could use were missed. No one person can stay on top of it all, but if you engage – join a committee, participate in a webinar, attend a luncheon, call the office to say hi – I promise you, the value of your membership increases. You become aware of the little things and recognize the commitment that the organization has to you. You realize that picking up the phone to ask a question is welcomed and you probably get a better response than you expected. I encourage you to give us a call to try it out!
Back to walking the talk…this year I committed to getting more involved with the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada (CCEC), and as my threeyear term on the national board was coming to an end, I was appointed to the role of Treasurer for the 2022/23 year. To say I am honoured and excited is an understatement! To complement my role at the Chamber, I also applied for my Accredited Chamber Executive, Level 2 designation. Launched in 2018 as part of
CCEC’s 50th anniversary legacy initiative, the ACE program promotes and recognizes Chamber executives who have demonstrated that they embrace a culture of continuous learning leading to excellence in Chamber leadership and management. There are about 450 chamber executives across Canada, and I am now one of 29 ACEs in the country.
Networking and Support –How the Chamber Can Help You
Our goal is to help businesses succeed. What succession looks like for every business is different, and we get that. Networking comes in different formats – in-person events, 1:1 meetings, and warm introductions – we love connecting businesses!
Don’t forget, we offer free online calendar listings to all businesses and organizations in West Winnipeg. We will post your event on our website, www.assiniboiachamber. ca, for free. Let us help you widen your network and amplify
your voice to the community and beyond. Honestly, this is for members and non-members!
Please contact us to learn more about the tools the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce offers your business to succeed. Visit us at www.assiniboiachamber.ca or call (204) 774-4154.
Wishing you success and happiness,
Kristi Meek, B.A., ACE
President | Executive Director Office: (204) 774-4154 Mobile: (204) 471-4308 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @MeekKristi LinkedIn: @kristimeek
FROM THE BOARD CHAIR
COMMUNITY: THE HEART OF WEST WINNIPEG
When I moved to Canada from Pakistan in 2005 with my family, I landed a job with RBC in Toronto, Ontario. However, after a few years working there, I got an exciting offer to move to the Middle East in 2009. The timing could not have been any worse due to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US. The global economy was affected, resulting in me being relocated to Sudan in Africa. After staying for almost a year, I decided to return home, but the markets were soft. I was then presented with an offer to move to this amazing city of Winnipeg in 2010, and I moved my family here, where we chose the west end. Since then, this is now my home – I call it just that…my home is West Winnipeg.
A few years ago, I joined the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce as a Board Director. I was very much involved in our community by way of volunteering for my kids’ school, their school division, as well as through Junior Achievement – all with my desire to make a difference for our future generation and the community. Today, I am the Chair of the Board, and I am so proud of where our Chamber is heading. Recognizing our past – all 92 years of it – and taking it to new heights is very rewarding. Being relevant and inclusive, demonstrating leadership, building connections, and having the utmost desire to build people and businesses up is what our Chamber does. We take pride in being kind, respectful, and fair.
We make it a point to build and maintain relationships with local, provincial, and federal decision makers who will take our calls when our members have issues affecting their ability to do business. And we strive to ensure future prosperity for a pro-business climate, making it easier to do business in West Winnipeg. Our recent city election has us starting new relationships with Shawn Dobson, City Councillor for St. James, and Evan Duncan, City Councillor for CharleswoodTuxedo-Westwood. At the same time, we will continue our relationships with new Mayor Scott Gillingham (previously City Councillor for St. James). These are exciting times; change has happened and will continue. Your Chamber is here to support and guide you as we find solutions that help businesses.
Please enjoy the articles in our magazine that showcase some of our members and the amazing work that they all do. Support local and join the conversation.
As we head into the new year, I wish you tremendous success.
Chair, Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, and Manager, Business Markets, RBC Royal Bank
Injuries prevented and lives saved.
That’s the VALUE of SAFE Work.
The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce 2022-2023 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
2022 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS
BUSINESS OF THE YEAR: DAVE’S QUICK PRINTBy Lisa Kopochinski
Dave’s Quick Print is this year’s recipient of the Business of the Year Award, which recognizes and celebrates the achievements of small, medium, and large businesses within the West Winnipeg community that has demonstrated exceptional performance throughout the year.
Recognition includes significant business growth, excellent customer service, quality products and/ or services, business innovation, exceptional human resource practices, and a notable corporate social responsibility (CSR) contribution to the welfare of the community.
In the early 1980s, entrepreneur Dave Blackmore experienced a careerdefining moment when he took the reigns and began operating Downs Copy Centre. Owned by Assiniboia Downs, its primary function was to print race programs and other racetrack materials. Shortly after he took the helm, Assiniboia Downs opted to leave the copy business and offered its assets to Blackmore. Recognizing a void in the market, he promptly invested his savings, purchasing the company and rebranding it as Dave’s Quick Print in 1982.
Twenty-six years later in 2008, the company was purchased by a large conglomerate, which found itself
in substantial financial difficulty by 2011. Fortunately, new partners Randy Nelson and Randy Premachuk were able to extract Dave’s Quick Print from those holdings, subsequently growing the company to new heights.
“The combination of digital expertise, commercial print experience and a highly skilled team paved the way for tremendous opportunities,” says Premachuk.
He says winning this impressive Business of the Year award is amazing on many fronts.
“It is a recognition of the dedicated and outstanding work our team
members have produced over the years—something we do not take for granted. It shows us people are noticing the positive momentum we are striving to create within our community. It also means we have had the good fortune of working with incredible clients over the past 40 years, which is the cornerstone of our success. Naturally, when you receive an award such as Business of the Year, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride and humility.”
Full-Service Print Shop
The initial strategy of Dave’s Quick Print was to service customers and neighbourhood businesses through multiple locations. This growth plan was instrumental in quickly developing the company’s brand identity throughout Winnipeg. Today, it’s a full-service print shop with 20 full-time employees operating out of a 10,000-square-foot facility in St. James.
“As we continue to evolve, we will constantly refine lean manufacturing processes to improve our efficiency,” says Nelson. “We’ve recently added new equipment to provide more product and service offerings to our customers. In the coming months/ years, we plan to enhance our online presence to meet our customer’s ever-changing needs.”
2022 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS
COMMUNITY BUILDER OF THE YEAR: PEAK OF THE MARKETBy Lisa Kopochinski
Once a month Peak of the Market partners with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to pack up boxes of produce and deliver them to community service groups in our city.
Peak of the Market Ltd.— this year’s Community Builder of the Year award recipient—is a diverse company driven by a dedicated group of growers and staff that has marketed quality produce for 80 years.
This award recognizes a business that has made a notable impact in the community by providing social and economic growth and empowerment through employment, volunteering, and/or protecting the environment.
With over 70 employees, and its main office, packing and distribution facility in Winnipeg, and a secondary hub in Calgary for distribution, Peak of the Market supplies a wide variety of fresh quality vegetables across Canada and the United States. The commitment to excellence shown by
growers and staff is the reason this company has remained successful.
“This past May, growers—in concert with the provincial government—made legislative changes to move the company into a for-profit model,” says CEO Pamela Kolochuk. “This allows us to create more opportunity for our industry and contribute even more to the provincial economy.”
Diversity and Community Efforts
The company prides itself on having a diverse workplace and considers community to be of the utmost importance.
“The contribution everyone makes allows us to achieve our
collective commitment to excellence,” says Kolochuk. “Every month we have a day dedicated to ‘Pick Pam’s Brain’ where any of our staff can sit down with me and provide me with their thoughts and ideas about our operations. Everyone should have a voice and come to work with a purpose. Everyone matters.”
The company also strives to give back to the community. For instance, it recently donated $30,000 to STARS Air Ambulance so it could purchase an important piece of equipment used to transport infants in incubators in their new helicopters.
Additionally, Peak of the Market donated $50,000 to Agriculture in the Classroom Manitoba to help create an online HUB of information for teachers and students.
The company is also in its 11th year of its popular Farm to School fundraising program that sees 50 per cent of the total sales of vegetables sold returned to schools and daycares. Last year alone, it gave back nearly $210,000 to these important groups.
“And, once a month we partner with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to pack up boxes of produce and deliver them to community service groups in our city,” adds Kolochuk. “We’ve donated hundreds of thousands of pounds and fed thousands of families since February 2021 as a result of this award-winning partnership.
With it vision to supply fresh produce to ensure all Canadians can fill half their plate, no matter their circumstances, she adds that Peak of the Market is so grateful to be acknowledged as a community builder. “It allows us to uphold our vision and give back to the community that has given us so much. We are steadfast in our belief that creating sustainable, well-nourished communities will serve us well into the future.”
2022 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR: SAN VITO COFFEE HOUSEBy Lisa Kopochinski
San Vito Coffee House—this year’s recipient of the Innovator of the Year Award —prides itself on being a comfortable and engaging gathering place for friends, family, and business leaders.
Named after a city in Costa Rica, the company prides itself on serving Costa Rican coffee, says owner Geordie Wilson. In addition to coffee, lattes and cappuccinos, this West Winnipeg business offers a wide variety of sandwiches, soup, salads, and a great breakfast menu that its regulars love.
Since opening 12 years ago, San Vito Coffee House makes being a socially conscious company a priority and commits to all cups, lids, and straws being fully compostable despite the high cost of doing so.
“We’re also proud of our food menu,” says Wilson. “Everything is baked and cooked in-house, apart from a few cereal and baked goods. Our soup is made from scratch. We think of ourselves as authentic.”
During the COVID-19 shutdown, when people could no longer come into the restaurant, Wilson delivered thousands of flyers door to door so that people could order takeout.
“We also did a contest on a radio station. We did everything we could to keep things moving. There is no substitute for hard work. You must put the work in, but there are no guarantees. You have to give it all you’ve got. We have our trials and tribulations just like everybody else, but good days outweigh bad ones. You’re always in control of your attitude. As a result, we were very successful.”
At this point, San Vito Coffee House is a daytime business that closes at 5 p.m.
However, Wilson says he’s open to the idea of growing its catering business, as well as opening for events such as retirement parties.
And while he’s not shy about saying he’s in business to make money, he loves the interaction with his customers.
“We have a lot of seniors come in here in the afternoon. We just had a birthday party for Herb, one of our customers, who is 99 years old and a former WWII pilot. It’s very enriching to be around all these people. I want to continue to make San Vito Coffee House a place where everyone can come and feel comfortable—university kids, elderly people, everyone. And to keep promoting that social atmosphere.”
As for his thoughts on winning Innovator of the Year, he smiles and says, “Losing wasn’t an option.”
2022 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS
NON-PROFIT OF THE YEAR: COMMUNITY AMBITIONS DAY SERVICE INC.
Community Ambitions Day Service Inc. is this year’s recipient of the Non-Profit of the Year Award which celebrates a non-profit organization within the West Winnipeg community that is fulfilling its mission in the community and making remarkable contribution socially, culturally, physically, economically, and ethically.
Formed in 1982, Community Ambitions Day Services provides support and job training to adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. Many do volunteer work for Winnipeg businesses including packaging, mailouts, folding and—prior to the pandemic—volunteering in hospitals, care homes and fundraising events.
Executive Director Heather Caners says it’s a huge honour for Community Ambitions Day Services to receive this award.
“It meant so much to everyone! We hosted a big party for all our staff and individuals. We felt so appreciated for the work that we’ve done for other businesses and are so proud to be nominated among such an amazing group of non-profits, all doing such incredible work.”
Four Decades of Experience
With four decades of experience under its proverbial belt, Caners says Community Ambitions Day Services
has been successful because of its amazing team.
“The staff and the participants develop very strong relationships, and this leads to incredibly successful days. The team wants to also give back to the community through volunteer work as this helps us develop relationships with companies and assist our individuals in learning new skills. As cheesy as it sounds, there is a huge feeling of ‘family’ in our program.”
She says another thing that has kept Community Ambitions Day Services so strong is its relationships with other amazing companies and agencies such as the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, Dave’s Quick Print, Chicken Delight, Palliative Manitoba, Agriculture in the Classroom, and so many more.
“They provide us with some really interesting work, and our individuals have developed really strong friendships with some of their employees too.”
As for its plans are for next few years, Caners says while COVID took away many activities, routines and volunteer positions that were very important, they are slowly working on getting creative ensure everyone’s days are as meaningful and interesting as possible.By Lisa Kopochinski
“Our staff is now planning theme weeks, arts and crafts projects, cooking classes, movie parties, and more! We are definitely looking for more in house jobs and new volunteer opportunities to enhance the programming that we provide and develop new community relationships. Finding new work and new ways to help out in the community is going to be a priority for the next year.”
Many of the individuals at Community Ambitions Day Services do volunteer work for Winnipeg businesses, including packaging and mailouts, in addition to volunteering in hospitals, care homes, and at fundraising events.
2022 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR: BISON LIQUORSBy Lisa Kopochinski
Bison Liquors—formed just three years ago— is this year’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipient. This award recognizes a young business owner who has made a significant impact in the community with the introduction and management of a business operation through business innovation, positive youth image contribution, creativity, viable products, and services.
When asked what winning this award means, Bison Liquors Owner Marco Illana-Mata says it was a surprise as the level of the candidates was extremely high and he never thought he would have the honour of receiving this recognition.
“It was a very special day that recognized that part of my work was bearing fruit, and that I had to continue learning and improving every day so that this recognition could be validated in the future. I hope my work continues to have this type of recognition that helps me every day to demand a little more of myself to continue growing personally and professionally.”
Illana-Mata has long had ambitions to create his own business from a young age growing up in Spain.
“When I arrived in Canada, I saw all the opportunities this country offers. Based on my previous experience in the industry, I decided to offer Manitoba premium quality products at affordable prices, which weren’t there when we started and still aren’t when it comes to local businesses.
It is because of this and great dedication that Bison Liquors has become the number one selling vodka from local producers.
Familiar Name Choice
With its one factory located in West St. Paul, Bison Liquors products can be found throughout the province. When asked why he chose the name Bison Liquors, Illana-Mata says he looked for something that would quickly relate to the province and be easy to explain to consumers.
“I then realized that many [companies] already proudly bore the name of this quintessential animal of the Manitoba prairies, but I decided to use that name adding the word ‘Liquors’ to identify it from the others. The name also makes a perfect reference to the values we have since we are a strong company that knows how to adapt quickly to changes, just like herds of bison do.”
Marcos Illana-Mata has long had ambitions to create his own business from a young age growing up in Spain.
When asked about what he faces running a business, he says the world is changing and the challenges for small and medium businesses are becoming more difficult to face in a global market—such as the scarcity of raw materials and problems with transport.
“This has undoubtedly given us headaches, but our response to these challenges has been to bet more on local suppliers or those closest to us, and betting on a circular economy avoiding shipping distances, and promoting the growth of small and medium-sized companies like ours.”
The Near Future
As for what the next one to three years holds for Bison Liquors, IllanaMata says his short-term plans are to consolidate strongly in the Manitoba market with all the products in their portfolio.
“For the next few years, we want to make the leap to other provinces, or the United States, to continue offering our premium quality products at prices that all consumers can afford. We want to grow to become a larger company that helps create jobs in the province so that Manitoba is increasingly recognized worldwide for the quality of its products.”
Winnipeg Airports Authority brings its strengths to the communityBy Paul Adair
As the “Heart of the Continent”, Winnipeg has long-served as a traditional meeting place; first by Indigenous peoples in the area, and then fur traders, settlers, railway pioneers, and tens of thousands of immigrants who – collectively for more than 6,000 years – have gathered around the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers to do business.
In more recent years, Winnipeg has built a reputation as being a thriving trimodal hub and has become a transportation powerhouse of the
prairies, thanks in large part to the efforts of Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA).
WAA is a community-based, nonshare capital corporation responsible for managing, operating, maintaining, and investing in Winnipeg Richardson International Airport since 1997. As Manitoba’s gateway to the world, the airport sees more than 4,200 cargo plane landings and saw more than 4.5 million passengers pass through its doors annually before the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than this, WAA is also a $4 billion economic boon for both the City of Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba. The airport supports 10,800 direct jobs and 8,000 indirect jobs within the city, as well as many other economic benefits for the surrounding community and West Winnipeg neighbourhoods.
“We believe our role is to be a catalyst for economic growth, something that we’ve certainly seen happen over the last 25 years,” says WAA President and CEO, Nick Hays. “In the future,
we will continue to explore some very exciting ideas that are sure to spark further economic opportunities for the City of Winnipeg overall, but equally so for West Winnipeg.”
As part of this, WAA is developing its new $100 million cargo logistics facility located on the east side of the airport. This significant project is supported in part by the federal government through the National Trade Corridor Fund, and it will deliver a tremendous advantage for the local importing and exporting industry once complete.
“This will be an outstanding facility that is cold chain enabled, which means new types of products can get to market and create a stronger supply chain in and out of Winnipeg, and Manitoba more broadly,” says Hays. “This is really going to be a boost for the City of Winnipeg, as well as for all the people and families that benefit from the increased business activity it will bring. It’s going to be a game changer and is really quite exciting for everyone involved.”
WAA strives to have its airport reflective of the community it serves, and wants to be a welcoming, inclusive place for all people, from all walks of life within the community. It is that focus that has helped WAA to be selected one of Manitoba’s Top Employers (2022) by the editors of Canada’s Top Employers, which recognizes employers in the province that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. This was the 11th consecutive year that WAA has received this award.
“This award is a testament to the team we have here, and none of what we do today would be possible without them,” says Hays. “Our employees like
ARRIVE EARLY AND
working here and that says a lot, and a big part of that is how WAA commits to serving the local community, which is central to our purpose and our mission. Our people feel strongly about the role that we play in supporting good in the community, and it’s a big part of the reason why we get out of bed in the morning and come to work.”
For more than a decade, the organization has awarded its
WAA Queen Elizabeth II Aviation Scholarship to deserving local graduates pursuing a career in aviation. The annual award is set up in perpetuity with St. JamesAssiniboia School Division through the St. James Scholarship Foundation to help support and inspire the next generation in aviation.
WAA also flexes its green thumb for a cause with the Harvest Garden located on the airport campus. The
first vegetable garden was planted in the same year that WAA took the management of YWG over from the federal government. Since then, the Harvest Garden has expanded from just a few rows of vegetables at the beginning to approximately 4,000 square feet, and has donated more than 70,000 pounds of carrots, onions, beets, and potatoes to local food banks and contributing to healthy meals for 100,000 Manitoba families in need. This year alone, almost 6,000 pounds of fresh vegetables were pulled from the ground in support of Harvest Manitoba (formerly Winnipeg Harvest).
More than just a plot of land, the Harvest Garden is a labour of love where WAA employees from across the company chip in to help seed, care for, and harvest the crop each and every year.
“Giving is important to us and is the core to our mission – it’s embedded into our DNA,” says Hays. “We were set up 25 years ago to be a community organization, and it’s fair to say that, when we say care about the community, we mean it.”
More than just a plot of land, the Harvest Garden is a labour of love where WAA employees from across the company chip in to help seed, care for, and harvest the crop each and every year.By Paul Adair
Bison Transport leads the way in Winnipeg and across North America
Named after the formidable symbol of Manitoba’s pioneering spirit and the emblem of Manitoba, Bison Transport is a privately held and professionally managed transportation company with a deep connection to West Winnipeg. For more than 50 years, the company first founded by Duncan Jessiman in 1969 has been firmly relied on as one of the largest, safest, and most modern fleets on the road to serve valued clients from coast to coast to coast.
In 2003, Bison Transport remodelled the old Sherwin Williams warehouse into its new corporate office near the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport, from where the company currently oversees operations throughout North America. The company also owns several other local West Winnipeg facilities, such as its maintenance and logistics
yards, warehouse, and facilities at CentrePort along the perimeter.
“The City of Winnipeg is logistically well-centred within North America to provide timely freight services to Canada, the United States, and Mexico,” says Bison Transport President & CEO Rob Penner. “We also have terminals across the country in Mississauga, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Langley, and south of the border in the United States.”
Most recently, Bison Transport acquired Pottle’s Transportation out of Hermon, Maine, further broadening its reach into the United States and strengthening its Bison Transport USA brand.
To date, the company employs more than 4,000 employees across its operations, a quarter of whom
live in Winnipeg, with many calling West Winnipeg home. That being said, of the largest challenges Bison Transport currently faces is workforce recruitment and finding the right people – both drivers and non-drivers – willing to join the Bison family. The good news is that Winnipeg’s diverse culture is closely aligned with the values of the company, something that will be instrumental in ensuring the workforce of the future for Bison Transport.
“We’re able to draw on those strong communities to find talented employees,” says Penner. “The character of Winnipeg fits so well with us here at Bison Transport, providing us with a great place to work and call home. Without the people of Winnipeg, we believe that we wouldn’t nearly be as successful as we’ve been over the last 50-plus years.”
Since its founding, Bison Transport has received some of North America’s most coveted industry awards, recognizing the company’s commitment to business innovation, road and operational safety, and environmental sustainability. One of its most significant achievements has been earning the Truckload Carriers Association’s National Fleet Safety Award for carriers over 100 million miles – not once or twice, but over multiple consecutive and remarkable years.
Bison Transport believes strongly in doing what it can to make the world a better place. The company embraces solid environmental practices and utilizes green technology, and partners with the federal government to test aerodynamic trailer equipment, and actively participates
in electric and autonomous vehicle testing. Bison Transport has also been recognized by the rigorous U.S. EPA with a SmartWay designation, confirming that the company maintains an eco-friendly trucking fleet.
Through its Bison Cares fundraising initiative, the company also fosters a spirit of giving back and contributes to various causes and charities, such as ALS Canada, the Make a Wish Foundation, and the Canadian Red Cross (most recently giving to the Ukrainian Humanitarian Crisis Appeal), among many other worthy causes.
“One of the critical success factors for Bison Transport is our people, and they have been instrumental in helping us achieve our growth objectives,” says Penner. “Finding ways to support
this community that has – in turn – supported our employees and company throughout the years is the right thing to do.”
Closer to home, Bison Transport has also been a proud supporter of Special Olympics through Motionball and the Marathon of Sport, as well as the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation’s Challenge for Life. The company has also been active with First Book Canada since 2016, providing both financial and volunteer support. First Book Canada transforms the lives of children in need by improving access to educational opportunities and creating equal access to quality education.
“We have enabled the purchase of books for Brooklands School just east of Route 90 and, additionally, have provided volunteers to pick, sort, and pack books at Richlin Warehouse on Inkster Boulevard, where there could be 40-60,000 books in total to sort through,” says Penner. “Our volunteers have also given of their time to go to the school and read to the elementary students.”
In 2021, the ownership of Bison Transport changed hands from the Jessiman family to the Richardson family. Like the Jessimans, James Richardson & Sons (JRSL) is another family-owned and operated corporation with deep ties to the City of Winnipeg.
“To go from one successful Manitoba company to another has been a real win for Bison Transport, and a real win for Manitoba,” says Penner. “We started here in West Winnipeg, this is where our head offices are, and this is where we will continue to do business for the foreseeable future.”
“One of the critical success factors for Bison Transport is our people, and they have been instrumental in helping us achieve our growth objectives.”
Birchwood Automotive Group keeps giving backBy Paul Adair
One of the best feelings in the world is buying and owning your own car, and many Winnipeggers are able to trace their fondest memories of family road trips, drive-in movies, and daily commutes back to West Winnipeg’s Birchwood Automotive Group.
Birchwood was founded by Robert M. Chipman in 1963, when the business started out as a single Pontiac Buick dealership situated on the busy corner of Portage Avenue and Moray Street in St. James – the first car dealership in West Winnipeg. In the many years since, Birchwood has grown to become Manitoba’s largest automotive dealership group and, all told, Birchwood today represents more than 25 per cent of all the vehicles sold in the City of Winnipeg.
In 1999, Birchwood moved operations from its original Portage and Moray location to the Pointe West AutoPark by the West Perimeter, with eight dealerships and one body shop. Recently, the company has also acquired Winnipeg Dodge, the last dealership at Point West that it already didn’t own.
Across Winnipeg, and serving customers throughout southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Birchwood today is comprised of 25 dealerships carrying 22 automotive brands with vehicle servicing, as well as three collision repair facilities, four Birchwood Credit stores, and the company’s special restoration facility.
As the automotive industry has evolved, transitioning away from Detroit’s Big Three car manufacturers (General Motors Company, Stellantis (formally Fiat Chrysler), and Ford Motor Company) and toward more international automakers in Europe and Asia, Birchwood has stayed true to the values that have served well throughout the years, and the company remains wholly committed to the City of Winnipeg.
“Our business started in Winnipeg and grew up in Winnipeg, and we still believe that Winnipeg is the best place to be to do business,” says Birchwood Automotive Group President & CEO Steve Chipman. “So rather than moving to different geographical areas to sell one brand, we’ve chosen to diversify our business by providing a variety of
For 60 years, Birchwood Automotive Group has been meeting the needs of car buyers across southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while never forgetting its roots here in West WinnipegBirchwood - UW East. Birchwood - UW West.
Birchwood You Drive.
vehicles made by the different automakers, all right here in Winnipeg.”
Consumer trends have become increasingly online-centric, and Birchwood is continually seeking out new ways to deliver on what Manitobans expect from their dealer when buying a car. The company strives to be an industry leader in saving their customers time and providing transparency as they shop, whether that’s at the dealership in person or online through its new digital auto buying platform, You Drive.
“You can go onto our website today and basically buy a car over the Internet, without ever having to come into the dealership,” says Chipman. “Merge is one of our newest operations here at Birchwood, where we deliver the car to your door, you get to drive the car seven days, and – if you don’t like it – we give you your money back no questions asked. This is the future of our business.”
With more than 1,200 employees from across Winnipeg (over half of which are employed in West Winnipeg), Birchwood’s impact to the city has been significant, and the company has been recognized multiple times by Aon Hewitt and other research bodies as a top employer in Canada. And while Birchwood may have branched out into the north, east, and south quadrants of the community, West Winnipeg is still considered home.
As such, Birchwood strongly believes in becoming more involved in the local community and finding new opportunities to give back to the city that has supported the business over the last 60 years. The company values of personal leadership, trust and respect, continuous improvement, and generosity all begin with gratitude, and with that gratitude comes the responsibility to give back.
“Winnipeg and the St. James have always been very good
Merge truck trailer.
to us, and we are always grateful for what this community has given us – that’s why we need to be generous in giving back,” says Chipman. “There is a great deal of need here in Winnipeg and there are always people who need help. It’s important for local businesses like ours to step up and do what we can to be more involved. It’s just the right thing to do.”
In addition to supporting local charities, programs, and initiatives through The Birchwood Way, which provides financial, in-kind, and volunteer support, Birchwood is also a proud supporter of the Grace Hospital (where Chipman’s three sons were born) and the good work being done by the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce.
Birchwood has been a proud supporter of the United Way Winnipeg since 1965, with its team members having contributed more than $8 million to the annual United Way of Winnipeg campaign. Birchwood’s founder, Robert M. Chipman, was the Annual Campaign Chair in 1975 and achieved a historic $4 million. In 2013, Steve Chipman followed suit, leading the campaign to raise a recordbreaking $20 million for the community.
“The United Way touches not just the people living in West Winnipeg but all aspects of the city, and there are many Winnipeggers who have been – and are currently being –served by the various agencies that are part of the United Way,” says Chipman. “Our goal at Birchwood is to provide for other people, to provide for our team members, and to provide for our community, and the United Way is a great avenue to make that happen.”
Dedication to its team members, its customers, suppliers, and its community makes Birchwood a recognized leader in the automotive industry.
Switch & Sa ve with Clover!
Switch to Clover and you could earn a $1,000 Visa® gift card*
The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Clover to deliver the newest and most reliable Clover payment solutions, a along with guaranteed savings
Let Clover show you what simple, affordable, transparent pricing looks like - and, if we cannot beat your current processing fees, you will e earn a $1,000 Visa® gift card*
To learn more, contact R Ryan Preston at email@example.com or 431-307-7014.
Simplify how you run your business
• Take payments anywhere using Ethernet, Wi-Fi or LTE on the same device
• Accept all payment types, including Apple Pay®, Google Pay®, Samsung Pay®, WeChat and Alipay.
• Add your logo, website or a custom message to your terminal receipt, and email or text receipts to customers
• Track sales and transactions by employee, and set employee permissions
• Accept payments with our b built-in Virtual Terminal which includes card on file, recurring billing options, and e-invoicing
• Collect and manage customer contact information and marketing preferences, so you can better engage with your customers through email or text
*Terms and Conditions: Merchant processing cost comparison based on all Merchant Services processing charges shown on most recent processor merchant statement, excluding third-party fees, compliance fees and equipment costs. Limit one gift card per merchant. Please allow 6–8 weeks to receive your Visa® gift card. This exclusive offer is valid to new contract merchants only. All regular Merchant Terms and Conditions apply. © 2022 Clover Network, LLC. The Clover name and logo are registered trademarks owned by Clover Network, LLC. and are registered or used in the U.S., Canada, and many foreign countries. All trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners.
James” mural, located on the east side of the building at 1721 Portage Avenue. The mural is a culmination of the collective efforts of the St. James 100 committee and mural artists Jennifer Mosienko and Morgan Biggs. The project started during the pandemic, and there was a drive to celebrate St. James’ centennial, but street parties and festivals were out of the question. As a result, those involved dedicated themselves to creating a lasting monument celebrating the neighbourhood’s history.
The mural is styled after a postcard
of St. James, different points of its history, different landmarks, and different themes. The first S features a family teaching their child to ride a bike in one of the many parks in the neighbourhood. The J pays tribute to the aviation sector that makes its home in St. James. If you’d like to have a little piece of St. James memorabilia of your own, consider investing in a St. James 100th Mural Mug. The Assiniboia Chamber and some of its partners are currently offering them.
The mural is definitely something you should try to see in person. It’s
Cheerhere.ca was created as a support local campaign during the pandemic. Essentially, shop local for your holiday gifts and keep the cheer here. As restrictions lessened, the purpose of the campaign started to diminish. We still want people to support local, but maybe we can rally them under a different banner.
The rebranded Cheerhere.ca is focused on St. James for now and puts the attention on local businesses and the neighbourhood. It’s an index of places in St. James to eat, shop,
stay and play. It’s also a place to host stories about St. James, current events, its history and maybe its future. It’s an evolution of the original idea to “keep the cheer here” but have it more than Christmas shopping.
The idea is that someone visits the mural and scans the QR code, maybe they Google St. James, or their friend sends them the link. Now they have access to a site dedicated to giving them ideas on where to shop, where to eat, places to visit, and which hotel to stay at.
You could make a day out of visiting places you’ve never heard of. Personally, while creating the index for Cheerhere.ca I found a bunch of
places that I’d never heard of before, places that I’m going to have to visit now. There are a lot of restaurants and stores that I would’ve never known about if I didn’t work on this project. My hope is that people visiting the site feel the same way I do: that they find places they’ve never heard of and get to experience something new.
In addition to supporting St. James businesses, we’d like the website to be an opportunity to promote the neighbourhood. Lots of Winnipeggers take pride in where they live, where they work and where they grew up. That’s why the page will have a place to share stories from and about St. James. Anyone can submit a story for consideration, and assuming it’s
inoffensive, we’ll host it on CheerHere. ca. It could be an anecdote written about a St. James landmark, a childhood memory that takes place in the area, or a recap of an event that took place in the neighbourhood – if it’s St. James-related, it’s fair game.
Overall, the point of Cheerhere.ca is to advertise St. James as a whole. Visit the mural, visit the businesses, take the day to have an adventure, maybe write about it and share it on the site. Eventually, as more mural projects are completed, Cheerhere.ca will expand to other neighbourhoods. You’ll have a resource to help plan your adventures throughout west Winnipeg. But for right now, we invite you to visit the mural and explore St. James.
Discovering Portugal: Small group travelBy Kristi Meek, President/Executive Director, Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce
In a short eight-day tour at the end of September, the Assiniboia Chamber led a small group of travellers to discover Portugal! This breathtaking country is famous for its intertwining cobblestone streets, captivating coastal villages, world-class wines, golden beaches, and delicious cuisine.
We began our journey in Lisbon, known for its extraordinary mix of architectural styles and famous landmarks, and stayed in the city of Almada, located across the Tagus River from Lisbon, accessing the city either by crossing the April 25th bridge or by ferry.
Our first full day was in Lisbon, where some travelled to Sintra and others visited the Oceanario de Lisboa, recognized as the best aquarium in the western hemisphere. Day two kept us in Lisbon, where we discovered the Monastery of Jeronimos, a 16th-century World Heritage Site, and explored Belem, where we visited the Belem Tower and indulged in a traditional Pastel de Nata. This pastry filled with an egg custard was a staple all throughout Portugal – in Belem, though, was the original bakery with the original recipe. Served warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon, this was a real treat.
From there we travelled to Obidos, a medieval walled city in the north, home to a breathtaking hilltop castle and narrow cobblestone streets. We then wandered through the fishing village of Nazare, and as we drove to the top of a hill, our first look at the city with its beach on the Atlantic Ocean was breathtaking. A visit to the Monastery of Santa Maria in Batalha ended our day before we arrived in Coimbra for our next adventure.
Home to the magnificent Mondego River and the oldest
university in Portugal, our stay in Coimbra did not disappoint. We then explored Aveiro, dubbed the Venice of Portugal thanks to its picturesque canals, and travelled to Porto, a
breathtaking coastal city situated on the Douro River and one of the top tourist attractions in Europe! Here we sampled sumptuous foods and drinks as we took in the stunning scenery
along the river before we continued our journey to Fatima to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima, one of the most important pilgrimage sites known to Christianity, where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared in 1917. We then made our way back to Lisbon to end the tour of Portugal with some of us visiting the vast shoreline of Caparica Beach.
Filled with unforgettable memories, this first group travel trip organized by the Assiniboia Chamber was a success, and plans for a new adventure in 2023 are being worked on.
Interested in joining us on our next adventure? Please call Kristi at the Chamber office at (204) 774-4154. And stay tuned to the Chamber’s Facebook page and website for future travel plans.
Authentic Food Quest, www.authenticfoodquest.com
This francesinha recipe is for a delicious iconic sandwich from Porto. Full of flavors, this sandwich has layers of sausage, ham and steak wrapped in cheese. Topped with an egg and served with a secret sauce, get ready to dive into the rich and tasty flavors of Portugal’s second city.
For the sandwich:
6 slices white bread
2 tablespoons oil
½ pound beef fillet cut into two
½ pound ham
½ pound linguica sausages or chorizo
1 pound cheese to melt
2 eggs small
For the sauce:
• Place a small saucepan over medium heat on the stove top. Melt the butter and add the onion, garlic, and a little salt.
• Cook until the onion is translucent and begins to brown. Immediately, add the crushed tomato, and the peri peri sauce.
• When the tomato is well cooked, add the beer, bay leaf, Port wine, and broth. Continue cooking uncovered for about 10 more minutes. Dissolve the cornstarch in a quarter cup of water. And add it to the sauce. Cook for about five more minutes, stirring, until the sauce thickens.
• Strain or blend the sauce and then return it into the hot pot. Set aside.
FOR THE SAUCE:
1 small onion finely chopped, 70 g
2 tomatoes ripe, grated, without skin or seeds, 100 g
1 garlic clove crushed
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon Peri Peri sauce
12 oz lager beer
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup beef broth
¾ cup Port wine
1 tablespoon fine corn flour or cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
For the filling:
• Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and once hot, cook the steak for three minutes on each side. Make sure it browns a little.
• Cut the sausages in half, lengthwise, as this prevents them from curling up during cooking.
• Cook for three minutes on each side. Toast the slices of sliced bread.
Assembling the francesinha
• Place one slice of bread on a plate and top with the sliced ham.
• Place the steak on top of the ham. Trim the edges of any protruding pieces of meat.
Email: ywgwi-salesadm@Hilton.com Phone: (204) 786-0907 Address: 1800 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg MB, R3H 1B2
1800 Wellington Ave, Winnipeg MB, R3H 1B2 Email: ywgwi-salesadm@Hilton.com | Phone: (204) 786-0907
• Cover with another slice of bread and top with sausages.
• Finally, cover with another slice of bread. Cover your sandwich with six to eight slices of cheese. Repeat for the other sandwich.
• If desired, with a cookie-cutter, make a notch in the cheese at the top of the sandwich. Crack open a small raw egg and place in the opening.
• Preheat oven on broiler.
• Put the plate of sandwiches quite close to the top and bake for about three minutes. Check regularly to make sure the cheese has only melted and not turned brown.
• Carefully remove the plate and transfer sandwiches to two plates.
• Pour warm sauce over each sandwich, covering it entirely.
• Surround each sandwich with plenty of french fries and enjoy.
• Serve some additional sauce to use while eating your sandwich.
If you have trouble keeping the cheese and meat in the place, hold together using toothpicks. We use extra-virgin olive oil for this recipe. You can use any vegetable oil as well.
Serving: 1 | Calories: 1979kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 110g | Fat: 140g | Saturated Fat: 67g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 45g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 576mg | Sodium: 3584mg | Potassium: 1430mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 4063IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 1683mg | Iron: 5mg
The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce MEMBER BENEFITS
The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the value of membership is different for everyone, and in order to achieve the most value to all members, we provide a wide variety of specialized services and products. Through business and membership relationships that the Chamber operates as and invests in, we are delighted to provide and share these benefits to help our business members reach their organizational goals.
Learn more by attending an upcoming Chamber 101 session that we host online every second month. Visit www. assiniboiachamber.ca. to see the next offering!
Advocacy and Policy
Benefit from a unified voice for business-friendly legislation at all levels of government. You can also meet and network with local elected officials during receptions and events. Our membership in the provincial and national Chamber organizations provides resources and strength in lobbying for good government and a viable economic business community. Local issues are undertaken with your needs in mind.
Networking and Events
Our monthly in-person events see anywhere from 15 to 40 attendees − a nice, intimate group that allows for dedicated connections and are typically held at locations throughout West Winnipeg. A mix of online meetings are a regular offering using Zoom. At every networking event, members connect with other local businesses and potential customers.
Marketing Your Business
Helping you spread the word…that’s what we do! Advertising via one of our communication channels (social media, Chamber Connection eNewsletter, website, Chamber TV) is a great way to raise your visibility.
• Online Event Calendar
Visit www.assiniboiachamber.ca/events to see all upcoming Chamber and Community events. Posting on the Community Events Calendar is free! If your business is celebrating a milestone or hosting an event (sale, meeting, anniversary), we encourage you to post your event here as
we market the calendar on our social media sites and in our newsletters.
The Assiniboia Chamber office has a wonderful walk-by traffic location (across the bridge to Assiniboine Park and next to Sargent Sundae on Portage Avenue). With a 50inch TV in our front window, passersby stop (enjoy their ice cream) and look in our window to see marketing loops that include: Chamber News, Events: Chamber and Community, Member News, Advertisements, Weather Updates, Quotes, etc.
Our convenient office location means we get a lot of foot traffic! Whether folks stop by to ask questions, pick up promotional material and attraction flyers we love to connect with the public to promote our members. Member flyers and business cards are on display; ready for us to hand out to visitors.
Social Media Advertising
Our Chamber is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Follow us to find out what we are up to! Is your business on social media? Let us know your handle so we can follow you and share, like and retweet your events, promotions, and information about your business. Sharing your posts means more views for you and your business.
• Website Listing and Advertising
As a Chamber member, your business information is automatically added to our website. Want to step it up a notch? We encourage you to take advantage of our handson site to add a link to your website, map, and photos to maximize your company’s listing. You can also post your Value Offers and Discounts and add upcoming events in our online calendar. With your member login, changes are just a click away!
Chamber Membership Services
Proudly display your certificate and affix your Chamber decal on your business window to let patrons know you are a member of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce. We
will also send you a .jpg of our member logo to add to your website and social media sites.
Looking for space to hold your next meeting or seminar? Give us a call at (204) 774-4154 to book our boardroom and upstairs dining/classroom area. Free for members, small fee for non-members.
The ACC purchased the Pro version of Zoom and wants to share it with you at no charge! If you need to host an online meeting that’s longer than 40 minutes, to record your meeting, or to ask your attendees questions using a polling feature, then the Pro version of Zoom is available for you to use.
Member Information Centre (MIC)
The MIC is an internal website just for members. You can view and edit company information, which automatically updates the Chamber Online Directory. Plus, download the free mobile MIC app for on-the-go access.
Whether you’re celebrating the opening of a new business, an anniversary, or the expansion/relocation of an existing business in West Winnipeg or surrounding area, we are excited for your success. Promoting the event, inviting the Chamber Board and local government officials, and so much more is what the Chamber offers to help you mark this momentous occasion.
The Connection eNewsletter (monthly, public)
A monthly e-newsletter that is distributed to Chamber members and the community at large.
Savings and Discounts
As a member of the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, our Chamber can pass some remarkable savings onto our members.
Chambers Group Insurance Plan
The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan is Canada’s largest group benefit program for small business, serving over 30,000 firms. As a Chamber member, you can use the Chambers Plan to protect yourself and your employees with comprehensive group benefits, including dental and health insurance.
Value Offers and Discounts (Members Only)
As a member of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, our Chamber can pass some remarkable savings onto our members. Our Chamber has also created affinity partnerships for our own members’ benefits as well.
Member To Member (M2M) Deals
Members can share a special rate to fellow Chamber members and the community at large by providing an online off er and discount that we will promote through our website, The Connection eNewsletter, and social media sites.
Canada’s #1 Plan for employee benefits
Chambers Plan covers all sides of the workplace experience – even when the workplace is at home. With online enrolment, claims and benefits management, Teladoc telemedicine and more, we continually innovate to meet your ever-changing needs. But for our 30,000 clients, one thing doesn’t change – Chambers Plan’s industry-leading rate stability.
Proudly administered by
Based in Winnipeg, Johnston Group is dedicated to enriching the community, contributing significantly to our local youth programs, health, arts, sports, and many other organizations. We’re very proud to also support Manitoba’s small business community. johnstongroup.ca