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• Monty Fordham Ante anti-spam Page 12 • Renee Carpenter Daring décor Page 24 • Special Feature Running a small business Page 17–23 August, 2013

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Dave Karn, Barb Molinaro and John Karn Dowler-Karn keeps it personal with astonishing results over 70 years Cover story: Page 3 1


Supporting Our Community

www.dowlerkarn.com Serving quality customers with quality products for 70 years

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Dowler-Karn serves southwestern Ontario Fuel, propane, lubricants, BBQs … and a museum

by Terry Carroll

As Dowler-Karn president Dave Karn points out, But in addition to fuels and propane are commodities. The products regularly attracting customers, themselves, if they are of the same grade, are es- new this St. Thomas sentially the same from any supplier in Canada. business So what sets Dowler-Karn – now celebrating family 70 years as a family business – apart from others? has expanded by What has led to growth and success to the point slowly and steadily other that this family business now serves southwestern acquiring businesses. It has Ontario from its home base in St. Thomas? The main answer is the same one just about branches and cusevery business owner will give – customer ser- tomers from Guelvice. But what does customer service mean for ph on the west a business that offers four main products: fuels, through to Windpropane, lubricants and barbecues. One thing it sor on the east and means is knowing who your customers are and from Lake Erie in understanding what they want and need. Agricul- the south to a line ture has always been very important to Dowler- from Grand Bend The museum at Dowler-Karn is open Wednesdays 10 – 4, or by appointment. Karn. At one time, the business was servicing up- to Exeter in the wards of 65 tobacco growers, and delivering fuel north. The company now employees about 110 people Karn Fuels was added as a “farm trade agent” for and propane day and night as needed. With the decline in tobacco, and the growth in other cash and “has never had to lay off an employee,” Jeff the area. Jack Karn was dating Joyce Fowler, and crops across southwestern Ontario, Dowler-Karn says. Fortunately after the 2008 downturn, ag- the separate but friendly companies merged in maintains this tradition. For example, drivers go riculture picked up. Dowler-Karn with its track both the personal and professional senses. Joyce record of customer service, was married Jack, and by 1968, Dowler-Karn Limited 24 hours a day during crop dryperfectly poised to switch gears was formed. Joyce and Jack were active in Dowlering season, if that’s what producand expand its service to farm- Karn their entire lives, and the business is now ers need to keep farming. managed by Dave as president, with John Karn ers. Because they deal with so many “we never sit still” When Dowler-Karn makes a and Barn Molinaro as vice-presidents. farmers, Dowler-Karn is comJack and Joyce never wanted to waste anything. new acquisition, management mitted to a down-home, comThat original saving interest, coupled with Joyce’s mon sense style. A human being answers the tele- and staff go the extra mile to make sure that the phone, instead of a machine. That human voice service is excellent and that everybody does what interest in collecting, led to the establishment of is usually a male who sounds as if he could have they can to support the local community. For ex- a museum of “petroliana” at the 100-acre head ofstepped down from a John Deere tractor himself. ample, they participated in a St. Thomas Elgin fice site (lots of room for expansion). The second General Hospital fundraiser a couple of years ago floor of the museum showcases 1,200 distinct Nobody at Dowler-Karn is putting on airs. And they keep current with trends of their cus- and were a huge supporter of the International toy trucks, 59 trains, 10 planes and two boats, all tomers. Dowler-Karn got into propane in 1979, Plowing Match in 2010, when it was held almost related to the oil or fuel business. The full-sized and today, “We sell more propane than fuel oil,” in their back yard in Central Elgin just east of St. antique vehicles on the main floor include trucks Dave Karn says. They sell propane to taxi cabs, Thomas. In St. Marys, they partnered with a local that have been requisitioned for movies such as vehicle fleets, agriculture (e.g., poultry barns and radio station for the “Barbecue Build-off” for the Amelia and Hairspray. The museum is open Wednesdays 10 to 4, and grain dryers), people in the country who switched Memorial Hospital, and they plan to be involved other times by appointment. It is bursting at the from oil heating or who have no access to natu- in a hospital fundraiser in Chatham in 2014. seams and is likely due for a new home when “Each branch employs local people, and we make ral gas and for many other heating, cooling and Dowler-Karn rebuilds its head office on its curcooking purposes. Dowler-Karn itself runs 15 ve- sure we support the local community,” Dave says. After a new acquisition, he considers each of the rent site … the inevitable outcome of a simple hicles on propane. The company is always on the go. “We never sit local people who stays on with Dowler-Karn to be but difficult business idea: understanding customers and building a business dedicated to serving an ambassador in the community. still,” Dave says. The business began in 1943 when George them. The biggest growth at Dowler-Karn has come through what Dave Karn and Marketing Manag- Dowler became an Esso agent. In 1952, Imperial Cover photo: Philip Bell, Shutter Studios er Jeff Shaw refer to as “our new customer base.” Oil wanted two agents in St. Thomas, and Jack Elgin This Month General Manager Terry Carroll Section Editor Business Beat – Bob Hammersley

Advertising Sales Manager Nelson Parreira Graphic Design / Production Metroland Media Group Sales Representative Greg Minnema

Elgin This Month is a monthly magazine focusing on business and lifestyle issues and includes Business Beat, the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce newsletter. The publication is available for pickup at no charge at news stands and other locations around Elgin County, as well as distribution to businesses and selected households.

Published monthly by Metroland Media Group Ltd., 15 St. Catharine Street, St. Thomas, ON N5P 2V7 519-633-1640 www.theweeklynews.ca/etm August, 2013

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INNES As I See It

Schemers and swindlers A question of trust for lambs in a world of wolves by Jim Innes If it’s too good to be true then it’s most likely not to be trusted. A lesson I revisited as I attempted to use the web to purchase a vehicle and then later to sell another. A few months back, I went looking for a used motorcycle. I looked on-line in Auto Trader and Kijiji. I thought I had found a great deal that (apparently) was the result of a divorce settlement. After expressing my interest, an eBay invoice was emailed to me. It explained that the bike would be delivered from a warehouse in Northern Ontario. It was a plausible yet suspicious story. After unsuccessfully getting a phone number to confirm the agreements, I googled my concerns and found that the sale was a known con. Scheming and scamming, in its many disguises, is an unfortunate reality – especially on the World Wide Web. If you google “scams,” you can read plenty about the daily working of several fraudsters on Kijiji and Auto Trader. Some ploys are quite intricate and treacherous. Recently I attempted to use the web to sell a friend’s vehicle. Over 90 percent of the responses were from schemers and swindlers. Some were trying to get something for nothing. The worst of them were trying to con money from me. Like

vultures, they circled and pecked at me more than once. For example, I received three calls from a company guaranteeing to sell my vehicle for an upfront fee of $500. And daily I received replies from a U.S.-based overpayment/shipping scam. We are each wary by nature, and in my experience, incidents such as these reinforce and elicit social anxieties. Occasionally, when we are overwhelmed by the assaults on our sensibilities, we close our eyes in hope that the nonsense will disappear. Kijiji and Auto Trader are useful tools as well as playgrounds for rip-off artists. But there are many other venues. And these above-mentioned experiences are but representative of ploys we daily encounter. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has a comprehensive website that highlights the many ways we can approach these issues. It outlines scams like pyramid schemes, phone fraud, and bogus vehicle protection deals. Their long list of widespread cons shock anyone thinking better of the world we live in. Another good resource on this topic is the website of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. It identifies and offers protective measures from common financial frauds like credit card cons and identity theft. It names traps like the implanting of small devices on gas pumps to record your credit card number; or a virus program, that tracks and stores your computer keyboard usage so to steal personal info. These very real commonplace frauds are consuming and dangerous. Closed eyes are not an option. We can too easily run across someone who wants to pull the wool

over our eyes or take from us what doesn’t belong to them. All that said and despite the level of deceit around we willmore continue to trust healthy to the best of Beus,much effective, our ability.and We can’t but in do all otherwise. For greater happy aspects then our mistrust and cautious skepticism is our your life.And to do that innate drive to of live, love daily and grow. Successful counseling and is as I see we must risk being vulnerable …therapy and so, a collaborative process that benefits from the it, it has always been, and will always be that the active participation of clients and therapist. lamb will lie down with the wolf.

You do have options

Jim Jim Innes is Innes a clinically trainedCounselling therapist and A clinically trained and a priest at St. John’s experienced Individual Anglican Church & Couples Therapist

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BUSINESS & COMMUNITY Technology

Seniors keep learning and stay connected Technology is one of their new BFFs by Peter Atkinson Baby Boomers, Gen X, Generation Y, (also known as Generation Why), Millennials and more. It seems we’ve been dividing ourselves up for a long time now, figuring that the different generations are both cause and effect of different eras. For one, we’ve been told that seniors don’t use technology. It’s been taken at face value, just as teenagers keep getting worse. Except that Socrates wrote way back when: “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders ... and tyrannize their teachers.� Last year StatsCan reported that 60% of seniors aged 65 to 74 and 29% of those aged 75 and over had used the Internet in the month prior to the survey. That’s up from the imaginary 0% that we’ve been told, and considering that survey was taken in 2010, the numbers are likely much higher today. Another survey by Revera found that Canadian seniors were using technology, well, pretty much like anyone else. They were emailing of course (98%), and doing research on things they’re interested in (76%), doing their banking and investing (65%), and even shopping (33%). But they were also Skyping (19%) and using Facebook (36%), as ways to stay connected to family.

Seventy percent of people over the age of 75 say technology will help them live in their own homes longer – something that almost every senior wants to do. No matter how well run, clean, fun and well-trained the staff is, less than 10% of seniors are actually looking forward to moving into that last co-ed dorm. Why am I telling you all this? It was with great pride that I gave my mother the tablet computer she wanted for her 86th birthday in July. It wasn’t an iPad. Heck, it wasn’t even this year’s model. But for less than half the price of the iPad, she can do more than she ever dreamed possible. Sure, she mostly just surfs the web, emails and plays bridge, but now she can do it whenever and wherever she wants: in bed, in the garden, while having coffee on the back deck. Pretty much anywhere in the house that’s covered by her wi-fi network. She doesn’t know what wi-fi stands for or how it works, but she knows what it does, just as she’s learned how to use the touch screen on her tablet. And that has made her life better. So if you know people who say they hate technology, or who take some odd kind of pride in being able to do nothing with it, maybe it’s time to have a talk with them. No matter the age, we all want to make things easier, keep learning and connect with our friends

and family. The stories just distract us from the larger truth – that age is less important than interest, and that the biggest barriers are those we create for ourselves. Peter Atkinson was the St. Thomas Library’s E-Services Specialist for 4 1/2 years. He now lives in Ottawa, and brings a wider perspective to technology issues.

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LIFESTYLE In The Garden

Every garden is personal Creators find wonderful ways to work with unique spaces

by Dorothy Gebert

Gardeners are always making choices about plants, layout, and decorative features. These elements combine to create outdoor spaces that are as unique as their owners.

I saw this process in action at the St. Thomas & District Horticultural Society Garden Tour, held July 7 this year. Visiting the nine gardens on display, which ranged from small patios to sprawling backyards, I noticed how all of them were stamped with the personalities of their creators. Here are a few examples.

Patio garden

Lois Hornby and Eric McCreadie take a break in their patio garden. (Photo by Dorothy Gebert)

The Lynhurst garden of retirees Eric McCreadie and Lois Hornby was the smallest garden on the tour. But the stepped deck off the patio doors was packed with a lot of different elements. My eye was immediately drawn to a burbling fountain in front of a decorative lattice. Flowers overflowed

containers and beds in one corner and vegetables grew tall in the other. There was even a gravel garden for cacti. Off the deck, a collection of hostas bloomed in the corner of the yard. Mirrors installed against the fence made it look as if there were twice as many plants! Lois said they kept the garden small to make it easy to take care of. “The whole thing was done so we could do this,” Eric said, pointing to where he was sitting.

Relaxation garden

It was all about calm and serenity in the West Avenue garden of Rosemary Allman, who is a church secretary. Entering through a narrow gate, I was amazed at the variety of plants she had amassed in her small garden: roses, willows, hostas, hydrangeas, grapes, irises, strawberries, clematis, herbs, and more, all of which bloom at different times of the year. Rosemary said she didn’t spend a lot of money on plants since most of them were either given to her or bought on sale. Beside the garage, a live turtle named Franklin was at home in a small pond (covered with netting so he wouldn’t wander). Sitting in the comfortable covered seating area, I could understand why it was the perfect place for Rose-

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Lifestyle In The Garden Jim and June Harris in their barn garden. (Photo by Dorothy Gebert) mary to relax and enjoy the coolness of her garden.

Water garden

Since Brian Leverton is a fire prevention officer, it seemed fitting that he and his wife Shelley should have water in their garden. The couple had enjoyed a small pond at a previous house and decided to create an even bigger one when they moved to a home in the Dalewood area. Brian dug a hole with a small backhoe and piled the soil into berms along the sides. This arrangement was perfect for a waterfall to splash down upon rocks into the pond. He planted the edges with cattails, rushes and waterloving species, and completed the scene with goldfish and decorative features.

It’s no wonder the Leverton family congregates around the pond most of the time. “You can solve a lot of the world’s problems sitting here,” Brian said.

Barn garden

Jim and June Harris created a unique garden off Talbot Line as a way to commemorate their farm heritage. After they had torn down a dilapidated dairy barn, June noticed a tree growing up through a rusty binder. This gave her the idea to plant a garden on the site. Keeping some of the old farm implements in place, Jim and June planted flowers, bushes and trees around them, adding a rustic table set, birdhouses, family mementos, and items from the old farmhouse (even a clawfoot tub!). “I love it,” said June, “and I’m glad we could share it with others on the tour.” Dorothy Gebert is a writer and garden enthusiast in St. Thomas

Brian Leverton and his dog look for frogs in the garden pond. (Photo by Dorothy Gebert)

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Business & Community Managing Money

Stopping your RSP contribution can sometimes be a good idea

by Stephanie Farrow

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Sometimes their situations. In fact, I would be wary of anyyour financial plan could benefit from you stop- one with a matching plan for everyone. I don’t ping your RSP contributions. On occasion when ever advise either for, or against RSP’s as a ‘one I have advised someone to discontinue new RSP size fits all’ strategy. Nor do I advise for, or against contributions, my advice has been greeted with TFSA’s as a broad based general approach. Each confusion or surprise. Imagine situation requires different that – a financial planner advisadvice. Financial planners ing against RSP’s – I’m told this will suit their advice acis the last thing expected. But cording to your situation understand, this is not a broad and what is needed for “be wary of anyone sweeping statement. It is only your financial plan. This is with a matching plan good advice for certain people at the very core of financial for everyone” depending on income, tax status, planning. Customization projected retirement income, and is based on income, tax other variables. It is personalized advice meant for bracket, employment, pension options, benefit that person, and, if suitable, we usually we stop packages, family situation etc. RSP contributions in favour of something else. So, why bother mentioning this? Well, the anIn other words, for some people their money is swer is simple. All too often, I see people misunbetter put toward a different investment type like derstand a particular financial product or strategy a TFSA for example. Everyone’s situation is dif- and paint it with a brush labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ ferent. It’s easy to listen to friends relaying their underAs is the case with most financial professionals, standing of an article they read that all RSPs are my advice is different for different people to suit bad. But they aren’t. RSPs are a poor strategy for

certain people, yes, but a perfect strategy for others. Similarly, it is easy to hear during the water cooler chat at work that TFSAs are bad. But they aren’t. TFSAs are good choices in some situations and not so great in others. The same goes for a whole array of financial products. All too often, people read an article or watch a show that may highlight the positive or negative attributes of various financial products. From there, people make broad based assumptions they believe apply in all circumstances. Don’t be someone who makes these judgements. There are many good products that are suitable for a variety of situations. You just need to find the right combination for you. So, back to my original comment, you might be wondering, when does it make sense to stop your RSP contributions? Depending on the other variables in your financial plan, it might make sense for you to stop these contributions, and re-direct them elsewhere when: - You are in a low income tax bracket - You are on maternity leave - You expect to have a high income in retirement - You need the opportunity to access money without tax implications If you fit one of these scenarios, then a chat with your financial advisor may be a good idea to revisit your strategies and make sure you have the right mix of investment types. Most of all ... remember that all things are not good for all people. After all, the title of this column is “Stopping your RSP contribution can sometimes be a good idea” ... because sometimes an RSP is a perfect fit! Stephanie Farrow, B.A., C.F.P., is a Certified Financial Planner and co-owner of Farrow Financial Services Inc., in Belmont

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VISIT OUR NEW LOCATION at 632 Talbot St. St. Thomas

• August 2013 •

Kingsley “King” Snelgrove, owner of Link Advertising Inc., claimed top prize at July’s Business After 5 in Port Stanley, at ME & Suzie’s Restaurant. King won a basket of assorted treats valued at close to $400, including a gift certificate for dinner for 4 at the restaurant.

Lots of looks at local business The Chamber’s work to promote our website as a key source of local business info is producing great results. Looking at the last year and the 12 months July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, we recorded 268,854 referrals or “views” on Member listings in our on-line business directory. 61,745 unique or individual users accessed business information though us, many using the website repeatedly. On any average weekday, 900 to 1,200 people will use the Chamber’s site to search business information.

Business Beat Table of Contents Business success........ Page 10 Survey says................ Page 11 Legal business............ Page 12 Branding is big........... Page 13 Pro Text...................... Page 14 Beat the heat.............. Page 15 New Members............ Page 16

Wed. Aug. 21 5 pm 116 Edward St. St. Thomas Hosts: Lynhurst Esso & Variety and Disbrowe Chevrolet Buick Cadillac GMC Come for the connections and stay for the fun! Great door prizes, tasty hors d’oeuvres. Open to Chamber Members, their staff and invited guests. August, 2013

The great news comes from analysis and reports generated by the software that integrates information on businesses registered with the Chamber as Members and links it to our website. The most popular searches are consistent over time, with manufacturers being the most popular category viewed. Restaurants, auto repair facilities, building contractors and community agencies/associations round out our top 5. Seasonal needs cause searches for such things as ca-

terers and agricultural growers/producers to fluctuate through the year. Our online business directory is a companion product to the popular print version of our directory, published by the Chamber each year. Members can change or update data in our system at any time. To check listing(s) for your own business or organization visit the main page of the Chamber’s website and www.stthomaschamber.on.ca and enter the business name in the search box on the left side of the page.

Best tax policy? Tina Kremmidas, Chief Economist at the Canadian Chamber, has released a new report, the third in our continuing economic policy series. It is titled A Competitive Tax Regime: A Building Block of a Vibrant and Productive Economy. This report examines Canada’s current tax system and its impact on Canadian Competitiveness, and makes the argument that Canada must reform and simplify its tax system to maximize its attractiveness as a destination for talent, capital and innovation. In a highly integrated global economy, skilled workers, businesses and capital move easily across national borders, seeking the best economic opportunities. In response, many countries have overhauled their tax systems to maximize their attractiveness as a destination for talent, capi-

tal and innovation. Canada has witnessed a remarkable transformation in the business tax landscape. Once known for having one of the highest corporate income tax rates in the developed

“Canada’s tax code has become overly complex” world, Canada now has one of the lowest rates of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrial economies and is near the middle of the pack of OECD countries. We can do even better by striving to achieve a more efficient business

tax system — one that levies similar tax burdens on all business activities to ensure the optimal allocation of capital throughout the economy. Canada’s tax code has become overly complex, making it difficult for taxpayers to understand and comply with the rules. Canadian taxpayers – individuals and businesses – spend billions of dollars each year to comply with their tax obligations, money that could be put towards more productive uses. Additionally, we see governments spending billions of dollars to administer their tax systems through collection, enforcement and maintaining records. To see the latest report, or the two previous releases in our series, visit the Canadian Chamber’s website at: chamber.ca, and search for “publications,” then find “economic-policyseries.”

Watch for Our 3rd Anniversary edition Coming out in September To take advantage of excellent advertising opportunities give me a call at 519-633-1640 (ext. 22) Greg Minnema, Advertising Sales

or email me at gregthismonth@theweeklynews.ca September Edition Advertising Deadline is August 13th

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Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

Early learning? It could be a myth

by Barry Moltz

Barry Moltz is a principal in the Shafran Moltz Group and is a consultant, speaker and author who works with small business. He has extensive history across Canada and the US working with Chambers of Commerce, and is a lover of antique cars, technology and karate. The following information is reproduced, with permission, from an article he published on American Express’ on-line service, OPEN Forum – a free information service targeted to the business community at: www.openforum.com I started my business career 30 years ago. I would have never thought back then, when I kicked everything off, that I would work for a large corporation, start three companies and an angel investment fund, become a small business author, motivational speaker and consultant, be fired, kicked out by my partners, and go out of business more than once. It has been a crazy ride, but with age, and all those ups and downs, comes experience — and with experience comes a little bit of wisdom. Here are 10 lessons I wish I had learned before I was 40. 1. You can’t control everything. No matter

how hard you work or who you know, there are so many things out of your control. The sooner you realize that, the less frustrated you'll be. Work hard at the things you can control and learn to react decisively to the things that are out of your control. 2. Money is not the only measure of success. Money is important since it's the most visible way society keeps score. However, earning enough money doing something you love to support your family is the true measure of success. 3. "Love everyone, trust few and paddle your own canoe."  Assume that people have the best intentions, but only trust those who have earned it. Your business is what you and your team make of it. Don’t depend on others for your own success. 4. It’s not what you do; it’s who you are doing it with.  I have been unhappy in many successful businesses since it’s the people you are working with that really count. Business is ultimately about your partners, employees, customers and vendors. 5.  Overnight success can take seven to 10 years.  Most financially successful business owners have been working at it for almost a decade. Patience is truly a valued virtue for every smallbusiness owner. Accept that success takes a very long time. 6.  We can’t always learn something from

Barry Moltz failure. Contrary to popular wisdom, sometimes when we fail, there is nothing to learn. When you fail, learn what you can and quickly let go of that failure so you can move on to the next chance to succeed. 7. There will always be winners and losers. It’s a lot more fun to be a winner, but learning how to be a “good loser” is important too. Don’t be happy about losing, but accepting defeat will allow you to move forward. 8. Sales are vanity; cash is sanity. Forget about how big your revenue number is or how many people you employ. Focus on how to read a cash flow statement and how much cash you actually get to keep. 9.  Focus. Focus. Focus. Those small-business owners who want to be everything to every customer will ultimately fail. Customer loyalty comes from doing one thing extremely well for them. 10. There are other things in life besides business. Most entrepreneurs spend too much time at work or thinking about it. This obsession creates a very narrow and sometimes lonely world. Getting and giving support to family and friends will make your life journey much more enriching. Editor’s Note: Barry Moltz’ latest book, co-authored with Becky McCray, is called “Small Town Rules” and explores how big brands and small business can prosper in a wired and connected economy.

www.chambers.ca 10

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Member News Events and News of Interest to our Members

Group growth The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan continues to grow and serve small to mid-size businesses across Canada. Established in 1970, the national Chamber Group has been an option for local Chamber of Commerce Members here since 1974 to provide affordable group insurance to small businesses and their employees. The idea was based on the concept of strength in numbers. For example, on its own, a three-person company might not be able to buy the best-valued group insurance, but with 100 three-person companies banding together, we attract enhanced benefits and pricing. Now, our group is over 30,000 companies!

“we recorded growth of over 10%” In the Group Plan’s last fiscal year to April 1, 2013, we recorded growth of over 10% with 3,100 new businesses joining. That brought our total across Canada to 30,197 firms with 129,462 employees.

Chamber Group Plan representative Brad Bedford, left, has merged his business with ARC Financial, owned by Jeff Crossett, right. ARC is now operating two offices in London and St. Thomas and serves our clients on the national Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan.

ARC Financial Group, now with offices in St. Thomas and London, is our local agent for the Group Plan. Jeff Crossett or Brad Bedford welcome questions and a chance to do business via

phone at 519-637-0181 or 519-439-2545, or via email info@arcfinancialgroup.com.

Survey says … The Chamber’s foundation of services, programs and activities is feedback from our Members. Part of our process to monitor Member needs and wants flows from research and surveys conducted locally, provincially through the Ontario Chamber, and nationally via the Canadian Chamber.

Our latest measurement of local issues and concerns was completed in the last two weeks of June and the first two weeks of July with Members randomly invited to participate. Final results flow from a cell of 50 businesses, weighted by sector to reflect the composition of our market: 15% manufacturers (7); 21% retail

(10); 42% services (21); 2% financial (1); and 21% agencies, government and not-for-profits (11). Totals exceed 100% due to rounding. Results are considered accurate by +/- 4%.

Did You Know?

Money is the biggie. In much the same way businesses across Canada cite lack of adequate funding as a top issue so, too, does the St. Thomas District with more than 1 of 5 businesses (21%) citing it as their number one concern – a problem that tops all others. Worries over rising costs, competition, the labour pool and government bureaucracy or compliance complete our top 5. Technology, in terms of access or knowledge, is the least of local concerns. Only 3 or 6% of respondents see it as an issue by itself but, when mixed with the need to have or find properly trained staff emerges as the second-highest priority. That result

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mirrors research by the Canadian Chamber which indicates that the “skills gap” (having the right mix of people and skills) is the biggest threat to the economy and our collective future. Taxation, while always guaranteed to register on any measurement of issues, is not even close to scoring as much concern as the bureaucratic product it produces. Our survey indicates that the burdens of government intervention, regulation and compliance are the second or thirdhighest of all local concerns. One respondent commented, “The lack of customer care in government scares me.” Completing the survey, for the Chamber, was the easy part. Now we get to work on developing activities, programs, products and services that respond to local needs. More than just expressing interest, participation and hands-on work by our Members produces results. Call the Chamber office if you’d like to be part of a team, committee or task force! 11


Legal Business Events and News of Interest to our Members

Ante anti-spam The first non-culinary use of the term “spamâ€? seems to date back to the early 1970s with a sketch from the British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus (no relation of which I’m aware). The scene was a cafĂŠ in London in which all the menu items were spam or a derivative thereof. The good pythons, who were passing themselves off as Vikings, took to loudly repeating the word spam in a most annoying (and hilarious) manner. Hence, the expanded definition was born. Or so the story goes. Flash forward to the 1980s, and the dawn of the personal computer, and multi -user games. Apparently, it was seen as great sport by some to send inane repetitive texts to one’s opponent, in the midst of the game, thereby preventing him/ her from continuing the contest. The strategy became known as “spamming.â€? In any non-computer sport, it would be known as “cheatingâ€?. In any event, it was an annoying but effective use of computer technology, and it wasn’t long before businesses and ordinary individuals discovered the power of spam. Currently, over half the internet messages received are what we now know as spam. These unwelcome missives cost time and money in the workplace, and place individuals at risk of internet scam (rhymes with spam doesn’t it?). Although I maintain a fairly formidable arsenal of security filters and spam-blocking software on my computer,

just this morning I was invited to assist a Mr. Barrister in distributing a portion of the late James Gandolfini’s estate. Needless to say, effective anti-spam legislation would be welcome. Canada is one of the last countries to enact anti-spam legislation, and, in its inimitable fashion, enacted “Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation� or “CASL�, back in 2010. After input from several governmental and non-governmental agencies, the law is due to be proclaimed in force sometime later this year, or perhaps 2014 (or maybe later). In any event, the proposed legislation is unique in several ways, not all of them good. Implicit in the proposed law is the assumption that all commercial electronic messages are illegal. The law then categorizes certain exceptions such as personal or family communications, and certain business communications. It would seem that, for the most part, routine communications in these circumstances will be outside the purview of the legislation. However, recipients of electronic messages must agree to have a message sent to them prior to the message being sent. Compare this to the current “unsubscribe� invitation attached to most messages we receive now. But, how do I get your consent to send you a message if I don’t have your consent to ask for your consent? Needless to say, there is a great deal of regulatory fine tuning yet to be done on the legislation prior to its implementation. But businesses would be wise to monitor its progress especially with regard to the proposed compliance

requirements. Finally, the teeth in the legislation are long and sharp indeed. Non-compliance in the case of a company can draw a fine of up to $10 million per violation and for individuals $1 million. As well, the law provides that recipients of unwelcome messages may pursue the offender in civil court. One can only imagine the class action suits which may arise out of non-compliance. The internet has become an integral part of legitimate business promotion in Canada. Moreover, charities and non-profit companies have come to rely upon the information super highway to solicit support and provide information regarding their activities. Although the highway has been congested with spam, it may be about to have some red tape stretched across it. Lawyer Monty Fordham prepares this monthly column for the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and our Members. Monty is also a volunteer serving on the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Questions, comments and suggestions for future columns are welcomed by Monty at Monty Fordham his office: Fordham & Brightling Associates - Lawyers, 4 Elgin Street, St. Thomas. Telephone 519-633-4000, FAX 519-633-1371 or e-mail: montyfordham@4elgin.ca

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Member News Events and News of Interest to our Members

Branding is big for Canadian small businesses

New market research commissioned by American Express says creating a recognizable and trusted brand is an important, if not the most important concern for many small business owners (SBOs). Increasingly, SBOs recognize the importance branding has on business success, and as such, are focusing on providing an overall brand experience to their customers. The quarterly American Express Small Business Monitor reveals that the vast majority (93%) of SBOs cite having a unique brand that differentiates them from the competition is more important now than ever. It's evident that business owners have seemingly prioritized branding strategies with 71% saying brand experience is the most important part of their business's overall brand. SBOs are also placing a high value on branding as the majority (51%) report branding is critical to attracting new business. With consumers increasingly embracing social media and leveraging social platforms when making purchase decisions, almost three quarters

(73%) of SBOs report that they need to constantly monitor their brand's perception. As such, SBOs have welcomed digital elements into their branding with over half (52%) of business owners utilizing a company website to build their brand. Yet many still rely heavily on traditional approaches stemming from internal communications. A full 60% of business owners rely on the actions of their employees to communicate their brand to their customers, and almost half (45%) of these report it being effective. Furthermore, 32% of small business owners leverage events to help increase brand awareness. The demand for a strong, prominent business identity is at an all-time high with 84% of business owners stating that branding is important to the overall success of their business. While SBOs feel an increased need to stand out from the competition, 55% aren't refining their brand annually and may be missing the opportunity to assess the evolving trends to ensure their business stacks up in the market.

Thirty-six percent of SBOs admit that they are interested in expanding their brand but don't know where to start. Despite this, a substantial 86% of SBOs still choose not to capitalize on the resources third party experts offer with over one quarter (29%) of SBOs rely on themselves in the development of their business' brand. Data in this article is compiled from surveys taken May 13 to May 30 by Rogers Connect Market Research on behalf of American Express Small Business Services with a sample of 529 Canadian small business owners each employing between 2 and 100 people. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 4.3%, 19 times out of 20. In order to ensure the results are representative of the entire population of small business owners in  Canada, the data have been statistically weighted for small business by region according to Statistics Canada. Respondents were located across Canada  and came from a variety of industries, including health, social services, education, tech, sales and skilled trades. 

Tourism-Oriented Directional Signage (TODS) program review This summer, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport (MTCS) is undertaking a review of the TODS program, which is a joint program with the Ministry of Transportation. MTCS will seek public input from a variety of stakeholders, especially tourism-based businesses that have been users. The TODS program is the driver behind placement of the numerous blueand-white info signs along area highways that provide directions to and information on the businesses and attractions in an area. It is a user-pay program which identifies and promotes any business or attraction which pays fees to post the signs. In advance of this review, the Board of Directors of the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC) voted to be proactive in ensuring that significant input was received from tourism operators and organizations in Ontario’s Southwest.  Anecdotal feedback received to date suggests that the program may not be working as well as it could be. The SWOTC has asked us to share news of the review. If you’re in a tourism-focused business, you may have already received a notice that your input is requested on the TODS program. Please do take time to respond to the survey. Although it is being done during your busy season, it is your only chance to make significant changes to the program. If you do not receive any request for input by August 6, 2013, please contact Joanne Wolnik at SWOTC via email: joanne@swotc.ca.

Your help will be appreciated and go a long way toward SWOTC’s goal of having the best tourism signage in the world.

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Pro Text Business Management News & Issues

Insurance and urban myths by Jennifer Boone

ance industry is colour-blind. Whether your car is An insurance industry survey reports that Ca- blue, red, striped or chequered, your insurance rate nadians are putting themselves, their families and for the make, model, and age of the vehicle will be their assets at risk by making misinformed deci- the same. Many factors make up the formula for sions about their insurance based on hearsay, ad- calculating auto insurance premiums. For example, vice of family and friends and urban legends. This a mom who lives in the city centre and drives to is truly tragic. work each day may actually be more expensive to About 63% of Canadians do not ask their insur- insure than a 28-year-old man who lives in a subance provider for advice; instead, they ask their urb and catches the bus to work. friends, family or colleagues. And Myth: If you file a claim 25% rely on searching the Internet, through home insurance plus 4% simply “go with their gut.” for stolen or damaged A licensed insurance provider is items due to fire or water “25% rely on best able to clarify mistruths and damage, you will be reimensure you understand your cover- searching the Internet” bursed for replacing the age to avoid you costly headaches in items in your home at tothe event that something unexpected day’s prices does happen. After all, that is what insurance is for: A standard home policy only covers you for the protecting you from the unexpected. value of your contents, less depreciation. For exHere are some samples of the urban myths about ample, if you purchased a television five years ago insurance unearthed in the survey: for $500, you might only get $100 for it if it were Myth: Red cars are more expensive to insure. destroyed in a fire even if it costs $600 to replace Many Canadians believe auto insurance premi- that same TV today. ums are more expensive for red (29%) and twoIf you want a higher form of protection you need door (54%) cars. And almost half (48%) think that to purchase replacement cost coverage for your if you’re in an auto accident, your insurance rates contents this will ensure the contents of your home won’t go up if you don’t file a claim. None of these are insured for the amount it costs to replace them statements are true. today.     Most consumers may not know it, but the insurMyth: You only need travel insurance if you’re vacationing outside Canada. Getting sick or injured while on vacation can be very costly. Provincial medical coverage won’t Employment provide comprehensive Services coverage if you’re outside Elgin of your home province

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so it’s important that you ensure you are covered even when travelling domestically. With international travel, many Canadians don’t realize that the average out-of-country inhospital bill can cost up to $10,000 per day and

the average emergency room visit is $1,000. Top features in travel insurance policies include 24/7 assistance, more than $1 million of emergency medical coverage and expense coverage if you need to be flown home for medical care. The report also posed true or false questions, such as: Getting a parking ticket means your insurance rates will go up. False: Parking tickets do not count against your driving record or your insurance. Installing a home security system can reduce your home insurance premiums. True: Believe it or not some upgrades to your home, like taking extra security measures, can actually decrease your premiums. That being said, the alarm system must be monitored by a ULC rated monitoring station, and in some instances, line protection is required to get the discount.    If you’re in a car accident but don’t file a claim, your insurance premiums won’t go up. False: If your insurance company finds out you were in an accident, they can raise your rates whether you made a claim or not. You may not have told your insurance provider about the accident, but the other person in the collision may be filing a claim and their insurer will report to yours. You may be liable if a contractor is injured while working on your property. True: It is your responsibility to ensure that workers on your property are protected and safe from bodily injury. If they aren’t, you may be held liable and have to deal with a very costly settlement. It is therefore in your best interests to obtain written proof that all trades who attend your property are covered by WSIB. The report is based on an Environics Research Group custom online survey of 1,000 Canadian adults in March 2011. The moral of this story, stop listening to untrained friends or family and seek the advice of an insurance professional. This column appears regularly in Business Beat and has been submitted by Jennifer Boone RIB(Ont),CAIB, CRM, of Reith and Associates Insurance and Financial Services, 462 Talbot Street, St. Thomas. Questions and comments on this column are welcomed by the writer at 519-6313862 or via e-mail: info@reithandassociates.com

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Viewpoint Events and News of Interest to our Members

Perils of a summer day How the sun can raise the stakes

Heat stress is a year-round hazard for many Members of the St. Thomas and District Chamber of Commerce, but made more urgent in the summer months with the additional heat load of a humid sunny day. The sun can raise the stakes for indoor workers in environments where high workplace temperatures are already the norm. In the following scenario — which could just as easily take place in a laundry, foundry, warehouse or a factory with no air conditioning — Jack is feeling the heat in the kitchen. Notice how Jack’s co-worker and supervisor team up to get him the help he needs: It’s noon on a summer day, and Jack expertly transfers trays of dinner rolls out of the oven in preparation for packaging. The industrial kitchen is hot — hotter than usual, in fact. That’s summer for you. Normally, a hot kitchen is manageable. But today, Jack doesn’t feel so good. “Dude,” a co-worker calls out. “You okay?” Jack is not okay. He stumbles a little, looks pale, spaced out. Alert to the signs of heat stress, his colleague shouts for the supervisor, who immediately takes Jack to the lunch room, gives him water, and makes him rest. Jack quickly feels better. Crisis averted. Quick facts about heat stress Heat stress can kill, as the death of a bakery worker in 2011 will attest. Ontario does not have a specific health and safety regulation related to heat exposure under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which means employers need to close the gap with “precautions reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.” Symptoms include excessive sweating, headache, rashes, cramping, dizziness and fainting: the body’s way of signaling an urgent need to cool down. Workers — seasoned or otherwise — often consider extreme heat just part of the job. The fact is, when combined with other stresses, such as hard physical work, fluid loss, fatigue or some medical conditions, heat stress may lead to heat-related illness, disability and death. How Jack’s supervisor averted a crisis Jack’s supervisor had been trained to recognize and respond to heat stress, and he had a preven-

tion plan to deal with it. Here are five low or no-cost measures he and his employer had taken to protect workers: • Assessed the demands of all jobs, and put controls in place for hot days and hot workplaces • Increased the frequency and length of rest breaks • Ensured that pregnant workers and workers with medical conditions discussed working in the heat with their doctor • Put a first aid and emergency response plan in place in the event of a heat-related illness • Investigated any heat-related incidents Take the test When a Ministry of Labour inspector enters your workplace, be prepared — particularly if you employ young and new workers — to demonstrate that: • employees can recognize and control hazards of working in the heat and how to apply First Aid procedures to assist co-workers • you are following exposure limits for your workplace • you have measures in place to reduce indoor heat exposure; for example, ventilation, insulating and reflective barriers • water is accessible to employees, and they’re

following the rules about how often and how much they need to drink • employees are wearing personal protective equipment, where appropriate, such as light, porous clothing For more information: Look for simple, easy-to-use resources to help you prevent heat stress, provided at no cost by our trusted health and safety advisor, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS). Search on “heat stress” at www.wsps.ca, and click on each tab for a full spectrum of support. Also, stay informed with timely information about occupational health and safety by connecting with WSPS on Twitter at twitter.com/ wsps_news.

WSIB premiums frozen for 2014 The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) announced on July 12 that premium rates will be maintained at current levels for all employers in 2014. The decision reflects improving financial results. Reduced injuries and benefit costs have reduced expenditures by $500 million annually. Annual benefit costs have decreased from $3.2 billion in 2009 to $2.7 billion by the end of 2012. The WSIB's unfunded liability decreased from $14.1 billion (Q1 2012) to an estimated $13.4 billion (Q1 2013). The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is preparing a report for fall release on the WSIB and its progress in addressing the unfunded liability. The report will make recommendations on improving system responsiveness to employer needs. Stay tuned.

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Member News Events and News of Interest to our Members The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome the following businesses and individuals as our newest Members. The staff and management of the organizations shown below were accepted as registered Members from May 15 to July 15, 2013. ARC Financial Planning Group Ltd. 200 - 82 Wellington Street London, ON N6B 2K3 Phone: 519-439-2545 Fax: 519-439-6683 St. Thomas Office 450 Sunset Drive St. Thomas, ON N5R 5V1 Phone: 519-637-0181 Fax: 519-637-4485 Email: info@arcfinancialgroup.com Website: www.arcfinancialgroup.com Contacts: Jeffrey Crossett, Chief Financial Architect Brad Bedford, Agent Buyer’s Guide Categories: Financial Services; Insurance Services; Investment Services; Retirement Planning Products & Services: ARC Financial Planning Group is a fully-licensed independent agency

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serving and advising clients in investments, including retirement planning, wealth management and income growth strategies. ARC has recently merged with Bedford Financial of St. Thomas, and now handles all sales and service activity for the Chamber within our national Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance program. ARC offers a wide range of financial and insurance services including RESPs, RRSPs, RRIFs, annuities, group insurance, life, and critical illness insurance programs. Bell Media (formerly Astral Radio) 743 Wellington Road South London, ON N6C 4R5 Phone: 519-686-2525 Extension 260 Fax: 519-686-2556 Email: laura.lawrence@bellmedia.ca Website: www.bellmedia.ca Contact: Laura Lawrence, Account Executive Buyer’s Guide Categories: Advertising & Promotion; Media; Radio Stations Products & Services: Account Executive Laura Lawrence works with clients in all communities in the St. Thomas area. Astral Radio was acquired by Bell Media on July 5. From every perspective,

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including revenue, number of stations and employees, Bell Media is now Canada’s largest radio broadcaster. The local group of radio stations operated by the company includes AM stations CJBK and CKSL, and FM stations BX-93 & Virgin97.5 Deeply committed to promoting local music and dedicated to constant renewal and global openness, Bell Media has pledged to be a leader in innovative programming. Inside Elgin Businesses 19 Wolfe Street St. Thomas, ON N5P 2A3 Phone: 519-631-9225 Email: kdavis25@rogers.com Website: www.insideelgin.com Contact: Kim Davis Products & Services: Inside Elgin Business promotes shopping local by showcasing businesses within Elgin County on a community website and through social media. Oxford Technology Group Inc. 432 Simcoe Street Woodstock, ON N4S 8X8 Phone: 519-537-5130 Fax: 519-421-1339 Email: solutions@oxfordtechnologygroup.com Website: www.oxfordtechnologygroup.com Contact: Brad Bembridge Buyer’s Guide Categories: Computers – Networking; Computers - Sales, Supplies & Service; Internet Services Products & Services: Hiring full-time computer support staff can be expensive. Why not spend less and benefit from the expertise of a highly experienced team of Systems Engineers? Oxford Technology Group can set-up and maintain a cost-effective and efficient network that meets the specific needs of your business. They pledge to help you sleep soundly knowing your data is secure and protected, with a range of affordable maintenance plans to make sure your network is always running smoothly. The Oxford Technology Group will design customized solutions, and can also work with you to select technology partners and manage your IT projects. They are now expanding to serve the St. Thomas & District area. Continued on page 17...

August, 2013


Running A Successful Small Business

“Living the dream!” Is becoming an entrepreneur the right choice for you?

by Mark Masseo

You’ll also likely have to put up some capital to We’ve all known or heard about those dynamic start your business which could be a further deindividuals that become successful entrepreneurs. mand on personal resources. Can you support the Some of us may even be a bit envious – they’re financial commitments that your business may re‘living the dream’, right? Well, perhaps it’s true, quire until you begin to generate enough business but, what we’re seeing is likely the end result of to remain self-sufficient? Your business may even occupy a part of your years of hard work, sacrifice, and stress and strain home. If you have a family or a sigbeyond the norm of the average nificant other, what will that mean for employee workplace scenario. “how will your the relationships in your life? What While most entrepreneurs would say that it was worth it, time spent life change?” will that mean for you personally? How will your life change? And are considering all aspects of self-emyou, and those sharing your journey, ployment before taking the plunge prepared for those changes? There are can pay huge dividends, and there are a number of free resources throughout Elgin County to as- not any right or wrong answers, but all aspects of sist those considering self-employment. Help with one’s life need to be considered, and each person’s this decision is available from community organi- unique needs may vary. Properly assessing those zations such as the Elgin Business Resource Cen- needs and resource will ensure you’re aware and tre (EBRC) with offices in St. Thomas, Aylmer, able to make the transition. And that is not all to consider. Depending on and Dutton-Dunwich; municipal and county government offices; Service Ontario and Service the source, there are some challenging statistics on Canada offices; and Employment Services Elgin, new business failures. According to a 2012 Canalocated in St. Thomas, Aylmer and West Lorne. dian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) All have a wealth of free resources available to help report, roughly a quarter to a third of all microthe prospective entrepreneurs evaluate whether it’s businesses (those with less than four people) will the right choice for them as well as to create and not survive beyond five years. They also report that the reasons for those failures were largely issues of maintain a plan for success. general management, financial mismanagement Why is it important to evaluate and plan? Let’s look at some of the more sobering facts: and unpreparedness, or According to the 2006 Statistics Canada Census, lack of marketing/sales the average annual employment income of a full- strategy. Clearly, you’ll need to time, self-employed individual was over 30% less than his or her employee counterpart, for a work be prepared, both before week that was 35% longer. There is little change the journey, and with a well-researched roadto that ratio in 2013. Continued from page 16... Rita Payne Income Tax 81 Ross Street St. Thomas, ON N5R 3X6 Phone: 519-631-6360 Email: ritapayne41@hotmail.com Contact: Ms. Rita Payne Buyer’s Guide Categories: Tax Services Products & Services: A small, family-owned and operated business, Rita is a specialist in taxation and has been preparing personal and small business income tax returns for over 25 years.

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map or plan along the way, so your dream can be brought to fruition. Despite the economic challenges of recent years, St. Thomas and Elgin County are rich with the drive, ingenuity and spirit that exemplify the successful entrepreneur. Depending on the situation, there may be a number of programs or services to help. Again – virtually all of them are free (business loans are not). For example, consider the Elgin Business Resource Centre, a Community Futures Development Corporation. There is a wealth of helpful resources at the Small Business Enterprise Centre for both new startups in process and existing small businesses. There is a Self-Employment Benefit (SEB) program, an excellent resource for those meeting the guidelines who are looking to develop a business idea. There is even a local business incubator (ICE), for those looking to take their very small or home-based business to the next level, as well as programs for specifically for youths via the Youth Entrepreneur Program or the Summer Company program. For information on any of these potential resources and more, contact the Elgin Business Resource Centre at 519-633-7597. Mark Masseo is a Business Counsellor at Elgin Business Resource Centre.

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17


Running A Successful Small Business

Technology and your business What you need to know

by Mark McIntosh

Technology is the foundation of today’s modern to further and business world. Without it, we simply can’t “do more debilitating business.â€? This is the main reason why it is so very problems. The important to ensure your computer and business key is to focus on systems are installed, maintained, backed up and “fire prevention.â€? secured properly and efficiently. Preventing issues In considering these points, often many busi- before they hapness owners and managers, focus on the points pen allows a busiof business that involve operations and financial. ness the planning This leaves the backbone of the operation unat- and opportunity tended ‌ the computer systems. If it is working, to continue opthen why worry about it? Right? This is the fur- erations without thest from the truth. What many have discovered expensive downis disaster when their business comes to a sudden time. and screeching halt when their systems go down. As an owner or When systems go down, this is the time when manager, look panic sets in, and resolution is needed immedi- at your business ately. Downtime is lost revenue. We often refer and ask yourself: to this situation as “firefighting.â€? However, this is not the time “How much downtime can when you want or need to start this business sustain?â€? Of“many failures can be ten the answer is NONE! So, looking at your computer operations. Many will make a panic caught and preventedâ€? why wait for something to go call to “someoneâ€? and hope it can wrong? Since 9/11 many busibe fixed ASAP. This is generally a nesses have developed disaster band aid situation that is temporary and can lead recovery plans to ensure solid and continuous operation. No computer or system is infallible and will fail at some point. When it does, how Our professional staff is happy to provide ready are you to rean insurance package cover quickly? OfCALL NOW ten many failures that is tailored to your for your no obligation can be caught and premium estimate Small Business needs. prevented with regular maintenance and updating. Here’s some sound advice that will           help prevent or reduce downtime for ST.THOMAS PORT STANLEY TILLSONBURG ST.THOMAS PORT STANLEY TILLSONBURGall business owners AYLMER AYLMER 75 TalbotEast Street East991 Talbot 991 Talbot Street 289 Bridge Street 289 BridgeStreet Street 128 Broadway 128 Broadwayand managers and 75 Talbot Street 519-782-3327 T: 519-842-8999 T: 519-842-8999 T: 519-773-8471T: 519-637-1230 T: 519-637-1230 T:T:519-782-3327 T: 519-773-8471 keep your business www.hwcinsurance.ca info@hwcinsurance.ca www.hwcinsurance.ca info@hwcinsurance.ca

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running smoothly and revenue flowing: Regular and routine maintenance on all computers and systems - System updates - Hardware maintenance/cleaning - Install monitoring utilities Ensure proper and effective security is installed and continuously updated - Anti-virus - Anti-malware/spyware - Firewall Multi-tier backup system - Centralized backup location for all computers - Backup to an external drive source - Offsite backup location. These are basic points to look at in business systems to ensure continuous operation and avoid costly computer issues. Many may not know where to even begin. It is advisable to call in a professional IT consulting and service firm to help in determining your specific business requirements. The key is to be proactive before you lose valuable time and profits. Mark McIntosh is the owner of MarkIT in St. Thomas.

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David Van Dinther, B.A. (Hons) David Van Dinther, B.A. (Hons) BrianBusiness Dempsey Small Advisor Advisor Small Business Small Business Advisor 378 Talbot St. & 417 Wellington 378 Talbot St. &Talbot 417St. Wellington St. 378 St. (Mondays) St.Thomas Thomas (Mondays) St. (519)631-7070 631-7070, (519) ext.ext. 231231 St. Thomas (Talbot St.) 268-1384 Cell: (226) (519) 633-4640 brian.dempsey@td.com (519) 631-7070 ext. 231 (Wellington St.) (Talbot St.) david.vandinther@td.com (519) 633-4640 (Wellington St.) david.vandinther@td.com August, 2013


Running A Successful Small Business

Now is the time to learn Literacy is a priority for businesses / workers In cities and towns across Canada, traditional economic sectors have disappeared. Jobs in manufacturing have decreased, and many experts and economists agree that going forward, Canada will have a “creative economy� focusing more on innovative ideas and knowledge. Are you prepared for the new economy? In the “Menial No More� discussion paper, Essential Skills Ontario outlines the growing need for more technological literacy. Jobs once considered low skilled, such as restaurant servers, hotel room attendants and manufacturing line workers now require digital knowledge and skills. Hotel workers, for example, may be expected to know how to operate computer devices to stay in contact with the front desk, and track and report guest requests. People working in a shipping facility may have to work with complex tracking systems and related technology to find where items are stored and keep up to date inventory. A report from Randstad Canada, Canada’s largest staffing and HR firm, says that job searches in the future will rely on the use of technology and social media, making it more important for job seekers to be skilled in technology. Raising education levels is one of the most important factors in improving the economic outlook for our community. We need to bring the education level of our workforce up if we are go-

dians don’t have the literacy skills they need to be successful in everyday tasks. These skills include comprehension, math, and the ability to use modern technology. People with low literacy skills are also more likely to live in low-income households, and more likely to need social assistance. Raising people’s literacy levels is one of the most important ways to support lifelong learning, and to improve the economic outlook for our community. Studies have shown that even a one per cent increase in literacy can lead to major increase in the prosperity of a region. Take the next step. Local adult literacy and education programs can help you move forward in your education and make sure you’re prepared to compete in this new economy. Programs are free and offered throughout St. Thomas and Elgin County. These programs help learners transition to work, education and training, or further independence. They are learner focused and content can include numeracy, communication skills, working with others, and digital technology. ing to be successful in the creative economy and have the skilled workers that companies seek. While the vast majority of the population can read and write, an estimated 42 per cent of Cana-

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August, 2013

ELGIN THIS MONTH

19


Running A Successful Small Business

Success in business and life Thoughts from a three-year veteran

by Sharon Lechner

coin is to always try to treat people as well as posDear readers, It is certainly with mixed emotions that I submit sible. There are enough problems in the world my final article to Elgin This Month Magazine. It without you adding to them by making someone is hard to believe that three years have passed since else unhappy or stressed. The hardest lesson I have had to deal with still I was asked to write a column for this wonderful publication. I was humbled at that time, and I remains forgiveness. I don’t understand why we am humbled now to be part of the writing team. are so reluctant to forgive. All of us have made Things have changed in my life since I first be- mistakes, myself included. Remember that forgan writing, and I am now in a place profession- giveness does not mean you condone bad beally where my event planning business will not haviour or what people have done. It is for the afford me the time required to submit a monthly forgiver and is necessary for you to allow bigarticle. A long time ago, I remember reading an ger, better things to come into your life. It does article that Terry Carroll had written that sug- not mean you have to interact with people who have wronged you going forward. gested that Executive Directors People make mistakes. Give them change positions from time another chance if they apologize to time to allow new blood to and don’t set double standards. come into organizations, and I “surround yourself Try not to judge because you believe the same thing is true for the column I write. New with positive people” don’t know what other people are going through or have gone writers will bring fresh perspecthrough. As Oprah said “when tives to the reader which is very exciting, and my dear friend Anoushka Vanden people know better, they will do better.” Set big goals in your life. Next year I have a reBosch has graciously agreed to take over my column. Thank you to Terry Carroll for giving me ally big event I am hoping to do in Niagara with a this opportunity as well. You have been a pleasure business partner. Go big or go home. Marry your passion with your business, and you will experito work with. I have written about many topics during the ence huge success. past three years, and Thank you to all of my faithful readers for readof all the topics I have written about, I still feel ing my column and for the positive feedback you strongly that you should have provided to me. I truly appreciate it. If you want to follow what I’m doing, stay in do everything you can to surround yourself with touch regularly on line. Just do a search for Reach positive people wherever For The Stars Empowerment. Wishing each and every one of you an Extraorpossible. I know this is not always possible dinary Life. Sharon. but when it is, always choose to work with positive people, and you Sharon Lechner is a will experience incredcertified master life ible changes in your life. coach and owner of That’s what I have choReach for the Stars sen to do and I am in a Empowerment in really good place right St. Thomas now. The other side of the

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August, 2013


Running A Successful Small Business

Structure your business well How a business is set up has a major impact on how it functions

to fulfill your purpose, you'll want to consider nize that they are an important part of the organiCourtesy of canadabusiness.ca Organizational design is the way in which you where to position your employees in order for zation. Communication is central to the achievement of your purpose. set up your business (employees, information and them to thrive. Authority, responsibility and control Coordination technologies) to best meet your business objecOnce your departments are set and you have How will you coordinate employees, informatives. How you structure your organization has your employees in place, how tion and technologies? Job descriptions can help a major impact on how well it will you structure your chain of to ensure your employees' understanding of their functions. There is no single command? Ultimately, there is responsibilities and accountabilities. It is imporbest organizational design for only one boss â&#x20AC;&#x201D; you. However, tant for your team to understand exactly where all small businesses. Each busiâ&#x20AC;&#x153;however, you will you will have to delegate deci- they fit into your grand scheme. ness structure is as unique as the sionhave to delegateâ&#x20AC;? organization it represents. makHere are some key factors that i n g you might consider when planresponsibilities to dening the design of your business: t#PPLLFFQJOH t$BTI'MPXT partment heads, managPurpose ers, forepersons, etc. Be t#VEHFU t'JOBODJBM What is the purpose of your business? Your first sure to limit your numstep is to clearly recognize what it is that you want "OBMZTJT 3FQPSUT to achieve. Think of the big picture. Take a step ber of decision-makers. t+PC$PTUJOH t5BY1MBOOJOH Employees should always back and get a bird's eye view of your operation. be clear about their roles Strategy Call Gail Dennis today What strategy can you implement to reach your and responsibilities, and PS goal? You want your employees to make decisions who their supervisor is. Communication based on clear guidelines directed to achieve your How can you best fapurpose. You need to have administrative systems, cilitate communication? technology and information in place that will help It is vastly important your employees succeed. that your entire team is Division of labour How can you divvy up employees' responsibili- on the same page. When Prosperity coach for Your Business and You ties to best meet your needs? Once you've deter- employees feel they are XXXBDDPVOUJOHXJUIZPVDPNtHBJM!BDDPVOUJOHXJUIZPVDPN mined the departments and roles that are needed in the loop, they recog-

Running a Small Business can be Challenging.

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Running A Successful Small Business

Business conditions seem tough? Stay on top of your company's finances and boost your cash generation

Courtesy of BDC, bdc.ca

Here are several ways to find more cash in your business: 1. Develop a cash-flow planner and track cash

throughout the month. Using a software tool or a spreadsheet, record your month-opening bank account balance and all anticipated cash inflows and outflows. This kind of budget allows you to assess your situation, examine risks and plan for problems, such as the loss of a key customer. Then, track your cash as it comes in and goes out throughout the month. That will help you stay on top of problems and make adjustments, such We take the responsibility and concern for as delaying discretionary payments. your technology systems so you can focus 2. Closely monitor fion your business. nancial statements. Examine monthly fit0OTJUFTFSWJDF nancial statements line t3FNPUFDPOOFDUJPOTVQQPSU by line to look for red t/FUXPSLBOE4ZTUFNTVQQPSU EFTJHO flags. Keep a close eye on key indicators of your and implementation business's health, such t4PGUXBSFTFSWJDFT as changes in the gross t&OEVTFSTVQQPSUBOEUSBJOJOH margin and inventory t"OENVDI NVDINPSF turnover. 3. Look to relationClient Focused ships with your cusWe donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t just service your system, tomers and suppliers. Good customer and we can evaluate and recommend supplier relationships possible improvements. can help you wring more Honesty, Integrity, Transparency. cash out of your busiMark McIntosh ness. For example, you can turn sales into dol]0GĂĽDF lars faster by offering dis5BMCPU4USFFU 4U5IPNBT 0//1& counts to customers who

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pay early. Suppliers can help by extending payment terms. However, it takes two to tango. Work on improving customer service and make sure to pay suppliers consistently. 4. Get tough with deadbeats. This is no time to play Mr. or Ms. Nice Guy when it comes to collections. Entrepreneurs need to be conscientious in pursuing late bills. Customers have to pay or else you're just financing their business. 5. Focus on inventory management and product offerings If sales are down and inventory turnover is slowing, you have to be aggressive in clearing out stock. While you're at it, analyze your product lines to see what's selling and what's just taking up space. Look to your sales force to help you reduce inventory and weed out unprofitable product lines.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;examine monthly financial statements line by lineâ&#x20AC;? 6. Use debt to protect your working capital It's important to avoid paying up front for longterm investments, such as equipment purchases or a building expansion; that will just tie up working capital. You're better off using debt to finance these projects. Also, consider refinancing fixed assets to free up capital. 7. Cut waste and streamline operations Boost your company's productivity and profitability by eliminating bottlenecks, overproduction, inefficient equipment and other sources of waste. Employees are your best source of ideas, so get them involved.

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22

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www.markawales.ca August, 2013


Running A Successful Small Business

Time to face facts

Your business has problems that require a solution

by Bryan Vine

It is time to face reality! You and your business have some problems that require some solutions. Very simply, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t change what you do not openly acknowledge. Identifying and admitting a problem goes a long way towards solving it. â&#x20AC;˘ Be brutally honest when you answer these questions: â&#x20AC;˘ Do I often question, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Why do I have to do every darn thing myselfâ&#x20AC;?? â&#x20AC;˘ Am I still working too much and making too little? â&#x20AC;˘ Am I trapped working â&#x20AC;&#x153;inâ&#x20AC;? my business instead of â&#x20AC;&#x153;onâ&#x20AC;? my business? â&#x20AC;˘ Do I feel trapped on a treadmill, moving faster and faster, but going nowhere? â&#x20AC;˘ Do I constantly face frequent interruptions and repetitive questions from my staff? â&#x20AC;˘ Do I go home many nights feeling mentally and physically drained? â&#x20AC;˘ Do I confuse busyness with accomplishment? â&#x20AC;˘ Do I have anxiety about drowning in projects, problems, deadlines, crises, meetings, employee issues, unanswered voicemails/emails, customer complaints, administrative trivia, and on and on? â&#x20AC;˘ Do I feel like a master juggler with too many balls up in the air and dreading they will soon begin hitting the floor? â&#x20AC;˘ Am I forever chained to a phone, computer, email, or pager? â&#x20AC;˘ Am I tired of having customers rely on me personally for services, solutions and satisfaction? â&#x20AC;˘ Am I fed up with missing family time, family events, and making other personal sacrifices on a semiregular basis? â&#x20AC;˘ Do I crave more free time to do the things that matter most to me?

in some fashion? You shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t! It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make sense. Something is broken! You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have enough hours in a day or enough energy or bandwidth to go it alone. Pain is a good indication that something is wrong and needs to be healed! Realize that you arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only one suffering. Think about how your stress and blues are negatively impacting your employees, customers, vendors/ suppliers, friends and if applicable, your spouse and kids. Hear this wake-up call! It is time to shift radically your business beliefs and behavior. The better your business functions, the better your life will function. You deserve to be free from the daily grind; after all, you own a business, not a job. You should actually enjoy the journey of developing and running a

business and not defer your personal life and happiness until you retire or sell. Live life now! Do not get so caught up in making a living that you forget to make a life. At this point, simply admit that your business centres on you and is totally dependent upon you. Admit that instead of your business giving you greater life, it continues to drain more of your personal time and peace-of-mind. Then do something about it.

QQ uality

uality uality gets noticed that that gets noticed

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Admit to the problem If you answered yes to most of these questions, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t feel guilty, ashamed or embarrassed. You are not alone. Like you, most owners feel that they have been sentenced to a life of servitude and some even suffer from the blues. Unfortunately, because of pride, shame or ignorance, this sad condition has been kept hidden in the corner office for too long. Starting now, you should not have to endure this much discomfort and frustration associated with your business. You do not have to live this way! You should not be consumed by your business and frustrated with your life. Stop and think why in the world, as the owner, should you have to touch every transaction, be involved with every decision, and help solve every problem, or handle everybodyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job August, 2013

Bryan Vine is the co-owner of The Growth Coach in St. Thomas.

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23


Homestyle Decorating

Secrets to fab decor

by Renée Carpenter

Bending the rules a bit in decorating can result in an unexpectedly fabulous look. You can create these results with decorating ideas that stretch your décor boundaries. Paint the ceiling! Ceilings don’t have to be white. Painting the ceiling a colour adds interest to the room and brings harmony to the walls and ceiling. Choose a colour similar to the walls, or have the wall colour mixed a shade or two lighter or darker. Be creative with wallpaper. Wallpaper isn’t just for walls. Paper the drawer or door fronts of a painted dresser or cabinet, or use it to decorate a plain headboard. You’ll get a custom-looking piece of furniture with lots of impact. Paint it dark. A small space can handle dark walls. In fact, deep and strong hues can be better in small spaces because a little goes a long way. The bold statement adds personality and impact. Mix plaid and floral. Patterns don’t have to match, nor do you want them too! They just need to coordinate. Put geometric patterns with floral. Mix modern designs with traditional. The key: Make sure they share a common colour. A charming centerpiece doesn’t require a large vase of flowers and pair of candlesticks. A collection of interesting objects - an old pewter pitcher, a big bowl with mounded moss and a small crystal sphere, or a gathering of favorite books - is so

much more interesting on the dining table. The more unusual the better. Raise the curtain rod. Hang curtains near the ceiling rather than the typical placement just above the window trim. This gives the illusion of height, which makes a small window appear larger or low ceiling appear higher. Layer floor coverings. Wall-towall carpet doesn’t eliminate the use of rugs. Add an area rug in the bedroom to create an intimate sitting area, just as you would under the dining room table and chairs on a wood floor. Layer multiple rugs of coordinating colours and patterns in different sizes atop one another to make a striking design statement. Forget about trying to match everything. Just because furniture is sold as a set doesn’t mean you have to use it that way. Mix a new dining table with a medley of refinished antique chairs. Buy the new sofa you love, but have your favourite chairs re-covered instead of settling on the matching settee. Rearrange the furniture you have, using pieces from different collections in different rooms. You can put oversize furniture in small spaces. Too much small furniture in a small room can make the space feel cluttered and full. Instead, buy fewer, larger pieces to make a small space feel roomier. Be versatile with draperies. Draperies aren’t just for windows. Use win-

dow treatments to add interest to a large, plain span of wall. Hang draperies in a large doorway to make it more intimate. Use a curtain panel in place of a closet door. Basically, there is no rule book when it comes to decorating. But if there were, the rules are meant to be broken. Break out of your comfort zone and forget some of the guidelines that have informally become law! Renée Carpenter owns Jennings Furniture & Design & Stage It With Jennings in St. Thomas.

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Lifestyles Elgin Arts Trail

Creative talent thrives at Portside Gallery

by Katherine Thompson

Port Stanley is one of Elgin County’s most exciting destinations. This bustling portside village is known for having some of the finest stretches of sandy beach along Lake Erie’s north shore and some of the tastiest dining establishments in southwestern Ontario; but the village is also quickly becoming a hub for the art community. Port Stanley’s friendly atmosphere, warm Lake Erie breezes and magnificent sunsets create the perfect environment for creative talent to thrive. Numerous art galleries and studios can be found in the quaint downtown core and the village is home to several artist groups and popular annual art events. Portside Gallery is nestled in the heart of Port Stanley and is home to 16 talented regional artists. For 17 years, this artist-managed co-operative has produced high-quality art ranging from realism to abstraction. Artists at the co-operative use a variety of mediums including oil, watercolours, acrylic, ink, pastels and mixed-media. Visitors and locals delight in the diverse and vibrant pieces that range from miniature to large in size. The Gallery is open year-round and anytime is a great time to browse the works or purchase a special treasure to take home. Come meet the artists at Portside Gallery and be inspired by Port Stanley’s Katherine Thompson romantic lakeside setting. is Marketing & Communications For more information on PortsCoordinator with The ide Gallery or The Elgin Arts Trail County of Elgin visit elginartstrail.ca.

KEITH HUNT

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The Elgin Arts Trail is a program with a goal to promote and enhance arts tourism in Elgin County and St. Thomas. The trail is a route through Elgin County that visits some of the best galleries, studios and artisans in Elgin and St. Thomas. For full trail information visit www.elginartstrail. ca or find us on Facebook August, 2013

The Parade of Elephants is a travelling exhibition of one-of a-kind elephant sculptures created by artists on the Elgin Arts Trail in partnership with the St. ThomasElgin Public Art Centre. Every month the elephants will travel to a new location and at each location a new elephant will be added to the collection. The next exhibit will be on display at: Concreations 7579 Yarmouth Centre Rd, St. Thomas Aug 2 – Aug 20, 2013 For a complete list of exhibit locations visit www.elginartstrail.ca/paradeofelephants

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25


Dining & Entertainment Food & Wine

Building a better Pinot Gris/Grigio? If you demand it, winemakers will grow it

by Jamie Quai

There is an unusual causality dilemma in the ference between Pinot Gris and Pinot modern wine industry with the grape Pinot Gris/ Grigio with respect to the grape itself. Grigio. As with any good dilemma (think chickens They are exactly the same. From my exand eggs), it’s really hard to tell how it got started. perience, consumers use the name inThe dilemma is this: almost all of the Gris/Grigio terchangeably, which I would contend, widely available to consumers isn’t great stuff at leads to a lot of the muddled expectaall, but consumers don’t have high expectations tions around the wine. Stylistically, the or demands of Pinot Gris/Grigio; we’ve accepted wines are very dissimilar. mediocre as the standard. Thus, there is very little The pinnacle of Pinot Gris style is push from the market on wineries to make it bet- produced in Alsace, France. The wine ter, and the cycle continues. has intense honey, brazil nuts, melon, Pinot Gris, also known as Pinot Grigio, has a and exotic notes. The wines will very rather interesting pedigree and evolution. The often spend a large portion of their four most obvious grapes of the Pinot family are lives in oak, but it is older oak barrels Noir, Gris, Blanc, and Muand the flavour of the nier. All very different in taste vessel rarely factors in to the smell and appearance but what or taste. These wines are often makes them fascinating is that “the term we use is better recognized by their texture. they all descended from the They tend to be fuller in body. Non-Descript same parent. Pinots are highly They tend to coat the inside of White Wine” prone to natural mutation. your mouth when consumed and Pinot Gris is just a mutation the aftertaste pleasantly persists that was recognized and propfor a long time. agated. Gris/Grigio simply means grey in French The textbook examples of Pinot Grigio are from and Italian respectively. The colour references the northern Italy – regions like the Alto Adige, Friuli, berries which turn a very deep pinkish grey when and Emilia-Romagna. These wines share a little they ripen. Anyone unfamiliar with the grape may bit of the honeyed nose but lean more towards mistake it for sunburnt or rotten. There is no dif- the fresh crisp citrus fruit descriptors. The other big giveaway for Grigio is a wet stone or mineral character in the taste and smell. Any decent Pinot Grigio, for me, has a distinct fresh rainfall on t4USPMMFSGSJFOEMZ flagstone character. The t$IJMESFOJOTUSPMMFST wines retain a lot of their BSF'3&& acidity which means a t&OUFSBTNBOZUJNFT very clean and crisp aftertaste. They do not have BTZPVXPVMEMJLFGPS the body or structure of UIFEBZ their fraternal French t$PMETPGUESJOLTBOE twin. CPUUMFEXBUFSJOUIF As a winemaker I can XJOFSZTUPSFGPSUIPTF tell you that when one SFBMIPUEBZT produces this style and aims for something in the middle, more often than not it doesn’t work.

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The wine is essentially blah. The term we use is Non-Descript White Wine. After years of working with Pinot Gris, I’ve discovered that until the grapes are harvested, and I have a chance to assess them, I can’t say whether it will be a Grigio or Gris year. The grapes decide that for me. This is unfortunate since labelling a Gris as Grigio is actually an easier sell for most consumers. The winemaker in me loves the challenge of making a great Gris, the marketer in me wants the simple sale Grigio. I know a lot of other winemakers, and I read a lot of wine publications, and all of my experiences have led to one conclusion – nobody in the wine industry really seems to have a passion for Pinot Gris/Grigio. Grapes like Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc have whole conferences dedicated them. There isn’t a drive to better appreciate Pinot Gris. Research papers on improving Pinot Gris quality are few and far between. This needs to change. Back to the causality dilemma, wineries need to put more efforts into making outstanding Pinot Gris/Grigio. But as consumers there has to be a fundamental understanding of the style differences. With that little knowledge comes an interest in finding better examples of that style. If you demand it, we will grow it.

Jamie Quai is head winemaker at Quai du Vin Estate Winery in Elgin County

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August, 2013


HEALTHY LIVING Everyday Health

Mosquitoes and West Nile virus Those pesky insects can be more than a nuisance

from Elgin St. Thomas Public Health

It’s that time of year again – mosquito sea- been any cases of West Nile virus that has son. These days, mosquitoes are more than been picked up in this area. Luckily, the a nuisance. Some can carry the West Nile risk for getting West Nile virus in Elgin virus, and their bites may lead to West Nile County remains low. Summer means traveling and camping. virus infection, and, in turn, mild or serious illness. Infection may result in no symp- While the risk for West Nile virus is contoms, in mild illness such as ‘West Nile fe- sidered low within Elgin County, there are ver’, or in some cases serious neurological areas of Ontario that do have a higher risk illness such as encephalitis (inflammation so proper precautions should be taken. The first step is to protect yourself from of the brain). To determine the level of West Nile virus mosquitoes by covering exposed skin with activity in Elgin County, Elgin St. Thomas light coloured clothing, as mosquitoes are Public Health (ESTPH) sets up traps in attracted to darker colours. Wearing insect the summer months around St. Thomas repellant with DEET (read the label for and Aylmer. The type of mosquito that how to use) will also prevent them from can transmit the virus prefers urban areas biting. If camping, make sure windows and tents are screened to more rural areas. Mosso mosquitoes can’t quitoes are caught weekly come in. It is also and tested for the presbest to be prepared at ence of West Nile virus. “eliminate areas Last year saw the first dawn and dusk when where mosquitoes mosquito activity is set of mosquitoes within could breed” highest, and miniElgin County that tested mize the amount of positive for West Nile time spent outdoors virus. Both were located in traps set in more naturalized areas on during these periods. The second step is to eliminate areas the edge of town, rather than in residential areas. One was located in St. Thomas, and where mosquitoes could breed. Take care the other was in Aylmer. The testing results of swimming pools, bird baths, ponds, were positive only once during the week of and other standing or stagnant water July 25, 2012 last season as all other testing sources. Excess vegetation around standresults in subsequent weeks were negative. ing water is a perfect breeding ground for ESTPH will continue to monitor these and mosquitoes. ESTPH will continue to monitor the the other traps closely, to see what the results will be like this year to determine if mosquito population to see if there is additional actions will need to be taken to an established presence of West Nile vilower the risk of humans getting the dis- rus within the mosquitoes. Be proactive ease, for example by larviciding (killing the – protect yourself and your family from larva form of mosquitoes before they have a exposure to mosquitoes and take care to reduce standing water breeding sites. chance to develop into adult mosquitoes). For more information go to The number of human cases is also monitored closely, and, to date, there have not elginhealth.on.ca/WestNileVirus

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27


Healthy Living Everyday Health

Reflexology

An ancient practice with modern benefits

by Dr. Greg Johnston, B.H.K., B.Ed., D.C.

Reflexology is an alternative form of healthcare that involves working on the feet, hands and ears. It is based on the theory that there are specific reflex points in these areas that correspond to specific areas and systems in the rest of the body. The theory has parallels in traditional Chinese medicine and other forms of energy healing arts that deal with maintaining the energy force (Qi, Chi, Prana, Bio-energy) that travels through the body. There is documentation that in China, India and Egypt reflexology was practiced thousands of years ago. The oldest documentation is an Egyptian papyrus showing practitioners treating the feet and hands in 2,500 B.C. Zone therapy

was developed in the 14th century in Europe. Dr. along the nervous system to clear any blockages William Fitzgerald M.D. is credited with being in the zones thus allowing for free flow of the life the father of modern reflexology and introduced force through the body. Manipulation of the reit to the western world in 1913 with what he titled flexes removes stress activating a parasympathetic “Zone and Pressure (relaxational) response to enable the body Therapy.” Later, Euto release the blockages. With the stress nice Ingham, a nurse removed and with increased circulation, “manipulation of and physiotherapist, the body then can return to a proper state the reflexes removes of homeostasis or balance. mapped the entire body into reflexes on Reflexology can benefit people of all stress” the feet and renamed ages, from the newborn to the elderly. Al“zone therapy” to “reflexology.” though in a strict sense reflexology does not treat Specifically, the science of reflexology is based specific conditions – it is designed to normalize on the theory that when the reflex points are stim- the body and then allow the body’s own normal ulated the body’s natural electrical energy works healing processes to take over – there are some specific conditions that can be considered. These conditions include, but are not limited to, stress and stress-related conditions, tension headaches, digestive disorders, arthritis, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, sports injuries, menstrual disorders, back and foot pain. The vast majority of people realize the benefits of stress reduction which in turn minimizes physical symptoms. A typical reflexology session will last 45 to 60 minutes. It will usually begin with a consultation about your health and any specific health concerns. You will then be asked to remove your shoes and socks and then you will be made to sit comfortably in a reclining chair or perhaps to lie down on a massage therapy table. The feet are gently cleansed. The therapist will begin to assess the feet and then apply various techniques to work on the feet. The sessions are not painful and are very pleasurable and relaxing. Continued on page 29...

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LIFESTYLE That’s Life

“Watch this!”

He fell, but would he get back on?

by Elizabeth VanHooren

Some children take to riding a bike naturally In true country-style they laughed first and and others don’t. My son has been somewhere in checked if I was okay after. the middle, timid to give up the security of his Of course, my son’s spill was no laughing training wheels, yet conscious of the fact that he matter. We picked the bike up and walked it is somehow missing out on two-wheeled adven- back to the house. Three or four Spiderman tures. band-aids hid the blood and began to ease the Learning to ride a bike is a classic rite of pas- pain. A frozen yogurt stopped the tears. But sage for any child, but for a young country boy no pep talk was going to get him back on his it’s your main mode of transportation around the bike that afternoon. farm – it’s the freedom you enjoy until you’re sixAfter weeks of convincing him to try riding teen. You just have to learn to ride it. without the training wheels on the grass, run“I hate my bike. It’s mean,” my son blurted out ning behind him with my hand on the seat for as I untangled him from his blue police bike. “It added balance and then that fateful inaugural dumped me again.” ride I feared my five-year-old would spend anThe bike hadn’t dumped him so much as he had other summer spinning on four wheels instead lost his concentration. Looking back just long of two. enough to see if my husband and I were watching But the very next weekend he came running his inaugural ride up the gravel driveway, he had up to me in the garden smiling like a Cheshire lost control of the handle cat and almost out of bars causing his front wheel breath, “Come quick to jack knife to the left. Mom. I’ve gotta show you “they laughed first and Ending with him crumpling something.” I followed checked if I was okay after” him to the front yard half into the ground scraping his elbow, knees and grinding expecting to be presented fine bits of stone into the with a praying mantis, palm of his hands. toad or snake he had found. But instead he took There wasn’t much blood; but I knew it hurt me to his bike at the top of a grassy knoll leading physically and emotionally. After all, I learned to our driveway. to ride a bike up a similar gravel driveway. And “Watch this!” on my inaugural ride, I rammed my bike headShirtless with a pair of shorts on and his favorite first into the barnyard gate in front of my sisters. John Deere baseball cap crooked slightly to the

Reflexology Continued from page 28...

Although the practice of reflexology is not a health profession regulated by the ministry of health, a certification process does exist. The Ontario College of Reflexology helps to regulate the profession making sure that certain standards are maintained. To be a member of the college, a certified reflexologist must have completed an accredited course. This course usually consists of 35 hours of in-class instruction, 35 hours of independent study, and a 130 hour practicum usually

consisting of working on 70 pair of documented feet. Finally, a written and practical exam must be completed. During the treatment, people often report achieving a very relaxed state. Some people do fall asleep and that is alright. The therapist will gently awaken them when the session has been completed. After the session, people feel a reduction in stress and report feeling very relaxed and refreshed. Many people will notice and feel a reduction in the symptoms mentioned previously. Reflexology can be a beneficial part of a health-

side, my son had found his own balance. Starting at the top of the knoll with his feet striding alongside him for a few meters, he picked up just enough speed to steady himself and then … Freedom. Fresh air. Speed. Through mud puddles and back again. “I love my bike.” Elizabeth VanHooren is General Manager of Kettle Creek Conservation Authority

care regimen. If you are looking for a way to relieve stress, are suffering from one of the conditions mentioned above, or just looking for a way to enhance your state of health, consider seeing a certified reflexologist.

JEFF YUREK, MPP

Rev. Jim Innes BA, MDiv.

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29


LIFESTYLE Time On My Hands

Life has been rocky for Bruce Peninsula farmer Old fence tells tales of struggle

by Duncan Watterworth

I never met the farmer, but his fence had a lot to say. It was a morning hike near my cottage a few years ago. Intending to explore a rocky, wooded ridge, I started along an old fence line that separated a flat cow pasture from the ridge. Soon, I was studying the fence. It looked generations old. Perhaps it was built by the Scottish settler who first tried to wrestle a living from that rocky farm, and then maintained by his son, and now by the sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son. The builder, instead of erecting a proper fence along the edge of the pasture, built his fence on the ridge, over the

rocks and through the trees. That way, every bit of his flat land could be utilized. Decent farmland was hard to come by on the Bruce Peninsula, and farmers didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t waste it. Their houses and barns were on ridges for the same reason. Also, by running the fence on the ridge, live trees could be used for fence posts. Not ideal, but quick and cheap. Where the trees were too far apart, the farmer jammed posts into cracks in the bedrock, or anchored them in piles of rocks and buttressed them with diagonal braces. Ice age glaciers had scoured all the soil off the fence and farmer going. The farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s struggles, his tenuous grip on his Peninsula, leaving a bare limestone plain, rolling and fissured. Then, post-glacial lakes deposited a livelihood and his way of life â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all were revealed thin layer of soil in the hollows between the ridg- by his fence. This trespasser began to feel like a es. Those hollows became fields, but not before voyeur. Since that day, I have been haunted multitudes of rocks had been by my encounter with that man I have cleared off. The fence builder never met. Or have I? Was he the farmer ...â&#x20AC;&#x153;was he the had used some of those rocks to fill crevices near his fence farmer beside me beside me in the hardware store in Lions Head? Or the roughly dressed man so cattle wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t break their in the hardware picking through the used tools at the legs. farm auction where everything went so store?â&#x20AC;?... My hike slowed to a standcheap? still as I examined the latest That fence canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t last forever. Perhaps repairs the owner had made soon the field will be abandoned, like to the rickety fence. He reinforced some rotted posts other marginal land on the Peninsula. Generawith steel bars. He ran tions of toil surrender to the succession of wildbarbwire to bolster weak flowers, then shrubs, then trees. Perhaps the farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son left the land long ago, sections, and methodically wove it into the old and took a job with the National Park, or as a fence with sticks from deckhand on the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry at Tober&ROM t -BSHFSWFIJDMFTFYUSB  the forest floor. Where mory. Perhaps the farmer will retire, and pick up t7FIJDMFTXJUIQFUIBJSFYUSB there were gaps under some cash in the growing tourist/cottager econo EJSUZBEEJUJPOBMDIBSHF the fence, he piled logs my as a handy man, or selling firewood or maple and branches so the cat- syrup. The fence will disappear into the forest, a lost tle wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t push under. artifact of the familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long struggle. At least it will One stretch of fence was Other Services: Inside Shampooing, patched with a roll of vi- no longer be a tattletale to trespassers. Leather Cleaning & Conditioning, nyl garden fencing, also Glass Treatment & Fabric Protection woven in with sticks. A hole in the fence was Duncan Watterworth plugged with a rusty is recently a retiree A maximum and empty-nester in 160 Burwell Road, St. Thomas bedspring. of sweat and a minimum St. Thomas 519-631-5502 of cash were keeping the

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