TBB August 2022

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Happy Time Real Estate Holdings Complete New Building!

INSIDE HOW MUCH AUTOMOBILE LIABILITY COVERAGE DO I NEED? The NWMO appoints new Board of Directors Chair and member Are You Prepeared for our Changing Financial Environment North Superior Publishing

@tbay25

Canadian Coast Guard Celebrate!

Thunder Bay has a new Flooring Company:


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Canadian Coast Guard Celebrate 60th Anniversary BY SCOTT A. SUMNER

Thunder Bay BUSINESS A parade and ceremony took place at the Lakehead Transportation Museum, Pool 6 site, Prince Arthur’s Landing in Thunder Bay in recognition of 60 years of Canadian Coast Guard service in Canada. The event celebrated the critical contribution and role of the Canadian Coast Guard in maintaining and policing the waterways of the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway System since 1962. Thunder Bay’s vibrant maritime industry has benefited from the Canadian Coast Guard’s services including icebreaking, aids to navigation, lighthouse keeping

(historical – now automated), ship inspection, and saving of lives. This event honoured and celebrated the Canadian Coast Guard’s unique tie to Thunder Bay’s history, community, growth, and prosperity, Also acknowledged was the 64th Birthday of CCGS Alexander Henry, one of only a few pre-1962 Coast Guard ships still in existence. Chris Heikkinen, Port of Thunder Bay “The opportunity came up to recognize the 60th Anniversary of the Canada Coast Guard. They are intergral to shipping everywhere in Canada but for us shipping

through the Great Lakes St Lawrence Seaway to and from the Port of Thunder Bay. There are millions of tons of cargo each season. Lakehead Transportation Museum Society approached us to host an event aboard the CCGS Alexander Henry.

the Atlantic Ocean.They are repsonsible for aids to navigation, assist with seaway depth charting and many other activities. To me the most fascinating role they play is with icebreaking. They have a very unique relationship with the US Coast Guard to ensure the availability of ice breaking assets in both December and in January at the end of the season and when we begin the season in early spring.” Maureen Kelly, Deputy Marine Superintendent Canadian Coast Guard

Chris Heikkinen, Port of Thunder Bay and Maureen Kelly, Deputy Marine Superintendent Canadian Coast Guard The Coast Guard play a vital role all across across the Great Lakes and into the Port of Thunder Bay. Thunder Bay is a 3700 km trip from Gulf of St. Lawrence in

“This day is huge. I am very,very pleased to be here having the recognition.The last few years it has been difficult to celebrate with only virtual events. Thunder Bay has always been one of the central parts for us when it comes to the transportation of goods. We are happy to provide support for this. I can see only more expansions with larger vessels, icebreaking and opportunities in the future.”


THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Publisher’s Note Scott Sumner In recent weeks we have experienced rapidly rising interest rates in Canada. Inflation has gone up to 8.1% with everything we need to buy much costlier now. The Bank of Canada is charged with keeping inflation under control and they have a long term target of 2%. Perhaps their only real tool to do this is increasing interest rates so I think we can expect continued rising rates, something many people have never experienced before. I remember one of my first jobs in corporate banking at a quality lender in the early 1980’s when we were offering loans to businesses at 22.75%. At that time inflation was around 12%. Needless to say it was difficult for many of the clients we had and they sometimes didn’t survive. So what can you do to improve your situation in these times. Here are a few thoughts. Recent times have proven to be pretty volatile economically for many people in Canada and the world especially with the pandemic. This required an aggressive approach to the management of your own resources. Unfortunately, most people do not spend enough time at all thinking about their financial future. However, I feel that it's a very important factor to ensure that you will have the financial security you need to live a positive lifestyle.

Are You Prepared for our Changing Financial Environment The first step you should understand is no one will do it for you. You are the only person that can improve your financial situation. This requires effort along with the right direction. Money has always been a very important commodity, and there is no doubt that it can improve the quality of your life. I'm not saying money will buy happiness, because it definitely won't. However, money can improve life by providing security, and by helping us succeed in areas of endeavor that we choose, whether it be playing a sport, enrolling in a course, or achieving goals. Money can also help in times of medical problems, in providing our children with the best education, or in furnishing our home with some of the comforts of life. How much time do you spend on really reviewing money with the view to accumulating wealth over your lifetime? We have all thought about money and wished we could have something like a new car, a larger house, or a trip, but how much time do we really spend on thinking about our current financial position? How we can improve it or make it grow over the upcoming years? Very few people take time to really think about it, and unfortunately, it does affect the quality of one's life, especially in retirement years. Not giving attention to personal finances could lead to having a bank account with little or no available cash, rather than

developing the strength that you need to provide independence. In addition to retiring, there are goals and financial requirements that we need right now. Most young people dream of getting married, raising a family, owning a home and providing their children with a good education. All of these goals have financial implications and require proper planning in order to accumulate the capital to accomplish them. Do you know where you are financially. What’s your net worth?How much money do you have left over at the end of the month? The first step in a financial planning process is to analyze exactly where you are at this moment in time. This should be very detailed and cannot be done quickly, but is not difficult work, and can in fact be enjoyable. Many people, if asked the question "What is your net worth?" will not know the answer. They might have some kind of an idea about what their house is worth, maybe how much they paid for their car, or they might remember an RRSP they bought last February. I don't think they really understand or know exactly what their financial net worth is. From my background in business, I have learned it helps to consider yourself as an actual business entity. Businesses rely significantly on their financial statements. The financial statement begins with a balance sheet which is a complete financial picture of the firm's assets and liabilities on a short term, and long term base. It is

only completely accurate at one point in time, usually the year-end of the firm, but it can be very valuable in analysis. In addition to the balance sheet portion of a financial statement, there is the income statement. It simply records the revenues received by a corporation and the expenses associated with earning those revenues, thereby arriving at a net income in order to determine whether or not the firm has met its financial goals. The conclusion is that the corporation determines how well they performed against budget or business plans. A family's or individual's financial statement is exactly the same as a company's. It might not be graphed in the same magnitude, but it is definitely similar. As individuals, we have to take a responsible view of our financial resources. We must look ahead to long- term capital accumulation,with the expectation of having enough revenue to enjoy a happy retirement. For some simple forms that will help you in this process visit my web site www.scottsumner.com

HOW MUCH AUTOMOBILE LIABILITY COVERAGE DO I NEED? ©2022 Brian Babcock

We always hope this won’t happen to us, but after the accident is the wrong time to decide how much insurance will give you

If you are at fault in an accident, your personal assets and income may be seized to pay the amount of any judgment that exceeds your policy limits,

Legal Matters peace of mind. No amount of available insurance can cover a catastrophic accident. The good news is that the risk of that extreme result is remote. So the better question is “how much insurance do I practically need?” The minimum standard limit in Ontario is still $200,000 but only the most reckless or difficult to insure car owners carry that limit. Typically, those are people with very bad driving records who cannot obtain affordable insurance at higher amounts. Most brokers will automatically quote $1,000,000 coverage to an ordinary customer. That is the lowest amount we suggest that you purchase if you qualify and want insurance to give you some peace of mind. Two million dollars of coverage is preferable if you can buy it, and if your insurer will sell it to you. Good insurance risks can usually find this very affordable. Five million would cover all but the most catastrophic injury claims and is desirable but is not available for many people under an

auto policy. If you want more than $2 million coverage consider a personal umbrella policy. This is a policy of excess insurance which only responds to catastrophic claims that exceed your base insurance. Not everybody will qualify for a personal umbrella policy. A $3 million umbrella policy on top of a $2 million automobile policy would provide that $5 million in total coverage. The umbrella portion would also serve as excess insurance for any possible liability claims arising under your homeowners or tenants package (the classic scary example is the reckless teenager jumping off the roof). These are our suggestions as to what you should discuss with your broker or agent.

An “agent” sells policies only from one company, while a “broker” represents multiple companies. Weilers Law cannot sell you insurance, but we help clients with questions as to insurance coverage, insurance disputes, and insurance or indemnity clauses in contracts.


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

The NWMO appoints new Board of Directors Chair and member The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Chair and member to its Board of Directors. The

Board of Directors is responsible for oversight of the NWMO and takes a leadership role in the development of the corporation's strategic direction, as the NWMO implements Canada's plan for the safe, long-term

management of used nuclear fuel. Glenn Jager, formerly Vice-Chair, has been appointed as the new NWMO Board of Directors Chair. (CNW Group/Nuclear Waste Management Organization) Subo Sinnathamby, Senior Vice-President of Nuclear Refurbishment at OPG, has also been appointed as a new NWMO Board member. (CNW Group/Nuclear Waste Management Organization) Glenn Jager, formerly Vice-Chair, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Board of Directors. He brings more than 30 years of experience in the nuclear sector to this critical role. Mr. Jager takes over from Wayne Robbins, who served as Chair of the Board from 2016 to 2022, when his term ended. "I am pleased to serve as the new Chair on the Board of Directors and to support the NWMO as it implements one of Canada's largest national environmental infrastructure projects," said Mr. Jager. "It is an important time for the organization as we continue to work with municipal, First Nation and Métis communities to identify a preferred project site and finalize the design of the deep geological repository that will safely manage all Canada's used nuclear fuel."

Mr. Jager is the retired President of Nuclear and Chief Nuclear Officer at Ontario Power Generation (OPG). He was accountable for all OPG's nuclear operations, including generation, waste sites, major projects and new nuclear development. Mr. Jager was also President and CEO of Canadian Nuclear Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of OPG providing services to the energy sector in Canada and internationally.

He also previously served as Chair and Director on the board of the Canadian Nuclear Association from 2016 to 2018. Mr. Jager holds a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario and is a member of Professional Engineers Ontario. Subo Sinnathamby, Senior Vice-President of Nuclear Refurbishment at OPG, has also been appointed as a new Board member. As a Board member, Ms. Sinnathamby will join the Siting and Project Oversight Committees. "I look forward to serving on the Board and providing strategic input on this crucial large-scale infrastructure project to the Siting and Project Oversight Committees," said Ms. Sinnathamby. "I'm honoured to take on this

new responsibility and look forward to sharing insights from my years of experience implementing major infrastructure projects as we work together to implement Canada's plan." Ms. Sinnathamby has more than 20 years of leadership experience at OPG. Throughout her tenure with the organization, she has been a champion for clean energy, equity, diversion and inclusion, and Women in STEM. She is currently responsible for refurbishing the three units of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and preparing the station for more than 40 additional years of low-cost, safe and reliable power generation. Ms. Sinnathamby has been a member of Professional Engineers Ontario since 1998 and is a graduate of the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering. "On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Wayne Robbins for the years of leadership and service that he has brought to the NWMO. These new appointments will help the organization maintain our strong focus and momentum in implementing Canada's plan for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel," said Laurie Swami, President and CEO of the NWMO. "As we stay focused on working with communities to implement Canada's plan and the regulatory decision-making process that follows, we will never lose sight of the goal that drives us: protecting people and the environment for generations to come."


THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

The Match BY SCOTT A. SUMNER

Great Outdoors Most golf clubs have an annual events where the members play a friendly compe-

tition amongst themselves. You will receive a few perks if you win, such as a gift certificate for more balls! In match play you also have to win several matches during the season. The biggest thing you win though is bragging rights for the next year! The first thing you notice playing competitive golf is you can get nervous. Yes my stomach felt a little uneasy and I wasn’t really looking forward to that first tee shot. I didn’t hit any range balls but did hit some practice putts. I talked to my fellow golfers and it was off to the first tee. My first swing was a driver and it went in the air to the right but I could find it so that was good. I was starting to feel a little bit better being out there swinging the clubs and getting the day underway.

My playing partners were nice to play with and encouraging. Our opponents were avid golf competitors and had already played an 18 hole warm up game that day. We had sun, heat, rain, humidity, light-

ning, stoppage of play, resumption of play and fun! Overall the day was nice. It was good to have to concentrate on each shot including the 2 foot putts you had to make. I think everyone should enter their club matches and enjoy the comradery of the day. You get to play with some new people that aren’t your regulars, test out your game and learn some areas where you can improve. It will give me a new appreciation for competitive golfers when next time I am at the RBC Canadian Open or another tournament. Can you imagine the pressure they feel playing for a $1million plus first prize! My goal, like every golfer, is to get better so hopefully next year I can improve my performance in the Match play!

Next Issue:

Thunder Bay Business Main Topic:

Education Ad Copy Deadline August 23rd,2022 Contact Sylvia @807-629-7599 www.thunderbaybusiness.ca

It was good playing with John,Andy and Decio at the beautiful Whitewater Golf

Club!


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Happy Time Real Estate Holdings Complete New Building!

BY SCOTT A. SUMNER

Thunder Bay BUSINESS Happy Time Real Estate Holdings has recently completed construction of a beautiful new, large building on Beaverhall Place to house their 100 % Indigenous owned businesses, Happy Time Tours and Travel and Carrick Express. They also have provided

some rental office space for tenants. “We became aware the companies HT Leasing and Happy Time Tours were available from the Friesen Group back in 2011. The purchase process got started in 2012 and on November 21st 2013 became 100 % First Nation owned.” said Luke Reynolds, Director of Companies and shareholder with Kingfisher First Nation.

The companies have had some struggles in the past but new CEO James Ward has been important to their turnaround. “In 2017 I knew James Ward who would come up to the communities when he worked for Wasaya. He had great relationships with the communities and excellent skill levels so we created the CEO position to have

James run the companies. He had done a huge turnaround in 1 to 2 years quadrupling the company revenues and expanded our staff. Then Covid hit and we were smart enough with our team here to keep the doors open,” said Luke Reynolds. “ Previously the com-

“ There are millions of dollars that flow south but very little money flows north. We are trying to divert some funds back to the north.” James Ward, CEO Happy Time Real Estate Holdings pany was focussed on travelling tourists and then James got us to act like a concierge service to our communities. We handle as many services for them as we can.”

Continued


THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Happy Time Real Estate Holdings Complete New Building!

Continued “ I came on board in 2017. The companies were not in the greatest of shape, very close to closing the doors and I was a last ditch effort to turn things around. Luckily we were able to do that. The communities were never able to receive a dividend from day one but from our first year after turn around were able to give a dividend back,” said James Ward, CEO. “ Initially the companies were a bus tour and leisure travel operation. We morphed into accommodating all the needs for our passengers in the north with conferences, hotel and rental car bookings, meals and lunches and providing goods and services. One of the challenges of living in the north is it is very hard to get a credit card and establish credit.We help bridge that gap for these people and organiza-

tions.We have kind of found a niche within our own ownership group that helped keep us alive during Covid. Anybody in the travel industry that survived Covid has to give themselves a pat on the back.” The company expanded again by purchasing long time local company Carrick Express. “ Carrick Express fit our goal of finding new opportunities within our group where we could funnel funds from the south, say Thunder Bay, to the north. There are millions of dollars that flow south but very little money flows north.We are trying to divert some funds back to the north. Shipping and hotel accommodations are important so we started looking at businesses that compliment what we do” said James. Continued

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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Happy Time Real Estate Holdings Complete New Building! Continued “ We had bought a freight truck and were going to start doing runs from Thunder Bay to Pickle Lake but heard that Carrick Express was for sale from the founders who built it from the ground up. It was emotional for them to sell it to us but they were happy having it go to our hands.” On December 15th, 2019 Carrick Express became officially First Nation owned. Carrick Express was previously operating out of a trailer at the Manitoulin building but now have space in the new facility with 4 docks and have doubled their business in 2 years. “With our astronomical growth at Happy Time Tours that’s why we brought in BMO Bank of Montreal with their Indigenous services lead by Matthew Neveu and his team.We felt with the banking and their solutions it would help with our growth.” said

Luke Reynolds, Director, Arlene Russell, Accounting/ Admin and James Ward, CEO Luke Reynolds.

ver lining for us was the numbers proved we could build our own build-

ing based on our new higher rent payments on the previous location.

“ We were previously renting a building which became for sale.We made an offer on it but were unsuccessful which was pretty typical these days. The new owners had higher rental rates. The sil-

Moving Carrick over and renting out office space here as well in our new building, has been a good move in a brand new facility. The size of our new building is almost 11,000 square feet and with a cost of over $4 million invested into Thunder Bay from our communities. During Covid it was helping sub trades survive. We are trying to do our best to work together to lead and live a good live.” said James Ward. The building general contractor was BNL Contracting Ltd. Today there are approximately 30 staff working at Happy Time Tours and Carrick Express. The growth will continue for Happy Time Real Estate Holdings. Continued


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Happy Time Real Estate Holdings Complete New Building! Continued “ We are building a motel after purchasing the Bob’s Motel property on Arthur Street. We tore it down and have concrete piles in and will start construction the spring of 2023 with a 96 room Avid Holiday Inn. Covid has delayed the project from our original time line, ” said James. “ We will be able to accommodate our own communities at our own hotel first.” “ We are proud and growing. It is enjoyable coming to work. Having a vision and dream and putting those goals down on paper is important. Time goes by fast so we try to value our time and make a difference.We want to show we are serious contenders and teach our ownership group and people up north. There is a lot to do yet that we have to accomplish, even through covid times. People want to get on with life. Recently it has been hard to find a rental room or rental car in Thunder Bay because of the current demand.”said Luke Reynolds. James Ward is also CEO of Wasaya Airlines and a proud member of the Fort William First Nation. “ I feel I am a lucky individual with a skill set in my mind. I attribute all my success to having friends and connections and overall being a good human being. I don’t burn bridges, try to make a lasting impression on people and make friends. Wasaya is doing well with new planes coming. It takes a team to make a change and win, everyone.Today there are 350 employees at Wasaya Airlines,” said James. “ Everything is to be determined. We

have established a good team with banking at BMO, legal at Ericksons and accounting at BDO. They have helped us every step of the way and we can trust them.We like to support local businesses.”


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Happy Time Real Estate Holdings Complete New Building! Happy Time Tours & Travel Ownership Communities (6)

Kingfisher Lake FN Wunnumin Lake FN Wapekeka FN Neskantaga FN Nibinamik FN (Summer Beaver) Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI)(Big Trout Lake)

Carrick Express Inc Ownership Communities (3) Kingfisher Lake FN Wunnumin Lake FN Kasabonika Lake FN

Hotel project/AVID Holiday Inn Ownership Communities Kingfisher Lake FN Wunnumin Lake FN

Wapekeka FN Kasabonika Lake FN

Nibinamik FN (Summer Beaver) Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug

(KI)(Big Trout Lake)


THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Happy Time Real Estate Holdings Complete New Building! I asked some questions about the BMO services to the companies to Dan Adams, Vice President, Indigenous Banking and Matt Neveu, Director, Corporate Finance. 1. BMO has been a very important part of the success of Happy Time Real Estate Holdings and Happy Time Tours & Travel and Carrick Express. Tell me about the services you provide to this Indigenous business? “ We are proud to provide a full banking relationship; including lending, deposits and cash management to assist with the success of the businesses today and moving forward.” 2. The company is experiencing great growth and expansion with some large future projects on the horizon. Tell us about how BMO will help them accomplish this?

“In order to understand the needs of our Indigenous customers both businesses and communities we have to continue to listen and learn from our customers. Our increasing knowledge allows us to further develop our relationships by making progress on education, awareness and informed policies that will deliver better results and outcomes. Having a good business plan is always important however so is knowing our customer and how important economic development is to the First Nations and their members. BMO is working along side of Happy Time Tours and Carrick Express to grow their services for the purposes of benefiting all communities in NW Ontario and the City of Thunder Bay. 3. How have you personally enjoyed working with James Ward and his team? “It’s been a pleasure working with James, the board of directors and the

entire management team. Their values align perfectly with ours working on the goal of an inclusive society with zero barriers – within Indigenous Communities and across Canada. James provides us an opportunity to move forward on our Reconciliation

Journey, specifically TRC’s Call to Action #92 which we take very seriously. When Happy Time Tours and Carrick Express are successful the business in return provides employment, economic and social empowerment.”


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

From nursing apps to beauty care services – Lakehead University’s Ascend Accelerator grads show off their entrepreneurial spirit into reality. On July 22, Lakehead University celebrated the graduation of its second cohort from the Ascend Accelerator boot-camp-style program hosted by the Ingenuity incubator space, which helps entrepreneurs turn their business ideas

Along with receiving funding provided by FedNor, participants in the studentbased business ventures received mentorship and weekly workshops. They were held accountable to milestone goals

created over the 12-week Ascend program. This year the cohort included six participants who explored five ideas. Ingenuity Manager Alyson MacKay said it was exciting to help the students develop their businesses.

hectic care environment through smart and dynamic notifications that warn you when a task may be due – such as a medication reminder. “The opportunity to participate in the Ascend program at Ingenuity Lakehead has been a great learning experience for

2022 Cadillac XT5 Participants, from left, included Derek Patterson, Gavin Shields, Esther Ukiomogbe, and Maxwell Robinson. Missing from the photo is Zak Williams.

me,” Robinson said. “The second cohort of Ascend was an incredible success,” MacKay said.

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“It includes a diverse group of businesses at all different stages. The students impressed me daily with their passion and commitment. I look forward to continuing to support the development of their businesses now that the program has ended.” The businesses range from offering a nursing app to beauty care services, and more. Maxwell Robinson founded Infusionist, the iPhone and Apple Watch application made for nurses and care personnel to efficiently track and manage infusions, care task reminders, and customizable timers. These features assist nurses working in a

“Ingenuity provided the business start-up expertise and inspired an entrepreneurial spirit which enabled me to bring my idea to fruition. “As a nursing student myself, I was skeptical of my ability to meet my business development milestones, however, through Ingenuity guidance and the many highly valuable workshops, my start-up and my personal business acumen truly benefitted from this program. “I would recommend anyone with an idea or a new business venture at Lakehead University to consider the Ascend program,” said Robinson, who was not the only one inspired by the Ascend program. Zakary Williams created Gaze Guitar, a software development company that is working on creating a virtual musical instrument to allow those with physical disabilities the ability to create and play music. Gavin Shields and Derek Patterson launched Portal North, a marketing and storytelling media company that specializes in developing 360-degree virtual tours that allow their clients to showcase a variety of interior/exterior environments. Esther Ukiomogbe founded A26 to provide beauty services starting with lash extensions and lash care products. Christopher Silver started Silver Vantage Software, which is developing a fall and fever detection system using thermal sensor technology. The product is for the aging and elderly population. It is used in the client’s home or a long-term care facility – with notifications delivered through a mobile application.


THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

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When Customers Ignore You 5 business building tips that cost nothing Remember the days when people noticed good customer service, talked about it, and most importantly – rewarded you for it? Happy customers would return and spread the word. In today’s fast paced world however, people are so rushed moving to the next thing, or so distracted by their mobile devices, that good customer service is overlooked. Fortunately, as I share in my seminars, there are several easy things you can do that will enhance your service and boost your business which your customers will actually notice. Best of all, they cost you nothing. Here are five for starters… Be the voice of reason Here’s an insider secret I discovered when clients started bringing me in to assess and offer feedback on their call centres. You can generally tell within 10 seconds whether the service rep will calm the customer or irritate them. It’s not what the employee says – it’s the sound of their voice when they say it. Employees who have thin or high voices, mumble, or add useless words (ya know, kinda, sorta, fer sure) garner less respect from customers than those who are more articulate. Conversely, when you lower your tone and enunciate – by crispening-up your consonants and rounding-out your vowels – you’ll be perceived as more reasonable and intelligent. By watching your language you’ll transition in the customer’s mind from being merely a clerk or order taker into becoming a Trusted Advisor. Show-off your homework Today’s customers are so busy trying to juggle the demands of work, home, family, finances, and errands, that they are amazed when someone goes to the trouble to do some homework and find out about them.

So, before a client meeting, spend a few minutes doing a web search on the customer and the company. Start the conversation with a few comments along the lines of, ‘I read that you have…’? ‘I noticed on your website…’? It’s a wonderful way of demonstrating your intelligence while focusing on the customer. In the customer’s mind that makes you brilliant. Listen loudly Customers are impressed by your knowledge; not your product knowledge per se – that’s taken for granted. Customers are more impressed by your knowledge of their unique individual needs. Today’s customers are assaulted by information coming at them: tweets, emails, sound bites, and micro-ads. That means you’ll be noticed more if you if you’re a good listener rather than a smooth talker. It’s not enough to just listen to customer needs and then offer solutions. You need to be perceived as listening. Fortunately, this is as easy as saying two words after your customer explains their needs: ‘Sounds like…’? Starting your comments with sounds like forces you to paraphrase your understanding of their needs. It’s also a great lead-in to expressing empathy, as in, ‘It sounds like you’ve had a frustrating time trying to fix this.’? You’ll be seen as someone who truly gets your customer. That’s listening loudly. And customers do notice. Make time shrink Imagine a customer or co-worker asks you to send them information that might normally be sent the next day. You could say, ‘I won’t be able to send it to you until tomorrow.’? Or perhaps, ‘I’ll send it first thing in the morning.’? Contrast those responses with, ‘You’ll receive it within 24 hours.’? The 24 hour statement sounds like a

stronger commitment because it’s specific. And it sounds faster because you’re talking hours not days. By changing your wording you appear to make time shrink. Customers will take notice.

Close the loop In attempting to grow our business we are often so focused on gaining more customers that we neglect those we already have. Case in point is when we deliver a product or service without any follow-up. Closing the loop can be as simple as leaving a 20 second voice mail message with the customer stating that you’re making a courtesy check-in call to

ensure that everything’s OK with their purchase. Heck – forget 20 seconds – next time a co-worker sends you an email request, once you’ve completed it, take five seconds and reply to their email with one word. ‘Done’?. Again, you will be noticed. Bottom line… These tips for getting noticed by customers and coworkers simply require a few adjustments to the way employees communicate. It isn’t complicated. Which is why I call this approach to enhancing internal and external customer service Influence with Ease ©. Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, Hall of Fame speaker, and bestselling author. For more tips, training tools or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit www.JeffMowatt.com


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022

Thunder Bay has a new Flooring Company: TBay Modular Floors! BY SCOTT A. SUMNER

Thunder Bay BUSINESS Al Sebastian is the owner of TBay Modular Floors and has had a lengthy business career. He started his newest ven-

Al retired for awhile and worked at fishing resorts for several years (which seems to be a passion based on the displays in his showroom!) but that work ended so he was bored and came back to the flooring industry.

installers and two helpers.” ture TBay Modular Floors about 1 1/2years ago. The store is located at 113 North May Street and specializes in commercial flooring, but they also do residential flooring. “I started selling flooring in 1984 and soon after I realized my niche would be commercial flooring. As it turns out commercial flooring constitutes 55% of all flooring sales in Canada but there are only about 5% of the flooring contractors that specialize in commercial work,” said Al Sebastian, owner of TBay Modular Floors. “We work with architects and designers at the specification level and with contractors on design build projects. I found my little niche in the local flooring market and it is going very well. We have had tremendous support from many local contractors.”

“After working at a competitor’s store for awhile I decided to take my own path. I selected suppliers to work with who are at the top in their field. For example, Interface are the largest carpet tile manufacturer. Interface recently purchased Nora Systems Inc. in Germany who specialize in superior quality rubber flooring,” said Al. “ Our website is very user friendly ( www.tbaymodularfloors.ca ) and lists all of the products we sell and display in our showroom.”

Recent projects of TBay Modular Floors include TBDHU Dental Clinic on Balmoral, the Marathon Golf Course Country Club, several Dilico group homes, and Roots to Harvest which is currently in progress. Upcoming projects in the region include a

projects, and sell exclusively commercial flooring, we have the expertise, experience, and product resources for all types of commercial and residential flooring projects. While you scroll through their website you will find links to a vast array of premium quality products, all of which are sampled in their studio. They highly recommend

“ We have an excellent crew of 5 to do all of our installations. They are in Sioux Lookout now doing some student and family housing for KDSB. My installation manger has forty plus years of experience and does beautiful work. The rest of the team consists of two more excellent

41 unit apartment building in Dryden for KDSB, the new MTO Garage building in Geraldton, and the new school on the Pic River First Nation near Marathon. “All the flooring we display is commercial except hardwood. Today’s commercial flooring is more durable than residential but looks exactly the same. You can use commercial flooring residentially, but you can’t typically use residential flooring commercially. It may cost a little bit more but the value for the dollar is there. ”said Al Sebastian. “ TBay Modular Floors sells and installs luxury vinyl, carpet tiles, ceramic tiles, natural stone, hardwood, and rubber flooring. They are proud to be a member of the Anishnawbe Business Professional Association as well as the Chamber of Commerce. Background TBay Modular Floors was created to provide exceptional quality flooring products and service to all market segments. Modular flooring consists of every type of flooring that does not come in rolls. Although we specialize in commercial

taking samples to your home or place of business to see what they look like in your environment. Never order products based on what the colors look like online as they never look the same as the actual samples. When people think about commercial flooring, they visualize schools, hospitals, grocery stores, and other facilities who typically have institutional looking flooring installed. Think again! Today’s commercial flooring looks nothing like what most people think. It looks exactly the same as the most popular residential flooring products, but it’s made better, performs far better, and does not cost much more than an average residential floor. TBay Modular Floors have no doubt you will be pleasantly surprised by what they have available and invite you to visit their new retail location. If your project is outside of Thunder Bay, no worries. TBay Modular Floors like to travel and go where the work is. There are free Estimates in the Thunder Bay Area *Free Architectural and Design Consultations *Discounts for Seniors, Status Card holders, Contractors, Property Managers, and Designers*


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THUNDER BAY BUSINESS AUGUST 2022


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