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Bill 148 Businesses facing fallout from new legislation

PRESSA BOTTLE Elora brothers tame ‘dragon’ for deal

FROM CARRIAGES TO CARS Fergus home to nation’s oldest car dealership

THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER TURNS 50 Celebrating five decades

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Rob Blinkhorn Manager

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Policy Business Leader is delivered free of charge to business addresses throughout Wellington County.

Mission Statement Business Leader is a magazine published by The Wellington Advertiser to promote local commerce and private enterprise and to celebrate investment and success in the communities we serve.

Contact us Business Leader Magazine 905 Gartshore Street, Box 252 Fergus, Ontario N1M 2W8





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Email: *COVER PHOTO by Olivia Rutt: Jackie Fraser of Fraberts Fresh Food BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 3

The ups and downs of business The life of a businessperson can be a roller coaster of emotion, swinging from happy to sad in a matter of minutes. A new sale or prospect can be offset pretty quickly with news that an employee is leaving, government rules are changing or worse yet, a very good customer will be no more. The challenges that a business person deals with in a day would be an eye opener for many. The boss always has to be up and keeping the troops rallied. A bit of a running joke with managers at the Wellington Advertiser is maybe people should sit in the boss’ chair for an afternoon and see what it’s like. I’m sure many owners feel the same way on occasion. This month, however, is a happy time for us. January, February and March are in the rearview mirror for another year and the really big news – the Advertiser turns 50 this spring. On April 4 we are having an open house at the Wellington County Museum and Archives. All of our employees have been busy getting ready for the event with a commemorative video, a special 50th anniversary edition of the newspaper, an anniversary-themed display at the Fergus Lions Home Show and in June we will be a co-host site for the Doors Open program of Centre Wellington. Preparations have been very much a collaborative event with senior employees spending time with junior staff. Reporters and the graphics art team have spent weeks sorting through old papers and the number of giggles and comments about the old days has been an interesting phenomenon to observe. Things weren’t always as they are today. New technology has expanded the abilities of our operation – and others – to offer news and advertising options on multiple channels, whether it be in print, on our website or social media feeds. When I think back to our humble beginnings and the processes involved to put a simple newspaper together, it is almost mind boggling to see the changes just in my lifetime. The increasingly rapid roll-out of new technology is, however, cause for sadness at the same time. The issue of technology has long been considered a disruptor of various industries. Arguably disruptor technology finds better ways of achieving a goal or performing a task. Often it increases efficiency, ease of use and allows start-up companies

a chance in the market – consider Uber versus taxi monopolies as an example. The newspaper business has been disrupted in many ways. Its news has been pillaged by online aggregators and social media. Quality reporting and writing has given way to citizen journalism by sometimes unprincipled, unethical bloggers. An existential threat for publishers, however, has been the migration of advertising dollars away from printed newspapers and other traditional media. The chief culprits here are the provincial and federal government agencies that have walked away from newspapers. Less papers equals less accountability, but that can be discussed at length another time. That point though brings us back to the swings of business moods. The one constant with business is change and that brings about moods of trepidation, highs and lows. Along with the Advertiser’s particular story, this issue of Business Leader features other businesses that have served their community for a long period of time. I have no doubt as readers enjoy those stories they will see elements of themselves. That’s the fun part of reading biographies and accounts of businesses from a historical perspective. The fact is every business has ups and downs. Getting started, growing, keeping the ball rolling, generational succession or eventual sale to a third party, hiring the right people, handling the paperwork required by government agencies and celebrating success – business owners can learn from one another. This is the express purpose of Business Leader: a place for business to discuss issues and share experiences, both good and bad. For that opportunity, Wellington business owners can be happy.

The one constant with business is change and that brings about moods of trepidation, highs and lows.



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2016-02-01 4:27 PM


Bill 148 Wellington County businesses deal with effects of legislation BY OLIVIA RUTT


My most expensive payroll day, in the 10-year history of Fraberts Fresh Food, was Jan. 1, 2018 and I wasn’t open, and nobody was working.



WELLINGTON COUNTY - The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148) came into effect on Jan. 1, catapulting businesses head first into new legislation. Many business owners say they felt the impacts on day one. The government, on the other hand, said the act will create better security for workers and better workplaces. Numerous changes came with the passing of the bill in November, including minimum wage and emergency leave. Many of these changes were discussed in meetings throughout the county, held by chambers of commerce to help businesses wade through the new information. Launchit Minto invited Emily MacRobbie, Alexis Richards and Kelsey Frank of Ward and Uptigrove Consulting and Human Resources from Listowel to explain the legislation to businesses. The primary discussion points were minimum wage, vacation, holiday pay and emergency leave. MacRobbie said the changes came from an independent review of the Employment Standards Act, which hadn’t been changed significantly since 2000.


There were 172 recommendations, such as aligning minimum wage with the “living wage” - $16.50 in Wellington County - but not all recommendations were adopted. On Jan. 1, minimum wage increased to $14 per hour. On Jan. 1, 2019 it will rise to $15. There are other similar increases in wages for students and liquor servers. Other significant changes include an increase in vacation to three weeks (six per cent vacation pay) after working with the same employer for five years or more. Statutory holiday pay has been simplified. Now, regular wages earned in the pay period before the holiday are divided by the number of days the employee worked in that period. As an example, Frank explained that previously, an employee who worked three days a week for six hours each would receive 3.6 hours of holiday pay. Under the new calculation, that same worker would receive six hours of holiday pay. “It is a significant increase for part-time employees and anyone with an altered work schedule,” said Frank. Parameters around leave have also changed.


cost, she has reduced hours and changed some of her rituals. “I used to take Wednesdays as office days ... I gave that up. Instead of hiring someone to

I think what’s going on with Bill 148 will be the final nail in the coffin for anyone who was already struggling ... - PETER MOHR, SHOETOPIA

Paid personal emergency leave now applies to all employees. This includes two paid days of a total of 10 personal emergency leave days available to each employee. Employers are no longer allowed to ask for doctor’s notes. Adjustments were also made to family medical leave, child death and crime-related child disappearance leave, domestic or sexual violence leave and parental leave. “Small businesses are currently looking, obviously looking, at their bottom line and when it comes to implementing the minimum wage for example ... if they made some other increases for their other employees as a result, I think that’s the impact,” said MacRobbie. Jackie Fraser of Fraberts Fresh Food in Fergus said her business is feeling the pinch. She crunched the numbers and discovered she would need an extra $30,000 for the additional payroll for her nine employees. But she didn’t take into account the new public holiday pay calculation - a lesson she said she learned the hard way after the Christmas holidays. “My most expensive payroll day, in the 10-year history of Fraberts Fresh Food, was Jan. 1, 2018 and I wasn’t open, and nobody was working,” she said. Fraser noted most of her employees were earning above minimum wage when the changes came into effect, but she raised their wages to compensate. To deal with this extra

work that Wednesday shift, now I work,” she said, opting to finish “office work” after she puts her children to bed. Yet her cost-saving efforts cover only half of

the expected $30,000 increase, she said. “Putting my prices up isn’t really an option for me because a lot of my prices are going to be going up a little bit because my suppliers’ costs are obviously going up too,” she said. “I’m still struggling to find where the rest of that is going to come from.” Some of the costs she hasn’t realized yet. “The big question mark for me is when the growing season begins, and I start buying the local produce, because a lot of the local produce farms, this is hitting them really, really hard,” she said. “I’ve spoken with some of my suppliers last year, and we talked about what the impacts are going to be, and they think their wholesale costs to me are going to be 13 to 17% higher than what I paid last year.” She said she worries about how losing the “local food” aspect of her store will change her business model. “Do we need a smaller store, do we focus more on the catering and the ready-made meals and less on the produce? We have always seen our business as a whole ... (everything) complements each other and goes really well together and to lose a key piece is kind of troubling,” she said. Fraser also has to deal with the St. David Street bridge closure. “I’m not going to make any drastic decisions this year because we have to wait




I believe that minimum wage should provide enough so that people can have a minimal standard or living. It’s just imposing this all at once in one year, like a 20% increase.

until that plays out as well. But in 2019, I’m really going to pay attention to how things are going down and then we’ll have to make some big decisions just on the future of our business,” she said. Peter Mohr owns Shoetopia stores in Fergus, Mount Forest and Waterloo. He said the effects of the new legislation came “too quick, too soon,” essentially unionizing the entire Ontario workforce. “A lot of good employers were already doing this stuff,” he said. Mohr said his business is still preparing for the changes. “I believe it’s going to take a year for most small business owners to get the full impact on how it’s going to affect the business,” he said, adding it will hit the retail sector hard. “Right now, the retail environment in Ontario is not great. People aren’t buying unless it’s on sale; people are not spending their dollars as freely as they used to,” he said. “I think what’s going on with Bill 148 will be the final nail in the coffin for anyone who was already struggling.” Mohr developed a spreadsheet to calculate the costs of the minimum wage increase and personal emergency leave. Each field is adjustable, and he shared it with other business owners. In his example, a $2 increase to pay for 23 employees would be a $95,680 increase for the year. He said to maintain employment costs at 15% of gross income, that would require nearly $638,000 of additional sales per year. DUE TO THE NATURE OF RETAIL, A PRICE INCREASE IS UNLIKELY “If I can’t raise my prices, what do I do? I have to find efficiencies. How do I find efficiencies? One of them is trim staff levels, but if I trim staff levels, then I’m not helping my customer because I’m not giving the good service people come to Shoetopia for,” he said. To combat increased employment cost, Mohr said he has reduced hours and inventory as well as outsourced what he can.

“Anything we can change as far as costing goes, we have to put under the microscope,” Mohr said. Thomas Blonde, partner at Collins Barrow Guelph Wellington Dufferin, said the minimum wage jump is “substantial” in a short period. “I believe that minimum wage should provide enough so that people can have a minimal standard of living. It’s just imposing this all at once in one year, like a 20% increase ... ” he said. “It should have been phased in over a fiveyear period.” Blonde said small businesses have received a bad reputation with the implementation of Bill 148. “Most of my clients are very good, upstanding citizens. They want to pay their employees a living wage, they want to treat their employees well, and I think, when you think about it, having a successful business requires your employees to be happy,” he said. MINIMUM WAGE In 1965, minimum wage was $1 and it increased steadily over the decades. In 1995, wages were frozen for nine years at $7.15 and again for four years in 2014 at $11. Statistics Canada released the January job report in mid-February, saying employment numbers across Canada are down, with the largest decrease in Ontario and Quebec. “Employment in Ontario declined by 51,000 in January, entirely due to losses in part-time work. The unemployment rate was 5.5%, little changed as fewer people participated in the labour market,” stated the press release. However, the agency noted that employment in Ontario grew by 104,000 or 1.5% since January 2017, mostly in full-time work. FULL EFFECT OF BILL 148 MAY NOT BE RECORDED YET Mohr said the Fair Workplaces, Better


Jobs Act took away his ability to stand out from the crowd as an employer. “Part of the attraction of working here was that we were providing a lot of the things (in the act) already and it was already better than everybody else,” he said. “But now, our model doesn’t allow us to up the ante, because you saw the cost of the ante.” Both Mohr and Fraser said they did not take issue with a $15 minimum wage, just the timeline for implementation. “On a personal level, it’s just that stress of having to put in more hours ourselves to make up for the hours that we can’t afford to pay people,” said Fraser. “Why are we being punished as employers? When did our governments start having so little regard for the people that are creating jobs in this province that they are doing this stuff to us?” Blonde said he felt that sentiment is shared by his clients. “It really feels to our clients that the current provincial government is anti-small business; they’re anti-rural as well,” he said. To help offset minimum wage increases, the government announced a reduction in the corporate tax rate, from 15 to 13.5%, with another decrease to 12.5% planned for Jan. 1, 2019. “That will be something that will offset, in the government’s view, some of these increased costs from the minimum wage,” said Blonde. However, Mohr is not convinced this will help his business. “From what I’m seeing, might as well just spit at us,” he said. Whatever the outcome of the 2018 provincial election, it is likely the minimum wage increases are here to stay. So Fraser advises other business owners to sharpen their pencils. “Do your math, look at it as an opportunity to become more efficient,” she said.





Last Minute Tips for Tax Filing Season At this time of year it is not hard to find articles and commentary on how to file your personal tax returns, what credits to claim and a never-ending list of tax tips. However, there are a few common tips that are often over looked by filers which I will summarize here:


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Reporting of foreign investment assets on Form T1135 can be an onerous task. However, starting back in 2015 there is a twotier information reporting structure available for specified foreign property that will simplify the task for some taxpayers. Where the total cost of the foreign property was more than $100,000 but less than $250,000 throughout the year the simplified reporting method can be used. If the total cost exceeded $250,000 at any time in the year the more detailed information reporting requirements will apply. If you do qualify for the simplified method, you should report it this way as it will save a lot of time when preparing your return. Students moving home to work for the summer that were attending a College or University that is more than 40 km from home should look at moving expenses. There is a simplified no receipt calculation available based strictly on distance that could be used. In most cases this will not make much difference but may save some tuition credits for the future or increase current income tested benefits. The benefits of pension splitting for seniors can save some couples thousands of dollars. In certain cases, it may make sense to move income from a lower income spouse to the higher income spouse, so the benefits of a split should be tested both ways.



Whether a child under 18 who has income from a part time job should be filing is a question that comes up quite often. If there is no tax withheld (and in many cases there should not be) then technically no return has to be filed. However, filing will generate RRSP room for the future which could be used sooner than later if the child does a Home Buyer’s Plan contribution and withdrawal transaction before buying their first home. This allows them to generate a tax deduction to be used in the future without reducing funds available for their down payment. If you invested in a speculative stock which became worthless in 2017 be sure to report the loss as it will never expire and could be used against future capital gains or eventually against any income in the year you pass away. Space did not permit us to include all the issues and considerations related to the items listed above so be sure to review them with your tax advisor to see if or how they might be applied in your situation.

Guelph Wellington Dufferin 0342 Gerrie Road, Elora


100 Gordon St., Guelph





The Village of Erin BIA and our local merchants work closely with the Town of Erin during its spring cleanup, and we also have a fantastic garden club who do a lot of amazing work cleaning up the gardens and parks in our downtown. We also encourage merchants to clean up around their properties to enhance the appeal of the downtown as a whole.


Thankfully, the maintence of the downtown core is on the shoulders of the township. However, when the pleasant weather arrives the BIA places all the beautiful hanging baskets you see downtown as well as the banners on the light poles.




Engagement is a challenge in every organization. Our best approach seems to be to keep requirements for participation open-ended where possible; that way, business owners can make the event or promotion make sense for their business and their customers. We also make sure that clear information is provided in advance to merchants, both electronically and in print copies, in an effort to make it easy for both owners and staff to be aware of what activities involve. Dialogue! Both Elora and Fergus BIAs have extensive contact lists and we rally our members to participate in as many business events as they can. We also work with the chamber of commerce to make sure our area is exposed to greater events in the township. WHAT ACTIVITIES DO THE BIA HAVE PLANNED TO ENCOURAGE SHOPPERS TO STOP AT MEMBER BUSINESSES?



Our St. Patrick’s weekend included a great “upside-down” sale as well as a “feastival” at local eateries. Merchants decorated and had a lot of fun. The Easter bunny and special promotions visited on Easter Saturday. We will hold our second annual “Flutters, Frocks and Flowers” event on the evening of May 3, in time for Mother’s day! May 26 will be the Village of Erin’s annual “Summer Celebration” – a street festival meets sidewalk sale. That’s just the spring… many merchants will also have their own individual activities waiting to surprise you, and there’s a lot more in store for summer-time. It’s a secret soon to be revealed! Downtown Fergus is about the unveil a shop local program! ARE YOU AND/OR YOUR BUSINESSES PLANNING ANY EVENTS THIS SPRING AND SUMMER TO KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING FROM CANADA 150?


We do not have anything specifically “Canada 150” related.





When a vehicle collision happens, whether it is a minor dent or major damage, it can be a traumatic experience - and a costly one. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the urgency of the work required and the insurance process. CARSTAR Fergus Giles can help. “We take pride in explaining the way insurance works with people,” said Mark Giles, co-owner of the business. “We have the experience to guide people and to help alleviate some of the stress by providing fair services.” That experience was earned. CARSTAR Fergus Giles is owned and operated by Mark and Kathy Giles, and after three generations in the automotive repair industry, there is no one better to restore your car, or your faith in customer service. “We were taught how to treat people,” said Mark, a trained body repair specialist who recalls a childhood often spent in the shadow of his father and grandfather in the shop bays of Giles Autobody. “We know to treat people the way we want to be treated and we try and reflect that in our business.” Since 1955, Giles has been a reputable name synonymous with professional automotive repair in Fergus. “For years we provided a service, and whenever anyone had an accident it was known that people would say, ‘take it down to Gord Giles,’ and that is what we want to continue,” Mark said. “We offer complete auto collision estimates and repair, and glass replacement,” he added. “We do all of our own services in-house, and we take pride in that.” Joining the CARSTAR franchise has allowed the family to maintain the personal, quality customer service

their business was built on, but with the integrity and recognition that comes with the international CARSTAR brand certification. It also ensures their professional team receives up-to-date training. “A lot of insurance companies have direct or preferred programs and partners. They have created relationships with them, and they trust that service provider,” Mark explained, noting their CARSTAR franchise builds that connection. “We are on that status with most insurance companies. We provide quality repair for the customer at a fair price to the insurance company.”

“We do all of our own services in-house, and we take pride in that.” Maintaining the latest industry standards and custom state-of-the-art colour matching for paint repairs, CARSTAR Fergus Giles collision repairs are backed by the CARSTAR Lifetime Nationwide Warranty. With complete auto glass services, from chips to full windshield replacement, all glasswork is also covered with a Lifetime Warranty. “We stand behind what we do one hundred per cent - whether it be a repair or a fit or a rattle,” Mark added. It comes down to trust and open communication with every customer. “From the minute they walk in the door, we make our customers feel important and we are sympathetic to their situation,” said Mark. “We let them know we appreciate the opportunity to help them. We provide them with a written estimate, and are very clear that ‘this is the cost, this is how

long it will take, and this is when you will hear from us.’ ” With 24-7 towing, coordination of car rentals and loaner vehicles, and follow-up checks to ensure customers are satisfied with their service, the Giles family holds itself up to the highest standards: their own. “Our business practice is about honesty and integrity, keeping current in technology, in equipment and training. We go above and beyond,” Mark said. “We follow the rules but we do what has to be done to make a bad experience better or manageable. And when we’re done, we’re proud of our work. And if you have any questions, we’ll be here.” Longevity in business in a community like Centre Wellington is no accident. It’s about trust, accountability and respect. With the fourth generation of Giles family members looking to the future, the tradition of service will grow, as will the business itself, with a 2,000-square-foot renovation now complete adding a dedicated aluminum bay, prep stations and organizational space. “My grandfather started something that I think is special enough to continue and now I have two sons that seem to think the same way,” Mark said, noting sons Cole and Tyler operate the body shop. “We’ve always been here and that is an advantage … there is a lot of history here.”


Millennials and employers in line on workplace values BY JAIME MYSLIK HARRISTON – Despite the “kids these days” mentality some employers use to describe millennials, a recent survey shows workplace values are often shared by owners and these young workers. Tom Lusis, talent attraction lead for Wellington County’s economic development department, recently made a presentation at LaunchIt Minto in Harriston to reveal the results of a survey conducted to better understand intergenerational issues in the workplace. Lusis explained young people aged 18 to 26 are the biggest cohort right now in the labour market, but many employers are writing millennials off because they’ve either had a bad experience or do not understand that generation. Survey officials talked to both sides of the labour market to try to identify areas of disconnect. The survey was funded through an Ontario 150 grant as well as project partners including Wellington Waterloo Community Futures, the University of Guelph and Conestoga College. The survey targeted employers and millennials and asked questions about the importance of: work-life balance, training and skills development, mentorship programs, reverse mentorship, collaboration in the workplace, competitive salary rates, flexible work options, technology in the workplace, generational training and rapid time frames for promotion and growth. The survey was completed by about 235 millennials, the majority aged 21 to 24, and 63 employers throughout Wellington County and Guelph. While the intention was to target students at both the University of Guelph and Conestoga College, the college faculty went on strike right before the survey was to be released, so the majority

of millennial surveys were completed by University of Guelph students, Lusis explained. Those who completed the survey were asked to rank each of the questions from one to 10, with one being the least important and 10 being the most important in terms of workplace values. Employers identified training and skills development,

“I’m not saying that this cohort is not different than previous cohorts ... but ... I don’t think there’s as huge a difference as many people are positioning them to be.” - TOM LUSIS ON MILLENNIAL WORKERS

collaboration in the workplace and work-life balance as most important, while generational training, rapid timeframes for promotion and growth, and reverse mentorship were considered least important. Millennials identified training and skills development, collaboration and work-life balance as most important, and generational training, timeframes for promotion and growth and mentorship programs as least important. “These trends surprised me, because based on the conversations I’ve had with


employers, I was expecting a lot more differences,” Lusis said. “I was thinking we were going to see total differences. “But if you look at things, the average difference between all the values is under two ... that’s quite close.” The two groups even mimic each other and sometimes overlap perfectly. “Which again is kind of unexpected to us, at least based on the mindset that we went into doing this particular survey,” Lusis said. In addition to asking the 10 common questions, the survey also asked context questions. Employers were asked to identify the biggest challenges and benefits of working with millennials. For challenges employers identified poor work ethic, unrealistic expectations in terms of salary and moving up the corporate ladder, and the lack of company loyalty. “This came up in several ...ways or shapes and the easiest way to describe it is the idea that millennials see our jobs as a stepping stone,” Lusis said.


County survey included

235 millenials



Live and Work Wellington: Millenial Labour Force Project Rank the following statements in terms of importance 1 = Least Important | 10 = Most Important


Work Life Balance

8 8.04 6.89 8

Training & Skills Development

10 6.97 7.62 3

Mentorship Programs

3 4.43 4.79 2

Reverse Mentorship

6 4.14 5.3 6

Collaboration in the Workplace

9 5.85 7.29 9

Competitive Salary Rates

7 7.29 6.5 7

Flexible Work Options

5 6.21 5.29 4

Technology in the Workplace

4 4.8 5.22 1

Generational Training

1 3.62


4.5 5

Rapid Timeframes for Promotion & Growth Millenial

2 5.32 4.7


Millennial Weighted Average

Employer Weighted Average

As for the benefits of working with millennials, employers stated the biggest was the idea that the young workers are tech savvy. “What was interesting to me was this wasn’t just social media, although social media was mentioned,” Lusis said. “It was also when it came to computer stuff. “When it comes to taking notes, again anything digital they’re just better at it and it’s a real benefit.” Employers also said a benefit was millennials’ enthusiasm, energy and “positive vibe,” as well as a new approach to doing things. “This was interesting because it ranged from marketing strategies to how do you take what’s on the menu and give it a new spin,” Lusis said. “And also the idea that they’re not intimidated by doing something differently. “They’re not intimidated by changing things.” The idea is to use survey results as a starting point for discussion when the economic development department is approached by employers who say they are having difficulties working with millennials. “I’m not saying that this cohort is not different than previous cohorts - there’s enough information to suggest that they are - but what I think I’m saying is that I don’t think there’s as huge a difference as many people are positioning them to be.” Lusis said. “And I think that’s an important ... distinction.” Employers can complete the survey and receive a graph that shows their answers in comparison to the average Wellington County business and to millennials. Lusis says the economic development department will be able to look at the results and make suggestions for where the employer can make changes to work better with millennials as well as for what values they need to promote to attract millennials. “From my perspective if you’re ranking above millennials in these areas, you want to really showcase that in any job ad where there’s any kind of marketing materials you put out,” Lusis said. In the future, he said, the survey may be used as a template to look at individual project structures and as a baseline to enhance programs and activities for project partners. He also said the county may look at the cohort that does not have a university or college education. “The reality is that here and now our labour force growth is coming from this cohort and in the future I really believe that what we see and some of the tendencies we see with this group we’re going to see with the next cohort as well,” Lusis said.




Elora brothers tame ‘dragon’ for Pressa Bottle investment BY JAIME MYSLIK

invest in Canadian entrepreneurs, was the culmination of years of hard work. The brothers began the Pressa Bottle journey in 2015 when they launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop a water bottle that would press real fruit juice into the water. At the time all they had was a 3D-printed prototype, but after a month, the campaign raised $40,000, which was

“ It’s clever and it’s simple.


FERGUS – “We wanted to be first and fastest to market,” Elora resident Jesse Hambly said while on CBC’s Dragons’ Den with brothers Luke and Mason. The brothers created Pressa Bottle, the only pressed fruit water bottle on the market. “I think we know where we’re going and we need the money and that third party investment to match,” said Jesse. “We decided to go with Jim (Treliving).” The Elora brothers went on the show, which aired on Feb. 1, prepared and ready to win. “You don’t go in with the mindset of insecurity, because it’s going to show,” Jesse said in an interview with Business Leader a week after the show aired. And win they did. After more than two hours of discussion, of which only about eight minutes was aired on the CBC show, the brothers accepted the offer from Treliving, chairman and owner of Boston Pizza International Inc. “It’s clever and it’s simple,” said Dragon Joe Mimran on the episode. “You know, it’s ridiculously simple.” The brothers’ appearance on Dragons’ Den, a CBC show where Canadian business giants or “dragons” choose whether to

$5,000 above the $35,000 goal. They have been running with the product ever since. Both Jesse and Mason told Business Leader their success is largely based on preparation. Before even launching the Kickstarter


campaign, Jesse said they “pre-campaigned” for about three months. “You can’t just put a Kickstarter campaign online and make money,” Jesse said. “It doesn’t work like that. No one will even visit your campaign.” Mason said it’s important to have a solid foundation. “Your pre-campaign and pre-marketing before the Kickstarter campaign is, I think, more important than the actual campaign,” Jesse said. The money raised went towards purchasing Pressa Bottle moulds for the product, which is manufactured in China. From that point, Pressa Bottle has been sold online - and it is now being sold in some stores. The brothers began the venture after Jesse and Luke graduated from university and while Mason was a student at the Toronto Film School. Now Mason, 24, Luke, 26, and Jesse, 28, all work at Pressa Bottle full time as the only employees. They each do a little bit of everything, but they do have specialties. Jesse is in charge of marketing and advertising, Mason is in charge of media and Luke is in charge of manufacturing. The brothers actually tried to get on

were watching the whole thing and then we went in the actual den to pitch,” Mason said. “So our parents pretty much were watching us the whole time from when we left them.” The brothers went in prepared with a planned pitch. “We were a little surprised because we had rehearsed our pitch so many times and then when we did it they [were] interrupting ... so it was supposed to be more flowy,” Jesse explained. “We had wanted to just ... get our pitch out like we had rehearsed it, but then because of the TV stuff they’d cut you off and they’d stop you in the middle of it to make you interact more with them ... so it’s not so rehearsed.” The brothers went in asking for $150,000 in exchange for 20 per cent of Pressa Bottle. They valued the company at $750,000. “We just pooled all of our sales, what we’d spent on patents and basically anything that we owned that was an asset, we just kind of took them all and pooled them together and they say three times the sales, we just did three times the valuation of our current assets,” Jesse explained. “So sales and everything combined and, to be honest, they’re going to beat you up on that in there for sure. “They’re going to definitely try to chop you down on your valuation every time they’re investors.” After hearing about the beginnings of Pressa Bottle, dragon Michele Romanow commended the brothers for their efforts. “That’s exactly how you should be building a business these days,” she said. “Spending not that much capital, get something 3D-printed, make a Kickstarter, find out that people want it, and then get to scale and grow from there.”




I think the simplicity of the product ... really helps us out when we’re pitching it because it’s one of those things where people can see it in their hands ...

Dragons’ Den before their Kickstarter campaign, but they were asked to come back and audition again when the company was more established. So in January 2017 they auditioned at the Delta Guelph. “You pitch the producers and then they run you through a whole bunch of questions,” Jesse said. “They test the product right there. “They do a whole bunch of stuff right in front of you.” Jesse and Mason said they were comfortable because they had won pitch contests in the past. “I think the simplicity of the product ... really helps us out when we’re pitching it because it’s one of those things where people can see it in their hands or in someone’s life,” Jesse said. “It’s a very easy thing to fit in.” After making it through the producer round, Jesse, Luke and Mason were asked to come to CBC’s broadcasting centre in Toronto in May 2017 to film the episode. “We signed a non-disclosure agreement that says you won’t talk about it, you won’t promote it ... because they don’t want to wreck the surprise,” Jesse said. “So yeah, we’ve just been kind of sitting.” Mason added, “We’ve known the whole time.” Before pitching to the dragons the brothers were in a waiting room with other contestants. “Some people get ripped and they don’t get a deal ... so they’re bummed out,” Mason said. “And some people get a deal.” The show was filming a family episode, so the brothers’ parents were waiting with them. “When it was our time to go on they basically pulled us apart and then put our parents in one room with a TV so they




sales for Pressa Bottle skyrocketed. “They’ve gone crazy, actually,” Jesse said a week after the show aired. “We sold out in Canada and the U.S. and we had to pool all of our inventory from the U.S. just to fulfill Canadian orders.” They anticipate new Pressa Bottles will be available in April. “They’re just pre-ordering them,” Jesse said. “Which is still happening, at a surprising rate, from Dragons’ Den. “It’s good though, because it pays for our next run of inventory without having to foot the money the first time.” They said many sales can be directly linked to their Dragons’ Den appearance. “When the east coast had aired we started getting a whole bunch of sales and then it kind of came to central and we got sales and then it went to the west coast, too,” Mason said. In addition to web sales, Jesse said Pressa Bottle is also available in many retail stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Staples and Home Depot in the U.S. “They’ve given us projections for Home Depot and Home Depot has some pretty crazy projections,” Jesse said. “So, it’s just going to be about keeping up with that. “Those companies, they don’t pay you, some of them, for 90 days after you’ve shipped the product to them. So it’s just a matter of floating the boat.” The bottles are also sold internationally in Europe, Japan and Australia. To be successful on Dragons’ Den Jesse and Mason said it’s important to know the company’s numbers. “If you have a decent idea ... and it’s got good numbers ... you’re just proving that you can sell it and it’s making money and it’s profitable for an investor to come in you’re set,” Jesse said. “And then after that they’re just going to joke around with you the whole time and have fun with you.” Jesse said the best part of his Pressa Bottle journey was learning other people liked the product after the successful Kickstarter campaign. “I saw the community of people that I didn’t know and then people from Belgium and people from Japan, people from all over the world, U.S. and everywhere,” he said. “When I saw all those come in and people wanting to back you and support you before the product was even made, I think after I got the funding with that I was stoked because ... people also think it’s a good idea and then after that it kind of validated it a bit for me.” He added, “When you do something you want people to like it.” For more information about Pressa Bottle visit To watch the Dragons’ Den episode visit www.



We sold out in Canada and the U.S. and we had to pool all of our inventory from the U.S. just to fulfill Canadian orders.

She offered $150,000 for 40% of the company, after saying the brothers’ valuation was too high. Dragon Michael Wekerle said, “I think it’s a good idea. I don’t think it’s a great idea, I’m just being honest with you. I think that there’s a lot of products that are going to compete with you.” Wekerle did not make an offer. Dragon Manjit Minhas also said she wouldn’t be making an offer. Dragon Arlene Dickinson said she’d loan the brothers $150,000 at 10% interest, with the ability to convert it in a year to 25% of the business. “I would have actually liked to help you on this project because I think this would have been a really fun one to work on,” Mimran said before he offered $150,000 for 30% of the business. Treliving offered the Hamblys $150,000 for 25% of the company. “It will make us equal partners in the sense of the four of us,” he said. “I want to be able to have some say on the board.” The Hamblys accepted his offer. “We ended up dropping another 25% equity because Jim wanted to do 25% each between the four of us and honestly, at that point in time, it made sense,” Jesse said. “Like 5% for that much more, it’s like you just get greedy at that point in time if you try to negotiate. So we just took the deal and then go from there.” During the more than two-hour pitch Jesse said they were grilled on their numbers, but Mason said they were prepared and had answers for every question. “They wanted to know where we were getting our funding from, which was our own funding, our own money,” Jesse said. “They were having a hard time processing that. They figured we got funding from somewhere else so they were kind of pushing us on that. “But we didn’t. It was all self-funded.” The negotiations with Treliving didn’t end with Dragons’ Den. “The handshake means nothing on the show,” Jesse explained. “Really it’s just an intent to kind of go through your company. “We just continued to keep going through everything with them, to renegotiate if at this point in time we’re worth more or at some point in time we’re worth less. “It’s going to be an ongoing negotiation before anything gets set, but we’re working towards the deal.” However, the negotiations slowed before the Dragons’ Den episode aired. “From being on the show there’s a lot of stuff they want to do with the due diligence to see that there’s a demand for [the product] before they get into it,” Jesse explained. After the show Jesse and Mason said the





Sharpe Farm Supplies Ltd. is expanding its business in GuelphEramosa township. Recently, Guelph-Eramosa council approved a site plan for a new 42,200 square foot warehouse at 7707 Mill Rd. The warehouse will be located southeast of the existing building on the site and will contain six bays that will face the interior of the property with a new entry way off of Watson Road.

Georgetown RV has moved to Erin and became Under the Stars RV. The grand opening took place March 23 to 25 at 9577 Sideroad 17 in Erin. The move means Under the Stars RV will be able to offer a greater selection of in-store parts, larger service department, new tire balancer and installer and a larger area for trailer storage. For more information visit or call 905877-4266.



Local real estate agent George Mochrie’s Your Grand Team moved to a new office with Red Brick Real Estate Brokerage in Fergus. The new office is located at Suite 200 - 101 St. Andrew St. West Fergus. The move means the team will be able to offer marketing and a staging team to go along with their real estate services. For more information visit


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Savoy Culinary has moved to a new location in Fergus. Chef Brodie Sorbara’s training in Singhampton helped form his take on modern Canadian cuisine with a strong influence from France and Germany. Savoy Culinary offers take out, catering and private dining, now located in the St. Andrew Street West Mall at 739 St. Andrew St. W. in Fergus. Call 519716-8809 or email



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‘It’s about service to others’: Wellington Advertiser celebrates 50th anniversary BY CHRIS DAPONTE

FERGUS - “Nowadays, papers seem to be coming and going - mostly going, sadly - but the Advertiser remains.” That observation from former reporter David Meyer is devoid of boastfulness. Like most journalists, he is saddened by the recent loss of various “competitor” newspapers in communities across Wellington County and beyond. “I never, ever want to see a newspaper die. It’s sad,” said Meyer, who worked at the Advertiser from 1996 to 2012. He attributes the Advertiser’s longevity and success to its large coverage area, its continuous improvements in news coverage and photography, and its diverse group of employees. “I personally hope they get another 50 or 100 years out of it,” he said. Bill Adsett, who started the publication 50 years ago, obviously agrees. Now 82, Bill published the first eightpage issue of the Fergus and Area Shoppers News on March 12, 1968. Shortly thereafter the name was changed to The Wellington Advertiser and the circulation expanded to include the entire county. “That was major - a big jumping off point,” Bill said. The business was started out of the front seat of Bill’s car with printing handled by Williams Printing in Guelph. Over the years, printing would move to Acton with Dill Printing, to Durham with Kris Kennedy, and back to Guelph with Webman, the old Guelph Mercury. The Advertiser is currently printed at Hamilton Web in Stoney Creek. “Changing technology, press capabilities, schedules and price were factors in where the newspaper was




printed,” said Bill’s son and current publisher Dave Adsett, who took over as Advertiser general manager in 1992. In 1971, Bill purchased the Community News, a small newspaper in Drayton serving what is now Mapleton Township, from friend Garrett Wimmenhove. After several years Bill took the important step of purchasing his own Compugraphic “photo-typesetting” machine for about $5,000, a hefty sum in those days. The purchase marked a major milestone for the business, as production became an in-house function. “It was a turning point,” Bill said. “It made the business self-sufficient.” The Compugraphic system required a darkroom to process tapes of film that were physically cut and pasted into galleys on a page. In the end, Bill’s fledgling company, later incorporated under the name WHA Publications Ltd., survived - but not without its struggles. At the outset, Bill would sell ads, take copy to the printer, ensure delivery and then take the final product himself to post offices throughout the county. At home, wife Trudy manned “the Rockwood office” phone line, bagged

The previous home of Community News is now the Drayton Chop House.




papers and prepared them for the mail and booked ads over the phone. She also raised their three children. Bill’s two other children, Kirk and Marie, helped out at the newspaper at various points in the business’ history. “Over the years, cousins, aunts and uncles helped out too - sometimes paid and sometimes not,” said Dave. “In many respects a family business resembles the family farm where it is only natural that the next generation take over, but I had my own ideas.” In the late 1980s he got his real estate licence and he also wanted to farm. “But, as fate would have it, dad had some health issues in the early 90s and I seemed to be spending more and more time at the newspaper helping out,” Dave recalled. “Around that time I abandoned my own path and joined the business fulltime (as general manager).” Until the mid-90s, Drayton was the hub of production for the Advertiser and Community News. The introduction of desktop publishing meant less space was required and production moved to the Advertiser headquarters at 180 St. Andrew Street in Fergus. The business marked another significant milestone with the hiring of its first full-time reporter, David Meyer, in 1996. “Very quickly, his nose for news and prolific writing capabilities made a huge difference to our standing as the newspaper of record for Wellington County,” said Dave. Long days - and nights - were often the norm in the late 1990s, when Meyer, Dave and the newspaper staff worked hard to grow the newspaper. In hindsight, “the whole thing was a real gamble,” Meyer said, alluding to the business’ transition from an advertising publication with a few press releases into “a full-fledged newspaper.” Bill, too, credits his son with making bold yet wise moves to advance the

Compugraphic machine used for typesetting and Bill at the paste-up boards

Advertiser as a business and news outlet. “He’s a good businessman. He’s bright, he’s community-oriented and a responsible journalist himself,” Bill said of his son. “And he is committed to ensuring Wellington County will continue to have a weekly, free circulation newspaper.” Dave noted he was always cognizant of balancing growth with paying bills and ensuring employee obligations were met. “It’s much the same for all employers: you want to hire the best people possible and be able to hold up your end of the bargain – chiefly job security and a good work environment,” he said. As luck would have it, amalgamation in 1999 eliminated the monumental task of trying to cover 21 municipal councils. “That really made everything possible ... everything sort of just took off from


there,” Meyer said. “We knew that we had something.” Dave Adsett remembers the newspaper “pouring resources into informing our readership” about amalgamation. Slowly but surely, the business’ reputation as a reliable news source grew. So too did its staff complement and its overall operation, thanks in part to leasing mailroom space across the road from the St. Andrew Street office in 2002. “This was another big step, moving to our own mailroom and delivery apparatus,” Dave said, adding his hands were “visibly shaking” when he signed the



The little house on St. Andrew St. in Fergus became the hub of production.




out extra space at the new location. But the business grew and the building was full within two years. In 2015 it was expanded by 2,000 square feet to accommodate the growing insert trade. Obviously technological advancements over the years - from digital photography to desktop publishing - revolutionized the newspaper industry. Another key development was the introduction of high speed fibre optic internet lines in the mid2000s, which facilitated digital delivery of newspaper pages, negating the need for

a three-hour round-trip drive to hand deliver hard copies to the printer. Since 1968 the Advertiser’s staff has grown from one to 44, including a full in-house production team, an experienced sales force and a circulation department that manages 150 foot carriers and another 20 rural drivers. The mailroom handles nearly 20 million pieces per year and the Advertiser’s press run is 41,000 copies, making it one of the largest independent newspapers in southwestern Ontario. For the publisher, the newspaper’s longevity is linked to his upbringing and to the attitudes of his father. “We don’t give up and our word is our bond ... Many operations weren’t as honest and I think that showed up,” Dave said. “But most important, we have always had a sense of good will across the county ... It’s been all about service to others all this time.” In 2011, succession plans were finalized, with Dave taking over as Advertiser owner. “There’s been a lot of hurdles along the way, a lot of fun, a lot of worry and great reward in knowing our business is such a big part of life for people in Wellington County,” said Dave. He often thinks about the future and the example of the old Templin factory in Fergus, which made wagon wheels. “The moral of the story is it really doesn’t matter how great the product is, if the world changes, sometimes even the best product doesn’t survive,” said Dave. “Our business is still growing and I just hope we can keep that momentum, stay ahead of the trends and celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2043.”




The Wellington Advertiser

38 years serving Welling

ton County


Volume 38 Issue 34

Circulation 37,000

Fergus, Ontario

Friday, August 26, 2005

Devastation - The barns, sheds, and workshop of Richard and Jeannine Ross the area. Officials are still at the north end of Fergus attempting to calculate the looked damage, but an army of volunteers also swept through like this after one of two tornados that hit Wellington after the storm and helped County on Aug. 19 had clean up the mess. swept through photo submitted by the Ross family

Within minutes of last week’s community were out helping tornado near Fergus, neighbours, friends, relatives, to clear driveways such near the Second Line of as this property on Wellingtonand others in the West Garafraxa. County Road 19 photo by Mike Robinson

Gone again - This cottage at on Friday, one of two that Conestogo Lake owned by Mary Thompson was levelled by a tornado hit also destroyed by a tornado. Wellington County. Years ago, a similar structure on the same lot was photo by Chris Daponte

Tornados hit Wellingto n; township declared official emergency

by David Meyer WELLINGTON CTY. Tornados have once again ripped through parts of Wellington County, destroying

Fergus about 1:40pm. The swath cut by the torna- ington County. Wellington County OPP dos started near Milverton and moved south and west, striking Staff Sergeant Paul Bedard said one woman received houses, barns, forests, flipping north of Dorking, then to minor injuries in a vehicle acciConestogo Lake, then north vehicles off the road, and of dent. Another boy leav- Salem, and, on to received the north side minor cuts ing a mess in their wake. when the vehicle he Centre Wellington Mayor of Fergus towards Belwood. Spicer said at a press con- was riding in north of Fergus Russ Spicer declared a state was flipped into the ditch. of ference shortly after emergency on Friday 5pm he OPP Sergeant Mike Gordon after- was pleased to learn no one said that noon, just hours after one parts of the storm them hit the north end of was seriously hurt in the latest reached Erin, but of attack by the elements on Well- only minor damage there was there, with

a couple of hydro poles knock- worked in the building without ed out. There were also reports of Hydro outages in Guelph, using lights. This time, though, it Belwood, and Orangeville, was as different. well as the stretch from Arthur “It was so dark I couldn’t to Fergus. see my work bench,” he For Jeremy Wilfing, said. of He said the light began Mapleton, the storm was to a ter- come back, but rifying experience. He the was went from dropping weather working in his shop at light drizCon- zle to “wide open cession 3, near Highway wind.” 86, He said the wind “got hardwhen it hit. He said the power er and harder,” and he tried to went out, but he had often reach his house, but the wind

Additional tornado covera ge on pages 4, 5, 18, and 19.

prevented that. It snapped off numerous trees on his property, and he watched part of his neighbour’s barn blow away. “I did not see the funnel,” he said. “It was all I could do to see 300 or 400 yards.” Wilfing said he has been scared before, but never like that. He noted people can get fearful when a bee buzzes them, or when watching a Continued on page 4




Centre Wellington resident Rob Black appointed to Senate





By Patrick Raftis WELLINGT ON COUNTY - Centre Wellington resident and Ward 5 Wellington County councillor Rob Black has ROBERT been named to the BLACK Senate of Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Feb. 15 that Black is Family fun - The Rotary Club of Erin hosted Family Day activione of two independent ties at Centre 2000 on Feb. senators 19, including skating, carnival appointed by Governor games and a movie. Didi and General Owen Thompson of Erin enjoyed Julie Payette to fill Senate vacanthe free skate. cies. Photo by Olivia Rutt More Family Day coverage “I’m humbled. I’m honoured on pages 9, 14, 37 and 40. by being selected by the prime minister and appointed by the governor general,” said Black in a telephone interview with the Advertiser from his ROI office on Feb. 16. Also appointed was Martha Deacon, another Ontario resident who has dedicated her life to eduBy Jaime Myslik cation and sport. of first-time eligible students who Institute “I am delighted to (at 68th), John F. welcome successfully completed Ross Vocational Institute GUELPH – A Wellington these accomplished the Ontario Collegiate County Secondary School Ontarians to ranked 68th in and Vocational Institute high school received Literacy Test, the the Senate,” Trudeau the province with a (68th) and Our Lady the high- percentage 2016-17 rating stated in of Lourdes of 7.9 of successfully completest ranking of all announcing the appointment and an 8.4 average area secondary Catholic High School over five ed literacy tests written s. (84th). schools on the most years. by previ“I am confident that recent edu- ously eligible Wellington County Parliament students, percentage cation performance will benefit from Ms. College Heights report card of unsuccessful Centre Wellington District Deacon and Secondary released by the Fraser ly completed literaHigh School was Mr. Black’s knowledge ranked 720th, with Institute. School in and experiFergus cy tests, the number ranked 246th, with a Erin District High of math EQAO a 2016-17 ence, and that they 2016-17 rating of 2.5 School was will be great and five-year rating of 6.9 and five-year scores below the provincial ranked 54th out of 747 ambassadors for their average of 2.1. stanOntario average high rating of 6.8. region and dard and the difference schools included in communities.” between Guelph Collegiate the annual Erin District High Vocational male and female students School was Institute assessment, which Black has served as in the received is ranked the high- average a ranking of 141st 54th, with a 2016-17 rating CEO of the level of achievement est ranking among of in 2016-17 with ROI (Rural Ontario Institute) for 8.1 and five-year all schools in math a rating of 7.4 and since average of 7.3. EQAO tests and for the Upper Grand District 2010 and has sat on five-year overall rating the litNorwell District School eracy test. Wellington of 7.7. Secondary Board and the Wellington County council since John F. Ross Collegiate School in Palmerston Catholic 2014. He curThe high schools were and received a Vocational District School Board. rently chairs the county’s ranked ranking of Institute received 413th, with a 2016-17 based on the 2016-17 infora Secondary school ratings rat- 2016-17 ranking school year ing of mation, heritage and of 68th, with a score 6 and five-year average in the seniors comas well as on their Fraser Institute report of 6.3. of 7.9 and a average performittee and is a member five-year average of Wellington Heights card are of the mance over the last 7.7. Secondary out of 10 and based five years. social services committee. Our Lady of Lourdes on seven acaSchool in Mount Forest Catholic The overall ranking was ranked High demic indicators evaluated for a spe- 413th, with Black has worked in School ranked 84th through positions a 2016-17 rating of 6 in 2016-17 cific school year is Ontario’s annual Education and with a rating based on how five-year with the Ministry of of 7.8 and a five-year Quality Agriculture, average of 5.6. the school rates in and Accountability comparison to Food and Rural Affairs. overall average of 7.3. Office (EQAO) other He also Guelph schools in the province. tests. served as 4-H Ontario’s Saint James Catholic Bishop Macdonell Catholic first execSchool In was addition to High ranked 462nd Erin District High The ratings are based utive director, general School ranked 115th with a 2016-17 rating on Grade 9 manager School, three schools in 2016-17 with of 5.7 EQAO academic and of the Ontario Soybean in Guelph and five-year average applied matha rating of 7.6 and a 7.7 Growers also ranked in the top of 6.9. average over ematics test scores, and the executive director 100 schools: five years. For a complete listing the number Centennial Collegiate of the of all Centre for Rural Leadership. Vocational Ontario schools visit Centennial www.fraserCollegiate He’s been involved with the 4-H youth organization for over 40 years, serving as a member, By Olivia Rutt leader, board member, trustee, The team again came home that president, and staff I’ve been able to hang member at the without a medal in it out and ERIN - Three men Vancouver in age play with veteran players, provincial and national who well once in the levels. 2010, placing 4th, but who are sport.” lived in the Town of then captured his teammates and role Black has also served Erin have been Bowden, who also models. gold in 2014 in Sochi, and volwon gold named to Team Canada’s Russia. unteered in other “They just made the 2004 Summer Paralympics in sledge community everything Bowden, who was hockey team, which in so comfortable born with and provincial organization will compete wheelchair basketball, for me,” said sacral agenesis, a spinal s, will be shar- Armstrong, in the upcoming 2018 deformity, including the Wellington who added that coming the blue line in Paralympic is hoping to capture County PyeongChang Games in PyeongChan gold again. peting in his first Paralympics Historical Society, Fergus with teammate Armstrong. g, South Scottish “There’s always pressure. will Korea. be a “dream come true.” Festival and Highland I also “We’re both from the Games, the know what it’s like same area. The 17-player roster to come home We Ontario Trillium Foundation “Being able to represent announced didn’t know anything with nothing and that Canada, and by Hockey Canada about and even represent sucks,” the Ontario Agricultural he each other and now on Feb. said. “To my town and Hall of here we are my family come home with 11 includes defencemen Fame. any playing on Team and friends at the highest Rob medal is always a great Canada, working Armstrong and Brad thing from together stage, it’s hard to put He obtained a Bachelor Bowden and on defense,” said Bowden. into words,” the Paralympics, but of forward Bryan Sholomicki. I mean, we’re he said. Science in agriculture Armstrong, 21, of Erin, going for gold.” from has been Bowden, the University of Guelph This will be also be Sholomicki’s 34, an Orton native, playing for about 10 and a He said he is excited years. He suf- first will compete in his to make the fered Bachelor of Education Paralympics. fifth Winter a spinal cord injury team again. from when a Paralympics with the Queen’s University, He started playing sledge team. virus attacked his and is a hockey “It’s just a way for spine when he in In the 2002 Paralympics me to prove was six member of the 2013 after his leg was in Salt years old. International amputated that I still have what Lake City, the Canadian it takes to be a following a major motorcycle Association of Programs He said he was “hooked” team part of the group,” crash. for placed 4th. In 2006 in after He lived in Erin he said. Turin, it won trying sledge hockey in the late 1990s and SEE BLACK » 18 “I look at ... everything for the first attended gold. that I’ve time. Erin District High School. been through and I’m kind of proud “It means the world Armstrong noted he’s to me to be excited to

Family Day celebrated in Erin

Erin high school top ranked school

in region on Fraser Institute report

Former Erin resid ents make national sledge hockey team





lease agreement for the extra space. The business purchased a forklift and hired urban carriers and rural route drivers to deliver the Advertiser and its flyer package door to door each week. Just three years later, with the operation “bursting at the seams” on St. Andrew Street, an opportunity arose to move across town to a 10,000 square foot building on Gartshore Street that housed a technology company. “We haven’t looked back since,” said Dave, who initially thought he could rent

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chamber round-up


How has the implementation of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act gone for your members? Has anyone done anything unique that deserves recognition? Minto John Cox As is often the case with change, it causes a certain amount of frustration and uncertainty. However, our business community is strong and committed to educating themselves on these changes. Recently, LaunchIt Minto hosted a sold-out Bill 148 information session which tells you just how engaged business owners are and how dedicated they are to compliance and the betterment of their employees. We expect that there will be some struggles with the added expenses being placed on business owners so it is imperative that now more than ever we support them and shop local. Centre Wellington Kira Bailey By walking down the main streets, one can see that a few businesses have closed, some have adjusted their hours, some may change staffing – but I can’t attribute those actions directly to the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. It is probably a cumulative effect of the many costs of running a business. Reducing the cost of doing business is something that the next provincial government will be asked to address by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Vote Prosperity 2018 ( I’m sure all businesses are looking for ways to comply with the legislation and keep their business viable. On Feb. 23, the chamber collaborated with the BIA’s and Horizon Quest to present a coffee chat with Ted Arnott, MPP Wellington-Halton Hills on the topic of Bill 148. Arthur Tish Green The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act has had a negative impact on our community as a whole (as I suspect it has had the same impact in other communities). Business owners have been forced to raise prices, cut employee hours and reduce business hours. We have not seen any small businesses close down yet, and hopefully we won’t, but the government is making it very difficult for small businesses to remain competitive against big box stores in nearby larger centres.



Keeping in touch with Wellington County Chambers


As shoppers start venturing out in larger numbers once again, what is your chamber doing to help members prepare for those visitors? How are chamber members preparing for the summer season? Minto John Cox Minto Chamber in partnership with the Town of Minto has so many exciting events planned for Spring/Summer 2018 such as: Canada Packers Reunion, Harriston Street Party, Sidewalk Sales, Savour in the Street as well as a huge downtown construction project in Clifford. The chamber will be very involved with planning and implementing these activities. We also encourage our members to keep us informed of any sales, promotions or events that they are having so we can share this information within the community and beyond. Centre Wellington Kira Bailey The CW Chamber provides information services, but tourism is looked after by the township’s Elora Fergus Tourism office who are much more involved in planning for and attracting visitors. To get ready for the summer members are preparing promotions and working with the BIA’s (if applicable) to attract shoppers. Arthur Tish Green While I hope that other communities are seeing larger numbers of shoppers venturing out once again, the small business owners in this community that I have been in contact with are stating that they are not experiencing an increase in business. We as a chamber, who are in desperate need of new directors, can only encourage business owners to come to meetings and get involved in the business community as a whole in order to make visitors feel like our town is a place they would like to return to. We have a few ideas which we are working on for the upcoming summer season, which will hopefully add to what has already been implemented, such as Fun Summer Saturdays.

CHAMBER ROUND-UP BUSINESS LEADER spoke to Chamber of Commerce representatives within Wellington County about area events and news in their respective regions.

How has the first part of the year gone for members? Describe the economic outlook for the summer season.


Minto John Cox Its always sunny here in Minto! Even though January to March is notoriously slow for businesses it allows owners to prepare and plan for the busy season as well as take some time to spend with family and friends. Business owners are all looking forward to having the shoppers come out of hibernation. Centre Wellington Kira Bailey January and February can be slower months for several businesses. This allows business owners time to do some planning and strategizing for the coming year. I believe that businesses are still going to be cautious this summer as the implementation of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act rolls out. Locally, with the Elora Mill beginning operations there will be an increase in activity and hopefully that will translate to sales for local merchants. Arthur Tish Green The first part of the year has been very slow and quiet for most businesses. The up and down weather as well as the illness factor has played a lot into that. Businesses relying on snow have not been working as much, therefore not spending. Illness has caused people to cancel appointments and reservations, which has affected businesses in lost income. We are hopeful that people adjust to the new economy that the government has thrust upon us and continue to shop locally as opposed to online or big box stores.


What percentage of eligible businesses are chamber members in your area? How are you recruiting new members? Minto John Cox We are pleased to say that in Minto we have approximately 50% of eligible businesses and organizations as members, which is exceptional and again speaks to the overall community involvement here in Minto. The Minto Chamber of Commerce celebrates new businesses by giving them a free one year chamber membership. This allows the new business to take advantage of the free to low cost advertising and promotion offered through the chamber. We host many networking and social events aimed at engaging existing businesses and welcoming new members to come out and get involved. Email: Website: Centre Wellington Kira Bailey As a chamber we do not have an accurate count of businesses in town as there is no licensing required. When we did a business directory six to seven years ago, we estimated 1,300 businesses in the township, but that didn’t include all home-based businesses. We currently have 340 businesses who have chosen to be a member of Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce and we thank them for their support. The chamber is recruiting new members by showing value to our members – we offer discounts on ESSO, UPS, Purolator and First Data offers great rates on merchant services. We also have a terrific group insurance plan with stable rates. Our electronic sign also is a great way to gain exposure to traffic on Highway 6. The chamber also encourages recruitment by providing opportunities to network at breakfasts, business after hours and other activities. The Business and Community Awards of Excellence gala is scheduled for May 15 at Fergus Grand Theatre and is an excellent way to recognize the community and businesses in town (open to all businesses, residents and organizations in Centre Wellington). Email: Website: Arthur Tish Green We have just over 200 eligible chamber members, and just over 60 that are chamber members. Again, all we can do is encourage business owners to get involved by inviting them personally to meetings or by sending out written material by e-mail or mail, but we cannot force these owners to join. Email: Website:



Wightman TV and Adam Olivero were joint recipients of the 2017 Cornerstone Award from Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW). From left, CSGW vice Chair Deryck West presents the Cornerstone Award to Olivero, while Jack Walsh, vice president of customer care and acquisition views the plaque with CSGW program coordinator Sarah Bowers-Peter. The award is presented annually in January during Crime Stoppers Month.

Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington awards Cornerstone Award to Wightman TV CLIFFORD - Wightman TV, based out of Clifford, and local content TV producer Adam Olivero were named as Cornerstone winners for 2017 by Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW) “Crime Stoppers is built on a partnership that includes media,” said Sarah BowersPeter, program coordinator for CSGW. “Wightman TV has been a shining example of a media resource that many programs wish they could have. We are very fortunate to have the support of Wightman TV, and the enthusiasm of Adam Olivero.” Wightman TV offered significant support of CSGW starting in 2014 when the monthly “What’s Happening in Mount Forest” segments led to Olivero and Bowers-Peter developing a dedicated Crime Stoppers broadcast. Local crimes were featured by region in the Wightman TV and CSGW area. This resulted in coverage of the Wellington North flag raising for Crime Stoppers month in January 2015 and a subsequent Ontario Association of Crime Stoppers award for CSGW and Wightman TV. The winning ways continued with recognition for CSGW and Wightman TV from Crime Stoppers International in 2017. This honor was awarded for the broadcast from February 2016 where CSGW spoke with local community leaders about victimization, entitled There Is No

Victimless Crime. While the awards are significant, this is not the sole reason behind the decision, said Bowers-Peter. Wightman TV was keen to join in on the recent human trafficking awareness event It Takes A Village, and will be developing a number of episodes for the

“Awareness is a large part of what makes Crime Stoppers work, and we recognize the role Wightman TV plays in this.” - SARAH BOWERS-PETER, PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR CSGW

Community Channel 6 as a result. “The board of directors feels that when it comes to reaching out to some of the central and northern communities of Wellington County, Wightman TV is ready to help,” she said. “Awareness is a large part of what makes Crime Stoppers work, and we recognize the role Wightman TV plays in this.”


Olivero sees the partnership continuing for years to come. “Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington has always been a joy to work with,” said Olivero. “I feel that our shows on Wightman Community TV help make our viewers aware of the Crime Stoppers program and the types of crime to watch out for in their community. I am very proud to receive the Cornerstone Award for 2017 and look forward to continuing our partnership with Sarah and the Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington program.” The award enforces Wightman’s commitment to the community, according to Hope Reidt, manager of marketing for Wightman. “Two of Wightman’s values are community partnership and safety, and our work with Crime Stoppers is one way we live these values,” she said. “Wightman is proud to support Crime Stoppers through our ongoing coverage on Wightman Community TV, and we will continue to highlight the great work that Crime Stoppers does.” The Cornerstone Award is presented to an individual, business or community group that demonstrates outstanding contributions to the CSGW program. It is awarded annually in January during Crime Stoppers Month.

Local chiropractor wins provincial award Puslinch resident Dr. Jenny Elliot recently received the Patient Care Award from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

Provincial and federal government invest up to $100 million in Linamar GUELPH The governments of Ontario and Canada are partnering with Linamar to advance cuttingedge auto technology, boost research and development and help create up to 1,500 new jobs and retain about 8,000 others in the province. Ontario is providing Linamar with a conditional grant through the Jobs and Prosperity Fund of up to $50 million as part of a project with overall eligible costs of up to $500 million. The project duration is until 2024 with job commitments lasting until 2029.

The federal government is providing matching funding towards the project. The investment will help Linamar: - manufacture nextgeneration transmission and drivetrain components and systems; - build high-efficiency engine components; - develop and produce electrified and connected vehicle technologies; and - create a dedicated Innovation Centre focussed on artificial intelligence, machine learning, collaborative robotics and lightweight components.


Newly appointed Redken certified haircolourist, Clinton Aldersley, brings New York’s modern edge to Fergus PUSLINCH - Dr. Jenny Elliott, a Puslinch resident, was recently awarded the Patient Care Award from the Ontario Chiropractic Association. This award honours the exceptional contributions of an individual, clinic or professional team that has demonstrated leadership in all aspects of patient care, from treatment to service and beyond. Elliott was chosen from over 4,400 chiropractors from across Ontario and was nominated by colleagues, staff and community members. “This is a real thrill,” Elliott said. “Delivering the best care to patients is always on my mind and it is really nice to be recognized for those efforts. My team and I truly appreciate receiving this acknowledgement.” Elliott’s practice is called Central Health Care and is located at 806 Gordon Street near Harvard Road in Guelph. The multidisciplinary team she has assembled currently

consists of three chiropractors, two physiotherapists, five massage therapists, a chiropodist/ foot specialist, an occupational therapist, a personal trainer/ structural integration provider and a medically monitored weight loss coach. All were chosen to complement and collaborate to design the best treatment plan for patients. The clinic offers shockwave, spinal decompression, laser, ultrasound and many more modalities in addition to a fullyequipped physiotherapy gym. The key areas of consideration for the receipt of this award included: - delivery of outstanding service and patient experience; - collaboration with other organizations and healthcare professionals; and - educating and promoting and developing patient-centred care and models of care. For further information contact 519-823-1450, or go to

FERGUS - Fergus’ own Clinton Aldersley from Cut and Design recently became a Redken certified haircolourist, bringing superior colouring service and expertise to the area with an added modern twist. Redken certified colourists study under the industry’s leading professionals and trendsetters to ultimately introduce their own clients to the latest colour trends and techniques. The certification is received after undergoing a lengthy test process, and those who excel into this leading group receive immediate industry acclamations and recognition for their colouring expertise. “We are thrilled to welcome Clinton Aldersley as an official Redken certified haircolourist,” said Sheri Doss, vice president of Education for Redken.

“We encourage those in the Fergus area to take advantage of this exclusive access to a superior colourist to gather his techniques for recreating the top looks seen on the streets of Manhattan while also learning the latest in colouring trends and techniques. “When booking a colour appointment with a Redken certified haircolourist, no matter the look they are striving for, clients know they are in the best hands for the best results and superior salon service.” Consumers looking for fresh, high quality colour can call Aldersley at 519-843-3320 to book an appointment. For more information, consumers can visit www. and the salon finder to see which local stylists have received Club 5th Avenue, Platinum Status and Certification badges.


EDCO recognizes Minto’s Wick-Graham for local, regional initiatives MINTO – The municipality’s business and economic manager has been recognized with a major award from the Economic Development Council of Ontario (EDCO). Belinda Wick-Graham received the Joseph Montgomery Economic Development Achievement Award at the EDCO’s annual conference in Toronto on Feb. 7. “It’s quite an honor that’s for sure,” said Wick-Graham, who only learned she was receiving the award when her name was announced from the podium. Celebrating one of the founding members of EDCO, the award was created in 2010 and recognizes innovative contributions to EDCO and the economic development profession. A Minto native, Wick-Graham joined the Town of Minto staff in 2005 after graduating with an honours degree in tourism administration from Brock University. She also holds a certificate in downtown revitalization from Fanshawe College and certified economic developer designations from the Economic Developers Association of Canada and the International Economic Developers Association. The first woman and youngest recipient to receive the Joseph Montgomery award, Wick-Graham was recognized by the province with a “Leading Women Building Communities” Award in 2011. In addition to volunteering with numerous local organizations, ranging from the Harriston-Minto Agricultural Society to the Minto Arts Council, Wick -Graham has been involved in the launch of local and regional initiatives such as Renew Northern Wellington, which works with startup businesses and property owners to fill vacant storefronts in Minto, Mapleton and Wellington North. She is a founding member of Women of Wellington Saugeen Area (WOWSA) and played a key role in the start-up and continued operation of Launchlt Minto, a business incubator providing training, coaching, mentorship and affordable space for businesses to start and grow. She is also involved with downtown revitalization committees in Clifford, Harriston and Palmerston and assisted in the development of a Community Improvement Plan that has seen over $700,000 worth of projects completed in Minto’s three downtowns. Minto treasurer Gordon Duff and County of Wellington economic development officer Mandy Jones, a

Now we’re even going across county borders on projects to partner ... so that’s something else I’m really proud of, is having built relationships with a lot of different stakeholders for everybody’s benefit. - BELINDA WICK-GRAHAM

Minto economic and business manager Belinda Wick-Graham, left, received the Joseph Montgomery Economic Development Achievement Award from EDCO research and marketing coordinator Kerri Schuttel at the Economic Development Council of Ontario’s annual conference in Toronto on Feb. 7.

former Minto employee, worked together to prepare the nomination forms for the Montgomery award. The application was supported, Duff noted, by “a very diverse selection of people that Belinda has worked for both in and out of Minto.” Wick-Graham came to the town from the start “with the desire to learn and then to go beyond,” said Duff. “We try and go by a principal in Minto that we aren’t going to be defined by small town, population 9,000. We try and go beyond that and Belinda is a great example of that. She’s always built a network of


people ... you need to get co-workers and other municipalities,” to buy into initiatives, he explained. Wick-Graham said, “One of the things I think we pride ourselves on in Minto is being collaborative and working with multiple partners across all sectors and neighbouring municipalities. “Now we’re even going across county borders on projects to partner … and that’s really unique. That doesn’t happen a lot. So that’s something else I’m really proud of, is having built relationships with a lot of different stakeholders for everybody’s benefit.” Noting Minto’s decision to get proactive about economic development back in 2005, Wick-Graham said, “I think there was definitely questions, probably, for council when they hired me. “That council and the senior management team were taking a chance on me. But I think that once we got started and got community members on side ... I don’t feel there was a lot of skepticism around any of the programs.” Duff noted the impact of economic development efforts aren’t usually felt overnight. “All these things they take time, and time is like a decade,” he said. Wick-Graham agrees a long-range view is required. “One of the things that I’m definitely most proud of would be the work that we’ve been doing in downtown revitalization ... It takes a long time to see significant changes,” she said. Wick-Graham added, “I get asked to present to a lot in communities north of here to show them what we’ve done, where we were, and where we are now. “And because of those presentations a lot of municipalities are hiring economic development people.” Promoting Minto through a number of programs will be the economic development department’s priority for 2018, WickGraham said, citing the municipality’s “Come Home To Minto” program and an initiative to build on a growing Filipino community in Palmerston as among the unique efforts underway. The town will also be working with developers to attract new residents. “We really need to increase our resident base to support both drawing in more commercial development and support our employers,” said Wick-Graham. “Workforce still is a challenge across the province.”



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From carriage works to car dealership BY MIKE ROBINSON


Terry Reeves Jr. said the business started four generations before him in 1869, with Templin.

It was the oldest car dealership in Canada that I can document.

FERGUS - Driving by the Robinson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership here, one might not suspect its hidden heritage in the community. Robinson took over the Howes and Reeves car dealership in early January 2017. That marked the end of a 70-year history for Howes and Reeves in the Fergus area. The dealership was established following World War II in 1945, when Terrence Arthur Reeves started the business with his good friend Warden Howes. Reeves was a World War II veteran, having served in RCAF Squadron 422 and 423. After attending high school in Fergus during the 1930s, Reeves was interested in flying and was one of the first young men to attend the Galt Aircraft School. This led to his enlistment to fight in World War II and soon after he was posted overseas as a flight engineer. He spent the war with Squadrons 422 and 423 of the Royal Canadian Air Force as a flight engineer in the protection of the North Atlantic. The business began when Howes and Reeves purchased the Templin building on St. Andrew Street. Originally the site of the Templin Carriage Factory, the building had already evolved into the Templin Garage.


The garage has run continuously from that time - albeit with different owners - but there was never any interruption to clients. “If you were a customer in 1900, you would have been a customer in 1920,” Reeves Jr. said. He noted that in 1945, the business passed from Templin’s sister “to dad and Warden Howes.”


However, it wasn’t until 1950 that the business name changed from Templin Garage to Howes and Reeves. “I came onto the scene in 1973, pumping gas and washing cars for my dad,” he said. “I took over the business in 1987.” His dad stayed on until 1988. It was in 1980 when the business moved from its downtown location to the St. Andrew Street mall on the west side of Fergus. “Dad had sold the downtown building and wanted to build a new dealership,” Reeves Jr. said. Overall, Reeves felt his 43 years went by “in the snap of your fingers ... it is incredible how fast it went by.” Reeves noted there were tense moments around the year 2000, when Chrysler Canada decided to get rid of all the Jeep dealerships. At that point Howes and Reeves was a Jeep dealership - “we were slated to be axed at that time, which is why we became a Dodge dealership - with a Jeep addendum,” Reeves Jr. said. To him, one of the most important things was the consistency of the business, from 1869 to when he sold the business in 2017. “It was the oldest car dealership in Canada that I can document,” Reeves Jr. said. “Obviously in 1869 there was no such thing as cars, and the Templins manufactured sleighs and wagons along with teeter-totters, fanning mills and a




CCM bicycle dealership from around 1900.” Reeves Jr. said the business evolved a lot over the years from a wagon builder to an automotive dealership. While there may be dealerships still existing from the 1920s, few have the same consistent history. He noted that back in the 1920s, when it was Templin Garage, the business was a Dodge, Desoto, Hudson and Essex dealership. Later the business became a Hudson and International truck dealership. “A lot of my contemporaries came and went,” Reeves Jr. said. “You’d be struggling to find a dealership which started in the 1950s that is still there operating today. “It may be in the same building and have the same name - but be a completely different operation. It’s just the way the

automotive industry has evolved.” He added, “it is pretty clear that is the way the big corporate structures have taken it.” CURRENT OWNERSHIP

Sam Hirani, dealer principal for the new Robinson dealership in Fergus, said discussions began with Reeves Jr. in mid2016. Hirani said Reeves Jr. had decided that maybe it was time to retire so a conversation began about the dealership sale and transition. “(Reeves Jr.) was concerned about the community and making sure whoever took over the dealership would look after his customers the same way he did and treat the employees fair,” he said. Hirani explained discussions continued over a number of months, with final closure


Warden Jones of Howes and Reeves International Rambler dealer, left, presented the keys to a new Groves Memorial Community Hospital ambulance to Art Jones, chairman of the property committee of Groves Memorial Community Hospital on July 15, 1968. In the cab is ambulance supervisor Brent Goodwin and to the right of Jones, from left, are administrator J.F. Mills, chairman of the hospital board Harry Munn and director of nurses E. Hoag.

It may be in the same building and have the same name - but be a completely different operation. It’s just the way the automotive industry has evolved.

of the deal in February 2017. Hirani added Reeves knew those involved at Robinson’s throughout its 50-year history “and felt very comfortable we would carry on the legacy he’d set.” Hirani stressed Reeves Jr. wasn’t only focused on the sale; he wanted to make certain his staff was treated well. “We kept all of his employees - no one was terminated,” Hirani said. Now, a year in, Hirani said, “It’s been excellent. Terry still comes in once per week, sells a few cars and has customers who still want to deal with him.” While not involved in the day-to-day, “he is still involved in some capacity,” Hirani said. Other source material: Obituary of Terry Reeves Sr. published in the Wellington Advertiser





+ Balances Cheque presentations, draw winners and donations around the county.

Allstate Insurance Guelph recently donated $1,000 to Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington (CSGW). The recent cheque presentation for the community partner’s annual donation included, from left, business development agent (BDA) Scotty Veiga, CSGW board member John Svensson, and fellow BDAs Parneet Gill, Joel Woodward and David Hoeg. CSGW is a charitable organization that relies on the support of organizations and businesses such as Allstate Insurance Guelph to help cover the costs to promote the program and pay tipster rewards.

The Children’s Foundation of Guelph Wellington held a Live Free Breakfast on Feb. 27 at St. Joseph Catholic School in Fergus to celebrate the Help Kids Live Free from Hunger campaign, which ran on March 2. Students and staff at Upper Grand District School Board and Wellington Catholic District School Board schools were encouraged to give up an item for the entire day on March 2 and donate a toonie to their school’s Food and Friends program. Ted Ecclestone, left, and Ecclestone Financial Group Inc. sponsored the entire St. Joseph breakfast. The team served students and community members breakfast.


The mother son team of Sophie and Nathan Skoufis organize a Christmas gala for their Guelph Family Martial Arts studio every year. The event saw nearly 100 local and national sponsors and raised awareness and funds for charities including the Children’s Foundation of Guelph Wellington and the Guelph General Hospital, as well as many more. Nathan and Sophie are both fifth degree black belt and world martial arts champions. Nathan is a University of Guelph student and a 40 under 40 recipient and Sophie is a franchisee owner throughout the city and a Women of Distinction recipient. The Skoufis family says they organize the gala to help as many individuals as possible and they believe that economic factors should not prevent children or adults from participating in organized sports. The Skoufis family encourages potential sponsors or representatives who would like to be part of the gala next year to get in contact with the studio.

Employees of All Treat, a division of Walker Industries, in Arthur, recently presented Arthur Food Bank with a $2,500 cheque. From left: Annette Brunkard and Marilyn Theurer of the Arthur Food Bank with All Treat employees Bruce Voisin, Trish Hoffele and Jill Meusy.

It was another successful fundraiser for Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington at Young’s Home Hardware. The January bucket sale, held in concert with Crime Stoppers Month, saw $566 raised for the not for profit organization. Young’s Home Hardware donated the buckets, which were then purchased by customers with a minimum $5 donation to CSGW. The customers then received a 20 per cent discount on any item that fit in the bucket that was not already on sale. Those on hand for the announcement include, from left, CSGW board member Rob Mattice, Young’s Home Hardware owner Marty Young, CSGW vice chair Deryck West and CSGW program coordinator Sarah BowersPeter.


Acker’s Furniture donates $60,000 worth of new product to Habitat for Humanity ReStore GUELPH – Habitat for Humanity Wellington Dufferin Guelph (Habitat WDG) has recently received a donation that has transformed its ReStore, and in turn, will transform the lives of families in the community. To support Habitat’s vision of building a world where everyone has a safe, decent and affordable place to live, Acker’s Furniture has donated four truckloads of brand new furniture – valued at more than $60,000 – to Habitat WDG. “The generosity shown by Acker’s Furniture will make a lasting impact in our community,” said Steve Howard, CEO of Habitat WDG. “When items are donated to the ReStore, the public is able to support the Habitat cause by purchasing quality items for their own homes. “Those proceeds go right back to funding local build projects, like Cityview Village. It’s a win-win for the shoppers, the donors, and the families who will soon call Cityview Village home.” The Guelph ReStore – open to the public – is inviting all members of the community to browse and shop the mix of classic, modern and eclectic furniture that is flowing through the ReStore. Businesses and community members are also encouraged to donate any new or gently-used furniture and/or home improvement items to the Habitat ReStore to assist the organization’s efforts of building affordable homes in Guelph. Tax receipts are provided for both gift-in-kind and monetary donations. To learn more about Habitat WDG builds and the ReStore visit

Women in Crisis receives financial boost from JL’s Home Hardware GUELPH - Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis (GWWIC) received $7,190 from JL’s Home Hardware Building Centre on Feb. 2. The donation was presented to Sly Castaldi, executive director or GWWIC. The cheque presentation took place at JL’s Home Hardware flagship location at 575 Wellington Street West in Guelph. JL’s Home Hardware Building Centre partnered with international fashion designer and colour specialist, Simon Chang and Beauti-Tone Paint’s creative director, Bev Bell for the third annual Ladies Night 2017. “Women supporting women – we’re so grateful to JL’s Home Hardware and Simon for this incredible partnership,” Castaldi said. “We hope this continues to be an annual event in Guelph. “The generous proceeds will contribute immensely to the programs and services we offer to those suffering from domestic and sexual violence.” Ladies were asked to bring a donation of purses, scarves, mitts, and full size personal care items to help fill the helping handbags with love. The event was attended by approximately 300 ladies and eight Guelph food service companies/ chefs who offered tasty samples of their work. The All in the Bag Ladies Night fundraiser recently gained international recognition in the December issue of Hardware Retailing magazine. Hardware Retailing magazine is the hardware and home improvement industry’s leading trade publication.



Chestnut and Oaks Home Decor

A new floral shop has opened in Clifford. Northern Flora, which shares a storefront with Chestnut and Oaks Home Decor at 21 Elora St., held its grand opening in December. Participating in the ribbon cutting are, from left: Cathy Inniss; owners Jerrica Li and Stephen Sergenese; Minto Mayor George Bridge, councillor Judy Dirksen, Minto Chamber of Commerce president John Cox, councillor Jean Anderson and deputy mayor Ron Faulkner. Northern Flora offers customized floral arrangements. When possible, floral designers focus on seasonal availability and locality for sourced flowers as well as those grown in-store. For more information call 226-791-3139, email or visit www.

MedPlus Wellness Centre Inc. is a new business in Fergus that administers osteopathy and acupuncture to patients with a myriad of problems ranging from back and neck pain to insomnia. Acupuncture is a natural and drug-free way of treating different medical challenges. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held earlier this year outside the business at 749 St Andrew St. W, Fergus in the FreshCo. plaza. Owner Myer Babaeff, third from left, is an osteopathic manual practitioner, and a registered acupuncturist and holistic medicine practitioner. Cutting the ribbon, from left, are: Ema Babayeva, past chamber president Janet Harrop, Babaeff, his wife Helen Babaeff, Sherri Copplestone of ASC4Business (ribbon cutting sponsor for the chamber), Fred Morris representing the township and Auyka Babaeff.

Saving Grace Yoga and Skincare ROCKWOOD - Saving Grace Yoga and Skincare, has reopened at 128 Main Street N. in Rockwood. To contact the studio call 519-400-4867.

Growing Abilities MOUNT FOREST - A new business called Growing Abilities has opened in Mount Forest at 211 Birmingham St. W. Owner Michelle Bauman has brought an adult program for people living with developmental and intellectual disabilities to the community.

Organic Interiors and Diane Cook Travel TPI Two home-based small businesses held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce office earlier this year. Cutting the ribbon are, from left: Centre Wellington Chamber representative Paul Walker; Jason Kuepfer, owner of Organic Interiors, which is a wood working business; Diane Cook, owner of Diane Cook Travel TPI, who helps plan extraordinary trips; chamber representative and board member Aileen Hawkins and Sherri Copplestone of ASC4Business, ribbon cutting ceremony sponsor. 32 | BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY

Sweet Patti’s Catering ELORA - Sweet Patti’s Catering in Elora is the culmination of Patti Bird’s hard work, a passion for making good food - real homemade food - and the joy of sharing her culinary creations with people who appreciate her efforts. For more information visit or call 519-760-3934.

Escape the Old Post drawing game crowd to Harriston BY PATRICK RAFTIS


Located in the former Harriston Post office building, Escape the Old Post was officially opened on Feb. 2. From left: Krista Hale, Charlotte Hale, Tony Hale, Perth-Wellington MP John Nater, Minto councillor Judy Dirksen, Mayor George Bridge, Michael Hendrick, Sue Hendrick and Bernie Hale. HARRISTON – Escape the Old Post, billed as “a one-of-a-kind puzzle room in a restored heritage building,” was officially opened this winter. The escape room is located in the former Harriston Post Office building rebranded as The Old Post by owners Michael and Susan Hendrick. It has been more than a year in the making, through research and construction efforts spearheaded by Harriston craftsman Tony Hale, who did much of the fine detail work on the overall building restoration project. The result, said Michael Hendrick, is “driven by Tony’s vision of what the ultimate escape room or puzzle room might look like.” The escape room is located on the third floor of the building, previously an unfinished attic with access to the building’s clock tower and historic bell. Teams solving the room get to ring the bell on the building’s rooftop, announcing their accomplishment to all within earshot. “This is not a traditional escape room. Here you ring a bell,” explained Hendrick. “This isn’t about escaping it’s about solving the riddle and ringing the bell,” added Hale, noting participants experience plenty of drama if they get close to completing the challenge. “If you ring the bell with one minute to go,” as one group did, he noted, “there was an ovation up there.” While the escape room itself is the draw, Hale said visitors are also fascinated by the historic building. “You’re coming into the building that

has the clock tower and the bell. Before you even get in here it’s cool. People are looking around enjoying the whole building before they even get up here,” he stated. Another unique aspect of Escape the Old Post, said Hendrick, is a “really strong emphasis on teamwork. You can’t be an individual winner in this puzzle room. You need to work closely with your teammates. Some puzzles require four or five people all working together to solve.” While the facility officially opened on Feb. 2, Hendrick said about 45 teams, involving roughly 300 people coming from an area between Kincardine and Waterloo, have been through since a soft-opening in December. “I think we’re beginning to be on the map of gamers around Ontario,” said Hendrick, noting one visitor said he had experienced 100 escape rooms and put the Harriston facility in his top five. “It’s a challenging puzzle room. And it’s meant to be,” Hendrick stated. “This is going to be a big drawing card for the town of Harriston and the community of Minto,” said Mayor George Bridge at the opening. Perth-Wellington MP John Nater said, “It’s just an exceptional spot – unique in the area - so I think it will be a real drawing card to Harriston, to Minto and to this area.” Nater, who has a riding office on one of the building’s lower floors, added, “It is going to be great for the region as a whole.” For information or to book an escape, go to

New mental health and wellness services offered in Erin ERIN - For Erin and Hillsburgh residents, going to a yoga class, a therapy session or any other wellness service has meant driving at least 20 minutes to a larger urban centre. Not any more. On Jan. 13 Exhale Academy for Healing and Personal Development opened at 2 Thompson Crescent in Erin. Exhale Academy is a hub for physical and mental wellness services, many of which are proactive and preventative. Founder and clinical director Jennifer Brighton has over 20 years of experience working in the medical and mental health fields. Together with co-founder, director of operations and life coach Laurent Leval, they are bringing together a skilled group of professionals offering diverse and unique services. Exhale Academy aims to provide services for psychotherapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, couples treatment, mindfulness based stress reduction, meditation, yoga, life coaching, spiritual counselling, hypnosis, neurolinguistic programing, psych-K, energy medicine, reiki and healing touch, nutritional workshops and team unbreakable life skills running groups.



LOAC 2018, New York City, NY

FACEBOOK FOR BUSINESS: KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR FACEBOOK FANS New York City was a blast; from climbing the Empire State Building to the Irish pubs gearing up for St. Patty’s day, the city of dreams never disappoints. But the real excitement was behind closed doors at the 9th Annual Local Online Advertising Conference (LOAC) hosted by Borrell Associates. The agenda was once again jam-packed with invaluable information that shifts your ideas and inspiration into top gear. Billboards that can track you, radio and geo-fence integration, traditional media resurfacing vs. the dive into digital; there was no shortage of actionable advice. Listening to Josh Mabry, head of Local News Partnerships at Facebook, was of great interest to me. In this edition of Business Leader, I’ll share with you some of the key takeaways of his session.



Family and friends [community] come first. Facebook has made that loud and clear with its new update to the news feed. Less business advertising (unless it’s paid) and more peer-topeer relations is the new (returning) focus. So what does this mean for your business page? Look to see a further decline in organic reach and more dollars being spent on Facebook. In fact, a session I sat in on stated small businesses should spend no less than $300/month on Facebook Ads. While this may not be a lot of dollars for some SMBs, looking at a very small business is a different picture. Let’s not forget about Google, Instagram, local papers, magazines, and every other advertising channel. Seventy-five dollars a week can add up quickly when you want to be ahead of your competition on each of these platforms.



Stay away from click-baiting. This includes: asking to ‘Like’ your page, ‘Share’ and ‘Tag’ a post, or asking to ‘Comment’. Facebook wants conversations to be meaningful. The contests where you ask people to ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ the page for entry need to stop. Those ‘Like’ requests are pointless and actually hurt your future post engagement. The company had this to say about “engagement bait”: “People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with ‘Likes’, ‘Shares’, ‘Comments’, and other actions … This tactic, known as ‘engagement bait,’ seeks to take advantage of our news feed algorithm by boosting engagement in order to get greater reach.” Needless to say, I, along with many Facebook users, will be happy to see these changes. You can learn more about this in their blog:


Have you ever searched for community groups on Facebook? Perhaps you’re a member of one already. Groups on Facebook are a great way to connect with others on a shared interest. Be it ‘519 Groups’, ‘Buy/Sell Groups’ or ‘Community News’ groups, all of them share one thing in common: high engagement. Fortunately, Facebook has rolled out ‘Groups for Pages’. Businesses are able to create a group under their FB Business page. This will allow businesses to create highly targeted audience groups based off the various products or services they provide. Own a bakery? Create a group for people who prefer gluten-free only. Run an automotive shop or dealership? Create a ‘fan-club’ group specifically for a certain model of car. The possibilities are endless.


As time goes on, Facebook will continue to roll out more updates, features and new opportunities for businesses. However, keep in mind Facebook will always cater to its user base first. The recent algorithm changes attest to this. On that note, get ready for more of a pay-to-play model with Facebook. Because it’s already here.

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Business Leader Spring 2018  

The Business Leader is a magazine published by the Wellington Advertiser to promote local commerce, private enterprise and celebrate investm...

Business Leader Spring 2018  

The Business Leader is a magazine published by the Wellington Advertiser to promote local commerce, private enterprise and celebrate investm...