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DIGITAL MARKETING Online presence for food entrepreneurs


IMMIGRATION SUMMIT Employment options explored



CANADIAN BBQ BOYS Students make Dragon’s Den deal



Centre Wellington’s specialty nut roaster

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Jewels Under the Kilt




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Thanks to you From pursuing passions with food to pitches for business capital on national television, the business community across Wellington is active and going places according to this edition of Business Leader. That reinforces our motivation for starting this business-to-business publication: providing a chance to celebrate successes among friends and offer different perspectives on how to excel as business people. Regardless of the size of business there is a shared common challenge: generating revenue and keeping expenses in check. If unable to navigate this simple formula, businesses are destined to fail, despite how hard someone works or how great their product or service is. One thing we do believe helps is businesses supporting each other. This can take many forms, from recommendations to actually purchasing goods and services locally. It’s pretty tough to expect support locally from consumers when business leaders themselves opt to buy elsewhere. Of course we all need a better understanding of what is available where. A number of years ago a local merchant was surprised by the reaction of a new customer. She was enthralled at the quantity of items and quality the local merchant offered. After a bit more discussion at the till, it turned out the customer had moved here a few years earlier but never bothered to wander downtown. It represents an unfortunate admission that many merchants do a poor job promoting their store. In order to be patronized stores have to promote - and the trick to it all, as per the earlier notation in this column about keeping expenses in check, is business owners must make wise choices about where to spend their marketing dollars.

Every cent is an investment used to drive sales and awareness. The Wellington Advertiser and its trained team of sales consultants have ideas for businesses of any size. Thousands of clients each year use the paper to promote their services or products and benefit from a consultative approach to determine what will work best for the customer.

It’s pretty tough to expect support locally from consumers when business leaders themselves opt to buy elsewhere.


A number of years ago the Advertiser diversified by purchasing Fergus Printing and Keltech Signs to offer a complete lineup of marketing options for customers. We also offer direct mail services. And the best part? We employ local people, pay local taxes and help keep the local economy strong. Thanks to you, it is working.


Contact us Business Leader Magazine 905 Gartshore Street, Box 252 Fergus, Ontario N1M 2W8 Email: *COVER PHOTO by Aryn Strickland: Jewels Under the Kilt owner Elisabeth Burrow BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 3


“We offer complete auto collision estimates and repair, and glass replacement” 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 inhouse, 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 ensurestheir professional team receives up-todate training.

“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.” “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.” 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


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.”

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Jewels Under the Kilt: Specialty nuts grown in Ontario BY ARYN STRICKLAND

FERGUS - With her specialty roasted and locally grown nuts, Elisabeth Burrow has cracked the niche food market. Burrow started Jewels Under the Kilt in 2013 from her kitchen on the 5th Line between Fergus and Belwood. The company sells hand-roasted nuts in unique flavours like maple pear ginger pecan and maple carrot cake walnut. The fresh taste and fun flavour combinations expanded the popularity of Burrow’s nuts beyond Wellington County. Currently Jewels Under the Kilt nuts can be found on Amazon, in some Sobeys and Your Independent Grocer stores, and in food markets across Ontario and British Columbia. In pecans alone the company roasts and sells over 6,000 pounds annually to satiate the demand for the specialty nuts. What started as a way to use up her in-laws’ maple syrup ended up providing Burrow and her husband Mitja Kosir with a growing business – one they hope to pass on to their daughter Jessie. Jewels Under the Kilt is an unconventional name for an unconventional success story (the name is a tribute to Fergus’ Scottish roots).

SEEDS OF SUCCESS In 2010 Burrow had had enough of her job in health care. As a support care services compliance advisor, Burrow was in charge of fixing issues in retirement homes. In the position she faced daily struggles with food quality, pest control and building repair. When Kosir’s IT job with the government took him from Toronto to Guelph, they agreed Burrow would take a couple years off from working. She spent her time cleaning up the 95-acre property they bought outside of Fergus and getting back to her passion for food. “At the same time my husband’s family was giving us maple syrup and I don’t eat maple syrup. We don’t make pancakes, so I didn’t know what to do with it,” Burrow said. As a pescatarian, however, Burrow ate a lot of nuts as protein supplements. “I started thinking that I can use this syrup and I started working the syrup. As I was working the syrup it came off so … you didn’t taste all of that syrup but you could still taste the nut,” explained Burrow.


As I was working the syrup it came off so … you didn’t taste all of that syrup but you could still taste the nut. - ELISABETH BURROW, OWNER OF JEWELS UNDER THE KILT

At first taste, she knew she had achieved something unique. “But when you come from health care you don’t make one pound of nuts for two people you make like 100 pounds of nuts,” she laughed. Burrow started giving the nuts away. That was when she decided that she should


Jewels Under the Kilt has a wide product line of flavours available at select locations or on Amazon; flavours such as maple carrot cake walnut (shown above), maple pear ginger walnut, maple pumpkin pie pecan, maple apple pie pecan, maple moonshine pecan, maple chocolate hazelnut, maple spicy caesar walnut and a selection of nut butters. The Jewels Under the Kilt website contains some of Burrow’s recipes, such as fig cake with walnuts (shown below). enter farmer’s markets. With three flavours Burrow entered the Elora Farmers’ Market and sold her nuts in sandwich bags. Even without an official name or sophisticated packaging, her nuts became popular. The growing popularity led Burrow and Kosir to roast every three weeks. They had already outgrown their own kitchen and had started renting the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex industrial kitchen to roast. But it was after she was asked to participate in the The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair two years ago that Jewels Under the Kilt began receiving national attention. In March 2018, Burrow received an email from Amazon selection services manager Krishna Sethuraman. “I work for Amazon’s rapidly growing Canadian business and would love to connect with someone about placing weekly orders for your products,” Sethuraman’s email read. Since then, Amazon purchases Jewels Under the Kilt nuts, stores them in Amazon “fulfillment” centers, and ships them directly to customers. Between distribution and farmer’s markets there is little downtime for Burrow and Kosir - even though the Christmas season is over. It is a sign that what started as a hobby has evolved into a full-fledged business. “That was one key factor in whether it was a business or a hobby. If we got

specialty nuts he said he knew it was a great product to sell. “The product came to my attention through another party,” Seguin said. He distributes Jewels Under the Kilt nuts across eastern Ontario. “After looking into it I discovered that it was very unique, local, fresh, tasty, gluten free and made without using any preservatives or additives,” he said. According to Seguin, Burrow’s specialty nuts have been successful across eastern Ontario because they satisfy a craving for a healthy treat. “Consumers today are shopping for and buying local, healthy, all-natural foods. Jewels Under The Kilt fills those demands,” Seguin added.


At first taste she knew she had achieved something unique. new orders and we got orders continually (in) January, February, March, which are typically slow for any retail, if we could still manage to do orders coming in and nuts coming out, and maybe a few new stores, then we have a business,” she said. When Home Style Fresh distributor Rick Seguin learned about Burrow and her

Six years ago, before Burrow started Jewels Under the Kilt, she knew next to nothing about nuts. Growing her business over the years has made her a nut expert. Understanding the chemistry behind nuts allows her products to have a fresher taste. According to Burrow, most grocery stores improperly store nuts. Any time a nut is cracked, they should be placed in a freezer, she said. Instead, grocery stores that sell raw nuts in bulk bins receive their nuts in a sealed plastic bag but will put them in the open-air bins right away. In the warmer temperature the oils in the nut become activated, resulting in what


Burrow describes as the bitter taste in bulk bin nuts. Along with proper storage, Burrow said Jewels Under the Kilt nuts taste fresher because some of the nuts are sourced from Burrow and Kosir’s own backyard. The couple started planting fruit and nut trees the very first year they moved to their 95-acre property. Currently, Burrow said, the couple has approximately 500 trees bearing 14 different varieties of nuts – including four different types of chestnuts alone. Burrow explained growing nuts in Ontario is a relatively new phenomenon that began just 30 or 40 years ago. Before that it was generally thought Canada’s climate was too cold. “No one would really know that we grow nuts in Ontario. And it’s still asked, ‘you can grow nuts in Canada?’” Now, she said, the nut growing business in Canada is booming, due in no small part to a move by master chocolatier Ferrero Rocher. Since building its production plant in Canada in 2006, Ferrero Rocher has committed to buying more local nuts for both its chocolates and chocolate-hazelnut spread, Nutella. “It’s all a learning curve, so it’s all about education,” said Burrow of the increase in Ontario nut farms.


Elisabeth Burrow, left, accepted the Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence in 2015 and 2017 from Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry.

Despite the company’s success, Jewels Under the Kilt only recently hired a fulltime employee to help Burrow and Kosir, who retired from IT in 2013, pick and package nuts. And all of the roasting is still done by hand.

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“I want to do it that way for a while because we have more control so I can find, if on the off chance ... there is a shell, we can catch it because [it’s all done by hand],” Burrow said. In November Burrow received certification to roast nuts in her own roaster on her property.

In Fergus, you don’t expect all of these amazing food situations and food adventures and people like me growing nuts. - ELISABETH BURROW

Having the certification, she said, will allow her to not only forego rental fees and help her bottom line, but also to save on time and make the process more efficient. However, Burrow said she doesn’t want the business to grow too large. She wants to maintain its level of success so that she and Kosir remain in control and slowly bring on her daughter, Jessie. “I [don’t] want to grow my business where I was going to go so huge that I

couldn’t handle it myself,” she said. “I want to be able to keep this going ... for my daughter who calls herself the nut cracker.” Jessie, still in high school, has a disability. She has grown up helping Burrow crack and roast nuts and take calls for the business. Disabled individuals across Canada face disproportional unemployment rates. Burrow and Kosir hope a small business like Jewels Under the Kilt can provide jobs for Jessie and others. “I am in talks with a new company that’s based out of Guelph that has children with disabilities that need to learn a trade or do a job. I would like to hire them,” said

Burrow. It is one way Jewels Under the Kilt can give back to the community. After all, it was her family’s move from Toronto to the Fergus area that made launching a specialty nut business possible. “Fergus is fantastic. Fergus is a foodie place,” Burrow said. “I had lost my food mojo. I see food as an art. It’s like a canvas. Elora and Fergus have that. “In Fergus, you don’t expect all of these amazing food situations and food adventures and people like me growing nuts.”


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Canadian BBQ Boys make Dragon’s Den deal BY JAIME MYSLIK

GUELPH - “There’s going to be no stopping these guys,” said the Canadian BBQ Boys’ mentor Niel Palmer. “They’re ready to take on the world.” University of Guelph students Matt McCoy and Michael Sutton, both 21, are the creators of Canadian BBQ Boys, a barbecue cleaning business that caught the eye of the business moguls on CBC’s Dragon’s Den this season. McCoy and Sutton started Canadian BBQ Boys the summer between their first and second years of university. They are now in the fourth year of a bachelor of commerce degree, taking both business and marketing courses. “We wanted to start a business and actually ... Mike’s parents had had an experience with a general contractor who came out to (clean) the barbecue and he came back several times and it was just very inefficient, very high cost,” McCoy said. “We love barbecuing; we wanted to start a business and the pieces just fell into place.” The friends, who have known each other since they were in Grade 9 and living in Oakville, had been talking about starting a business since they were in a Grade 12 accounting class. The summer after their first year at U of G they started knocking on doors to offer

We love barbecuing; we wanted to start a business and the pieces just fell into place. - MATT MCCOY, CO-OWNER CANADIAN BBQ BOYS

their barbecue cleaning service. “We finished the exams on the Friday and that Sunday we started knocking on doors,” McCoy said. “We got four sales our first day so it filled up our next day. “Actually our very first door we knocked on we got a sale on that one; our very first door-to-door sales pitch ever. It’s a very funny pitch to say the least, but it took us a couple hours to build up the


courage to even knock on the door.” McCoy and Sutton spent mornings that summer cleaning barbecues they booked the previous day; afternoons were spent knocking on doors to book appointments. “It could be 9pm and we wouldn’t stop knocking until we had the next day full,” McCoy said. Sutton said the pair hadn’t really cleaned barbecues before and some family and friends doubted the business would work. “They just really doubted us, but we didn’t really doubt ourselves; we were like, ‘Whatever, we’ll just try it, we’ll see how it goes,’” Sutton said. Palmer, of Devad Consulting Inc., met McCoy and Sutton during the school year after their first summer and mentored them through a young entrepreneur program at the U of G. He is still their mentor through Innovation Guelph. “They’re fantastic entrepreneurs,” McCoy said. “I can hardly believe that they’re still in university; it’s absolutely crazy what these guys are capable of. “They started networking and putting together the structure of their business and they started developing contacts and a full on business model right away and so basically the first summer that they were in operation ... they were already doing a decent amount of business themselves.”

The Dragon’s Den Deal?

50,000 for




of Canadian BBQ Boys

Now the owners employ regional managers across the province who coordinate cleanings in specific geographic areas. McCoy and Sutton are still responsible for booking the jobs, but they didn’t do much hands-on cleaning last summer. “They expanded territorially through leveraging ... a territory manager-type structure so they get basically other young entrepreneurs to come into the business and they almost get to manage their own ... geographic area and they carry the Canadian BBQ Boys logo and way of doing business and all that kind of stuff,” Palmer said. “So these guys immediately started ... thinking ... about how to spread out. “So they started in a few different locations and now they’re probably going to push out west and they’re to the point now where cash injection in their business is going to accelerate them quite rapidly.” Enter Dragon’s Den. McCoy and Sutton appeared on the Jan. 10 episode and though they appeared calm and prepared, the journey to get to that point was anything but smooth. Dragon’s Den actually found the Canadian BBQ Boys website and approached McCoy and Sutton to ask if they’d be interested in auditioning for the show. However, they missed the Guelph audition and the show contacted them to find out what happened and why they weren’t there. It was at that point Sutton realized the show was actually interested in their business. “So we went out to the last audition, which is in Niagara, and we pitched to

some of the producers there and we weren’t really sure how it went,” Sutton said. “But we ended up getting onto the waitlist so we weren’t actually into the show.” The episode was to be filmed on a Tuesday in the spring of 2019. The Sunday before, the Canadian BBQ Boys received a call that there was a cancellation and Dragon’s Den wanted them to fill in. That Monday, the business was set to start up for the summer season.

g sample cleanin However, McCoy and Sutton accepted the slot on Dragon’s Den and figured the rest out. “We called one of our customers that we were ... supposed to do that day and we said, ‘Hey can we come super early in the morning, clean half your barbecue and then bring it on the CBC set for Dragon’s Den?’ and they were like ‘yeah, for sure,’” Sutton said. “So we rented a U-Haul, drove down, cleaned half their barbecue, brought it on the set and then we did the show.” The pair asked to go last on the show

because they hadn’t had time to prepare their pitch. “What happened was ... because we were cleaning half (the barbecue) it was supposed to take an hour for two of us and it took four hours,” McCoy said. “So we just rushed to the show. “We got there and we didn’t have a pitch or anything and we worked with the producers and we just looked in the mirror a lot, practiced to ourselves.” Sutton credited their sales experience for their success in preparing the pitch. “All of our experience with door-to-door and we’ve said the pitch a million times, we know our business inside and out, so it was kind of just intuitive, second nature to us.” he said. They made a deal with Jim Treliving, owner of the Boston Pizza franchise, for $50,000 for 10% of their company - exactly what they were seeking. “I think we came in with a pretty realistic valuation and a lot of people don’t do that, but since we’ve both watched the show a lot we knew if we go in with a million dollar valuation we’re just going to get chewed apart and not get a deal,” Sutton said. “So we came in realistic with something that we actually think we’re worth, then it’s going to work out for us.” They said they wanted the money for marketing to sustain growth throughout Canada and for recruitment, research and development, process improvement and efficiency strategies. On the show, after Manjit Minhas, Vincenzo Guzzo and Arlene Dickinson said they would not be making an offer, the


it. We opened three stores back here (in Ontario); I closed all three after five years, went back home; we weren’t ready. “If you start spreading too soon, too quickly, you’ll lose what you have here.” It’s this willingness to learn that make McCoy and Sutton such great entrepreneurs.

If you start spreading too soon, too quickly, you’ll lose what you have here. - JIM TRELIVING, BOSTON PIZZA OWNER AND “DRAGON” ON DRAGON’S DEN

“They absorb pretty much everything that comes their way and they’re very good at building on the knowledge that they have and the ability that they’ve gained,” Palmer said. “They build on that constantly so they’re becoming more and more effective as they go along. “So I imagine you’ll see Canadian BBQ Boys in the next two years with a whole host of service ideas and they’ll grow the business out.” They also have some advice for young entrepreneurs. “We always say ... start a service


business,” Sutton said. “You never know where you can take it and at the very least it’s great experience and it will lay the foundations for you as an entrepreneur or in the business world for your future. “So I really want to push students to just get out and start doing services in their local neighbourhoods, scale it throughout their communities and really see what they can do in building a brand and you can just learn so much.” McCoy said technology and the internet can be a distraction for students who think they need to start a marketing agency or drop-ship products. “In reality you get the core fundamental business experience when you’re actually out doing,” he said. “And we think starting a service business, starting door-to-door is a fantastic way to start. “You network, you meet new people, we learn advice from our customers every time.” He added, “We don’t see it as competition even if you want to start a barbecue cleaning business, we just want to see students start service businesses and we really want to move that forward.” The Canadian BBQ Boys will be out in full force this summer and McCoy and Sutton plan to continue with the business once they graduate from their fifth year of university. The main message they want to share is that every barbecue needs to be cleaned. “Our biggest goal is to spread awareness about the fact that you need to keep your barbecue clean and once enough people understand the importance of it we feel like it would be a great benefit,” McCoy said. For more information visit https://



Canadian BBQ Boys jumped on Treliving’s offer. He was the dragon they were hoping to work with. “I’d love to be a part of your business,” Treliving told the students. “You’ve got all the stuff that’s ready to go, just keep pounding, that’s what you’ve got to do. “I’ll make you an offer for what you came for.” In reality, the duo made the deal before most of the dragons even had a chance to make an offer. “I got a little excited,” Sutton said. “Then all the Dragons were so upset and then they call us back we were just like ‘okay we want to hear, we want to hear’ and then all of them were just like ‘well you clearly just want to work with Jim, so we’re going to go out,’” McCoy said. Now the Canadian BBQ Boys are going through the extensive due diligence process with Treliving’s staff. “We haven’t received an investment yet,” McCoy said. “We have been reached out (to) by other investors and things like that. “We’ve had several contacts with the managers in his office, so there’s no deal yet, but we’re still open to investment and we’re still kind of looking around, seeing what we can do and how we want to take the business forward.” The Canadian BBQ Boys were considering expanding across Canada quickly - right now they provide services from St. Catharines to Ottawa - but after receiving advice from Treliving on Dragon’s Den they’ve slowed the expansion down. “I’d take a step back,” Treliving said. “We were a western Canadian company for a long, long time, thought we could do


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Immigration Summit hosted by county exceeds expectations BY PATRICK RAFTIS

ELORA - Organizers of an Immigration Summit hosted by the County of Wellington here on Feb. 20 are pleased with the outcome of the well-attended event. Tom Lusis, a talent attraction specialist with the county, said about 100 people attended the day-long event at the Elora Mill. Lusis said the county received “very good feedback” from employers and economic development personnel who attended. “We were thinking maybe 30 people (would attend), but we had people coming from outside of the county, staying in the community, just showing the relevance of the topic,” said county economic development director Jana Burns. “We had people coming not just from other more rural municipalities, but from Toronto as well and from some universities,” added Lusis. He said the event grew out of a twoyear project funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (now within the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services). following plan, the Originally consultations with the business community on such topics as hiring international students, was to develop workshops on immigration-related topics. However, after speaking to more than 140 individuals in the Wellington business community, Lusis said, “We thought it would be more impactful to have a summit to kind of raise the profile of immigration … “Some employers are tapping into immigration, but it was not quite on the radar of many of the groups that we spoke to.” Burns said immigration strategies will play an integral role in the future of rural communities. “In 15 years the number of deaths in Canada is going to be exceeding the number of births and it’s a fact that we’re going to be 100 per cent dependent on immigration for population growth,” she pointed out. “We’re already seeing it - and it’s not just unique to our rural community - but an out-migration of young people and an aging population.” Burns added, “And we know across Wellington County that three-quarters of our employers are having trouble finding

workers and some of them are tapping into international markets and they’re having success doing so. So the summit showed how other employers can do that and what kind of support the county and regional organizations provide to employers.” Lusis said one of the goals of the seminar was “to let employers know how important immigration is to their economic viability.”


They are looking for a new home. They’re investing here. They’re dedicated to their job. He said it is also important to highlight the resources available in the area for employers. “Employers find it intimidating because they might feel it’s something they might have to do on their own, not realizing perhaps that through the County of Wellington I can go speak to them about immigration programs and help them choose one and lead them through the process,” he said. “And then we can connect them to the county settlement workers who can help them if they do have a foreign worker come, or just a newcomer that’s based out of Guelph, to connect them with the cultural resources in their neighbourhood.” Lusis said the summit was also a leadin to additional resources the county is set to launch on the topic. The county, in partnership with Danby Products Ltd. and Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington, is developing an employer tool kit, based on a study of what over 30 businesses in the region are doing to attract and retain


newcomers and immigrants. “This summit was a way to also let the ... community know about some of the innovative work that’s being done in our region and also some of the resources that are shortly going to be available to the business community, specifically in this area,” said Lusis, adding the toolkit will be released sometime in March. Burns said there are a number of reasons immigration is important to the economy of the region. “Number one, employers are not having success with existing hiring methods and I think there’s hesitancy, there’s concerns and there’s fears around hiring folks outside of the community,” she said. “But we had employers at the summit dispelling those fears by talking about ... positive experiences.” For example, Burns said Denise Taylor of Puslinch-based Cherry Forest Products has had numerous applicants from Mexico for mechanical and manufacturing positions. “She was talking about how she provides ESL (English as a Second Language) training on the job and how she buddies up employees and she talks about how these different cultures create a rich, interesting workplace.” Burns also noted newcomers bring families with them. “I think it’s important from an economic perspective also to look at how that enriches our communities,” she said. “These newcomers are going from places, typically, that they want to leave. They are looking for a new home. They’re investing here. They’re dedicated to their job.” In addition to filling labour market needs, Burns said immigrants bring connections and capital when they move to an area. “These newcomers are also acting as ambassadors and they’re connecting us with foreign markets that we wouldn’t have access to,” she said. “So when a company hires somebody from Germany or Mexico that person still has connections, be it new workers or be it economic investment opportunities, and I think that’s something our employers are maybe not aware of and … they’re still a little bit hesitant or concerned because of the unknown, or maybe they think the process is too overwhelming. Our message is don’t be overwhelmed, we’re here to hold your

Food for thought

Contemporary Canadian Wellington County Warden Kelly Linton addressed the crowd at an Immigration Summit hosted by Wellington County at the Elora Mill on Feb. 20.

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519.635.8222 hand through it.” Lusis pointed out newcomers don’t just fill jobs, they also create them.



This summit was a way to also let the ... community know about some of the innovative work that’s being done in our region. “There’s an entrepreneurial spirt there that we believe is very important for our rural communities,” he said. “So I think of this when we see store closings, for instance, in our downtown and I believe there’s going to be more business people coming up who are thinking about retiring and perhaps they don’t have any succession plans in place. “Tapping into this side of the economics, welcoming the immigrant entrepreneur, we believe is also an important thing to

highlight and for our communities to start thinking about.” Lusis said the summit is just one facet of the county’s plans to work with local businesses on immigration strategies. “I think that going forward we’re looking at working with employers on a more intensive kind of basis … it’s not enough to just direct them to a website. It’s establishing more of a longer-term kind of a relationship and we can really flesh out what are some of their options.” Burns pointed out the county is already working on two of the challenges raised by summit attendees: a lack of rental and affordable housing and rural transit. “Yesterday we released an RFP for a housing strategy to do exactly that, to increase rental stock in the county and homes priced at affordable levels, to be able to enable workers with the respective salaries that our communities are offering to be able to live here and rent here.” In terms of transit, Burns noted the county is developing an app-based, on-demand ride-sharing system with the assistance of $449,500 in provincial Community Transportation Grant Program funding. While affordable housing and transit are issues for everyone, Lusis noted, “in some cases it might be accentuated in terms of immigration.” When speaking with people considering a move to the county, Lusis said the first questions asked are usually about jobs and quality of life. “And the next is, ‘Okay, where do I stay and how do I get around?’”

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New ‘Thrive in the Workplace’ wellness app launched by Career Education Council that resulted, currently gives free training through workplace wellness workshops to workplaces and schools in Southern Ontario. Since the launch of the app, the CEC has been able to provide the same training to a broader scope through the Thrive in the Workplace app. The app’s launch was a celebrated success for the CEC after a year of app development.

Throughout 2018, CEC staff worked diligently with several local businesses to create the tool. Sarah Stewart, registered social worker and the owner of Open Minds Mental Health, was responsible for the app’s written content. Local videographers from Cameron Productions were in charge of creating the videos on wellness topics that can now be seen in the app. Last but not least, app developers from

local software development firm SpeakFeel brought everything together, creating an app with a clean look and user-friendly interface. “This app will provide broadly accessible resources which will benefit both employers and employees by supporting workplaces in their wellness goals,” said CEC’s executive director Kelly Schafer. According to a CEC survey of Guelph students in early 2018, the most stressful parts of the workplace for young employees who have just started working are team dynamics and communications with co-workers and supervisors. The CEC’s hope is that employee service providers, supervisors and managers will use the “employer” view of the app to support the wellbeing of their young employees, and that young employees will seek help on the app when they encounter common stressful situations in their new working environment. “With such a useful wellness tool ready at their fingertips, the future will hopefully look brighter for employers and employees alike,” officials state. Submitted by Samantha Pascoal, Career Education Council


GUELPH - The Career Education Council (CEC) has launched a new app called “Thrive in the Workplace.” The app is designed to increase employee engagement and decrease absenteeism in workplaces across southern Ontario. The CEC’s goal is to encourage employees in Ontario to download the app and use it to enhance wellness and optimize wellbeing. Free on both Android and iOS phones, the app includes five modules of training for employees, students, employee service providers and teachers. Content is especially designed to help youth working in customer service and client care positions, who may be new to the workforce and who may not have had any other sector-specific training in workplace wellness and mental health. The app also contains a section of quick five-minute wellness exercises that users can do at work or at home for personal wellness. The app was created after the CEC received a grant from the Ministry of Labour Occupational Health, Safety and Prevention Innovation Program. It was to create a program that would support employee wellness in Ontario. Thrive in the Workplace, the project



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WHAT DO SHOPKEEPERS DO TO ENCOURAGE CUSTOMERS TO ENTER THEIR STORE DURING COLD WEATHER? Many shopkeepers run special promotions and other incentives to encourage customers into their stores. Often this is also a popular time to have a first chance at new products for the new year, and this is always exciting for customers. Most shopkeepers also work hard to keep their business looking as great as possible, combatting the snow, ice and dreary days with vibrant displays and a welcoming environment.

DOES THE BIA HAVE ANYTHING PLANNED TO BRING PEOPLE TO THE DOWNTOWN CORE THIS SPRING? The spring event was the “Upside Down” sale, which is held in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day weekend (March 16 to 17 this year). Merchants on our Main Street dusted off their shelves, emptied stockrooms, cleared out basements and slashed prices as never before. Village merchants showed their Irish pride with decorations and tastes of Ireland.

HOW CAN A NEW OWNER CHANGE THE ATMOSPHERE/VIBE OF A PRE-EXISTING STORE? Being a small downtown area we have not seen huge changeovers in the ownership of existing shops. However, we have had a few new owners, and this has typically brought a new dynamic. New owners often want to put a new twist on the business they have purchased, and this creates interest for customers and other businesses alike. New owners also frequently bring a new energy with them, and may be interested in getting more involved with special events or other activities. HOW ARE YOU WORKING WITH YOUR LOCAL TOURISM ORGANIZATIONS TO BRING NEW CUSTOMERS TO TOWN? We are participating in a “Community Tourism Plan” process in conjunction with other local stakeholders and Central Counties Tourism. This is partially completed at this stage, but we hope it will bring new collaborative opportunities. Our BIA also regularly contributes content to Headwaters Tourism and other tourism agencies.

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Keeping it clean and simple is key to digital marketing: Moore BY PHIL GRAVELLE

ABOYNE - Wellington County food entrepreneurs should clean up their online presence with some “digital hygiene work”, according to an advisor who led a recent digital marketing and social media session at the county museum. Digital disruptor Charlotte Moore urged farmers and food sellers to adjust key details of their internet image, to simplify and enhance interactions with potential customers. “Many people get overwhelmed quickly when we talk about digital,” said Moore, digital project manager for RT04, the provincial government’s tourism agency for the territory that includes Wellington. She previously worked in digital development for Guelph Tourism Services.

“Feedback from our local food businesses has overwhelmingly shown that there is a great deal of interest in learning more about farm direct and digital marketing,” said Christina Mann, coordinator for Taste Real. “The communication and marketing landscape has changed significantly over the last few years and businesses are looking to hone their digital marketing skills.”

video content, paid promotions, targeting specific audiences and measuring the success of a marketing effort. Moore said digital details can be frustrating for entrepreneurs, but reminded her audience that changes don’t have to happen all at once, and that the focus should be on keeping things consistent for members of the public who visit them online. Branding includes the relationship with

ample Instagram s

The communication and marketing landscape has changed significantly over the last few years and businesses are looking to hone their digital marketing skills.

“A lot of digital is actually just hygiene work, and I don’t mean going home and taking a digital shower,” she said. “I mean fixing your digital asset and presence so that you can go on to have very successful digital marketing. The marketing is kind of the easiest part.” The event at the Wellington County Museum and Archives was co-hosted by Foodlink Waterloo Region, a non-profit group that promotes local food and connects farm and food businesses; by LaunchIt, which helps new businesses with mentorship, workshops and support programs; and by Taste Real, an initiative of the Wellington County economic development office that facilitates local food connections.

The @lmhallman Instagram site was cited as a good example of attractive, simple design, with convenience links for visitors.

Farmers were also urged to develop value-added farm sales and experiences, and got advice on effective signage, displays and pricing from Jessica Kelly, marketing specialist from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). There were breakout sessions to enhance digital marketing skills, including


digital customers and what they remember and say to others about their encounter with a business. Moore suggests that businesses focus primarily on how their content looks on mobile phones, rather than on computer screens. “For look, be consistent. What is the one thing of your brand that people can expect



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when they look at your content? How can you convey that from your physical brand to your digital brand?” said Moore. “There’s a lot of content online, and how can you cut through the noise? By being authentic and sharing your story.” She showed some examples of effective online presence, including the Instagram feed of Lauren Hallman (@lmhallman), a food photographer and vegan baker based in Elora. The photos are consistently dramatic and bright, with clean white backgrounds, and convenient links to commentary, a blog with recipes and a website ( that promotes other services such as video production. “She has a beautiful online brand,” said Moore. “This is a really good example of how you can be consistent across all of your platforms.” She also highlighted the online marketing of Strom’s Farm and Bakery on Wellington Road 32 just south of Guelph. Their site ( not only has a guide to their various events, photos of food products, a link to a Twitter feed and advice how to plan a visit, but there are many informal photos of people having fun – especially kids and dogs.

The Strom’s Farm and Bakery website was cited as a good example of online marketing through photos of products, how to plan a visit and informal photos of people having fun.

“This is how you can be authentic through your mobile content,” said Moore, noting farm owners can snap mobile phone photos of visitors. “Everyone loves dogs and everyone loves babies.” She said farmers should still engage their customers in the off-season with posts about their preparation and plans for the next season.

Moore was also impressed with the online marketing of Bliss Dough ( and @blissdough), which sells vegan cookie dough made to be eaten raw, not baked. They offer free delivery in Guelph. Some of their online photos are product selfies – photos with a jar of their dough held in the foreground, and the store where it is sold in the background.

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This is amazing, especially for a new business - it’s perfect, brilliant, really easy and a great way to connect your physical product to your online digital presence. - CHARLOTTE MOORE, DIGITAL PROJECT MANAGER FOR RT04, COMMENTING ON BLISS DOUGH’S WEBSITE AND INSTAGRAM MARKETING


“This is amazing, especially for a new business – it’s perfect, brilliant, really easy and a great way to connect your physical product to your online digital presence.” Moore said marketing should not be about deceiving people, but about being yourself and delivering a simple, honest message. She said simple things that entrepreneurs should do include controlling what people see when people find them through Google. “Google is where people live, so your

presence on Google is 99 per cent more important than your website,” she said. She urged owners to go to business. and take control of the Google My Business page of information that appears on the right when a business is found in a search. They should add photos to that page and make sure the location, hours and contact information is exactly what they want. They should also claim and control their TripAdvisor page. For online reviews that are critical of a business, she urged owners

to respond respectfully and positively. Moore suggested that business owners should be cautious about spending money on Google Ads if they are inexperienced at marketing, and that they find someone they trust to provide advice. She said businesses should Google themselves to see what customers see, make sure that there are no broken links on their website and that old or inaccurate pages are completely deleted. It’s also important for businesses to use Google Analytics to know where their


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For inquiries call Julie 519.821.4655 or email: visitors are coming from and what they are viewing. A business Facebook page should have website, contact and hours information, with a profile photo and a cover photo. All Facebook posts should include an image. Instagram pages should have real photos, not posters, and Twitter pages should have regular updates. For businesses that rely on reservations or simple product purchases online, she said the goal should be to complete the interaction with two clicks. “Make it easy,” she said. “People are lazy – they don’t want to read a lot.”



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Chamber Round-Up CHAMBER

Business Leader connects with Wellington County chambers

John Mock, President Minto Chamber of Commerce


Email: Website:

Diane Cook, President Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce Email: Website:

Tish Green, President Arthur and District Chamber of Commerce Email: Website:

HAD NOT RESPONDED BY PUBLICATION DATE Jeff Duimering, President Mapleton Chamber of Commerce

Shawn McLeod, President Mount Forest Chamber of Commerce

Email: Website:

Email: Website:


Do you provide tax tips for business owners? If so, what are they? Minto John Mock

Through LaunchIt Minto, a partnership between Wellington County, the Town of Minto and the Minto Chamber of Commerce, we offer access to professionals that assist businesses. We do this by hosting monthly workshops on a variety of topics including business finance, human resource-related topics and much more. LaunchIt is proud to say that we have eight mentors from the community that have many years of specialized experience ranging from business banking and finance, construction, human resources, marketing and communication as well as very successful long-term business owners. Another tool LaunchIt offers to businesses seeking assistance is our “Ask an Advisor Thursdays.” For more details visit


What is your advice to business owners interacting with the new provincial government? Minto John Mock

The Minto Chamber of Commerce is here to help, support and grow businesses in Minto. We are a strong voice with our municipal government and the Ontario Chamber, Canadian Chamber and CFIB all are there to advocate for small businesses with the provincial government.

Centre Wellington Diane Cook

If you have questions, talk to your MPP’s office. They have a lot of knowledge and are willing to assist. The chamber works with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) quite closely and they are preparing reports to present to government officials. Many of these are based on surveys the OCC sends out to local chambers to send to our members as a way to influence and let government know the pulse of the business community.

Centre Wellington Diane Cook

Not directly, however we hosted an education session on March 20. We had a Canada Revenue Agency representative come to answer questions from small business owners.

Mount Forest Shawn McLeod

We are encouraged by the lowered corporate tax rates, and increased depreciation rates for new capital investments. However, as each individual and business have their own unique set of circumstances and fact patterns, we advise that members seek out professional tax advice from their accountant.


Mount Forest Shawn McLeod

Business owners interacting with the new provincial government should first build a relationship with their local MPP to help advocate. If there is an issue effecting their industry, bring a collective voice to the table, along with your local chamber of commerce.

**If you have a question you would like to pose to local chambers of commerce and/or BIAs, email your suggestion to


What is the spring outlook for your members? Minto John Mock

Spring is always an exciting time for business after a long hard winter season. Our members look forward to travellers returning to our beautiful area, more people out and about enjoying the long-awaited spring weather and no downtown construction projects this year. The Minto Chamber is hosting the 10th Annual Community Achievement Awards dinner on April 25 at the Harriston Legion. We encourage the public to submit nominations and show how much they appreciate our local businesses, organizations and people doing great things in our community. For a list of awards, nomination form and to purchase tickets visit:

Centre Wellington Diane Cook

Optimistic! It’s always better to see things in a positive light. A crystal ball would have been a wonderful tool for this job!

Mount Forest Shawn McLeod

Spring outlook is positive as new construction looks to continue successive high years of building permits. The number of 2018 residential construction permits were up 25% over prior year. The number of agriculture/commercial construction permits remain steady, with 2018 permit values 45 to 57% higher than the two previous years.


Why is it important to have business succession plans? Does the chamber offer any help? Minto John Mock

Succession planning is one area of business that is often overlooked, but is likely one of the most important aspects of a successful business plan. The Minto Chamber is happy to support and promote a regional collaboration with the Saugeen Economic Development Corporation and five municipalities - Brockton, Hanover, Minto, Wellington North and West Grey - called “Saugeen Connects” which is an online succession matching platform. The mission is to collaborate and positively impact area economic growth, support youth retention and development as well as support growth and retention of businesses. This online community of business buyers, sellers and succession planning professionals is an excellent tool connecting farm and business buyers and sellers. After a profile has been created users have access to matching services, full library of resources and business listing options. An economic development officer also reviews each new member profile and sends out a welcome message with suggestions for next steps in their transition plan. Members control their own profile and set privacy options to allow secure and discreet site access.

Centre Wellington Diane Cook

As a business owner, you need to know what your exit plan for your business is, whether it’s sooner or later. That way you are in control of your future. A number of our members have the talent and tools to help our members find the help they need. We have held education sessions in the past years on this topic and will again in the future as the need arises.

Mount Forest Shawn McLeod

Succession plans help owners plan for retirement, and ensure that the highest possible value is obtained. With succession plans in place, we will often see a business change hands and continue to operate, and remain an active part of our community. We support the Saugeen Connects initiative by Wellington North Township with neighbouring municipalities, where resources are geared directly to succession planning, connecting those wanting to own a new business with those selling their business.






BUSINESS CHALLENGES IN ERIN COMMUNITY MEETING In January Jennifer Kindred-Bulbulia held a community meeting to talk about doing business in Erin. She and her husband run the BK Foundation, an animal therapy facility. She said the foundation has run into repeated roadblocks with the town and supporters. Kindred-Bulbulia hoped to gather a sample of the challenges and successes for business owners in Erin in order to make a presentation to the town. ONTARIO GETS HIGHEST GRADE EVER IN RED TAPE REDUCTION EFFORTS Ontario recently received an A-, the province’s highest grade ever, in an annual report card that evaluates governments across Canada on their progress in cutting red tape for business. This is an increase from the C+ the previous government received in 2018, Ontario’s second-lowest grade ever. L&M FOOD MARKET The L&M Food Market in Elora was closed by the public health unit in December. The Elora community is looking at opening a co-op grocery store to fill the void. CANNABIS RETAIL STORES The votes are in and the majority of Wellington County municipalities are open to business for cannabis retailers Municipalities allowing pot stores include: Minto, Wellington North, Puslinch and Guelph-Eramosa. Those that have opted out are: Centre Wellington, Erin and Mapleton.

The Fountain Head Health Store in Fergus held a 25th anniversary celebration earlier this year. Originally the Fountainhead was strictly a health food store, but now it’s connected to the Red Door Café, which offers healthy lunch and dessert options. From left: Nathalie McNeil and Tala Jenkins. Submitted photo

FOUNTAIN HEAD HEALTH STORE The Fountain Head Health Store in Fergus held a 25th anniversary celebration at the end of January. The Fountain Head Health Store and Red Door Café are located at 212 St. Andrew St. W., Fergus. For more information call 519-787-5123. IVAN ARMSTRONG TRUCKING Ivan Armstrong Trucking is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The Arthurbased trucking company is owned by Diane and Ivan Armstrong and their daughter Amy Van Ankum. For more information call 519-848-2645. MINTO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Minto Chamber of Commerce is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Re-branding is taking place and the official launch took place at the Annual General Meeting at Gramma Jo’s on Feb. 4. For more information visit, call 519-510-7400 or visit H. BYE CONSTRUCTION H. Bye Construction in Mount Forest is celebrating its 65 anniversary. For more information visit www. MOLOK NORTH AMERICA Moloc North America is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year having been in operation since 1999 and is headquartered in Mount Forest. WILMOT FINANCIAL SERVICES INC. Wilmot Financial Services Inc. is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The business is located at 181 St. Andrew St. E., Unit #6, Fergus. For more information call 519-787-4627. NORTH WELLINGTON CO-OPERATIVE SERVICE INC. The North Wellington Co-Operative Services Inc. is celebrating its 75th


anniversary this year. On July 13 all four branches will be holding a barbecue from 11am to 2pm as well as offering sales and specials. LLOYD SCOTT ENTERPRISES LTD. Lloyd Scott Enterprises Ltd. in Alma is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The business helps clients with home renovation projects, from aluminum siding, new windows and doors, to custom kitchen cabinetry. Located at 46 Peel St. in Alma, Lloyd Scott Enterprises Ltd. is rooted in Wellington County. To contact the business visit or call 519-8465871. ASKETT’S APPLIANCES CENTRE Askett’s Appliance Centre is celebrating 50 years in business. The business is located at 222 Main Street West in Palmerston. Customers can stop by or call 519-3433512 to congratulate owner Keith Askett. CREEKBANK SEWING MACHINE SHOP Creekbank Sewing Machine Shop is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The business is owned by Vernon and Minerva Knorr and is located at 084696 Southgate Road 8 in Mount Forest. The business offers full service and repair on all makes of sewing machines, specializing in Bernina Dress fabrics, workshops, etc. For more information call 519-323-2693. EDEE’S PLACE Edee’s Place in Listowel is celebrating its 25 anniversary. Located at 1180 Wallace Ave. N., the supply store serves dancers, gymnasts, skaters and hockey players with new and used equipment. For more information call 519-291-5164. The business is open Monday to Saturday or by appointment.


JESTER’S FUN FACTORY Jester’s Fun Factory in Fergus once again facilitated the creation of the world’s largest mass-produced jigsaw puzzle. This time the puzzle, called “Around the World,” is 24 feet long and contains 42,000 pieces. Working on the puzzle earlier this year, from left, are: Sharon Brioux of Orton, Jennifer and Michelle Coyle of Kitchener, and Kim Walker of Fergus.

HAPPY Anniversary!

The Three Biggest Problems You’ll Have With Most IT Support Companies, And How PlanetCPU Overcomes Them All If you are a highly successful, results-oriented business owner trying to focus your energy on growing your business, but you find yourself constantly distracted and frustrated with computer problems, read on. Our names are Mark Reed and Terry Godreau, CEO’s of PlanetCPU. We specialize in making IT “invisible” to our clients – you simply tell us what you are trying to accomplish in your business and we make it happen without excuses, problems or complexity.

And because we utilize cloud computing and other advanced IT solutions, we can typically lower our clients’ IT costs by 32% to as much as 71% while simultaneously eliminating all the aggravation you feel with your current computer guy. Although this isn’t an amazing concept, I’m amazed at how many IT firms can’t get this right. In fact, our research has shown that most business owners like you have 3 big problems when dealing with most IT support companies. See if you agree…


The Three Biggest Complaints Business Owners Have About Most IT Firms Problem #1: You Have Constant Technical Problems.

Problem #2: They Nickel And Dime You To Death.

Problem #3: Poor Communication And Service.

Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself; you hire a so-called computer expert to support your network, only to discover every time they “solve” a problem, two more crop up. Or the problem they were supposed to have solved keeps coming back again and again. Then, to add insult to injury, they don’t check their work, they keep charging you to come back and repair the same issues, or they waste your time trying to explain why the problem is happening instead of just taking care of it.

Most IT consulting firms make the majority of their money selling you an expensive, complex computer network plus a hefty monthly maintenance fee to keep it all up and running. Then, every time you need some little thing done, you get another bill. Some days it can feel as though every time you turn around you’re writing another check for some service, new hardware or software upgrade. Even then, you don’t get the support, service or RESULTS you want – and you STILL end up having to deal with IT problems and limitations.

From arrogant technicians who talk over your head to zero communication on the status of your requests and projects, another BIG problem many business owners have with their IT person is poor communication skills. On top of that, NONE of them seem to understand basic business concepts and want to have a conversation about the technical details rather than the results you’re trying to achieve.

“Imagine being able to just tell your consultant what you’re trying to achieve in your business and they make it happen” - TERRY GODREAU

There is a better way. We can show you how to eliminate expensive IT Support fees and implement a “pay as you go” service for IT, just like a utility.

Imagine being able to just tell your consultant what you’re trying to achieve in your business and they make it happen – and provide REAL value by advising you on how to make those outcomes happen faster, cheaper and with less effort.

Before You Spend Another Dime On IT Upgrades And Support, You’ll Want To Invite Us For a No-Cost, No-Obligation Consultation Even if you aren’t ready to make a change from who you are using now, this visit will give you some valuable insights and information on how to drop IT costs while enabling everyone in your organization to work faster and more efficiently. And if you are considering outsourcing your IT support to someone else, we will help arm you with the right questions to ask when the time comes. To book a visit from Mark and Terry now, call us at 519-843-1234 and we’ll schedule a visit at your convenience. Dedicated to serving you,


Terry Godreau, Mark Reed and The PlanetCPU Team BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 27


& more OPENINGS ID COMPUTER SERVICES ID Computer Services is a new business in Palmerston that repairs, refurbishes, upgrades and sells new technology. The business, located at 125 Main Street, held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 22. ELORA MERCANTILE The Elora Mercantile is now open. The purveyor of fine goods and services is located on Church Street, behind Drimmies Florist, across the street from Hanscomb Glass Studio. For more information visit Elora Marcantile on Facebook.

Home-based businesses make up a big part of the Centre Wellington business community. The Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce recently held a reception and ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome new businesses. From left: Alex and Kathy Maggs of C.K. Maggs Adventures in Fergus, Centre Wellington councillor Neil Dunsmore, Wellington Advertiser sales manager and chamber representative Jim Alexander, Steve and Patty Haney of Whiskey Jack Painters in Alma, chamber representative Sheri Copplestone, township councillors Ian MacRae and Kirk McElwain and chamber representative Paul Walker.

PEPPRELL DISTILLING CO. Pepprell Distilling Co. is opening its own manufacturing facility in Mapleton in July. The distillery specializes in Pepprell Gin, which is made by hand in Vaughn by Last Straw Distillery Corp. SOUTHERN CRISPY CHICKEN Southern Crispy Chicken has opened at 514 Main Street in Mount Forest. The restaurant, which has taken over the former Mount Forest chamber building, offers a variety of different chicken meal options. For more information visit For takeout call 519-509-6000. NORTHERN LIGHTS POOL AND SPA Northern Lights Pool and Spa is located at 258 Main Street South in Mount Forest. The business, owned by Paul and Rachel Hiempel, offers outdoor living products and services. For more information call 519-5092809.

Shoetopia has received a facelift. At the re-opening and ribbon cutting ceremonies held on Feb. 14 owner Peter Mohr said the store is now more energy efficient and the aisles of shoes are more customer friendly. The celebration saw draws for prizes and other goodies. Those cutting the ribbon included sales associate Brock Aldersley, Centre Wellington councillor Neil Dunsmore, co-owner Tammy Mohr, Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce director Aileen Hawkins, councillor Bob Foster, chamber president Diane Cook, councillor Kirk McElwain, sales associate Jenn Law and sales associate Laura Dykstra. 28 | BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY

NEW OWNERS SNOBELEN FARMS Snobelen Farms has purchased Bramhill Seeds Ltd. in Palmerston. Snobelen Farms is ready to receive

the 2019 IP (identity preserved) soybean crop in Palmerston. Call 519-528-2092 for more information. NORTH WELLINGTON ANIMAL HOSPITAL Dr. Ashish Prajapati has taken over the North Wellington Animal Hospital at 248 Main Street South in Mount Forest. Prajapati has been a veterinarian since 1989. Services, available Monday to Friday and on Saturday by appointment, include small animal emergency care, hospitalization, dental cleaning, radiograph and more. For more information call 519-323-2060. I’M SOOOO BAD! Lori and Wayne Billings have taken over “adult” store I’m Soooo Bad! in Mount Forest. The business, located at 110 Main St. North, is open Tuesday to Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays. For more information or questions call 519-323-9969.


PARKER MEATS CUSTOM BUTCHERING OF FRESH AND FROZEN MEATS Nick Martin has taken over Parker Meats Custom Butchering of Fresh and Frozen Meats. The business is located at 7465 Wellington Road 12. For more information call 519-638-0016. The store is open from 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and 9am to 3pm on Saturday.

RELOCATIONS DUFFERIN MUTUAL INSURANCE Dufferin Mutual Insurance Company in Mount Forest has recently relocated to 258 Main Street South. For more information contact Sandy or Michelle at 519-323-1420.



Into the fray


RETIREMENT Centre Wellington television personality Larry Peters, Cogeco TV manager, has retired. After moving to Fergus in 1980, Peters started with Cogeco in 1994 after volunteering for two years. When asked if things are easier in the cable television business now, Peters said, “When computers are working right it is a lot easier, but when a computer breaks down it becomes very hard. These days the quality is much better and the tools for editing are amazing to work with.” Peters’ plans for the future are up in the air for the moment, but he plans on taking some time off to relax.

Baker Tilly, formerly Collins Barrow, held an open house grand opening in Guelph on March 7. The chartered professional accounting firm moved to its new space at 450 Speedvale Ave. West to help support business growth. The new space opened at the end of January and can accommodate about 30 staff, double what the previous location in Guelph could handle. At the grand opening managing partner Todd Campbell thanked BJC Architects Inc. and Nith Valley Construction Ltd. for their work on the renovations. Cutting the ribbon, from left, were partner Ted Smith, partner Sara Detweiler, partner Garreth Madden, Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie, partner Todd Campbell and partner Luc Joye.

Welcome to your new weekly column for business news, tips and maybe even the odd trick. This column will be a source for what is going on in all seven Wellington County member municipalities, as well as the county itself, when it comes to business. Business matters. The goal is to tap into the pulse of the business community. Right now, business owners, a survey is asking for your voice. When you have a few minutes why not fill out the fourth annual EmployerOne survey from the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo Wellington Dufferin. You’ll be asked to share your insights into the employer-side of the local labour market. Don’t put it off too long. The survey closes Jan. 31. Keep in mind survey results do not always lead to action. Take Centre Wellington for instance. In December council opted out of allowing marijuana retail stores in the township in a 4-3 vote, even though a survey of over 1,603 residents showed 64.1 per cent of respondents were in favour of allowing pot shops. Take surveys with a grain of salt, as they say. As of Jan. 8, Centre Wellington and Erin are the only two Wellington municipalities to make a decision on cannabis stores (both decided to opt out). The remaining five municipalities had better ramp up their decision making, as the Jan. 22 deadline is just around the corner. Truth be told, recent government reports show that only 25 licenses will be distributed by the April 1 deadline – through a lottery. Wouldn’t it be interesting if a Wellington municipality received

Have a businessrelated idea or a story you’d like to share? businessleader@ Find this column in your weekly Advertiser or online at


Professional advice available for small business owners – at tax time, or any time BY PHIL GRAVELLE

WELLINGTON COUNTY Entrepreneurs looking to start up or expand a business can turn to the Business Centre of Guelph-Wellington for a wide range of practical advice. Based at 14 MacDonnell St. in downtown Guelph, the centre is a business hub that deals with more than 400 enquiries every month. It is celebrating 20 years of operation. “The whole crux of our being is that of business advice, workshops and programming to support entrepreneurs, both starting and growing,” said Kristel Manes, executive director. Many of the centre’s programs and workshops are supported by provincial funding. “We do one-hour free consultations with clients. We opened up an office in Fergus, and we also rove to the county – we’re a day in Mount Forest, a day in the Erin and Hillsburgh area, and usually a day in the Drayton-Mapleton area one day a month.” The Fergus office, at 160 Provost Lane, is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. The advisor is Corina Sipkes. Business people can make an appointment for a one-hour private session on topics ranging from start-up requirements to growth strategies or marketing techniques and where to find other resources. The centre also has a six-week education program to teach people about sales forecasting, and the proper costing and pricing of products and services within business models. Sometimes, clients decide not to go into business right away. “We work really hard on making sure they are realistic in building their sales forecast, and what they think their business can do. We talk about, ‘Is this the right business for you?’ and ‘Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?’ They do a lot of work in market research and make sure the product is something that’s viable. “We look at getting the word out. A lot of entrepreneurs come out and have a very small budget to work with. There’s lots of ways, especially with social media, that you can get attention to your product without spending a whole lot of money. “You as the business owner are your own currency, and you can extend yourself in a lot of ways. That’s where the strength of our business advisors comes from. They know what it’s like to open a business, they’ve operated businesses, they’ve

The Fergus Small Business Centre had its grand opening last summer. From left: Centre Wellington economic development officer Patricia Rutter, Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton, Guelph-Wellington Business Centre executive director Kristel Manes and business advisor Corina Sipkes. closed businesses – they’re very clear on what that takes.” The centre also offers an “ask the professional” series, using partners in the business community. For a minimal administration fee, clients can book an online session with an accountant or a lawyer who is volunteering their time.

You as the business owner are your own currency, and you can extend yourself in a lot of ways. That’s where the strength of our business advisors comes from. - KRISTEL MANES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BUSINESS CENTRE OF GUELPH-WELLINGTON

For a higher fee, businesses can arrange to have an ongoing business mentor. For more information on any of the centre’s activities, go to Sara Detweiler is a partner at the Baker Tilly accounting firm in Guelph, which assists clients referred by the centre. “They are often concerned with how


they are taxed – they want to understand how business income is taxed, what sort of deductions they can claim, especially when there is business use of personal assets, how to keep track of their expenses,” said Detweiler. “Sometimes they require cash flow forecasting to present to the bank.” The advice is particularly helpful for small businesses that do not normally have an accountant working on their behalf. “We get people that maybe have been in business for a while, operating as a sole proprietor, and want to know if they should incorporate – what are the benefits of incorporation, how would they be taxed and how would they get their money out?,” she said. “It depends on the situation. Sometimes it may be for legal reasons that they should, to protect their personal assets, but it might not make sense from a tax perspective. They always have to look at the legal issues as well.” Mary Ng, federal minister of small business and export promotion, has been touring Canada promoting government initiatives to assist entrepreneurs. On Oct. 16, 2017, the federal government announced it would lower the small business tax rate from 10.5% to 9%, as promised during the election. It reaffirmed this reduction in the 2018 budget. The rate dropped to 10% as of Jan. 1, 2018, and to 9% on Jan. 1, 2019. This applies only to active business income under $500,000.

Ng said the government is “working hard to reduce red tape and make it easier for Canadian small business owners to start up, scale up and access new markets.” She said there are efforts to get credit card companies to lower fees to businesses. There has been $2 billion allocated to help double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025, and changes to 450 federal rules to reduce the administrative burden on businesses. Ng said trade deals have provided access to 1.5 billion potential new customers. These are the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Canada-United StatesMexico Agreement (the new NAFTA). “We do find people going beyond the




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*Mutual funds distributed by Sun Life Financial Investment Services (Canada) Inc. Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada is a member of the Sun Life Financial group of companies. © Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2019.



borders,” said Detweiler. “Fortunately our firm is part of an international network, so we can reach out. “I just had a client looking at a business investment in Costa Rica. We were able to hook them up with somebody there. We can speak to the Canadian tax implications, but not always to the tax rules in another country.” Another recent tax change is the ability for a business to immediately write off the full cost of machinery used for the manufacturing and processing of goods, and the full cost of specified clean energy equipment. Previously the costs would have been amortized over several years. Detweiler said this is a “dramatic change” and machinery manufacturers are using it as a marketing tool. She said the government is trying to boost investment in equipment. Another change is the introduction of the Accelerated Investment Incentive, allowing businesses of all sizes, in all sectors of the economy, to write off a larger share of the cost of newly-acquired assets in the year the investment is made.


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

An Erin resident won one of 25 prizes in a national contest to promote a rewards program partnership between RBC and Petro-Canada. From left, RBC branch manager David Grimason presented a $2,850 Petro-Canada gift card to client Diana Humberstone, along with RBC community manager Anastasia Bonk. The prizes were based on 40 litres of gasoline per week for 52 weeks, at last June’s price of $1.37 per litre.

John F. Smith Insurance Brokers in Arthur donated $1,000 to the Arthur Lions Club for its Christmas Hamper project on Dec. 12. From left: Holly Rogozynski, Tom Smith and Barb Watts from John F. Smith present the cheque to Arthur Lions treasurer Ralph Roelofsen.


Tim Hortons in Erin is thanking the community for its support during recent renovations. Owners, Josh, left, and Faith Burhoe, right, along with assistant manager Des Satuito, centre right, presented a $3,000 donation to Tammy McGugan, finance director for East Wellington Community Services.

Shoetopia in Fergus recently re-opened after a week-long renovations. The grand re-opening took place on Feb. 15 with drinks and treats throughout the weekend and shoe, boot, sandal and grab bag giveaways. Owners Tammy and Peter Mohr have also taken things a little further. They’ve launched their Donation Location program. For years the store has been dropping off footwear to the Centre Wellington Food Bank, however, with the launch of this program the owners are hoping to help not only those who receive the shoes but also customers who have “gently used” shoes that are looking for a new home. When customers drop off their item they will receive a gift certificate towards a future purchase at the store. On the re-opening weekend Shoetopia collected 120 pairs of shoes for the Centre Wellington Food Bank. A box will now be left out permanently for future donations.

Do you support a local charity? Send your cheque presentation photos to to include in the next edition of Business Leader.

Canarm AgSystems contributed $1,125 to the Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation’s campaign to raise funds for digital x-ray equipment during the 17th annual CKNX Health Care Heroes Radiothon. Foundation development officer Dale Franklin, left, accepted a cheque from Canarm production manager Kevin Loos.


President of the Fergus Women’s Co-op, Cheryl McKenna, and co-op secretary Zena Attwood, presented at cheque for $2,000 to development and communications officer Sarah Sheehan for the Groves Hospital Foundation in December. The donation from the co-op will help pay for a gynecology stretcher for the hospital’s emergency department.

AO Smith’s Women’s Resource Network donated to the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington Food and Friends Program and presented the cheque to program manager Bobbi Turner, third from left. A.O Smith donated $941. The program currently feeds over 17,000 students a healthy breakfast, morning meal, snack or lunch through 106 student nutrition programs. Every school in Centre Wellington now has a Food and Friends Program. A.O. Smith’s Women’s Resources Network hosted two events where employees contributed a minimum of $5 to enjoy a morning coffee, fruit and breakfast sandwich along with a silent auction with all proceeds donated to the Food and Friends Program.

Thanks to the Union Gas community improvement grant, Veteran’s Park in Salem is now home to a new bench for the community to enjoy. “This is great news for Centre Wellington and our commitment to urban forestry” said Mayor Kelly Linton. “Thank you to Union Gas for their continuous support.” Kevin Schimus of Union Gas said “at Union Gas, we believe a community belongs to everyone who lives there. To that end, all of us want to make life better for our families, our friends, and our neighbours.” Last fall, Union Gas also provided an additional $1,000 contribution to a greener Centre Wellington at the Cotton Tail Road Trail Community plant. The funds were used for native trees and shrubs. In addition, 10 volunteers from Union Gas took part in the fall planting.



Facebook custom audiences: Email list remarketing

How to grow and monetize your email subscriber list using Facebook ads DREW MOCHRIE

If your business uses email to reach potential and existing customers, chances are you’ll find them on Facebook too. Custom audiences allow you to upload your email list and Facebook will then match your customer email addresses with Facebook account email addresses. In this article, I’m going to share a couple steps on how you can use Facebook to grow and monetize your email subscriber list.

Step 1: Create an offer your target audience is interested in and sign them up The first thing you need to do is decide what you’re going to use to “bribe” your audience to sign up as an email subscriber. If you’re in retail, why not offer a discount on an initial purchase

for signing up? If you focus on B2B relationships, why not offer something informative such as an easily digestible guide pertaining to your industry? I won’t dive into too many examples as there are just that, too many examples. The goal here is to attract a cold audience and turn them into warm prospects. Run your offer ad or information ad on Facebook and start growing your new email subscriber list. Capture their email address by linking through to a landing page on your website or by using Facebook’s opt-in forms. Advanced note: Have experience with targeting on Facebook? Create multiple offers and organize your email list by interest and age groups so you can then retarget each of these groups with the right ad.

targeting you’ll see your sales increase from your email subscribers.

Step 2: Remarket to your new email subscriber list to grow your sales You’re growing your email list and you’re sending offers directly to their emails. Perfect. You can do better by uploading the subscriber list into Facebook and advertise your offers or specials to them on Facebook as well. Advanced note: Not all ads work for everyone. Split testing your ads will allow you to test different ad copy and determine which ad to invest more in. Relating back to step 1, if you see “Offer #1” performs better than “Offer #2” with the 25-35 age group, invest more into Offer #1. It’s easier said than done, but with the right ad and proper

Your email database

Go a step further with ‘look-alike audiences’ This is a neat feature Facebook added that I believe is still under utilized. Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your existing subscriber list to find others who share the same interests? You can with Facebook’s lookalike audience option. Simply upload your customer files and Facebook will magically find people who are similar to those already in your system.

Have no idea what I’m talking about? Interested but not sure how to get started? Let’s chat.

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Business Leader Spring 2019  

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

Business Leader Spring 2019  

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