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Drones The future is here


POT PLANT Cannabis facility proposed for Palmerston

SUMMER COMPANY Youth entrepreneurs turn ideas into business

RON WILKIN JEWELLERS Celebrating 50 Years

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Keep up or lose out

Late July and into the fall, one of our favourite jobs as a kid was driving the combine. The header out front paddling wheat and then grain would be a third of the size of today’s monster machines. But it was nevertheless fun, creeping along with the grain spewing into the tank behind the cab and golden straw exiting the rear. It took an attentive eye up front. This was before flex heads and the hydraulic niceties of today’s machinery. We were either looking for stones that got missed being picked in the spring while at the same time getting low enough for soft spots where the crop had either fallen or never grew to its full potential. These many years later, farmers equipped with the latest technology can actually monitor poor spots in the field where maybe a little more fertilizer is needed. Through GPS, yields and conditions are monitored so next spring planting practices can be modified to increase yield. That process has gone a step further with the deployment of drones to capture even more information in real time. This trend towards precision farming maximizes crop inputs, yield and ultimately saves money by using resources more wisely. It has often been a thought of ours that farmers should run the country. Progressive farmers have a knack for spotting more efficient ways of doing things, recognizing that time and effort saved equates with profit. Sure there is an investment but it pays off in due course. Small businesses have also taken advantage of software and hardware to better manage their affairs. Very few run on the old model of waiting until year end to see how it went. Instead, most have quick reporting at hand to know weekly, monthly and quarterly how their business is doing. Data is essential in helping with scheduling and identifying weak spots in the business. As we all know, margins continue to be squeezed, leaving little room for mistakes. As we head into 2018 and the challenges caused by new Queen’s Park legislation, every business person would do well to review their operations and come up with ways to shave expenses or increase revenue. Every cent will count as this transformative period descends on Ontario businesses.


There are lessons to be learned from those who have survived and thrived in business. In this edition of the Business Leader we focus on some significant milestones reached by two prominent Centre Wellington families. Ron Wilkin Jewellers is celebrating 50 years in business and Keating Construction has been building homes for 60 years. Apart from the obvious accomplishment of being in business for such a long time, is the fact family members were able to learn the business firsthand and extend these successful businesses to include the next generation. Unlike some careers where longevity can be a byproduct of hanging around the longest, running a business is a different story. We can’t think of an example of a business where the owner sat on his or her laurels and woke up 50 years later and was still in business - let alone seen as successful. It takes effort to keep up on new products and services. Business is evolving all the time, whether it be materials used or processes undertaken. While those aspects are critical, perhaps the single largest factor to success and longevity is customer service. Both firms are known in the community for offering great service, whether it be memorable presents, an engagement ring or the single largest purchase most people make in their lifetime – their home. Congratulations, Wilkin and Keating families!

Business is evolving all the time ... perhaps the single largest factor to success and longevity is customer service.



Company proposes marijuana production facility in Palmerston BY PATRICK RAFTIS

MINTO - In September the province announced plans to open 150 LCBO-run cannabis stores after Ottawa legalizes marijuana on July 1. The location of the stores has not yet been determined, but if a Krosinski Enterprises Ltd. proposal proceeds, Palmerston could be home to one of the facilities supplying the standalone cannabis outlets. As part of the province’s plans, the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) will source its product from medical marijuana producers licenced by Health Canada and Krosinski Enterprises is hoping to become one such producer. The company plans to construct a 5,000-square-foot processing facility and three 5,000ft2 cultivation greenhouses on three acres of land in the Palmerston Industrial Park. On Sept. 5 Minto council approved a zoning amendment to permit the facility, which town business and economic manger Belinda Wick-Graham said would produce medical marijuana and “as the law permits” - recreational cannabis. A holding provision will remain on the property until the town receives further details about the project, including a site plan and servicing information. Council must then pass another bylaw to remove the holding provision. On July 18, town council approved an offer from Jack

Krosinski, director of Krosinski Enterprises Ltd. of Mississauga, to purchase the land (for the full asking price of $15,000 per acre). Krosinski has been working with Health Canada on the approvals process for such a facility since 2013. In September Wellington County senior planner Curtis Marshall stated in a report the county is satisfied the proposal is consistent with the provincial policy statement and is in general conformity with the county’s official plan. Krosinski has assured council the facility would be secure, adding proposed security measures include: - a 12-foot wire fence around the perimeter of the property; - a secure gated entrance; - 24/7 security cameras and floodlights outside building structures; - live monitoring from inside the building; - monitored intrusion/unauthorized-access sensors; - internal video surveillance; - multi-step verification access control; - a vault; and - crop profiling. Personnel working at the site will be subject to a police record check prior to commencing employment, with RCMP security clearance required for employees in key positions. Although not required, Krosinski said the greenhouses

“From a business point of view there will be more demand for it, but we have to look at the fact there will be more competition.” - JACK KROSINSKI, DIRECTOR OF KROSINSKI ENTERPRISES LTD.

would be equipped with a blackout system to allay concerns about “light pollution” from the facility. While noting the facility would provide “marginal employment” of about eight people at the beginning, other facilities that have been up and running for a while employ between 50 and 120 people, Krosinski said. Several councillors expressed support for Krosinski’s plan, and while no one spoke in opposition to the proposal at a public meeting, the town did receive a letter of concern from Minto resident Dale Hurlbut. “I have worked with those addicted to regular marijuana and I feel this is not in the best interest of the community. It may generate income, yet the longterm costs will be more,” stated Hurlbut.

Councillor Mary Lou Colwell asked if the impending legalization of recreational marijuana would change the business. “There’s only a certain (market) capacity – obviously we’d like to maximize the land that we have,” Krosinski replied. “From a business point of view there will be more demand for it, but we have to look at the fact there will be more competition.” If recreational marijuana production was added, Krosinski said, “Nothing would change other than the sale of it” and all security measures would remain in place. The current plan for medical marijuana distribution at the facility is through mail order only. Krosinski told the town he is working with the University of Guelph on research into production methods. BL


Start at the beginning: Youth entrepreneurs turn ideas into business

WELLINGTON COUNTY - From marketing to connecting with clients to managing finances, owning a small business requires entrepreneurs to wear many hats. With the Summer Company program, seven Wellington County youth entrepreneurs took the opportunity to turn their ideas into businesses. Summer Company, a provincial grant program, awards students aged 15 to 29 up to $3,000 and gives hands on business training and mentorship. Olga George-Cosh, a business advisor with the Business Centre Guelph-Wellington and Summer Company lead for Guelph and Wellington County participants, said this program is valuable to both participants and the community. She said it is an experimental program that provides students with “the opportunity to identify if they have the skills and the characteristics of being entrepreneurs if they want to pursue entrepreneurship as a future career, so they do experience running a business hands on.” It gives the students a real-world application of what it means to be in business. George-Cosh said the students help the broader economy as well. “It enhances the community a great deal because those are the future business people of their respective communities,” she said. “Because it is funded by the provincial government, it is an opportunity to invest in your future entrepreneurs early on.” George-Cosh said the program teaches the students business skills such as selfmotivation, time management, sales, budgeting and more. It’s these skills that helped Camilla Brenchley, 21, of Arkell, to make her hobby into a business. Her business, Camilla B. Photography and Brand Design (, stems from

mixing her passion for photography with her ongoing business degree from the University of Guelph. Without the program, Brenchley said she wouldn’t have started her business so soon. She specializes in taking commercial photographs for branding and social media for small businesses.

“... when I heard about this program, it kind of pushed me to ... start it right now.” - CAMILLA BRENCHLEY, CAMILLA B. PHOTOGRAPHY

“This company was kind of my longterm goal because I’ve always been into photography and since I’m doing business in school, I’d always thought to myself, when I graduate, when I’m older, I’ll merge the two and start a business,” she said. “But when I heard about this program, it kind of pushed me to why not do it right now and start it right now,” she said.



Fusing passion and education was difficult for Brenchley. “Turning it from a hobby to a business was a lot harder than I expected it to be,” she said. “You have to be way more organized with it, you have to think about financials, you have to do everything, you have to be the finance person, you have to be the sales person, the marketing person, so turning it from a little hobby that I love to do into this actual business was a big switch for me and it was a bit of a challenge.” Brenchley said the Summer Company program and the Business Centre helped her along the way, especially with topics she was struggling with. “Financials. I would not have been able to figure that out without their help … they kind of pushed me to figure it out and I learned so much about that, and I think I really got it,” she said. It has also given her confidence. “I always consider myself an introvert, so I never really thought I would just be able to walk into a company that I really admire and be able to get a sale out of it,” she said. “So I found my approach that I would go in and just talk to the owner and get to know them on a personal level and kind of talk about their business, not really about sales, and build a relationship that way and through that, I was able to get quite a few clients.” Katie Lloyd, 18, of Fergus, said the support system was very helpful in getting her business Whisk Confectioneries by Katie (facebook. com/WhisKbyKatie) off the ground. She makes baked goods and has been participating in markets and pop-up shops. She has been using Facebook to garner traffic to her pop-up shops, which has kept her very busy. “It’s actually been a lot busier than I expected,” said Lloyd. “I didn’t really have very many expectations





when it came to the business. I had some sort of clientele before, but since starting the Facebook page and stuff like that, it’s been a huge increase.” Summer Company has taught her to network. “It is so important, especially in culinary, to know other people,” said Lloyd. Katie Plume, 20, of Mount Forest, who produces handmade pottery for her business KP Pottery (, also valued the connection with others. “The biggest difficulties that I faced were with self-organization. They were able to teach me some strategies and computer programs to overcome those issues,” said Plume. “The best things that I learned were organizational and professional communication skills.” While many of the students were attracted to the $3,000 grant when applying for the


programs, most saw the mentorship as the top benefit. “My experience with the Summer Company has been nothing but positive. I’ve got great mentoring and advice from people who really know what they’re doing and who truly care about helping expand my business,” said Samuel Cross, 16, of Puslinch. In his business, Cross Custom Knives (, he starts with a bar of steel and forges into shape a custom knife. Brenchley agreed the mentorship was a bonus. “I think it’s nice just to be able to meet with someone and be able to talk about things … to be able to have a meeting set up, where I can actually just talk about my business, and the whole conversation is based around that, she can give me advice that’s unbiased,” she said. “I would definitely recommend this program, not even just for the money, I mean



obviously that’s a bonus, but the amount of things that I’ve learned, the connections I’ve made.” Lloyd also recommends the program to other youths thinking about starting a business. “Just make sure the business becomes your baby and that you understand that business isn’t just you sitting around. You have to do things to work; you have to work for things,” she said. Other summer students from Wellington County include: - Ben Vanderstam, 18, of Guelph-Eramosa, who created Big and Small Grass Cutting; - Clayton Harvey, 17, of Guelph-Eramosa, who created Two Strapping Lads; and - Cameron Baguley, 17, of Ariss, who created CB Music Productions. To learn more about summer company visit






James Keating Construction Ltd. celebrates 60 years of building custom homes BY JAIME MYSLIK ELORA – A personable experience, aftersale service, local sub-trade contractors, quality custom homes. That’s what James (Jim) Keating, 80, set out to provide when he began James Keating Construction Ltd. 60 years ago - and that’s what his sons are striving to achieve with the business today. Keating Construction began on Sept. 15, 1957 when Jim was 20 years old. This year the company is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Jim had been working construction, building high-rise apartment buildings in Hamilton. A little while after the company he worked for went bankrupt, Jim got a call from the apartment owners asking if he would like to take the project on and finish the job. “I started on my own ... that lasted a couple years [in Hamilton] ... or a year anyways, and then I started [in Centre Wellington] doing small renovations. That’s all I got,” Jim said. “And it was tough going.” At the time, Jim also had his dad working for him. They completed renovations and built houses. “I had no land to build on so the houses I would get to build ... were referrals and it

was VLA, that’s Veterans Land Act ... and the others were the farmers who had severed off an acre or three quarters of an acre of the corner of their farm, maybe 20, 30 years ago for the retirement home,” Jim explained. “When I built the first house for a farmer you didn’t need to put an ad in the paper or TV ad or anything like that.

“I think my kindergarten picture said I was going to build houses.” - TOM KEATING, PROJECT MANAGER

“Farmers ... are all the same, it’s word of mouth.” At the time Jim said contracts were agreed to with a simple handshake. When Jim married his wife Fran, she began working for the business and all three


of their children - Steve, Jo Ann (Brohman) and Tom - all helped out with the business over the years as well. Both Tom and Steve have prominent roles in Keating Construction now. Throughout its 60 years Keating Construction has always focused on custom quality homes and has generally peaked at about 25 new builds a year. “What dad’s done for the last 60 years and what we’re doing still today is we sign the contracts with [buyers], we do the walkthroughs with them and every point in between. We’re there for them and we’re able to do that because we only build 25 homes a year,” Tom said. “We enjoy having that ability to meet with the clients and be personally involved and we wouldn’t enjoy it if we built 200, it would just be a factory... “That’s why we build what we do, because often times there’s more demand, we could build more but we like having that so that’s what we offer I think at the end of the day.” Tom, 44, joined the company after he graduated from university and is now the company’s project manager.


“I think my kindergarten picture said I was going to build houses,” Tom said. “It was something I never really thought about just always enjoyed. “Whether I was going to work here or somewhere else I guess could have always been up for discussion, but I never really knew any different maybe.” Jim added that even when Tom was a kid he would go down to the construction site to help before and after school. Steve, Jim’s eldest son, returned to Keating Construction after working in purchasing for a few years after graduating from college. “I was a purchasing manager for a few different companies and then came back here,” Steve said. “I always knew I was going to come back. “It was kind of like being a farmer’s son, you know you don’t look anywhere else, this is what you know. “It was a good decision to come back.” It was around the time that Steve began at Keating that the brothers remember working on Station Square, their most memorable project to date. Station Square is a condominium for active adults in Elora, Jim explained, and it took about 13 years to become a reality. “I was in university while the planning process was going through and my field of study evolved around that project and I was able to use that project as examples in a lot of different courses.” For Steve, Station Square was his most memorable build because it was the project of the moment when he rejoined the company. “That was totally different from anything I’d done here before as a youngster working and you know at times there might have been 50 people on that job site between the brick layers and everybody working inside,” Steve said. The lot was overgrown before Keating Construction started the development but Fran said Jim always knew how he wanted the two municipal blocks to look. “He had a vision of what that project was going to look like when he bought that property and then he tied it in with another piece of property on another corner for our sales office,” she said. “But this was all a vision that he could see in his mind and he wouldn’t give up until he did it. “I was ready to pack in and move out of town because everyone was ticked off at us but he was so determined to make that fly and he could see that building before a shovel even went in the ground.” The Keatings also mentioned the Old Quarry Commons office complex and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation healthy housing competition as memorable builds. The Old Quarry Commons is located across from the Elora Quarry on Mill Street East. “We built a 40,000 square-foot office building and that was ... employment lands that we brought to the community and I still think that was good of us to do that,” Tom

said. “Not every builder wants to touch that field ... but we feel when you’re building houses in a community you should really build a place for people to work.”


“When I built the first house for a farmer you didn’t need to put an ad in the paper or TV ad or anything like that. Farmers ... are all the same, it’s word of mouth.” - JAMES KEATING, FOUNDER

The healthy housing competition was a project the whole company worked on that won a national award and “the most publicity of anything we’ve ever [done],” Tom said. In 1995 Jim asked all his staff to come up with suggestions for how to build a house that was energy efficient, environmentally responsible, had good indoor air quality and was economically feasible. Everyone worked together and they won the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation healthy housing award. Fran said the people who bought the award-winning house at the corner of Keating Drive and Colborne Street in Elora still live there. The staff has always been an important factor to the company. Though the Keatings are still very involved in Keating Construction, Tom said it’s the staff that make the business a success. But at the beginning it was just Jim.

“I ran the business for I guess it was 10 years before we got married and it was Fran and myself,” Jim said. “Fran ran the office and did all the colour coordinating and I did the selling and the final inspection and ordering and the subs and everything, worked day and night. “And now it’s different.” Now the company has a full staff. “We don’t want people to think we’re the backbone and have to do everything because we don’t,” Tom said. “People when they call they’d like to meet a Keating but once we start a project they don’t feel that the only person they can talk to is a Keating, they understand that we’ve got other people and as long as those people are giving them the answers they want and doing as they ask they’re quite happy to deal with a staff member, you know somebody else. “So we have a lot of good people that help us run projects and be on the site.” But having staff doesn’t stop the Keatings from being recognized around town. “I’m sure all four of us will tell you we bump into people on the street ... that (say) ‘oh your dad built my house 30 years ago’ and they’re proud to tell you that,” Steve said. “So it’s nice that ... Tom and I are still in the business and it’s still going on with somebody with the last name Keating.” Tom said that’s just one of the many reasons the business is so focused on building top quality homes. “I always tell people, there’s only so many aisles in the grocery store ... your customers are in there too and you can only hide in so many different spots, so you have to build something you’re proud of because if you’re proud of it then you did a good job,” Tom said. He added that Keating’s customer base is largely local and Steve said the sub-trade contractors are also local, meaning they’re often available quickly when customers need assistance. “Lots of them have been here a long time and we try to be loyal with them and that’s how we get service out of them,” Tom said. “You can always shop around price but then when you have a house that’s five years old and have a real issue they’re still doing our work ... “When you change your sub-contracts ... every year or every five years you lose that loyalty with them and what they bring to the table for your clients.” Keating Construction also does custom builds and renovations throughout Centre Wellington, Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph. Some notable projects the company recently worked on are renovations to the municipal building in Elora, work on the Elora Brewing Company building and gutting a few buildings at the Elora Mill. In addition, Keating Construction also built one of the new buildings at the mill. “They wanted us to do a lot more but we’re not that big. We wouldn’t be able to handle the houses then,” Jim said.






Mark’s Work Warehouse is now open in the south end of Fergus. The store opened its doors on Aug. 25. It is one of three businesses that have taken over portions of the old Target store on Tower Street South. Dollarama and Giant Tiger also take up a portion of the former Target store. CENTRE WELLINGTON BUSINESS SHOWCASE

The Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce is offering a business showcase on Oct. 18 at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex. This year’s guest speaker is Dave Adsett from the Wellington Advertiser. He will be speaking about “growing your business in Centre Wellington: challenges and opportunities.” Tickets for the luncheon and speaker presentation are $20 for chamber members and $25 for non-members. An exhibitor table is $40 for members and $60 for non-members. Tickets can be booked at and questions can be directed to 519-843-5140. Admission to the showcase is free to the public. HARRISTON FERTILIZER OPERATION EXPANSION

North Wellington Co-operative Services is expanding its fertilizer operation at its Margaret Street location. The new 16,700-square-foot expansion will include a storage area with a dry fertilizer mixing facility, electrical room and office, a covered drive-through and an extension of the existing chemical storage area, shipping scale and overhead hopper, liquid fertilizer storage tanks and associated containment areas. The new building will have about six times the capacity of the existing mixing facility, increasing from 400 tonnes to 2,500 tonnes. While traffic patterns may be impacted co-op manager Kelly Boyle said the increased storage will actually make operational traffic more manageable because it will be spread over three seasons rather than just spring.


In the first six months of 2017 the Centre Wellington building department issued 510 building permits at a total construction value of $82,990,592, compared to 441 permits at a total construction value of $74,797,135 at the same point last year. Permits issued in the first six months of this year include: - construction of a new manufacturing facility in Fergus for Wellington Perforated valued at $2.5 million; - construction of a new poultry barn in former Pilkington Township, $1.2 million; - installation of site services for the future Groves hospital, $880,000; and - renovations within the former Target building in Fergus to create a Mark’s Work Warehouse, $850,000. CWI LEAVES ERIN DUE TO HYDRO RATES

Centre Wire Industries (CWI) is ceasing the manufacturing portion of its wire production business in Erin due to soaring hydro costs. The manufacture of the company’s stainless steel and nickle alloy wire products will be moved to the company’s U.S. or Perth, Ontario facilities. CEO and president Paul From told the Business Leader the company was paying 19 cents a kilowatt per hour, which is almost double what the company pays in U.S. facilities. The move means 20 to 25 people are losing their jobs in Erin. ONE-STOP PORTAL FOR BUSINESSES

Centre Wellington, in partnership with ServiceOntario has launched BizPaL, a free online portal for permit and license information for all levels of government. The service customizes a list of permits and licences required based on the businesses location, category and type of operation. Centre Wellington is the first municipality in Wellington to use BizPaL. To access the service visit


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$30,000 awarded to six new businesses based in Guelph and Wellington County HP Polymers of Puslinch received a $257,000 Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) grant. From left: purchasing/customer service manager Jessica Lai, MPP Ted Arnott, operations manager Glenn Beaton and chief chemist Joe Petipas.

Puslinch business receives $257,000 grant PUSLINCH – Local small business HP Polymers, a manufacturer of resins and high performance polymers, has received a $257,000 Southwestern Ontario Development Fund grant to aid with a $1.7-million expansion in the region. With the assistance of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott, HP Polymers, a Puslinch company, is continuing to invest in local jobs, businesses and universities to develop a first class manufacturing facility within the GTA region, officials say. “The HP Polymers team is

excited about this investment in our growth,” said corporate scientist Peter Jepson. “We are revitalizing our business here in Canada, investing in new state of the art equipment to manufacture high performance polymers and cement our position in this region.” HP Polymers is building upon a successful partnership with the University of Waterloo co-op program to advance technologies, capabilities and foster the next innovations to deliver tailored polymer solutions for today’s challenges.

GUELPH - The Business Centre Guelph-Wellington recently hosted participants and 70 guests at its first Pitch Night competition for the Starter Company Plus program, funded by the Province of Ontario. The Business Centre provides support and mentorship through the creation of a business plan and getting a business started. Ten new business owners from Guelph and Wellington County pitched their ideas to a panel of judges on July 13 for the chance to win five $5,000 prizes. Winners of the night and receiving $5,000 each are: - Ranjan Pradhan of Shrimp Canada; - Jenna Kessler of Assembly North Farm Retreat Centre; - Chad Seip from Blackmont Solutions; - Will and Amy Mitter from Let the Dog Out; and - Fy Virani of Virani Law. “The Business Centre is very proud to showcase these new businesses and the work they do

in our community,” said Marios Matsias, executive director of the Business Centre Guelph Wellington. “With our support and training we were able to help 10 entrepreneurs launch and grow their new businesses. “Watch for these companies as they grow their businesses.” The same night, Amanda Voisin from Body Mechanik was also awarded $5,000 from the Starter Company, a previous program that targeted 18 to 29 year old business owners. The Business Centre was able to secure the final grant for the Starter Company program to a deserving Wellington County young entrepreneur. APPLICATIONS Intake for the next Starter Company Plus program was in September and the Centre will be hosting another Pitch Night on Oct. 5. Those who want to start their own small business and wish to pitch for $5,000 can contact the centre at 519-826-4701 or at

Are you an award winner? If you or a business you know has recieved special recognition let us know ... and then we’ll let everyone else know. Email: 12 | BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY

Semex named foundational sponsor of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Minto Mayor George Bridge presented a certificate of recognition to Pitch It Business Plan Competition winner Dr. Ranjan Pradhan of Shrimp Canada in June.

Shrimp Canada wins Pitch It



MINTO - A new shrimp hatchery planned for Palmerston won the top prize in the town’s 2017 Pitch It Business Plan competition. The winner of the municipally-run competition is Shrimp Canada. Owned by Dr. Ranjan Pradhan, the company is a startup business based in Guelph that will be establishing a shrimp hatchery within the Palmerston Industrial Park. Shrimp Canada’s plan involves the sustainable farming and sale of fresh white leg shrimp to local seafood distributors and consumers. “It’s a really innovative project,” said Minto economic development manger Belinda WickGraham. In 2012, the Town of Minto initiated the Pitch It Business Plan Competition in an effort to grow small businesses in Minto and increase awareness of the resources available. Now in its 6th year the competition is geared towards entrepreneurs that wish to open, purchase, expand or relocate an existing business within the Town of Minto. Nine entries were received and four finalists submitted full business plans and made presentations to the judges in early June. The four finalists were:

Shrimp Canada, Ag. Business & Crop Inc., Harriston Preschool and Alpaca Time. “This was an amazing group of local entrepreneurs. I found their business plans, presentations and enthusiasm made judging a real pleasure,” said John Burgess, past president of the Minto Chamber of Commerce and one of three judges for the competition. Following his win, Pradhan thanked “the town, the judges, the mayor and council and all the people of the town for the support and encouragement. “I felt so welcomed to the community during my previous meeting with the mayor, and now winning this competition has made Shrimp Canada so inclusive to the diversity and growth of the town.” said Pradhan. He added, “I am proud to be part of the PitchIt Minto competition. The motivation from the outcome of this competition will surely shape my business ...” Thanks to sponsors, the finalists received over $1,500 in prizes. The winner took home over $12,500 in cash and prizes, including $3,000 in startup capital provided by the town, Minto Chamber of Commerce, Saugeen Economic Development Corporation and Mayor George Bridge. Other prizes include a mix of training, advertising and services donated by businesses.

GUELPH - The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and Semex have entered into a three-year agreement in which Semex will extend and deepen its sponsorship of The Royal. Semex is the presenting sponsor of what will now be known as the Semex Ring of Excellence, the main cattle show venue at the annual 10-day fair. Semex will also expand its commercial presence and assume presenting sponsorship of the International Business Centre. “Semex has a long and proud history with The Royal, and we are thrilled to be able to expand our partnership on behalf of all Canadian breeders,” said Paul Larmer, Semex’s chief executive officer. “Our global clients come to watch this amazing showcase of Canadian agricultural excellence each year. “And, in 2017 we’re excited about our expanded presence, and we once again look forward to welcoming hundreds of guests worldwide to experience The Royal in the newly named Semex Ring of Excellence.” The 2016 fair saw the Ring of Excellence expand and relocate to accommodate the growing breeding cattle shows as well

as host three significant 4-H youth shows. It was also the first year that all shows were webcast with state of the art webcasting technology. This premier show venue places agriculture front and centre on the fair floor. “Semex and The Royal have a long and thriving relationship,” said Charlie Johnstone, chief executive officer of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. “We’re taking that relationship to the next level with this new agreement. “With Semex’s generous sponsorship, we can continue to build on our mission to improve exhibitor experience for our world-class livestock shows.” World renown for delivering high quality bovine genetics, Semex has been solving problems and satisfying producers through its distributor network for over 43 years, officials state. They add that by working shoulder-to-shoulder with their clients, Semex’s staff is the best trained in the industry, offering profitable genetic solutions for producers worldwide. With a successful history as its foundation, officials say Semex is committed to ensuring success for its clients, Canadian owners, employees and partners for generations to come.

Kindred Credit Union honoured KITCHENER Kindred Credit Union was recently recognized for having a positive impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment. Kindred was named as one of 176 companies to the 2017 Best for the World Overall list, which includes businesses from 75 different industries and 25 countries. The list is based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab. “We’re honoured and humbled to be included on the 2017 Best for the World lists,” stated Kindred CEO Brent Zorgdrager.

“It’s affirming for a respected third-party organization to recognize us for creating extraordinary positive impact for our world.” The 2017 Best for the World Overall list includes businesses that earned scores in the top 10 per cent of Certified B Corporations across all categories on the B Impact Assessment. Kindred was also included on B Lab’s 2017 Best for Customers and Best for Workers lists. The Best for the World lists are published on B Lab serves a movement of people “using business as a force for good.”


chamber round-up


How did the rainy summer season impact local businesses? Minto John Cox

Minto businesses have been busy and excited to have a construction-free season. Minto has also been host to several events and attractions this summer which has brought many people into the community to shop, eat and stay - rain or shine. Email: Website:

Centre Wellington Kira Bailey Weather is key for some businesses, whether hot, cold or rainy! With the flooding in June and almost daily rain events in most of July and August many of our local businesses have struggled. Some businesses were delayed or were unable to open, many businesses have seen the number of customers down, businesses dependent on the weather – especially agricultural businesses - have been unable to harvest many of their crops. The economic and psychological impact have been significant. Email: Website: Arthur and Area Tish Green

The rainy summer season had both good and bad effects on local businesses. Businesses that rely on nice weather, such as local campgrounds, restaurants with patios and retail businesses wishing to have sidewalk sales may have found that this summer season didn’t yield profits as well as other summers. But on the other side of the coin, the rainy, cooler days allowed people who would normally be off doing outdoor summer things to find themselves in our local businesses shopping. What a great way to spend a ‘not so great summer day.’ Email: Website:

Mount Forest Trish Wake

When we received these questions we thought it only fair to forward these out for our members to answer. Special thank you to all the members who took the time to answer the four questions provided by the Business Leader. The consensus was the rainy weather didn’t impede the travelers and traffic into businesses. They felt as if it was a successful season; that if you have it and someone wants it they will come and get it no matter the weather. There are always going to be a few businesses that ‘could have done better’ or that are ‘hopeful the weather gets better,’ however majority vote was it was a great summer! Email: Website:



Keeping in touch with Wellington County Chambers


How are local businesses reacting to the Ontario government’s plan to raise minimum wage? Minto John Cox

Many people are scared and nervous; unsure of how it will change their business. However, we are focused on the positive outcomes of this increase. More money in the pockets of the consumer means more shoppers, a higher minimum wage means acceptable price increases for businesses and as the wage gap between industrial positions versus retail or services positions starts to shrink people may start to look at other factors in choosing employment such as job satisfaction and work/life balance. Email: Website:

Centre Wellington Kira Bailey Bill 148 Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act – what has been heard from many small businesses is that they aren’t opposed to the increase in minimum wage; however they feel the time frame is too tight. The Keep Ontario Working Coalition’s commissioned analysis by CANCEA concludes that these vast, unprecedented reforms will put about 185,000 jobs at risk and increase consumer goods and services by $1,300 per household, greatly impacting Ontario’s most vulnerable workers. Email: Website: Arthur and Area Tish Green

I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a few local business owners and the opinions seem to be the same. Raising minimum wage could cause some business owners to either scale back on employees’ hours or reduce the number of employees hired. It may also increase the cost of goods as it’s most likely that domino effect would be this ... back to the manufacturing stage and forward, increased payroll for any and all businesses has to be absorbed. Warehousing, shipping and retail will all likely be forced to increase prices to accommodate the wage increase. Also, some employers who pay certain employees more than minimum wage, will feel obligated to raise their wages in proportion to the minimum wage increase. Email: Website:

Mount Forest Trish Wake

This question received mixed reviews from our businesses; some believe it is about time to raise the minimum wage, others believe this will create a chain of events that will increase prices across the board. Some businesses won’t be affected as they do not hire staff. Email: Website:

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


What are some plans for how merchants will accommodate the higher minimum wage? Minto John Cox

As with any change there is always a time of adjustment. Many businesses will cut hours, trim benefits and pull back on charitable donations until these changes have had time to settle and correct. It can be a scary time for many businesses, which is why we are really trying to stress the importance of shopping local. Our communities depend on local business for much more than we think. A strong business community is the backbone of a strong community. Email: Website:

Centre Wellington Kira Bailey

Small business options are limited – they can adjust prices, number of staff or hours of operation. Larger businesses probably can absorb these costs better than smaller businesses. Sectors facing the highest risk to jobs include (estimated jobs at risk): manufacturing (16,800 jobs), accommodation and food services (17,300 jobs), retail trades (14,700 jobs), wholesale trades (16,000 jobs), professional, scientific and technical services (14,000 jobs), finance and insurance (13,000 jobs) and private sector health care and social assistance (8,000 jobs). Email: Website:

Arthur and Area Tish Green

I believe the answer to this question was incorporated into my answer for #2. Email: Website:

Mount Forest Trish Wake

Businesses in Mount Forest are looking at ways to streamline production and staffing hours and increase prices at a rate people won’t complain. We had other answers that they already pay above minimum wage so there won’t be much affected. Our favourite quote came in the survey and it is how the board feels as well: “Our employees are our most important asset and we need to treat them that way.” When you are discussing minimum wage increase or any politics you are likely going to get mixed reviews and that we did. Email: Website:


What is the economic outlook for fall? Minto John Cox

We are always excited for the upcoming season and all of the new sights, smells and opportunities that come with it. Businesses are busy preparing for upcoming holidays and events which boost sales across the board. The Town of Minto, together with the Minto Chamber of Commerce and local merchants, are already making plans for some annual events that bring consumers out to support our local businesses. Email: Website:

Centre Wellington Kira Bailey In my crystal ball I see a stable, but cautious economy as we start to see businesses doing what they can to protect their investments and mitigate impacts of Bill 148. The independent economic analysis commissioned by a coalition of business organizations, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, estimates a $23-billion hit to small business over two years and a 50 per cent increase to inflation for this year and the foreseeable future. Email: Website: Arthur and Area Tish Green

The economic outlook for fall is promising as always. The local businesses are always striving to generate new business as well as retaining previous and current patronage. With fantastic community support, small businesses are able to weather ‘slumps’, whether it’s government, seasonal or trending influences. Email: Website:

Mount Forest Trish Wake

Positive vibes all the way through! With fall approaching we all start with the back to school promotions and then quickly dive into planning for our holiday promotions. We are lucky here in Mount Forest where the businesses generally are positive and always looking forward to new promotions and events. As the Chamber of Commerce our invoices just went out for membership and we have expanded on the events we are going to offer for the 2017-18 events and look forward to fall with the launch of our Small Business Week Lunch and Learn Series. We are excited to offer these as well as an excellent AGM planned for October. Business is doing well in Mount Forest and we couldn’t be more excited to move forward into the fall of 2017. Watch for our local promotions and events. Email: Website:


County launches Live and Work Wellington BY JAIME MYSLIK GUELPH – Wellington County has launched a new workforce initiative with the hopes of enticing new, young, diverse talent to the area and connecting them with potential employers. The Live and Work Wellington initiative is the brainchild of Wellington County’s economic development department. County Warden and Puslinch Mayor Dennis Lever explained that while Wellington has an aging population, there is also a decline in population for the 19 to 25 age range and low unemployment (4 to 6%), which means employers are having a difficult time finding workers. “(The) Live and Work Wellington campaign is intended to meet these challenges by promoting Wellington County as a desired place to live and work and will be directed at local, regional and international audiences,” Lever said. “The campaign will highlight the diverse job opportunities in our region and the great quality of life we have here in Wellington County. “Our green spaces, historic sites, local foods, festivals and being one of the safest places anywhere will attract new groups to our community.” George Bridge, Minto mayor and chair of the county economic development committee, explained Live and Work Wellington will help county employers meet short-term labour challenges while also supporting long-term economic growth. “Many of the projects focus on attracting and maintaining workers from the demographic groups who are or will be important to the Canadian labour force - millennials and immigrants,” Bridge said. One of the ways the new program will attract talent is through a virtual county job board which takes local postings from various sites and pulls them into one list. “It’s important because now we have the ability to promote what opportunities we have in the county,” said manager of economic development Crystal Ellis.

“The campaign will highlight the diverse job opportunities in our region and the great quality of life we have here in Wellington County.” DENNIS LEVER, COUNTY WARDEN AND PUSLINCH MAYOR

“We’ll promote this online through our online social media channels. When we’re at career fairs and at that newcomer fair we’re able to hold up a tablet and actually show them in real time what we’ve got.” Each municipality in Wellington County is required to enter into an agreement in order to link the township’s website with the county’s job portal and to use the Live and Work Wellington trademark. One of the ways Live and Work Wellington is promoting Wellington County is through three videos targeting different demographics. “They were developed to be a social media friendly kind of snapshot that highlights the quality of life that we have in Wellington County,” said Tom Lusis who is in charge of talent attraction for Wellington County.

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“They are filmed in a variety of locations throughout the county ... and they highlight the local attractions, the local businesses and many of the people that you’ll see in those videos actually live and work in Wellington County.” The idea is to showcase Wellington County as an active place to work and live regardless of age or career stage. There is a video targeting young professionals, another targeting families and another for seniors. Live and Work Wellington received money from the Ontario 150 Partnership Fund to focus on attracting millennials to the rural labour market and retaining rural youth. The program, which also received funding from the Citizen and Immigration Fund, focuses as well on immigrants and international students. Ellis explained that the economic development department will use feedback from business surveys to understand their expectations of employees and surveys from the targeted talent groups to understand their expectations of employers and then they will identify gaps. A Wellington County press release states some of the activities proposed for the initiative include: - developing partnerships with Conestoga College and the University of Guelph to raise awareness of employment opportunities in the county; - developing and promoting the county job board; - working with employers and member municipalities to support the growth of local immigrant communities; - facilitating immigration and employment workshops for international students; - working with Immigrant Services Guelph-Wellington to promote and connect immigrants to employment opportunities in the county; and - providing guidance and advice to employers about immigration policies. Visit for more information. BL

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Year End Tips for Tax Savings from Collins Barrow Many people do not worry about income taxes until they absolutely have to. This usually occurs in April, as the filing deadline approaches. Unfortunately by that time there is often very little that can be done from a planning perspective with regards to the amount of tax paid. A little time spent at the end of the year looking at your tax position could leave more dollars in your pocket or at the very least avoid the surprise of an unexpected tax bill next April. A number of items must be paid before year end in order to be deductible for the current year. These include union dues, professional fees, political contributions, child care expenses, tuition fees, moving expenses and investment counsel fees for investors. Charitable donations and medical expenses can provide higher credits in any given year where amounts are lumped together (so paying off the orthodontist bill before year-end may make sense). One point to consider is that if you are planning on selling an investment with an accrued capital gain and donating a similar dollar amount to a charity, you will be better off if you donate the investment (shares or mutual fund units) directly to the charity. With the volatile state of the markets recently, some people have suffered declines in their investments and are either holding on or have already sold to preserve capital. To claim a capital loss for tax purposes, you need to realize


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the loss which in most cases means you need to sell the security and have it settled in the calendar year. To achieve this for 2017, for example, you need to sell by December 27th. In some cases where a stock is no longer trading you can claim the loss without actually selling it. Keep in mind that you must wait 30 days before you can buy the same investment back or the loss is denied. In some cases you may want to claim the loss for tax purposes but do not want to be out of the investment for 30 days. You could consider buying an investment that is similar to the one sold. For example if you lost money on a gold stock this year you could sell the stock by December 27th to realize the loss in 2017. To maintain exposure to a recovery in gold you could buy one of the many exchange traded funds (ETF’s) that track either the gold price or an index of gold producing companies. Most people know that capital losses can only be claimed against capital gains so current year losses will first reduce current year capital gains. Any excess in 2017 can be carried back against capital gains taxed on your 2016, 2015 and 2014 tax returns. This carryback request is done when you file your 2017 tax return and the Revenue Agency will then issue a reassessment notice and refund for that particular year sometime next spring or

summer. If this does not soak up all your losses you can carry them forward indefinitely to claim against capital gains you will hopefully have in the future. If you never have a capital gain, the loss can be carried forward into the year of death can be claimed (subject to some restrictions) against any type of income, so do not lose track of these losses. The first step in any planning is to look at your (or your spouse’s) capital gains already realized in the current year or expected to be realized, plus whatever you (or your spouse) were taxed on in the past three years. Next look at your objectives and your investment plan and see if a sale now at a loss makes sense given all factors, including potential tax savings. Do not forget the superficial loss rule that will disallow any loss if you repurchase the same investment within thirty days of selling it. Lastly if you find that you have losses but only your spouse has gains in the current or past three years then you have until mid-November to implement some loss transfer planning techniques. For more ideas on how you can minimize your income taxes, please contact Collins Barrow in Elora at 519.846.5315 or Guelph at 519.822.7670.

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Businesses reach new heights with drones BY OLIVIA RUTT WELLINGTON COUNTY - There’s no doubt that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - more commonly known as drones - are sweeping the skies as a growing trend. How are businesses harnessing this emerging technology to reach new heights? In real estate, it’s about getting that perfect shot. Many realtors, like Melissa Seagrove of Edge Realty in Fergus, have embraced the new technology. In one of her videos, a drone speeds along the driveway at eye level before lifting into the air to soar up and over the house, giving a rare glimpse of the property from above. Seagrove has been using drone footage to sell houses since 2013. “We live in such a beautiful area, so seeing all the green space and how the house is situated in that space is pretty awesome from above,” she said. “The cameras that are on the drones are super sharp, so you’re just seeing everything in hyper mode.” She said it can also be useful in inspecting the condition of a roof. Seagrove doesn’t operate the drone herself, but she sees the value in having this specialized tool. “It’s trying to get people’s attention,” she said. “You can pore through photos of anything every single day, but when you get that aerial or more than one aerial, I think that it’s more



exciting.” Seagrove said properties that have a distinguishing exterior feature, or that are on acreage or are situated near a river or lake are ideal for drone images. Drones can help a buyer visualize how the property is located in relation to its surroundings. “It’s just another sales tool,” said Seagrove. “Any other opportunity to put the property in front of the buyer is going to keep them more engaged.” She added that it’s also a great keepsake for the owners. “It’s so cool when you get to see what your property looks like from above,” she said. Kevin Arsenault of Puslinch also saw the value in jumping into this new technology when he left wedding photography to take to the skies. He started UP Photography and for the last three and a half years, he has been using drones to take real estate and commercial photography. He first took photos from an airplane, then used a telescopic mast before investing in a drone. “I always had my eye on the drones,” he said. “I was just waiting for them to sort of mature to the point where they were sort of safe and reliable and you can have a camera on there

I always had my eye on the drones.


that was good enough to capture professionallevel photos.” It was a natural transition from aerial photography for Arsenault, but he said drones are less of a hassle, adding the cost difference is astronomical. “It’s really become almost a standard, especially for bigger properties, estate homes as well as rural farms and properties with acreage,” said Arsenault. “In that sense, it’s pretty amazing; I get a lot of positive feedback from real estate agents because it’s just about impossible to show the lay of the land when it’s over a certain size.” Arsenault uses the DJI Phantom 4 for his business. Its features include obstacle sensing, precision hovering, visual tracking and a high-quality camera. He combines handheld, eye-level video with the drone photography for a complete real estate package.



As the skies fill with drones competing for airspace, Transport Canada has been trying to keep up with the changing landscape. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of Special Flight Operating Certificates (SFOC) for commercial drone operators rose from 66 to 4,756. Potential infractions have increased too, from just one in 2010 to 125 in 2016. So far in 2017, Transport Canada has investigated 115 potential infractions.

“What we’re seeing is almost on a daily basis, reports of UAV ... being flown in locations where they shouldn’t be flown,” said Aaron McCrorie, director general of civil aviation with Transport Canada. “Aviation safety regulations are in place to ensure the safety of aircraft in the air, and of course the people that are flying in those aircraft in the air, as well to ensure the safety of people on the ground,” he said. Transport Canada is in a transition period, with rules changing to keep up with the increased use of the technology. McCrorie said recreational users had been dealt with a light regulatory touch from Transport Canada compared to commercial users. Recreational drone users need to follow the rules based on an interim order announced in March 2017. Commercial users still need to qualify for a SFOC. However, new rules being proposed are changing how recreational and commercial drone operators are being classified. “We are coming out with new regulations that drop the distinction between recreational and non-recreational and treat all users the same based on the size of the of the UAV, the drone that they’re flying and where they are flying it,” said McCrorie. Announced in July, Transport Canada will now classify the drones based on weight and complexity of the operations. These proposed rules will require the user

to pass a knowledge test, mark their drone, and follow strict distance regulations for airports, heliports, people, built up areas and open-air assemblies of people. Operators who intend to fly in urban area, within controlled airspace will need to register with Transport Canada. The fee for this registration has not yet been set. Insurance will now be required for all users with drones over 250 grams. Public input on the current rules is open until Oct. 13. The proposed rules can be found at tc.gc. ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/proposed-rulesdrones-canada.html. McCrorie said the proposed regulations will make drone use safer. “It is a good example of how technology is rapidly evolving, and we are trying to catch up,” he said. “On the one hand, because our regulations allow for the issue of the special flight operating certificate, we’ve been able to nurture and encourage this industry in Canada in a way that other jurisdictions, for example, the United States, couldn’t.” “But that success has also been a challenge for us, the number of SFOCs that we’ve needed to issue, and the growing risk on the recreational side, so that’s why we are developing those new regulations, and that’s our effort to keep up with the technology.” Arsenault said these regulations are good for the industry. “There’s a lot of sort of - no pun intended


We live in such a beautiful area, so seeing all the green space and how the house is situated in that space is pretty awesome from above.


- fly-by-night outfits that are out there,” he said. “It’s dangerous to have a whole bunch of inexperienced drone pilots flying and offering these services professionally.” If businesses want to jump in on this new technology, McCrorie encourages visiting the Transport Canada website to be familiarized with safety and operating information. “The drone safety website has lots of really good information in terms of what they need to do to get the special flight operating certificate … to educate themselves, so they understand what it means to follow the rules, operate safely, then make the best business use of this great technology,” he said. DRONES IN AGRICULTURE

Apart from being able to showcase large rural properties and acreage in real estate, drones are also used in a variety of way to help farmers get more information about their crops. Felix Weber of Ag Business and Crop Inc. in Palmerston helps farmers and agriculture consultants use precision tools, including drones, to collect data and improve crops. Farmers can use this new technology to inspect, measure and respond to crop needs. Weber, who has been farming for over 15 years, has been attuned to the changing technology in precision farming. He has been using drones since 2010. He said it is a part of a toolbox to help farmers operate better.

“In my mind, the UAV isn’t really necessarily resolving a problem … it could potentially, but in my mind, it’s more like helping to walk the fields where needed, digitalize what we can see and quantify what we can

“We want to make sure that the farmers or the client or the potential client understands that there is a law” - FELIX WEBER, AG BUSINESS AND CROP INC.

see,” he said. The SenseFLY’s eBee fixed wing drone comes with a variety of cameras that can record certain key data points on the fields, giving farmers a fuller picture. According to the SenseFLY website, these drones collect information that can help with visual inspections, elevation modelling, plant


counting, crop health and stress analysis, water management, yield forecasting and more. Weber said the images the drone captures can detect crop stress quicker than the human eye. This information can be used by the farmer to make better decisions to improve their net return. Weber explained the fixed wing drone can be programmed to fly a precise route and can take about 160 to 200 pictures for a hundredacre property. “The software afterwards mosaics them together and makes a single geo-referenced image out of it,” he said. Weber said there has been a mixed reaction to the drones in the agricultural sector but adds drones can provide more information than satellite or images taken from an airplane. It’s also more accessible than those options. Ag Business and Crop Inc. also provides a four-day training course for drone operators. “We want to make sure that the farmers or the client or the potential client understands that there is a law,” he said. While some trends fizzle out, drone technology is paving the way for businesses to dramatically shift how they operate. There are plenty of uses for drones, with more opportunities cropping up as the technology advances. Businesses can now decide if/how they can utilize drones to their advantage.


Groups call on Ottawa to drop tax changes for small business

BY MARK WALES DIRECTOR OF THE ONTARIO FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURE GUELPH - The federal Department of Finance released a consultation paper and draft legislation on July 18 aimed at significantly overhauling the private corporation tax system in Canada. Proposed changes to taxation of private corporations, as they are currently worded, are bad news for the estimated 25 per cent of farm businesses across Ontario and Canada that are incorporated. The proposed changes, slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, will increase uncertainty and complexity to any farm businesses that has decided to incorporate, and result in increased accounting fees for incorporated farmers to comply with the changes. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) has several concerns

about the changes and the process, and is working together with the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA) and other stakeholder groups across all industries to change the direction of the proposal. OFA’s concerns focus on three things - the need to: - extend the consultation period; - rethink some of the proposals in the changes; and - engage in meaningful consultation with farm businesses across Canada to fully understand the impact the changes may have on family owned and operated businesses in Canada. As part of the changes, any farmer who has incorporated their business would need to review their succession and tax plan with an advisor to ensure they make sense under the proposed changes. The tax implications of not being in compliance with the new rules could be severe. The changes would also penalize farmers who choose to transfer their incorporated farm business to the next generation. “It is completely unacceptable that legislative changes would make it easier and lower the tax bill for a farmer to sell their farm business share to a stranger, rather than their own child or grandchild,” OFA officials state in a media release. OFA is encouraging all members to contact their local MP and let them know that the proposed changes, as currently worded, will be devastating to Ontario farm families and their farm operations and must be changed. The full consultation paper and draft legislation are posted at ofa.



TORONTO – Thirty-five organizations from across the country have come together to form the Coalition for Small Business Tax Fairness - a unified voice to oppose the federal government’s tax proposals that would dramatically change the way incorporated small businesses are taxed in Canada. “These proposals, while intended to target the wealthy, will hurt middle-class business owners from every sector of the economy,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and member of the coalition. “These are shop owners, farmers, doctors, financial planners, home builders and trades in all sectors — the entrepreneurial families who are the backbone of the economy and responsible for the majority of the job creation in Canada.” Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said he has “never seen an issue that has generated greater concern among our members.” Chamber officials say that if implemented, the proposals will restrict small business owners from sharing income with family members; limit certain forms of saving in the business, making the firm more vulnerable and stifling innovation and growth; and change capital gains rules, which could make it more difficult for owners to transfer their business to the next generation. The 35 business groups - on behalf of hundreds of thousands of members - have presented a letter to finance minister Bill Morneau asking the government to take the proposals off the table and instead “meet with the business community to address any shortcomings in tax policy affecting private corporations.”

OFA: Proposed changes are bad news for farmers


Ron Wilkin Jewellers: A cornerstone family business in Fergus BY KELLY WATERHOUSE

ELORA - For 50 years, Ron Wilkin Jewellers has been a cornerstone family business in downtown Fergus. Established in 1967, Ron and Inez Wilkin built their business on a foundation of integrity, customer service and quality merchandise, grounded in the knowledge that relationships were the essence of their business. Those same principles hold true for the second generation now at the helm: Graham and Amy Wilkin. “I attribute our longevity to our customer service,” said Graham. “Dad is very genuine and he would make things right no matter what. We do the same. Our customers come first. That’s our whole motto.”

“Dad is very genuine and he would make things right no matter what. We do the same. Our customers come first. That’s our whole motto.” - GRAHAM WILKIN, SON OF RON OF RON WILKIN JEWELLERS



That integrity was ingrained in Graham long before he joined the business in 1996. “Graham grew up watching his parents work so he learned from them,” Amy said. “Everyone remembers their customer service and Graham grew up with that example.” When Ron and Inez retired in 2012, Graham and his wife Amy took over the business. The pair take great pride in honouring the legacy. Ron Wilkin’s foray into the jewelry business had humble beginnings and an early start. Ron was just 14 years old when he began an apprenticeship in watchmaking. “He was working at the lower shop at Beatty (Brothers Ltd.) and was doing watches at night and weekends,” explained Graham. “When there was a layoff at Beatty’s, dad made a choice.” That choice was to go into business for


himself, opening a retail location in Arthur in 1960. Graham said his father recalls the brazen move by saying it took “$1,500 and a lot of nerve.” “The Arthur store was very tiny and he shared a phone with the drug store,” Graham added. “When Ron opened his first store … he was just starting out, so one of his suppliers, Siffari, gave him a tray of mens and ladies rings, and told him ‘as you sell them, pay us back,’ and that’s what started Ron in jewelry,” Amy said. “We still deal with this supplier today.” Understanding that relationships are key to business, Ron built strong connections with both his suppliers and customers, many of whom are still featured in the store 50 years later. “Ron actually closed the store one day and drove a customer down to the Siffari offices to select a ring because he didn’t have the selection to offer them and wanted to be sure they got the ring they wanted,” Graham said. “The majority of suppliers we deal with are still family-owned and operated businesses.” Several years later, Ron moved the shop to Harriston, but moved again to his hometown of Fergus in 1967. He bought out a retiring jewelry business and jumped into a competitive marketplace. At the time, Ron Wilkin Jewellers was one of three jewelry stores in the town. Inez was a school teacher, but as the store grew busier, she decided to work full-time alongside Ron. For years, the pair worked side by side, establishing a sense of community within their store. “Living and working in a smaller town … we treat our customers like family so they do become family,” Amy said. “It’s just the way we do it.” The same can be said for the Ron Wilkin Jewellers staff, a dedicated team of 12 full- and part-time local employees that includes two goldsmiths (including Graham’s cousin Paul), two engravers and sales associates. That sense of continuity and trust in a store where people purchase or repair personal items like heirlooms and forever jewelry pieces is significant. “It is really that customer loyalty factor,” Amy said. “We have customers who will return here to shop for the big purchases, the items that you really want someone you trust to help you with.” She adds that customers come from across Wellington County and beyond, including major urban centres such as Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and Orangeville. “That’s definitely something that differentiates us from the big box stores,” said Amy. “Our customers are the reason we are doing what we’re doing, and that’s why we are focused on service.” In 1998, Ron Wilkin Jewellers expanded when it bought the neighbouring building, (formerly Scarlett’s Restaurant), which allowed it to expand its merchandise and showroom, as well as repair facilities. In 2015, the business added a new location a few doors west of its current downtown location to open Wilkin Engraving, to offer customized engraving services and merchandise. While chain retail jewelry stores are a competitive factor, Graham says the industry

itself is changing. “The industry is actually getting smaller, especially in Canada. There are fewer jewellers out there and there will be fewer suppliers out there,” he said. “Cost for manufacturing … off-

“There is a bit of legacy because it’s a family tradition and a trust thing. If your grandparents and parents bought here and still continue to shop here - people know they can trust us.” - GRAHAM WILKIN

shore manufacturing and labour costs would be a big part of it.” Longevity in any business is both the goal and the challenge, one which Graham and Amy are confident they can meet. For many Ron Wilkin Jewellers isn’t just a store; it’s an important piece in a couple’s story, a family’s story - and it all begins with a marriage proposal. “It’s heartwarming and it’s amazing that we get to be a part of that (moment), and it’s often a surprise,” said Amy. “They have to trust us to

keep that purchase confidential.” She enjoys helping a couple go from the engagement ring to the wedding bands and seeing their family grow in time. “We’re on our third generation of families coming here to buy their engagement and wedding bands. It’s amazing,” Amy said. “There is a bit of legacy because it’s a family tradition and a trust thing. If your grandparents and parents bought here and still continue to shop here - people know they can trust us.” That is an honour not lost on either generation of the Wilkin clan. It’s also one of the pleasures of their jobs. “Jewelry is a happy purchase or a special purpose for the moments in their life … so we’re very lucky to be a part of that,” Graham said. Over the years, the Wilkin family has seen changes, particularly in engagement rings. “People come in and they’ve shopped together previously,” Graham said. “There has been a discussion between the couple about the ring beforehand. Consumers are educated. “There is a lot more customization in engagement rings, in particular. The consumer wants something more their own, more unique.” A growing trend in the jewelry business is brand name merchandise. “Brands are more important to the consumer,” Graham said. “It matters who we partner with … our suppliers are fantastic.” Amy adds, “It really is a partnership. Our suppliers support us and we support them” Graham notes that while the bulk of their business is diamond jewelry, watches, personal pieces, custom jewelry and special gifting jewelry, repairs are also a significant portion of their business. Respecting the importance of the customer’s personal items as both an investment and a symbolic treasure is integral to their work. “With repairs trust is the big issue and we take that very seriously,” Graham said. “Our repair shop is very busy.” Loyalty goes both ways, and the Wilkin family understands that. “We are involved in the community,” Graham said. “We’re involved with sponsorship, sports teams, the hospital, non-profit groups … it’s important because this is our home too.” The community of Centre Wellington is projected to grow exponentially in the next 20 years and that is an opportunity for a new customer base, and while it will change some processes in their business, it won’t change their proven philosophy on customer service. “It used to be you just knew everybody who walked in the door,” Graham said. “We want to ensure our new customers feel connected to us too, so we’ll be making some procedural changes to accommodate them.” A growing community is good for business, but it will require continued focus on advertising and social media promotion. “I’m looking forward to the town growing, but it’s a lot of new people who won’t know us, so we need to get our name out there,” Amy said. Even though growth will happen and change will come Graham and Amy plan to continue the customer service, quality and integrity for which Ron Wilkn Jewellers is renowned.




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

In the spirit of Canada’s 150th, Patty Smith of Elora Home Hardware and Bridget Nankivell of Art 120 teamed up to raise funds for the Elora Centre For The Arts with a paint night on June 21. The night raised $1,600 as 40 painters enjoyed creating a patriotic rustic Canadian Flag painting. ABOVE: Participating in the paint night were, from left, Terry Wilson, Shannon Brinkman, Karen Hoelscher and Tara Reeves. Nankivell donated her time and supplies ($1,000 value) and Smith donated her supplies and tent ($1,000) to make the night happen. Dar’s Country Market donated the evening’s food and Vintner’s Cellar Elora donated the evening’s wine.

Carri Kram of Economical Insurance, right, presented a $12,000 donation towards a new centralized cardiac monitoring system for Louise Marshall Hospital to Mount Forest Louise Marshall Hospital Foundation development officer Jane Ford, centre in association with president of Coburn Insurance Brokers Ltd. Scott Coburn.


From left: Anita McFarlane, Food and Friends community program director at Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington; Alex, Linda, Darryl and Anita Burnett, Pioneer sales representatives and their family at a cheque presentation organized at an appreciation evening for Alex and Linda Burnett, recognizing their 42 years of service as Pioneer sales reps.

Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington receives grant from DuPont Pioneer GUELPH – DuPont Pioneer recently announced that, as part of its Full Belly, Full Mind initiative that supports nutrition and breakfast programs across Canada, $2,000 has been donated to the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington. The grant will be specifically used to fund the Food and Friends program at Elora Public School, Laurelwoods Public School and Minto Clifford Public School. These three programs collectively feed 720 students. “Rural schools are faced with logistics challenges when purchasing food for their nutrition programs,” said Anita Macfarlane, community program director of Food and Friends at Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington. “The donation from DuPont

Pioneer will help these rural programs take advantage of a new food delivery service, assist with food costs, and enable schools to maximize the days programs can run.” DuPont Pioneer account manager Jim Coffey said, “Good nutrition is important for all students to focus in the classroom. “We are happy to support the great work rural schools are doing to ensuring their students have access to good nutrition.” Pioneer makes contributions to communitybased organizations on behalf of the business and employees. Consideration for outreach grants are given to communities where Pioneer sales representatives, employees and customers live and work and that support qualityof-life initiatives to create an improved, sustainable lifestyle.


The Mount Forest Louise Marshall Hospital Foundation received a $2,000 grant from Gore Mutual Insurance in July. Gore’s business development manager April Dawn Ravarra, left, made the presentation to foundation development officer Jane Ford and foundation director Bill Nelson. The foundation raises funds for facility, equipment and research opportunities for the Louise Marshall Hospital in Mount Forest. Padfield Nelson Insurance Brokers Ltd. of Mount Forest nominated the foundation for Gore’s 150 Ways campaign grant available this year through the Gore Mutual Foundation. The $1 million fund strengthens communities across Canada to support charitable causes. The $2,000 grant for the Mount Forest Louise Marshall Hospital Foundation will be used to help fund equipment for the hospital’s labour/delivery room.

The Palmerston and District Hospital (PDH) Foundation received a $10,000 donation from RBC in support of local nurses on May 19.

From left: front, PDH ward secretary Sandra Lloyd, Georgian College practical nursing student Shannon Carr, PDH RNs Amanda Bentley and Eden Griffiths, PDH diabetic educator Shane Grace, PDH RPN Debbie Binkle, RBC branch manager Harriston/Clifford Wendy Albrecht, RBC central south community manager Linda Slits, RBC branch manager Drayton/Moorefield Cathy Vesnaver; back, Palmerston hospital foundation development officer Dale Franklin, PDH clinical resource leader ER Ruth Johnston, PDH patient care manager Nancy Cleary, RBC regional VP Dan Woods, RBC VP commercial banking Michelle Waite, RBC Listowel branch manager Ron Gillespie and Arthur RBC branch manager Bahaar Luhar.

RBC donates $10,000 in support of local nurses

Nutrition donation - Farm Credit Canada donated $1,000 to the Elora Public School nutrition program on Sept. 6. The school’s nutrition program offers a healthy meal to students who do not have lunches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. However, if students are in need of lunch they will also be served Mondays and Fridays. While the program is largely distributed by students school principal Brent Ellery said parent volunteers are always needed for food preparation. On hand during the cheque presentation were Grade 8 volunteers, from left, front, Daisy Anderson and Sarah Diefenbacher; back, Nylah Christie-Smith, Maddie Miller, Logan Jeffries, Tegan Krieger and Becca Wylde. Farm Credit Canada representative Maria Domingos presented the $1,000 cheque to vice-principal Tammy Reiner and principal Brent Ellery along with Dwyane Zwep and Jacquie Zonneveld from Farm Credit Canada. The donation was one of 100 cheques being presented to schools across Canada. Sept. 6 also marked the launch of Farm Credit Canada’s annual Drive Away Hunger campaign in support of local food banks.

- The PALMERSTON District and Palmerston Hospital Foundation received a $10,000 donation from RBC in support of local nurses on May 19. The latest donation builds on an ongoing commitment by the bank to support healthcare and nurses. RBC has announced a $70,000 donation to be shared among various hospitals in the Grey, Bruce, Wellington, Perth and Dufferin Counties. The donation will fund and programs training educational opportunities that will allow nurses to provide leading-edge care to the communities they serve.

“Supporting our local hospitals is important to our employees, our clients and our communities and we are proud to present this $10,000 cheque to Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation as part of our larger $70,000 commitment to health care in local communities,” said Dan Woods, regional vice president of Central Shores, RBC. charitable this “Since initiative began in 2009, RBC has donated $640,000 to further the professional development of nurses in Grey, Bruce, Wellington, Perth and Dufferin Counties.”



Guelph cider start-up brings local ideas near and far GUELPH – Revel Cider Company may only be three years old, but its brand already spans the province. With 70 to 80 bars and restaurants on the customer list, the company’s hard cider continues to exploit a lucrative market for locally made and sourced craft brews. “We only sell to bars and restaurants at this point. They’re all over Ontario, from Thunder Bay to Ottawa and London,” said Tariq Ahmed, the company’s f o u n d e r and sole employee. T h e idea for the business fermented d u r i n g Ahmed’s time as a farm hand. - TARIQ AHMED, An old cider press in one of the farm’s outbuildings peaked his interest, so he started brewing as a hobby. That hobby became Revel Cider in March 2013. With funding from Innovation Guelph’s Fuel Injection Seed Funding Program, Ahmed has been able to increase production fourfold in less than three years. His output jumped from 20,000 litres in 2015 to 80,000 litres this year.

“2017 was actually a late start. We were in the process of moving the business from a rented space in Hamilton to Guelph, so we couldn’t get rolling until all the equipment was set up again,” he said. Other staff did not come with that business growth, however. Despite having some help for things like graphic design and the odd bottling session, Ahmed is still doing everything himself. “I really enjoy working on the production end of things, but a huge amount of my time is spent in delivering and meeting with clients,” he said. “ T h a t ’ s i m p o r t a n t though. This is my business, and I think it’s FOUNDER a little more authentic when I have a hand in everything.” That grassroots approach applies to ingredient sourcing too. Indeed, a large part of Ahmed’s marketing plan – and fundamental business design – centres on local ingredients from local producers. Ahmed is hoping to improve the cider-making process with larger and more practical fermentation tanks, as well as other equipment designed to streamline production.

“We only sell to bars and restaurants at this point. They’re all over Ontario, from Thunder Bay to Ottawa and London ...”




The rain did slow visitor traffic somewhat. However, businesses persevered and so did the visitors who came to the Village of Erin! The rain also slowed some of the revitalization efforts, but the projects did get completed, just a little behind schedule. We are hoping for a sunny and beautiful fall! HOW HAVE MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS IMPACTED YOUR REGION?

No specific comments since last issue. Looking forward to some completions in the early fall! Parking enhancements, a crosswalk in the downtown of Erin Village, and an initial phase of our Riverwalk are all on the horizon. DID YOUR BUSINESSES EXPERIENCE GRAFFITI OR VANDALISM THIS SEASON? WHAT IS THE BIA’S ROLE IF THAT HAPPENS?

We have had a significant amount of graffiti and vandalism this season, far worse than in previous years. The situation has escalated to a significant degree and now requires police involvement, including some charges having been laid already. The BIA’s role has primarily been raising awareness among members about police reporting and involvement and some liaison with the Town of Erin. WHAT PROJECTS DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR FALL?

Late-summer and early fall are typically the busiest times for visitor traffic in the Village of Erin, as well as a time for re-engagement with the local population as travelling slows down. We work with several local and tourist organizations to ensure events and marketing opportunities are maximized. Some events included the Hills of Erin Studio Tour (Sept. 16, 17, 23, 24) and the Rotary Erin’s Feast of Hops (Sept. 24) and still upcoming is the Erin Fall Fair (Oct. 5-9). We will also be preparing for our critical fourth-quarter/Christmas events and promotions. Email: Website:


Elora Gorge Cinema officially changes hands; new owners have local connection


BY MIKE ROBINSON ELORA - While The Last Waltz may have been playing on July 9, the show and the Elora Gorge Cinema will go on. The screening marked a farewell open house for John Chalmers and Deirdre Whittaker, who have been with the cinema for the past three decades. Friends, cinema members, former employees and neighbours were invited to a courtyard party on July 9 to say goodbye to the current owners and greet new owners Payton Curtis and Julianna Cox. HANDING OVER THE REINS “John bought it in 1991, but was manager before then,” Whittaker said. “We are at a stage, agewise, where we thought it was time to go. Payton and Julianna approached us a year ago. I found out they were in the movie business as film animators, so I asked them to

join us for coffee ... and we met for a three-hour coffee.” Whittaker said, “It evolved as something very casual and quite unexpected. It’s been quite amazing. They are perfect candidates for the job.” In the July/August Gorge Cinema film guide Chalmers wrote, “There’s no business like show business (as singer Ethel Merman used to belt out) but Deirdre and I have made the difficult decision to take our bows and leave the cinema. “Owning The Gorge for all these years has been an enormous pleasure (think of all the fabulous films we have seen during that time) and also a welcome commitment to our friends and neighbours to bring creative cinema to our village. To our audience who have expressed their love of the cinema and our programming, thank you. We have taken great pride in being there for you.

“Fortunately, new residents to Elora, Julianna Cox and Payton Curtis, animators who have worked on numerous bigtime features from Chicken Run to Coraline to The Fantastic Mr. Fox, have recently arrived from Portland, Oregon and have decided to make The Gorge their latest project.” NEW OWNERS Curtis explained, “I grew up in Belwood, so I’ve been coming here since I was a kid. We moved back from Oregon where we’d been working for a film company for almost a decade.” Curtis added he and Cox are friends with Chalmers and Whittaker. “We were chatting and John mentioned ... if you are between contracts ... and you want to sit in the projection booth and run a film one or two days a week. One thing led to another, and after about six months we

started talking a little more seriously.” Curtis said at that point, Chalmers mentioned he and Whittaker were ready to step out if Curtis and Cox were ready to step in. “We said ‘Definitely, it sounds like a good idea,’” Curtis said. “We’re switching tracks and this will be our main focus and animation will take a back seat.” He stressed the theatre is not shutting down and nothing is changing. Curtis added, “John will still be around on Mondays and working on programming films with me. Deirdre may have a bit more free time.” If there are changes, Curtis says it will amount to a splash of paint and new carpet in the new year. “We love the Gorge Cinema just as it is,” he said.




Wallenstein Feed and Supply Ltd. (WFS) officially opened Mill #4 on July 22. The company Canada’s largest independent feed mill and a leader in the agriculture industry. From left: Mapleton Mayor Neil Driscoll, Perth-Wellington MPP Randy Pettapiece, Brian Rempel of WFS, WFS general manager Rick Martin, Stephanie Rempel of WFS, Perth-Wellington MP John Nater, Haldimand-Northfolk MPP Toby Barett, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Michael Harris.

The town of Alma had a party on June 23 at Buehler Automotive. Owner Ken Buehler said he changed his parts suppler to NAPA Canada and the Autopro banner which gives his customers a better warranty and roadside assistance, among other benefits. Buehler has had the business for about 22 years and has served the area since then. To celebrate the business’s change of direction Buehler Automotive held a ribbon cutting ceremony. Cutting the ribbon from left, were: Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce representative Paul Walker, Beuhler, Stephanie Chuchla, Mapleton councillor Lori Woodham and chamber director Aileen Hawkins.

Halwell Mutual celebrates move to Hanlon Creek Blvd. GUELPH – Halwell Mutual Insurance Company officially opened its new 14,500-square-foot head office in the Hanlon Creek Business Park on Sept. 6. Officials say the location provided the flexibility of having a custom building built with the company’s needs in mind. The new head office will help Halwell Mutual accommodate workforce growth in the coming years. “I want to thank Halwell for staying local and for choosing to continue their growth in Guelph,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie. “I am thrilled to be cutting the ribbon on another high-profile head office in the Hanlon Creek Business Park.” Barbara Maly, Guelph’s economic development manager, stated, “Phase one of the Hanlon Creek Business Park is now over 50 per cent sold. “It’s local companies like Halwell that are driving the confidence of investors from all over the world to invest in Guelph.” Halwell Mutual has called Guelph home for 156 years and officials hope this will be its permanent location for the foreseeable future. “Halwell Mutual is successful, growing and optimistic,” said Marg Torrance, president and CEO of Halwell Mutual Insurance Company. “We believe Guelph to be a central and growing hub in Ontario, providing opportunities for businesses and families to grow together. We’re excited to spend the next 156 years here serving our local community.”

After 40 years, Halwell Mutual Insurance Company has officially moved from 812 Woolwich Street in Guelph to 535 Hanlon Creek Blvd., in the Hanlon Creek Business Park. Halwell Mutual Insurance has deep roots in the community dating back to 1861 with the creation of the Eramosa Fire Insurance Company. The new building was officially opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sept. 6 with Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie and Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott seen in the front row along with the Halwell Mutual employees.


Gerald Lane celebrating 50 years at Rothsay BY CAROLINE SEALEY

Rothsay, a division of Darling Ingredients Inc., honoured 50-year employee Gerald Lane on Sept. 14. From left: logistics manager Dennis Coelho, plant manager Mark Brunarski, Lane, Ontario logistics manager Steve Davy, president Jim Long, logistics supervisor Andy Hewison, health and safety manager Tom Anstee, vice-president of operations Scott Henry and vice-president Steve Gordon. years. Also, to Rothsay for the barbecue and the gifts,” Lane said. Lane, a 69-year-old trucking shunter, considered retiring but has no definitive plans. “I enjoy working here. If I didn’t, I would have retired already,” said Lane.

The plant in Rothsay opened in 1962 under the name Rothsay Concentrates. Today the company is the largest rendering operation in Canada, with six processing facilities. Rothsay collects, processes and recycles animal by-products. BL


ROTHSAY - In today’s world it’s rare to find someone who stays in one job for an extended period of time. Yet an employee of Rothsay, a division of Darling Ingredients Inc., has committed 50 years of his working life to the facility. On Sept. 5, 1967, at 19 years of age, Gerald Lane worked his first day as a general labourer at Rothsay. A recommendation from a brother-in-law landed Lane a position with the company. “When I started working at Rothsay it was a barn,” said Lane, a Harriston resident. “Everything was built up around the barn to what is here today. Things have improved greatly over the years.” Fifty years later, on Sept. 14, the company honoured Lane with a barbecue and presented him with gifts of appreciation from the company and some of its suppliers. Logistics senior supervisor Dennis Coelho thanked Lane for his devotion to the company and described Lane as a capable team member who helped lead and train other employees. Coelho presented Lane with a speciallydesigned 50-year sticker - the first one given out at the Rothsay plant. “I’d like to thank everyone who came out, especially those people I haven’t seen for a lot of


LOCAL BUSINESSES TO GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO: Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan is too much, too fast BY MIKE ROBINSON

ELORA - Ontario’s Fair Workplace and Better Jobs Plan is much more than raising minimum wage, which is why the Ontario Chamber of Commerce would like to see the province take things slower. Whatever the final form, the chamber believes there will be significant repercussions to all business owners - not just small business owners. On Aug. 2, the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce hosted an advocacy information session for businesses in the region, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Guelph Chamber of Commerce and other local chambers, Beyond Rewards Inc. and Nelson Watson LLP. Keynote speakers included: Karl Baldauf, vice president of policy and government relations for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Lynne Bard, president and senior human resources for Beyond Rewards Inc.; and Cherolyn Knapp, partner at Nelson Watson LLP in association with Wolfe, Smith and Forster LLP. The session provided the chamber’s view on the proposed Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan and the challenges it may create for Ontario business owners. The chamber has concerns that implementing sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended economic consequences could mean job losses, rising consumer costs and economic hardship. Local businesses, through their chamber network, also raised concern about the extremely fast pace of the plan implementation and noted the need to review the roll out. Roberta Scarrow, executive director of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce suggested, “Rather than rush implementation, the government

of Ontario should spend the coming months conducting the proposed reforms in the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review to an economic impact analysis.” “As an economic engine, Guelph plays an important role in Ontario’s future prosperity,” said Kithio Mwanzia, president and CEO of the Guelph Chamber

when and where it is needed; and - the need for predictability in minimum wage and possibly tying future increases to an economic indicator like CPI. Baldauf said the Ontario Chamber of Commerce represents chambers of commerce and boards of trades in 135 communities across the province - representing 50,000

“The 32% increase to minimum wage in 18 months is ridiculous and unprecedented internationally.”

“The unintended consequence will be that some of our most vulnerable people will be negatively affected as businesses attempt to transition into this new reality. We want to drive an evidence-based conversation to ‘press pause’ on the implementation of Bill 148.” He noted some of the changes proposed will happen before the 2018 election, and other aspects following the election. “If we are able to help the public understand the negative and unintended consequences, we may be able to drive the government to press pause on the changes,” he said.


of Commerce. “As a leading community in job creation, it is vitally important that we remain at the forefront of issues linked to our capacity to attract and retain top talent and that we advocate for evidencebased decision making on issues impacting our collective economic prosperity.” Baldauf said, “Ontario businesses are the backbone of our communities, creating local jobs and increasing economic growth around the province.” He added that key considerations for local businesses include: - the reforms are coming when Ontario’s economy continues to show signs of vulnerability; - the necessity of caution when the cost and benefit of a change are unclear; - the need to support reform


businesses. “There are a lot of businesses concerned and discouraged about Bill 148,” Baldauf said. “I am somewhat skeptical we are going to achieve any meaningful change to Bill 148 - notwithstanding the very legitimate concerns that businesses have.” He asked, “If we see a government with an objective set before themselves - what are the offsets we can request to help the transition with the new cost burden which will come about?” Baldauf added, “What I am trying to convey is that the most vulnerable Ontarians will be challenged as a result of Bill 148.” He contended the Ontario government proceeded with Bill 148 without conducting an economic analysis and that it saw a political opportunity.


Baldauf said the part of Bill 148 discussed the most is the change to minimum wage - an increase to $15 an hour. He said in that past five years that rate had increased by $1.20 “... and in the next 18 months (it) is going to increase by $3.60. It’s a massive increase.” He said that while Premier Kathleen Wynne likes to talk about other jurisdictions that increased wages to $15 an hour, California took five years to bring that change, and in Seattle the change is happening over four years. “In Ontario we are moving 32% in 18 months,” he said. “It is a tremendously quick pace of change. There is no

precedent ... we have found no other jurisdictions which have moved this fast.” Counter arguments indicate the increase provides those on lower incomes with a higher standard of living. When asked about an appropriate minimum wage increase Baldauf said, “if there is a political desire to raise the rate more rapidly, perhaps it should be the rate of inflation plus 10% or 15%.”

for a secret ballot vote,” Baldauf said. “What we are concerned about is that employees may feel pressured to sign such cards by very vocal colleagues - and if they do not sign will be viewed as a scab even before a union is formed. “No one is trying to deny the right of any Canadian to form a labour union, but we believe the secret ballot process needs to be enshrined whenever a union process happens.” EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK


“But there are other components of Bill 148 which seem lost because of the focus on the minimum wage change,” he said. Bill 148 broadly changes two pieces of legislation: the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act. “Those acts define the relationship between every employer and employee in Ontario,” Baldauf said. Currently if employees can demonstrate that 40% of workers seek to unionize or collectively bargain, the employer has to turn over comprehensive lists of detailed information about those employees to that workers’ group. Bill 148 lowers that threshold so only 20% of employees need to demonstrate interest in forming a union. “We are already hearing that threshold does not meet decisions already made and violates employee privacy,” Baldauf said, adding another important aspect is the change to the Labour Relations Act in regards to the extension of card-based certification. He said if a worker group can demonstrate they have 55% of employees in three sectors with signed cards indicating a desire to form a union it will throw out the need for a secret ballot vote. “Effectively card-based certification undermines the democratic principal of the need

On the employment standards side, there is the much-talkedabout equal pay for equal work. “Notionally, how could any of us object to that?” Baldauf said. However, he said the proposed changes remove much of the flexibility employers have enjoyed in terms of drafting business plans. He said typically employees are broadly paid consistent with what their value is, and the value they bring into the workplace. “Equal pay for equal work inhibits that from transpiring,” he said. In an environment where employers will have less flexibility to transition into the new reality, it becomes one more way in which it will become harder for employers to maintain the same level of profit, Baldauf said.


Personal emergency leave is another major change, Baldauf said. He stated that in Canada there is only one province that has paid personal emergency leave: Prince Edward Island. “That is one day - and only if the person has been part of the organization for more than five years,” he explained. Ontario is proposing two paid emergency leave days to all employees. “That will come at a huge cost

to employers,” he said. Presently, only companies or organizations with more than 50 employees are mandated to provide for 10 unpaid emergency leave days.

“But the piece of this which I think adds insult to injury is that employers will no longer be allowed to ask for doctor’s notes ... if an employee states that they are sick.”

He said if employers cancel an employee’s shift - even if the employee is on call - the employer would be forced to pay three hours of that employee’s salary for the missed shift. While there is a recognition for shift cancellations as a result of extremely adverse weather, Baldauf said there is no recognition or allowance of employer flexibility. “It undermines the notion of flexible scheduling provisions. One cannot have one-size-fits-all scheduling provisions. With an economy as diverse as Ontario’s, different sectors and different industries have different needs,” Baldauf said. He contended the proposed legislation would also allow employees to refuse shifts without notifying their employer four days in advance. “It inhibits employers being able to staff-up or staff-down to service the customer base,” he said.


Under Bill 148 all companies and organizations will be required to provide 10 emergency leave days - two of which would be paid. “But the piece of this, which I think adds insult to injury, is that employers will no longer be allowed to ask for doctor’s notes ... if an employee states that they are sick,” he said, adding this could lead to situations of an employee phoning in to take the next ten days off and the employer would have no recourse. Baldauf also commented that personal leave days are not prorated - and come into effect the moment an employee begins work. “It makes it more challenging for employers to design a business plan in such a way that gives them the flexibility they historically enjoyed,” he said.


Baldauf said much has also been said about the potential implementation of a third week of vacation after five years of employment with the same employer. He said many employers already offer this, but Baldauf viewed the move as removing flexibility from employers while imposing potential new costs. “It is prohibiting employers from conducting their businesses in the ways they should be allowed to,” he said. Costs related to public holidays will also be recalculated, Baldauf added. BRINGING ABOUT CHANGE


Baldauf noted major changes proposed by Bill 148 would impact shift cancellations without 48-hour notification

“If the real issue is ‘bad apple’ employers ... we are with [the government],” he said. However, Baldauf stressed, “The chamber network, we have employers who want to be beacons to the community; they want to do right by their employees ... and they get undercut by bad employers


Bill 148 more than anyone else.” Baldauf said from an advocacy perspective, “these are the issues we are most concerned about.” When it became clear big change was on the way, Baldauf said the Ontario chamber brought together a broad-based coalition called Keep Ontario Working. “We’ve been sharing information and resources, because we’ve realized the impact of Bill 148 is going to be broadbased and across the whole of the economy and we need to work collectively and collaboratively to articulate back to the government that this is too much, too soon and we need to move forward in a way that is evidence based and reflects what the employer community needs to successfully transition to any substantive changes. “We would still like to see some changes to Bill 148.” Baldauf added, “The 32% increase to minimum wage in 18 months is ridiculous and unprecedented internationally. If the change to $15 per hour is to move forward, it needs to be done more slowly. “Of course we want to give people a living wage.” However Baldauf has met employers who stated that they do not make $15 an hour during the “hard months” yet will be forced to pay employees that amount. “It is creating an environment which undermines the entrepreneurial spirit in this province,” he said. Conceptually equal pay for equal work makes sense; however, Baldauf suggested this does not apply for the first six months - to give employers flexibility. Baldauf said while there is agreement that the intent of the changes is good “the transition will be costly.” Advocacy efforts include town hall-style meetings across the province, generating an economic analysis of potential impacts, “and finally trying to drive a conversation around offsets,” Baldauf said. Though there had been some discussion about offsets, those are currently only directed to small businesses. Baldauf contended the scope

1 2 3 10 4






8 13


MINIMUM HOURLY WAGE AS OF OCT. 1, 2016 1 Yukon 2 Northwest Territories 3 Nunavut 4 British Columbia 5 Alberta

$11.07 $12.50 $13.00 $10.85 $12.20

of Bill 148 will affect the whole economy. One of the ideas discussed as an offset would be the reduction of the corporate tax rate, which could result in reinvestment in businesses. “That is what happens when you give back to businesses. They invest it in themselves, their people and their communities,” Baldauf said. As such he said he believes lowering the corporate tax rate is important to any transition. He encouraged business owners to visit for more information about Bill 148 and to access template letters to send to local MPPs the premier, minister of labour and opposition leaders to help them understand that Bill 148 is a priority and how it will affect local businesses. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES

Baldauf contended the scale of unintended consequences, which


6 Saskatchewan 7 Manitoba 8 Ontario 9 Quebec 10 Newfoundland/Labrador

$10.72 $11.00 $11.40 $10.75 $10.50

11 Prince Edward Island $11.00 12 Nova Scotia $10.70 13 New Brunswick $10.65

will affect the most vulnerable members of the community, is very real. He used the example of a day care operation in Toronto, which may need to raise its rates by 12% to meet the increased costs of transition - at a time the Ontario government is trying to make day care more affordable. Baldauf said this will also affect the costs of running retirement homes, and in turn, costs incurred by seniors on fixed incomes. He also noted a study which indicated that for every 10% minimum wage is increased, youth jobs drop by 6%. “What happens is that employers have to adjust somehow ... which tends to affect the youngest, least qualified employees,” he said. Baldauf stressed the issue is not about business owners being compassionate or wanting people to earn a living wage.


How it adds


Current Ontario minimum wage $11.40/hour $456/week $1,976/month $23,712/YEAR Proposed Ontario minimum wage $15/hour $600/week $2,600/month $31,200/YEAR Average wage in Canada $27.95/hour $1,118/week; $4,844/month

$58,136/YEAR *Before taxes and deductions; based on a work week of 40 hours.

OPINION: In defence of small business So it seems small businesses are the new whipping boy. “We have to know that a large percentage of small businesses are actually just ways for wealthier Canadians to save on their taxes, and we want to reward the people who are actually creating jobs, and contributing in concrete ways.” (Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau) “While we know that the vast majority of decent, lawabiding Ontario businesses will be largely unaffected, there are some companies who may find the transition to paying a more livable wage challenging.” (Ontario Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn) When did we become so under-appreciated, if not full-out loathed? Whether it’s the changes to how family corporations are taxed, or the drastic spike in minimum wage proposed in Bill 148, small businesses are bearing the brunt of government policies. I’ve been told that if I can’t survive a 32% increase in my largest expense in less than 18 months, then I probably shouldn’t be in business. I need to be more

efficient. I need to be more creative. Perhaps my critics have a point. I’m all for survival of the fittest. Perhaps small businesses that don’t have the economies of scale to survive these drastic shocks imposed on them by their governments should just shut down. Let the big guys take over. They’ll find a way to survive this. [Full disclosure: my staff make more than minimum wage – it’s the compression effect that is the issue for me.] When a business faces a major increase in their payroll they have three choices: 1) lay off staff or cut hours, 2) pass the additional cost on to the consumer and/or, 3) take less profit. The whole “when everyone gets a raise they will spend more money in your store” argument also doesn’t work for most small businesses. In our case, 1) we can’t lay off staff or cut their hours without cloning ourselves to cover those hours, 2) we can’t pass the cost off to the consumer – the grocery industry operates on laser thin

margins and is highly competitive (our customers have a Wal-Mart, FreshCo, or Zehr’s to choose from within five minutes of us) and, 3) we simply don’t make enough profit to cover the cost of the increase. What little profit we have made over the past four years of our nine-year-old business has been used to pay down the debt we took on to launch our business and survive the first five unprofitable years to get established. So maybe the critics are right. If I can’t implement any of these solutions and survive this, I should just close up shop. But is this good for our province? Is this what people want? Do voters understand the implications of these new government policies? Small- to medium-sized businesses employ 87% of people in the private sector. While maybe no one will cry a tear for us small business owners (us privileged fat cats getting rich off slave labour), what about our employees? And do we want to have our economy left completely in the hands of a few massive multinationals? Do you want to

have three large companies control the entire grocery business? What about my suppliers, who are also small, family-run businesses and farmers? This is not only a massive economic issue – but a social one. Ironically, the socially progressive voter who probably thinks the increase to the minimum wage is a great idea will be disappointed to know it will hurt small independent businesses and the local food system they claim to support. If a small business is not run well it will not, and should not, survive. However, if a business is doing well, it does not deserve to be put under by poor government policy. Maybe none of this matters. Maybe all businesses need to strive to be ‘too big to fail’. I disagree. I think our economy, our communities, our customers, and our lives are better with a vibrant small business sector. I believe small businesses matter. Do you? Jackie Fraser, Fraberts Fresh Food, Fergus




Did you know a recent 2017 report found Facebook ads to have an average click-through rate of 0.9%1? Yikes. For some companies who rely on Facebook to reach their audience and to grow their business, those advertising dollars aren’t hitting the mark. I am going to explain how you can improve the click-through rates on your Facebook ads by targeting users who have previously visited your website (retargeting). We will also be using the behaviour-flow reports found in Google Analytics to create a custom audience list for even greater clickthrough rates. Before we begin, ensure the ‘Facebook Pixel’ code has been added to every page of your website. I touched on this subject in the Fall 2016 issue of Business Leader, ‘How to Measure Your Facebook Ads to Website Conversions using Facebook Pixel’. Facebook Pixel must be added to your website in order for you to set up custom audiences [from your website] on Facebook. GOOGLE ANALYTICS IS YOUR BEST FRIEND Google Analytics is a very powerful tool. If you don’t have it, add it to your website now. Let’s focus on how the behaviour flow of your users will help increase the click through rates of your retargeted Facebook ads: 1) Go to your Google Analytics page and find the Behaviour section down the left side column. 2) Within the Behaviour section, click on the Behaviour Flow tab. Here you will find the pathway users take from the moment they find your site to the

moment they leave your site (and everywhere in between). If you look for patterns in your users’ behaviour flow, you’ll find you can place a greater value on specific pathways. Here are a couple examples: 1) 2)

A user could start at the home page, click on the product page, choose a specific product, click on ‘add to cart’, but not follow through with checkout. A user could start on a blog post, click a link to a specific product, but then return to the full product list and ultimately leave your site.

Which one would you retarget to if you had the choice? Would you agree the former shows more intent to purchase? Why not retarget to those users compared to those “just looking.” Your business may have a different user flow than that above, but the key takeaway is to decide which page(s) hold the greatest value (i.e. sign-up/ registration page, check out page, purchase page, contact page, etc.). Once you have discovered flow patterns in your users’ behaviour it’s time to create a custom audience based on them. CREATE A CUSTOM AUDIENCE USING GOOGLE ANALYTICS BEHAVIOUR-FLOW INSIGHTS For consistency we will use the first behaviour flow example above. Again, your business may have a different user flow but this will help understand what is right for you. To get started: 1) Go to Facebook Ads Manager and select your objective. When your objective




is for users to convert (sign up, or claim offer) you should select the ‘conversions’ option. 2) Select a ‘conversion event’: Choose the ‘event’/option that relates to the goal you are trying to accomplish. Using the example above select the conversion event that tracks confirmed purchases. This allows you to track how many people landed on the ‘add to cart’ page and how many people followed through and actually purchased. 3) After you selected the conversion event, under ‘Audience’ you will see ‘Custom Audience’. Click ‘Create New’ è ‘Custom Audience’ èWebsite Traffic. Now it’s time to use the insights from your behaviour flow. Instead of targeting all website visitors, you are able to ‘target users who visited specific web pages. Click this option. Simply copy the URL of the pages that the user hits when travelling through your site (Example: Home Page è Product Page è Specific Product è Add to Cartè No Checkout). And that’s it! Facebook will work its magic and connect your targeted website visitors who are also active on Facebook. From there you need to create the Facebook ad.

1 Facebook Ad Click Through Rate across all industries – social-media-marketing/facebook-marketing/ facebook-ad-clickthrough-rates-industry/


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Business Leader - Fall 2017  

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