wa BUSINESS Y
CO M P
TA R Y C O
WINTER EDITION 2016/17
TA R Y C O P
CO M P
Van Grootheest ensures rejuvenation projects honour town’s heritage
NEW LIFE FOR OLD POST OFFICE Business, arts hub opens in Harriston
PINTAR FILLS VOID IN ERIN Revitalizing an old factory
ECCLESTONE FINANCIAL Expanding the vision
SUSSMAN’S OF ARTHUR A century of growth, change
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PUBLISHER DAVE ADSETT EDITOR CHRIS DAPONTE ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAIME MYSLIK WRITERS OLIVIA RUTT MIKE ROBINSON PATRICK RAFTIS SALES DREW MOCHRIE SHERRY CLARKE FAYE CRAIG GLENN GEORGE DESIGN HELEN MICHEL ALICIA ROZA NATALIE MCKAY ANGIE KOERSEN DIGITAL MEDIA EDITOR KELLY WATERHOUSE
CONTENT PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE
NEW REPORT REVEALS TOP FIVE GAME-CHANGING CONSUMER TRENDS
REVITALIZING AN OLD BUILDING: PINTAR FILLS VOID IN COMMUNITY
ECCLESTONE FINANCIAL: BUILDING EXPANSION COMPLETE TRANSFORMING THE OLD POST OFFICE CHAMBER ROUND UP THE WATER COOLER COVER STORY: INTEGRAL ENTERPISE: ERIC VAN GROOTHEEST ENSURES PROJECTS PROTECT HERITAGE, INTEGRITY OF TOWNS BIA ROUND UP CHEQUES AND BALANCES
Policy Business Leader is delivered free of charge to business addresses throughout Wellington County.
Mission Statement Business Leader is a magazine published by The Wellington Advertiser to promote local commerce, private enterprise and celebrate investment and success in the communities we serve.
SUSSMAN’S OF ARTHUR: A CENTURY OF SUCCESS GRAND OPENINGS PALMERSTON COMPANY WINS SMALL BUSINESS CHALLENGE
8 10 12 13 14
17 18 20 24 25
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Email: firstname.lastname@example.org *COVER PHOTO: OLIVIA RUTT
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 3
What do you see?
With this December edition of Business Leader, local shops Along with the lessons provided by the ghosts of past, should be already bustling with activity and good cheer. present and future, we enjoyed that part of this Christmas classic Christmas parties and family get-togethers will be at hand. The suggesting that what we see or more accurately fail to see limits us. spirit of the season will have descended on communities across When we started thinking about a theme for this edition of Wellington County, each celebrating in their home-town way. Business Leader we wanted to celebrate vision and showcase some Whether Christmas parades or tree lightings, we are glad to see business leaders whose imagination has made a difference. business owners and community groups keep this season alive and In Erin we see a moth-balled plant come to life. well. The Fergus swimming pool, where literally generations learned Traditions are what make communities special. They prove to swim, is now a commercial and residential opportunity. This themselves as the ties that bind – for some of us who have been one was a little trickier to renovate with its heritage elements here for generations and for newcomers needing to be preserved. we welcome them to experience our kind Also, who would have thought an of lifestyle. Many guests decide to stay or at old garage in Fergus could be turned least visit more often. into office space and that the addition One personal tradition we look forward of stone and other materials would to in December is watching old Christmas dress it up so well? movies. They have a way of setting the tone In Harriston, the old post office, We want to for the holidays. We’ve lived long enough once a focal point of the community, to see many reincarnations of the classic A has been rehabilitated into shared celebrate vision Christmas Carol. One particular version An office space. American Christmas Carol filmed partially There are scads of other examples, and showcase in Elora strikes a chord. We were only a where a rundown building was some business young guy when it was filmed, but we brought back to life. remember the times and the locations at Efforts by municipal governments leaders whose which the film was shot. to retain heritage and build upon a imaginataion has One particular scene near the end of the rich history for future generations movie shows an old factory, still standing haven’t gone unnoticed either. made a difference. as far as we know close to the current Pearle Could one argue in some cases these DAVE ADSETT - PUBLISHER Hospitality site. In the movie it caught projects were catalysts for fixing up fire and went derelict. The subject of the the neighbourhood – think libraries, film, Mr. Slade (a re-invented Ebenezer town halls, parks and open spaces? The Scrooge type character), after his period difference of course is the public purse of redemption for a greedy past, welcomes involves public money. a teenage orphan into the plant and gives While math will generally dictate him some advice. A charred piece of wood how such privately-funded projects is tossed the young lad’s way and then Slade work out, we admire and appreciate asks the boy what he sees. Like most tough teenage boys he saw entrepreneurs with the talent to look past the obvious and build nothing but a burned out scrap of wood – but Slade introduced on the past. the idea that with some whittling and work it could be a baseball bat or a spoke on a ship’s wheel or maybe a whip handle. The boy Please accept our best wishes for a safe, healthy holiday for decides he’ll make a chair leg and Slade sets about to make a towel all members of our business community. We look forward to a bar. prosperous New Year working with business leaders in 2017.
4 | BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY
New report reveals game-changing consumer trends
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) recently released its
2016 FIVE GAME-CHANGING CONSUMER TRENDS REPORT.
BDC is Canada’s only bank exclusively devoted to entrepreneurs and it works to provide the information they need to succeed in today’s economic climate. Here are the five trends identified in the report:
MILLENNIALS DRIVE CONSUMER REVOLUTION.
As Canadians turn to their mobile devices more and more, especially for shopping, businesses need to ensure they have mobile friendly sites in addition to their regular online presence.
ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL.
In today’s consumer world it’s important for businesses to provide a personalized touch, even through online communications. Targeting customers with customized messages and personalized experiences significantly improves results.
Millennials are the the hyper-connected generation born from 1980 to 2000. They are the leading force in a habit change among all consumers. They tend to be frugal, savvy shoppers and not particularly brand loyal.
WE LIKE TO SHARE.
Canadians have embraced the idea of a global sharing economy, using services like Uber, Airbnb and others to save money.
CANADIANS ARE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR HEALTH.
Age isn’t a factor when it comes to shopping for health among Canadians. It’s the trend to look for natural products and healthier foods.
To learn how to respond to these trends, how they could impact business, what opportunities they offer and how addressing these trends can make a business more competitive read the full report at https://goo.gl/RVnxxN.
Experience, Service and Commitment
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BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 5
Revitalizing an old building: Pintar fills void in community
BY OLIVIA RUTT
residents.” Iozzo added Pintar has moved some of
The old Guardian building has been unoccupied for many years and was once the largest employer and manufacturer in the Town of Erin
ERIN - When Guardian Industries closed its doors here in July 2010, many probably didn’t know the building would sit empty for six years. The “former Guardian building” in the north end of Erin remained unoccupied until the end of March 2016, when Pintar, a paint applicator manufacturing business, announced the purchase of the building. Phil Iozzo, president of the company, explained the need for more space motivated the purchase. The 294,000 square foot building dwarfs Pintar’s current three-warehouse space in Etobicoke and Mississauga. Pintar will be moving its entire operation to the warehouse in Erin. “It is a big move, but we needed it. Space is very tight in Mississauga,” said Iozzo. Robyn Mulder, economic development officer for Erin, said the move is a big deal for the town. “The old Guardian building has been unoccupied for many years and was once the largest employer and manufacturer in the Town of Erin,” she said. “The re-occupation of this property is seen as a turning point for the town and its
the manufacturing operation over to the new building and hopes to be fully operating out of the Erin space by the end of the year.
6 | BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY
When Pintar bought the property, Iozzo said there was a lot of work required to get it up to working condition. “The building was in bad shape … so we needed to do repairs. We repaired the siding, the roof, the concrete inside, that kind of thing,” he said. Insulation, heating and a sprinkler system were added to the warehouse. Even the outside got a facelift, with repaired brick and a stucco finish behind the newly mounted Pintar sign. It is also undergoing office renovations and a showroom addition. Iozzo said investing in substantial renovations at the neglected building was a risk. “We had a budget, and we blew through that budget pretty quickly,” he said. However, the economic benefit of owning the property in a cheaper area than the GTA will bring operating costs down, he said. The changes are becoming more apparent in the town, too. “The current owner has made a number of upgrades to the interior and exterior of the building, and it is exciting for locals to see the transformation,” said Mulder. “Business investment in the community
Business investment in the community is important for building and maintaining a strong local economy.
PHOTOS: OLIVIA RUTT
is important for building and maintaining a strong local economy.” The biggest risk in purchasing the building was the labour force, said Iozzo. “We’re so far from Mississauga … we’re going to be losing quite a bit of our staff - trained staff,” he said. However, he is hoping enough people in Erin or the surrounding area will be able to fill that void. With 100 to 110 employees, the capacity in the new warehouse has increased to 120,000 rollers a day. Once Pintar moves in completely, the rollers will be
made entirely in Erin, a statement Iozzo is proud of. The company has already started to become a member of the community, sponsoring events and hiring locally. “As our employees are part of the community, we are too. I think it is important to help out when we can,” Iozzo said. Mulder said the town’s economic health is dependent on the revitalization of buildings. “Business and property owners who are proactive will ward off major issues including physical dilapidation,” she said. “Everyone wants to live in a community that they can be proud of, including a vibrant downtown and diversified industry. The revitalization of a building will encourage and attract further development, possible expansion and future growth for that community.” The building on Main Street (Wellington Road 124) was built sometime in the 1950s to 1960s, said Mulder. The original owner was Graham Fibreglass Ltd., which was purchased by Guardian Industries in 1994. Guardian shut its doors in July of 2010 after a three-year strike, leaving employees and 85 members of the local United Steelworkers of America out of work. BL
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 7
Ecclestone Financial Group building expansion complete BY JAIME MYSLIK
FERGUS – The Ecclestone Financial Group (EFG) building expansion - a project 10 years in the making - has finally come to fruition. EFG, along with tenants of the 5,600-squarefoot addition (Rafferty Insurance Brokers, The Farquharson Team with Remax Real Estate Centre, the Mortgage Centre, Simply Bookkeeping and First Capital Financial Corporation), celebrated the building’s official opening on Oct. 14 at 12:30pm with a ribbon cutting. THE BEGINNING
Ted Ecclestone started EFG in 1993 and bought the original house at 245 St. David St. N. in Fergus in 1999. The structure previously served as a doctor’s office, a veterinarian’s office and, prior to Ecclestone taking possession, it housed about 18 people. “It was a mom and her boyfriend and their daughter that were taking kids in,” he explained. At that time, Ecclestone gutted the building and renovated it to suit the business. He owned the structure, the lot and the parking lot. About a decade ago Ecclestone first had the idea for an expansion. He found a partner who was going to buy half of the red brick house and half the lot - and split the cost of the new building. “He got cold feet and I couldn’t financially handle it on my own,” Ecclestone said. The project never happened. LEGISLATION
Industry regulation changes led Ecclestone to reconsider the expansion. In December, new legislation, phase two of the Client Relationship Model, will make it mandatory for all financial firms, including banks and advisors, to disclose the exact dollar amount of every investment that’s going towards management fees, Ecclestone explained. He added right now it is mandatory to disclose the value as a simple percentage on the bottom of clients’ year-end statements.
8 | BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY
Top: The foundation for the building expansion Right: The finished building prior to paving the parking lot.
PHOTOS: P.8: JAIME MYSLIK; P.9: FOUNDATION/SUBMITTED; BUILDING/JAIME MYSLIK
In addition to expanding the building for EFG’s purposes, he also wanted to make it a one-stop shop for clients. “We have mortgages, house insurance, mortgage insurance, bookkeeping services; real estate fits in there because somebody sold the house,” Ecclestone said. “If we could have all of those similar services that all kind of ... feed off each other, then this would be an incredible building for everybody to work in because it’s just referrals all over the place.” EFG marketing assistant Kevin Herder said he’s looking forward to building relationships with the new tenants. “The ability to refer ... it’s a nice option to offer everything in house under one roof where they can have a one-stop shop and cover all their needs,” he said. EFG is located on the top floor, along with First Capital Financial Corporation. Rafferty Insurance Brokers is on the middle floor, while the Farquharson Team with Remax Real Estate Centre, Brad Slater with the Mortgage Centre, and Cheryl Calro with Simply Bookkeeping will share the bottom floor. Maureen and Jim Farquharson and their daughter, Emily Rawson, brokers with Remax Real Estate Centre, moved into the building due to networking opportunities.
“It just would be a good opportunity to work alongside these people that we respect and we refer people to anyway,” Maureen said. “It’d just be nice to be closer to them and it’s worked out really well.”
The meeting rooms are where EFG is planning to see clients because they’re accessible and it helps keep other client information confidential because the public will not have access to the advisor’s work space, Ecclestone said. TEAM ATMOSPHERE
We’re already way ahead ... and it’s because the community sees this building and it knows we’re not going anywhere.
EFG, on the other hand, has always had disclosure with its clients, Ecclestone explained. He anticipates the company will see increased business in the future and will need the addition to accommodate new investors. “We’re already way ahead of where we normally would be in a year and it’s because this community sees this building and it knows we’re not going anywhere,” Ecclestone said.
She added, “We try to keep all our business local so we don’t typically deal with someone outside the area, so this is very local and it’s very convenient,” she said. The old red brick house is undergoing renovations once again, to create four accessible meeting rooms that will be shared by everyone in the building. “All the meeting rooms are wired for internet and they’ve got monitors ... and a telephone,” Ecclestone said. “So if we need anything we don’t have to go anywhere.”
The building is designed to facilitate an inclusive atmosphere. There is one main kitchen where employees from all the different businesses can gather for lunch. It is outfitted with a dishwasher, microwave, convection oven and fridge. The middle floor also has a deck for employees to use the barbecue to make lunch. CONSTRUCTION
The construction officially began on Feb. 11, 2016. “All it was really for about the first month ... was a hole with the footings and foundations up,” Ecclestone said. “That was it and then very early in March the guys showed up and they started framing it and it was just like ‘holy.’” All the water in the building is filtered and it is a bottle-free zone. The lights are motion and thermal detecting. The floors, outdoor steps and sidewalks are heated by water. “So we don’t have to shovel any snow or we don’t have to worry about slips and falls, we don’t have to worry about salt and sand coming into the building,” Ecclestone said. “We’ve tried to think of everything we could possibly put in here as long as [it won’t] break the bank.” In addition to the expanded building, Ecclestone also repaved the parking lot outside of the office. In total there are about 20 people sharing the expanded 7,400-square-foot building. BL
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 9
Transforming the old post office building into an arts, business hub BY PATRICK RAFTIS
project. At the time only $1,300 remained to reach the original fundraising goal of $17,500. “It’s a community-minded contribution,”
With the care I think that we’re all giving it now, you can look forward to it being here and being part of our community for another 100 years.
HARRISTON - When Michael Hendrick says the clock is ticking on his business venture, that doesn’t mean he’s running out of time - it’s a good thing. Hendrick and his wife Susan are the owners of The Old Post Centre for Business and Creativity, a business and arts hub located in the historic building that once housed Harriston’s post office. Just over a year ago the Hendricks purchased the landmark, which was under-utilized and had fallen into disrepair since Canada Post moved operations out of the building in the early-1990s. The building has been renovated inside and out, including restoration of the clock tower that made the building the easily-recognized centrepiece of Harriston’s downtown for more than a century. On Oct. 20, the Hendricks held a celebration at South Street Café for major donors to a campaign to restore the clock tower and bell at the historic building. The clock, frozen in time for years, was ticking once again, Michael Hendrick proudly announced. And, it’s expected the bell will ring out once again. “A lot of things have happened in under a year … it’s almost surreal,” Hendrick said as he thanked contributors to the clock tower
he added. “Getting that clock ticking, the bell ringing, which will be Dec. 3, creates excitement and enthusiasm for our downtown core for seeing the post office become a hub.” Hendrick said the decision to restore to
10 | BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY
working order the four-sided clock and the bell located on the roof was community-driven. “The community has spoken to us very clearly,” he explained. “We originally thought okay, bell on the top … take it down, we’ll show it; it will look nice and we’ll have a plaque beside it. “Quickly we were challenged in that effort by community members who came up and said, ‘This is our bell. This is our post office. We want it to ring because that’s what it did, and this is what it meant to me.’ “So, listening to that message, as a consequence the fundraiser was created, and we’re going to achieve all those goals.” The 800-pound bell was removed from the top of the building on July 6. Hendrick said the cage holding the bell in place had become rotten, creating a safety risk. Both the bell and the supporting cage are being repaired and restored to be “safe and functional.” Hendrick noted the clock and bell restoration would have been extremely expensive without the ingenuity of Doug Harkes of Gorrie. For example, the actuator for the bell “is a little red box probably constructed in 1955,” said Hendrick, adding a replacement was quoted at $2,500. “Well, the MacGyver and clock-master
PHOTOS: PATRICK RAFTIS
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Outside the clock tower; owners Susan and Michael Hendrick; a stained glass skylight on the second floor; an early 1900s photo of the post office; a new refurbished home for Hair Therapy; and the frosted glass logo that welcomes visitors to the Old Post lobby. rebuilt that red box for probably one onehundredth of that cost.” Another vital contribution was made by crane operator Matt O’Dwyer, who took down the bell for half the regular fee, noted Hendrick. The Oct. 20 event included a tour of the building, providing the 30 or so in attendance a chance to see its many unique features, including the restored clockworks and a stained-glass skylight, installed by Harriston craftsman Tony Hale, who did much of the fine detail work on the project. “With all these people contributing, it truly makes the post office exceptional and that’s the reason people are going to stop,” said Hendrick. “That’s the reason people are going to come in, because it’s not just a building, it’s an exceptional building that has all these features that are going to invite people in.” Restoring a venerable and singular building like the old post office was a unique challenge on both a business and construction level. Hendrick, a teacher at Norwell District Secondary School, was approached about the idea of renovating the Harriston landmark by Steven Godfrey, of Kitchener-based Small Spaces Design Studio. Godfrey has been involved with several restoration and revitalization projects in the region, including Kitchener’s Tannery District, so his interest in the project got Hendrick’s attention. “I love the idea of taking historical buildings, pre-1920, and changing the fit, re-purposing them into commercial structures or whatever,” Hendrick said in a November 2015 interview shortly after he and Susan purchased the building. Godfrey explained the building was built in 1912 and although it was expanded, it wasn’t kept up to date. The replacement of the building’s ancient boiler system with forced air gas heat is among the work the new owners put into the project.
The building is now heated by three furnaces and cooled by three airconditioners. Once work began, the collaborators realized the bones of the triple brick building were solid. The main structure remained undamaged despite at least one winter without heat and power prior to the Hendricks’ purchase. By January 2016, primary construction work, including the creation of professional business and office suites on the main floor and second floor levels, was completed and tenants began moving in. Spaces in the building have been quickly filling up, with an engineering firm, public relations business, hair and aesthetics salon, and Perth-Wellington MP John Nater all now operating out of the facility. Previously announced plans for the arts and business hub include an artists co-operative and a recording studio in the basement level. At the Oct. 20 celebration, Hendrick announced plans to have the third floor transformed into an escape room, a popular activity in which participants solve puzzles and uncover clues in order to escape a locked room. “We believe if you were to have an escape room here, the features are so darn compelling that it would be the best and most awesome escape room in Ontario; because we have a clock, we have a bell, we have a tower, we have all these natural variables that would add to that experience,” stated Hendrick, noting the target is to open the facility sometime in 2017. In August, a new challenge was discovered and met when rains led to unexpected repairs. As detailed at oldpost.ca, storm water in the building is directed toward drains in the centre of the building from both of the flat roofs, which then makes its way through the original cast CONTINUED ON PAGE 13
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 11
Q CHAMBER ROUND-UP
THE BUSINESS LEADER SPOKE TO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE REPRESENTATIVES WITHIN WELLINGTON COUNTY ABOUT AREA EVENTS AND NEWS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE REGIONS.
KIRA BAILEY CENTRE WELLINGTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT
JOHN BURGESS MINTO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT
WHAT UPCOMING EVENTS DOES THE CHAMBER HAVE PLANNED FOR THE WINTER?
JB: The Minto Chamber will be hosting its annual AGM on Feb. 6 and this year we will be recognizing new businesses that have opened in Minto. We encourage all Minto business owners to attend. We have special guest speaker Michael Snyders as well as a catered dinner. The chamber is working to implement of our strategic plan. This plan involves connecting with current members as well as businesses that are not currently members to educate them on ways we can be of service. In Minto we are fortunate to have so many people opening their business here, it speaks to the efforts of the Town of Minto, Minto Chamber and other local businesses to make Minto where your business belongs.
WHAT UPCOMING EVENTS DOES THE CHAMBER HAVE PLANNED FOR THE WINTER?
KB: We are starting 2017 with lots going on. On Jan. 10 we will host a ribbon cutting for those home-based business chamber members who joined in 2016. Drop in from 5:30 to 7pm and congratulate them in person. Our major winter event is the Annual Mayor’s Breakfast, which will be held on Jan. 25 at the Grand River Raceway. Doors will open at 7am and the breakfast will get under way at about 7:30am.
WHAT IS NEW AT THE CHAMBER?
KB: This summer we created two office spaces in our lobby. This gives our long time tenant the Township of Centre Wellington a private space and created a new office that is occupied by Family Counselling and Support Services of Guelph Wellington. We also have ASC Business Advisor and Highlander Way Driving School as tenants. Drop in and see our new look.
WHAT IS NEW AT THE CHAMBER?
HOW WAS THE FALL FOR YOUR MERCHANTS?
JB: The Minto Chamber has been busy trying to connect with all businesses in our community to build a relationship and hear what our businesses are struggling with as well as find ways that we can be of greater assistance. Over the past six months we have started the Minto Chamber Newsletter in the Rural Route magazine. We have the opportunity to share member’s milestones, recognize accomplishments and celebrate new and existing members. We use this newsletter as a way to let the community know what we are doing as well as inform them of upcoming events.
KB: A few merchants were contacted to get a sense of activity this fall. The retail sector indicated they are either the same as last year or down a bit. The economy seems a bit sluggish locally. Thanksgiving weekend and Halloween helped some with an increase in sales.
HOW WAS THE FALL FOR YOUR MERCHANTS?
JB: With so many new businesses opening shop in Minto as well as the end to several construction projects, local businesses have been busy. Minto had the pleasure of hosting the 2016 International Plowing Match and Rural Expo this year, which brought about 100,000 people to our community over five days. Because of this, many of our local businesses saw an increase in business.
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR THE FIRST FEW MONTHS OF 2017 AND HOW CAN MERCHANTS PREPARE FOR A POTENTIAL DECREASE IN SALES AFTER THE HOLIDAY SEASON?
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR THE FIRST FEW MONTHS OF 2017 AND HOW CAN MERCHANTS PREPARE FOR A POTENTIAL DECREASE IN SALES AFTER THE HOLIDAY SEASON?
KB: This is part of an annual cash flow and something that business owners will have acknowledged in their business plans. Some merchants choose to have reduced hours of operation during this slower time, some will choose this time to go on a well-deserved holiday. There are also merchants that use this time for planning their spring and summer activities, catch up on training or other paperwork that needs to be done. Email: email@example.com. Website: http://www.cwchamber.ca.
JB: All retailers know that after Christmas is over they need to prepare to be slow for several weeks. It is always wise to plan and prepare for this slow season. Having a solid business plan that allows for this lapse in sales is important. Perhaps it is a perfect time for our hard working business owners to take a much-needed holiday! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://mintochamber.on.ca.
12 || BUSINESS BUSINESSLEADER LEADERWELLINGTON WELLINGTONCOUNTY COUNTY
* The Arthur and Mount Forest Chambers of Commerce did not respond by press time to several emails/phone calls.
New life at Old Post CONTINUED FROM PAGE 11
pipe to the basement. The basement is a giant french drain: under the six inches of cement throughout the whole basement, there is about 20 inches of gravel through which all storm water percolates and eventually drains. There is also a storm water pipe that was likely installed in the 1960s that assists in the drainage. This pipe is permanently blocked. So, while the water drains eventually, it does not drain fast enough in a heavy rain event. In the final weeks of summer the original cast piping was removed and replaced with plastic. Holes were drilled through brick and limestone to make a path for the new piping to drain storm water away from the building, before it can reach the basement. All the roofing has been replaced to assist in water control was well. Hendrick said the Town of Minto and its economic development staff played a major role in getting the project off the ground. He said town officials helped to cut years off the rebuild by directing the owners to various forms of accessory funding, including grants for energy efficiency improvements. Municipal money has also gone into the rebuild. Through the Town of Minto’s Community Improvement Project, funding of $4,826 was provided for a $9,653 façade improvement and $36,271 was provided to assist with $72,542 in structural upgrades to the building. In addition, the Harriston downtown revitalization committee plans to provide funding to partner with the Old Post to create a downtown public space in front of the building. The project has given an aesthetic boost to the downtown, including efforts to tie the look of the building into other nearby historical structures, such as the Carnegie library and Town Hall Theatre. To say town officials are pleased would be an understatement. Shortly after the sale took place Minto economic and business manager Belinda Wick-Graham called the project “the most exciting thing that’s happening in Harriston right now.” She said, “It’s right up our alley in terms of our vision for Minto and the creative community.” Hendrick said he’s pleased the improvements have made the building a “long-term investment” for all concerned. “And it will stand the test of time as it did back in 1912. “And with the care I think that we’re all giving it now, you can look forward to it being here and being part of our community for another 100 years.”
THE WATER COOLER *BREAKING GROUND – It’s been a long process to get to this point but the official ground breaking ceremony for Pearle Hospitality’s Elora Mill Hotel & Spa was held on November 24th. The event was by invitation only, but to get a sneak peak of the vision for the future, go online to www.eloramill.ca. The Elora Mill will be employing over 250 people once fully developed, in the fields of hospitality, spa services, sales and event planning, as well as electrical and maintenance, landscaping, administration and more. Apprenticeships will also be made available. *THE COUNTY OF WELLINGTON IS GETTING SOCIAL with a one-year corporate social media strategy and has hired a temporary social media specialist. In a report, county communications manager Andrea Ravensdale says, “It is recognized that social media networks can be a powerful communications tool that can have a significant impact on the county’s reputation.” She adds, “The use of social media creates new opportunities for enhanced communication with residents; it also creates new responsibilities for County of Wellington departments.” The communications staff recommended the county embark “cautiously” on the initiative and begin with one corporate Twitter and Facebook account for a trial one-year period.
*GRATEFUL FOR A WARM AUTUMN, the Fergus BIA was able to assist shoppers and business owners with downtown parking issues by installing bike racks. The red circular racks can be found at various locations throughout the downtown core, and while the snow might make for less bicycle traffic, it means spring isn’t far away. And anything that helps solve the parking issues in downtown Fergus is worth the effort. * ONTARIO IS SPENDING $25 MILLION, via the Green Investment Fund, to launch a new program to help smalland medium-sized businesses reduce emissions and become more energy efficient. The SMART Green program, a partnership between the government and the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), is designed to assist businesses to invest in equipment and process upgrades including highefficiency ovens, dryers, kilns and furnaces. Upgrades will improve the competitiveness of Ontario’s small and medium-sized manufacturers, help reduce their energy consumption, save them money and help Ontario meet its targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction. Qualifying businesses will receive grants of up to $200,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs. To find out if your business qualifies, visit www.cme-smart.ca.
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 13
Integral enterprise: Eric Van Grootheest ensures projects protect heritage, integrity of towns COVER STORY BY JAIME MYSLIK
we could,” he said. “We made a brand new building ... on the inside but the outside’s identical as much as we can tell.” Van Grootheest, who first saw the pool
It was a beautiful old stone building and I think ever since then, I’ve thought we should keep the stone building nature of this town ...
FERGUS – It takes vision and confidence to see beyond a dilapidated building and lift the metaphorical curtain to see its true potential. Eric Van Grootheest has both in spades and puts them to good use throughout Fergus and Mount Forest. “I would say almost every dilapidated building in Fergus that comes up we right away go after it,” Van Grootheest said. “We buy it and we fix it up.” The Wellington County real estate agent buys old buildings and renovates them as a sideline to his real estate duties. His passion for renovation and rejuvenation began when Van Grootheest was just a young boy living in Fergus. “When the old Royal Bank building came down I was just a kid and I remember (being) horrified that that building came down,” he said. “It was a beautiful old stone building and I think ever since then I’ve thought we should keep the stone building nature of this town and I think I was only 10 at the time.”
ERIC VAN GROOTHEEST
That early conviction turned into home renovation when Van Grootheest was in his 20s. However, it was not until the last six or seven years that he began working on more visible buildings, the first being the old Fergus swimming pool on St. David Street (Highway 6), south of the Grand River. “The town had sold the old pool to somebody who wasn’t doing anything with it so we approached them and bought it and then we went at it trying to bring it back to as original as
when he was three years old, said he wanted to do something when he saw it deteriorating years later. “It just kept sitting there for a few years and it kind of drove me nuts because it’s where we went to swim when we were kids,” he said. As one of the most visible buildings near downtown Fergus, Van Grootheest’s team rec-
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ognized its importance. “We really saw the potential in it as a beautiful building, as a commercial benefit to town,” said Jennifer Kamphuis, Van Grootheest’s administrator and personal assistant. And that’s basically what all of Van Grootheest’s efforts come down to: beautifying buildings while also preserving the integrity of the town. The pool renovations included: leaving the exterior shell intact, filling in the pool, a new roof, new insulation, new electrical work, new heating, new flooring, new insulation, new custom built original replica doors, new replica pool sign and a brand new interior. “I was born and raised in this town and I remembered that building and we always loved going to it,” Van Grootheest said. “We did see that there was commercial value to it. “We knew it would be difficult to get our money back on a normal lease basis, but I don’t like it when all these buildings get bought and then changed.” PARTNERS
One of the ways Van Grootheest says he limit’s risk is to purchase properties with a variety of partners. “There’s a lot of people always said they wanted to be partners, just with us individually,” Van Grootheest said. “Finally we thought ‘why don’t we just become partners as a big group, get a bigger amount of money’; you spread the risk for people.” He said for those not ready to make a big investment, being part of the partnership group gives them added security knowing other inves-
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On Oct. 21 Van Grootheest held a grand opening for his new Century 21 Excalibur Reality building at 645 St. David St. North in Fergus. Van Grootheest owns the property and renovated the building to emulate the old stone look of the Fergus post office, installing a stone façade on the roadside wall. “This look will never go out of style because it’s never been in style really if you want to look at it this way,” Van Grootheest said. “It’s kind of a timeless look.” The new Excalibur Reality building was previously Hutten Collision Centre. When it went up for sale Van Grootheest jumped on the opportunity because of the visibility of the location. “We knew right off the bat we were just going to completely tear this sucker down and make it into a more visibly-encouraging looking building,” Van Grootheest said. “I like taking things that are really dilapidated and fixing them up.” The renovation cost of about $320,000 covered the entire replacement of the building, save a few beams and the roof. GET HITCHED
Van Grootheest also took on the old Fergus Decorating building on southeast corner of Highway 6 and Gordon Street in Fergus in partnership with Get Hitched RV Centre. “We had it for sale and we couldn’t get anyone to buy it because the building looked like it was sinking into the ground and it was a good building,” Van Grootheest said. “Honestly we had a bulldozer go by it and he took 18 or 19 inches of dead grass from around the property ... that’s why the property kept looking like it was sinking, it was just the top soil growing up.” Van Grootheest bought a third of Get Hitched and the business moved in. APARTMENTS
In addition to renovating and rejuvenating commercial buildings, Van Grootheest, his partners and E-van Management also buy, renew and manage apartment buildings in
Fergus and Mount Forest. “With the apartment buildings ... we always buy the dilapidated ones and then we go in and we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on each one and we renovate,” he explained. “We have seven or eight people out in the field and that’s all they do ... we renovate buildings.” In their renovations Van Grootheest pays keen attention to quality. “Inside we always try to make them up really, really nice ... so I would be willing to live in it myself,” he said. He said this helps attract the type of tenants he’s looking to house; if he looks after his buildings to the highest standard so will
Inside we always try to make them up really, really nice ... so I would e willing to live in it myself
tors are in it too. The pool building was bought with a partnership. “We all kind of thought it was a way of getting a return on our money, maybe not as good as we could but ... it was good for the town,” he said. “And we thought we’d just do it once.” But that snowballed into much more. Van Grootheest’s company, E-van Management, is responsible for 150 tenants throughout Fergus and Mount Forest, 10 of which are commercial. In every building the team focuses on quality over cost. “When we were looking at doing commercial buildings we really wanted to make sure that the buildings we made would try to be not just cheap buildings but nice buildings that sort of blended in with the idea of the town,” he explained.
ERIC VAN GROOTHEEST
his tenants. “With apartments you end up putting a lot of money up front but ... you get people who because you like your building and because you respect them and try to maintain it good and try to give them something that’s nice to have and see ... they respect you,” he explained. Michael Ashton moved into one of Van Grootheest’s apartment buildings at 475 St. Andrew St. West in Fergus in the early fall. He said he was apprehensive to move from his house to a rented apartment. “I kind of thought in a small community there may not be a lot of options in the rental area but I walked in and it felt more like a condo than an apartment ... granite counter tops and used a high quality laminate flooring and everything was just clean and modern and fresh looking,” Ashton said. “It feels like home and like I said, going from being a home owner to a renter I thought maybe I would be disappointed with that transition, but I haven’t been with this and I’ll be quite happy to stay here for a while.” Van Grootheest explained that even though up-front costs may be significant when using high quality materials, in the future there will be cost savings. “It just takes you a little while to get it back but you’ve got a really good solid building so down the road ... your maintenance costs are way less,” he said. “Once you’ve renovated a property really good, maintenance costs go way, way, way down.”
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 15
Van Grootheest uses the same philosophy when he’s building brand new commercial buildings. Right now the company is in the middle of constructing three buildings on Garafraxa Street near Gartshore Street in Fergus. Two are completed and the third is scheduled for completion next year. “They’ll be there 100 years from now,” he said. “We don’t try to save money. “I’d rather pay a little extra and get it all done right.” PROPERTY MANAGEMENT
Van Grootheest explained he doesn’t sell the buildings he renovates and instead rents them all out. E-Van Management is responsible for all 150 tenants in Van Grootheest’s buildings. The group also manages the Fergus Marketplace On The River, even though Van Grootheest doesn’t own any of the commercial condos.
“Over the last six years, as fast as we can with the money we had there, we’ve been cutting down trees and cleaning up properties and replacing gardens and as fast as we can we’ve been trying to make that a much nicer property and I think we’re getting there,” he said. “It’s all condos now so we’ve got a very hardworking board there that’s willing to support us.” TOWNSHIP
Much of Van Groothest’s work depends on the Township of Centre Wellington. “Years and years ago it seemed sometimes it was difficult to get approvals but ... (more recently they’ve been) incredibly fantastic to work with,” he said. “I think a lot of times developers get a little bit of a bad name because they’re always trying to cut corners.” But the township knows that’s not Van Grootheest’s style. “They know we build a quality product,” he said. BL
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Before and afters Page 14 - TOP: Fergus Decorating was transformed into Get Hitched. BOTTOM: Hutten Collision becomes the new Excalibur Realty Inc. building. The Fergus Pool Above - TOP: Outside as listed and following renovation. MIDDLE: The interior at time of sale. BOTTOM: The rear of the property with a demolished pool, left, and after a paved parking lot and small park area were created.
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ERIC VAN GROOTHEEST
rr ow .com
WHY IT IS IMPORTANT FOR MERCHANTS TO MAINTAIN THE OUTSIDE FAÇADE OF THEIR BUILDING?
CB: The façade of buildings in our shopping
district communicates many things about our businesses and the people who run them. A well-kept façade communicates quality, care and dedication to maintaining high standards in all our business practices. A well-kept downtown is inviting, and inspires visitors to return again and again. HOW DO YOUR MERCHANTS PREPARE FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON?
CB: Merchants prepare for the Christmas
season by sourcing the best, unique treasures for gift shoppers. Visitors and local shoppers alike look to our local merchants to provide them with interesting and fun choices for everyone on their gift list! WHAT ROLE DOES THE BIA PLAY IN HOLIDAY PREPARATIONS?
Our downtown works with our merchants to help prepare for the Christmas season with activities, promotions and decorating. We have winter-inspired banners, and also do a lighting of our Christmas tree. We held an annual event called ‘Window Wonderland’ on Nov. 18 during which merchants covered up their windows, and
then unveiled their Christmas-inspired window creations during an evening-long event which includes carolling, horse and carriage rides, draw prizes and more. Our downtown district also runs a promotion called ‘Christmas in the Country’ until Dec. 24, which encourages shoppers to make a purchase in at least five different businesses for a chance to win a $500 value in gift certificates.
CHRIS BAILEY ERIN BIA CHAIR
WHAT, IF ANY, ISSUES ARE THERE IN YOUR AREA SURROUNDING WINTER MAINTENANCE?
CB: The winter months often pose challenges
for accessibility to our businesses, especially due to snow build-up on our sidewalks/ curbs and ice conditions. We make a strong effort to work with our municipality to overcome these challenges, and to keep our businesses as accessible as possible, even during the depths of winter!
THE BUSINESS LEADER REACHED OUT TO BIA REPRESENTATIVES IN WELLINGTON COUNTY ABOUT AREA EVENTS AND NEWS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE REGIONS. ONLY THE ERIN BIA RESPONDED BY PRESS TIME.
WHAT IS NEW AT THE BIA?
CB: We recently launched our brand-new villageoferin.ca, which is now mobilefriendly and has a complete directory of our business offerings. While it is still a work in progress, this is a big step to providing a more complete online connection with our customers.
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BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 17
Cheque presentations, draw winners and donations around the county.
Arthur Foodland collected $1,600 over Thanksgiving weekend, from Oct. 8 to 10, for the Arthur Food Bank. From left are: manager Keith Bell, Christine Dougherty, Valerie Smith and Brenda Abate from Foodland as well as Paul Ariss and Marilyn Theurer from the Arthur Food Bank.
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Groves Hospital Foundation staff stopped by to visit Ecclestone Financial Group, Rafferty Insurance Brokers and the Farquharson Team with Remax Real Estate Centre at their brand new office recently. The team presented Groves Hospital Foundation with a cheque for over $1,000 from the proceeds of its grand opening barbecue. The foundation thanks the whole team for its support of Groves Hospital Foundation and the new Groves hospital project.
On Remembrance Day, the Fergus Legion Branch 275 held a special presentation to honour the lives of Mac and Beckie Mason, a father and daughter who both served the Fergus Legion for many years. Wellington Advertiser publisher Dave Adsett gave the Legion two ceramic poppies that came from the original art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, placed in the moat of the Tower of London, England, between July and November 2014. Accepting the gift are, from left: Pat Mackenzie, Mary Mackenzie-Mason and granddaughter Ellie Mackenzie, Fergus Legion president Fred Hiller, padre Fran Darlington and poppy chair Tom Nicklasson. Thanks to Fergus businesses Almost Anything Wood, Keltech Signs and Wilkins Engraving who donated time and materials to this project.
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BMO Nesbitt Burns topped off the 2016 Food Cycle Ride with a $6,000 donation. Total ride proceeds this year amounted to $15,000, bringing the six-year total to over $66,000. From left are: Food Cycle Ride chair Harvey Thomson, Kyle Dietrich of BMO Nesbitt Burns, food bank vice chairman Brian Dowling, food bank volunteer Gerard Hachey, food bank manager Fred Aleksandrowicz and Geoffrey Newman of BMO Nesbitt Burns.
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Sussman’s of Arthur celebrating a century of success
BY CHRIS DAPONTE
ARTHUR - After more than a century in business, Sussman’s of Arthur has made an indelible mark on the village. It has become one of the most recognizable clothing stores in Ontario, but its connection to the community extends beyond retail success. From employees to those who simply know its owners - the Kozinets family - by name, there remains to this day an enigmatic yet undeniable connection between the village and Sussman’s. It’s one strongly felt by Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott, who counts himself among the 300-plus people employed by Sussman’s over the years. Though he moved to Fergus many years ago and his constituency no longer includes Arthur, Sussman’s still holds a special place in Arnott’s heart. “They were very good to me,” Arnott said of the Kozinets family. While attending high school in Arthur, Arnott shovelled snow off Sussman’s roof and also worked part time in the stock room. Then, while attending Wilfrid Laurier University in the 1980s, he worked Saturdays in the store’s casual wear department. “They were busy, busy days,” Arnott said. Dave Kozinets, who took over the business from his father-in-law and founder Joe Sussman in 1950, remembers when he was first
approached by Arnott about his plan to become the successor to his mentor Jack Johnson, the late former Wellington MPP. “I said, ‘just make sure you’re well dressed,’” Dave recalled with a smile. Arnott, who remembers the conversation well, was first elected in 1990, at age 27, and has been re-elected six times.
ICONIC STORE REMAINS TRUE TO ROOTS WHILE ADAPTING TO INDUSTRY CHANGES
“I’m still a Sussman’s customer,” he said. Arnott’s story is an interesting microcosm of the connection Sussman’s has established with the community. But truth be told, it is but one of hundreds of similar tales that have taken shape over the last century. THE HISTORY
Joe Sussman, a recently-arrived immigrant from Poland, partnered with his brother-in-law
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in a clothing store in Arthur in 1907. “He went on the road and visited farmers and sold to them,” Dave Kozinets said of his father-in-law. He explained Sussman, who also purchased furs directly from rural residents, used a horse and buggy for his trips. He was known to lend a hand to farmers if they needed it - and on occasion he would even stay overnight in their barns. In 1915 Sussman bought out his brother-inlaw and opened his own store near the current location of Walsh’s pharmacy. Over the years the store relocated a few times before opening a modest 1,500-square-foot space in 1955 at the current site on George Street. In 1950, Sussman was ready to retire. His two sons had no interest in the business, so Sussman planned on selling the store. Meanwhile, Dave, 21 and living in Toronto, had recently married Sussman’s daughter Shirley and was at somewhat of a crossroads in his life. “I was at a loss,” said Dave, now 87. That’s when Sussman made an offer that would change Dave’s life forever: he would either pay for Dave’s post secondary education or Dave could run the clothing store. “I couldn’t see anyone paying me for not working, so I came here, to the little country store in Arthur,” said Dave. At first Dave made $35 a week - and Sussman “figured he was overpaying me,” Dave recounted with a laugh. His sons Steve and Harvey were born in 1953 and 1954 respectively.
They started working at the store in the mid-1970s, at about the same age that both their grandfather and father were when they first got into the business.
“His philosophy was to provide an outstanding customer experience and outstanding customer service,” said Arnott.
GROWING THE BUSINESS
Dave’s interest in the community of Arthur extended beyond running a successful business and employing dozens of local residents.
He was also a longtime politician, first elected to Arthur Village council in the late 1960s. He served on council for many years, including over a dozen years as reeve. During his time on council, the Bell Thread Company came to Arthur, a municipal parking lot was purchased and paved, and major additions to the village included a new library,
Dave, who said he was honoured to have the building named after him, noted the biggest year Sussman’s ever had was 1989. “After that it started to slow down,” he noted. Large chain stores first started to pop up in the 1970s, Dave explained, though their proliferation would take some time. “There was no competition when I started,” Dave said. “We were the only ones.”
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Sussman’s first major expansion occurred in 1976, when the store grew to 5,000 square feet. Over the years, there were six more expansions, with the store growing in size to 30,000 square feet. “As we grew we bought the building next door, next door, next door,” said Dave He noted the late Garnet Wilson, from nearby West Luther Township, was the contractor who helped reshape the store with each expansion. The business grew immensely in the 1960s, 70s and 80s and Sussman’s of Arthur became one of the premier clothing stores in the province. In its heyday the store employed 50 people, among them Arnott, who recalled lineups outside the store, particularly during Sussman’s famous half-price sales. At its peak, the store would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising in area newspapers and on its well-known flyers. “I was ambitious,” Dave recollected. “He was a genius,” added Steve, recounting how his father turned a small store into a massive commercial success. Much of that success could likely be attributed to Dave’s business ideology.
A PART OF THE COMMUNITY
medical centre, nursing home, arena complex, fire hall and swimming pool. Working with the local chamber of commerce, Dave helped ensure Arthur signs were erected at entrances to the village. While he was reeve, street signs were also installed. In October of 2015, in recognition of Dave’s efforts to make Arthur the village it is today, the former municipal building across the street from Sussman’s was re-named the David M. Kozinets Centre. At the ceremony, Wellington North Mayor Andy Lennox praised Dave for his “unwavering commitment to our community,” noting that throughout his life, Dave has seized opportunities to make Arthur a better place. Arnott, also on hand for the 2015 ceremony and plaque unveiling, told Business Leader he has sought Dave’s counsel many times in matters ranging from business to politics. “He’s given me a lot of valuable advice over the years,” Arnott said.
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 21
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We’re reinventing ourselves ...
ABOVE: Steve, Dave and Harvey Kozinets. BOTTOM: The new, smaller Sussman’s, with King’s Cafe and Father’s Heart Healing Ministries. “Back in our heyday, everybody wore suits, whether you were a farmer or a teacher or whatever,” said Steve, noting that is obviously not the case today. ADAPTING, LOOKING AHEAD
One of the moves Sussman’s has made to adapt to the evolving business landscape is to offer for lease some of the space in the iconic building, which boasts an impressive 225 feet of frontage along the village’s main street. In September the Father’s Heart Healing Centre and its affiliated King’s Cafe opened in a section of the building that previously housed women’s apparel. The women’s section has now moved south, alongside the men’s wear section. The healing centre, which previously operated down the street out of the former Arthur library building, helps Sussman’s with costs and brings in potential customers. “The timing was perfect,” said Steve. “It was a win-win.” Healing centre director Maggie Baratto approached Sussman’s about the move over a year ago, Steve said. The centre took over about 6,000 square feet in the building, with the current Sussman’s operation now occupying about 20,000 square feet. “Dress clothes are still our strength,” Steve said.
As in the past, the store still draws customers from a 100-mile radius. Many keep coming back due to the level of service offered at Sussman’s, which the Kozinets say can’t be matched at large chains - and certainly not online. Steve said Sussman’s prides itself on that service, which still includes alterations. He explained the 2011 death of his mother Shirley was a huge loss for the family and the community, as well as the store, but Sussman’s remains family owned, which many customers consider a positive attribute. Steve noted that over the last five years the store has redefined itself - and that will likely continue moving forward. “We’re reinventing ourselves to adjust to the new retail landscape,” he said. Despite all the industry changes and ups and downs in the economy, “We’re still here,” Steve added. Arnott said area residents and shoppers in the region should not take that fact for granted. “We need to support our small-town main street businesses if we want to maintain viable downtowns,” said Arnott. He conceded countless people across Wellington County share his sentiment, “But maybe we need to be reminded of that from time to time.” BL
PHOTOS: CHRIS DAPONTE
In the early 1990s, feeling they were losing out on potential sales, Sussman’s officials decided to open on Sundays. But the move didn’t necessarily lead to any added profit, Dave said - it just meant sales were divided across seven days instead of six. Perhaps the biggest impact on the retail clothing industry, as with many others, is the level of choice offered to consumers today. “There’s just so much competition now in the retail environment,” Steve explained. Of course, in the last decade or so the growth of online shopping has eaten into the profits of independent stores like Sussman’s. Also, a lot of companies that were once major suppliers to stores like Sussman’s Tommy Hilfiger for example - now operate their own retail stores. Add to that the closure of several Canadian manufacturers and the pool of potential merchandise has decreased dramatically. “There’s not many independent stores left anymore,” said Steve. Harvey mentioned the closure of independent clothiers in Guelph, Kitchener and St. Jacobs. It’s all box stores and malls now, added Dave. Style changes have also hurt stores like Sussman’s.
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 23
GRAND OPENINGS Gramma Jo’s opens in Clifford By Bonnie Whitehead CLIFFORD - Gramma Jo’s is the newest eating establishment in Clifford. Owners Jim and Jo-Anne Weltz were joined by Mayor George Bridge, dignitaries, community leaders, and staff to snip the ribbon for the grand opening celebration this fall. Staff began serving free coffee and cupcakes at 7am during the opening. Former owners of Greenley’s Restaurant, Phyllis and Bud Greenley, officially handed over the keys in August. By Sept. 11, the new eatery was open, just in time to celebrate Grandparents Day. Gramma Jo’s offers home-stye meals. The restaurant is open seven days a week from 7am to 8pm, opening an hour later on Sunday. Gramma Jo’s is located at 3 Elora St. N. in Clifford. Call 519-327-4726.
Erin councillor John Brennan, officiated and cut the ribbon at the Sept. 10 grand opening of Chic and Foxy on Main Street in the village of Erin.
The Van Grootheest team officially opened its new Century 21 Excalibur Reality Inc. building at 645 St. David St. North on Oct. 21. Cutting the ribbon were, from left: Eric, Paul and Nathan Van Grootheest, Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton and Bryan Paul of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
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The long awaited opening of the new part of the Ecclestone Financial Group (EFG) building at the corner of St. David and St. Patrick St. in Fergus took place this fall. EFG added 5,600 square feet and welcomed other businesses to the building. This is a new concept in Fergus to have so many businesses in the same building. There are now six offices in this one. Those occupying the building are, from left: Amanda Pitcher of First Capital Financial, Brad Salter of the Mortgage Centre, Cheryl Carlo of Simply Bookeeping, Emily Rawson of the Farquharson Team with Remax Real Estate Centre, Ted Ecclestone of EFG and Jamie Gerber of Rafferty Insurance.
Palmerston company wins Small Business Challenge PALMERSTON - Ag Business and Crop Inc., is one of 10 winners of the Globe and Mail’s Small Business Challenge contest. This Palmerston-based small business focuses on introducing and educating both farmers and agriculture specialists on groundbreaking precision tools, which helps farmers to make ‘sound farming’ decisions from precision data, while improving their crops and maximizing efficiency in a sustainable way. “Winning this award is an honour and we were completely shocked and humbled by being one of the regional winners in the Small Business Challenge,” stated business owner Felix Weber. “It is affirming having the work that our team has done recognized as we’ve grown over the last six years. “We’re passionate about helping other people meet their goals, whether it is with UAV’s/drones, automated soil samplers and other high tech tools, and we love what we do. “As a growing small business that’s proud to be in rural Canada, we are hopeful this recognition will help us continue our growth, and be
Felix Weber demonstrates the E-Bee Advanced Agriculture Drone. competitive with larger companies.” The challenge contest regional awards give each winner $1,500 worth of Telus services or devices, while acknowledging outstanding small businesses in Canada’s Atlantic, north, west and central regions. “It’s great to see vibrant businesses like these operating in all regions of the country,” said Sarah Efron, the Globe and Mail’s small business editor and challenge contest judge. “These businesses are fantastic examples of companies that have built their strength by finding their local niches, and now they’re in a position to scale their business into other regions and countries.”
BUSINESS LEADER WELLINGTON COUNTY | 25
So you’re on Facebook. You’re actively posting new articles, status updates, images and videos with the hopes of attracting more people to your business. You notice several likes, lots of comments, and a good number of shares. Needless to say, you’re excited.
But what does it all mean .…
Are you seeing revenue gains from your digital marketing efforts or are you just happy to see your Facebook page receive lots of likes and shares? I don’t like leaving it up to chance, and neither should you. So, what do you do? DREW MOCHRIE
THE SOCIAL CORNER: How to Measure Your Facebook Ads and Website Conversions using Facebook Pixel
I’m a big fan of paid traffic on Facebook and in large part because of Facebook Pixel. This amazing tracking tool lets you measure website conversion results from your Facebook ad campaigns. If you’re looking for an easy way to track your cost per conversions on Facebook, using Facebook Pixel is key. Let’s look at a simple 3-step process to succeed with Facebook to website conversions: Step 1: Installing the pixel code Option A) Using an integration or tag manager This option will allow you to add the Facebook Pixel to your website without having to edit any code. The benefit to this is you won’t have to spend a lot of time or money setting up your site to track Facebook conversions. Option B) Copy and paste the code If your website doesn’t support third party integrations or support tag managers (example: Google Tag Manager) you will have to install the Pixel base code and the event code on the appropriate pages. The pixel base code tracks activity and should be installed on every page. The event code should be added to pages where an ‘event’ or action will take place. For example, a business trying to capture email addresses for a newsletter can place an event code on the ‘complete registration’ page. This will let you know how many people inputted their email address versus those who didn’t convert. Step 2: Optimize your Facebook ads for website conversions When you create a new ad campaign in Facebook you’re presented with several targeting options. Select ‘Increase conversions on your website/website conversions’ to show your ads to people more likely to convert. On the next page, you will notice a ‘conversions’ section within your ad set. Select the appropriate event code (i.e. ‘complete registration’ = complete form, sign-up for service, download e-book, etc.) for the goal you’re trying measuring results for. Once you have completed that step you will then need to define your audience and decide on your budget and schedule. Deciding on the type of audience to target is very important when trying to maximize return on investment (we’ll tackle that issue at a later date). Step 3: Measure your results and increase conversions Once you have your pixel and Facebook ad campaign set and ready to go you’ll start seeing conversions and the associated cost per conversion. I don’t need to tell you this is a very powerful tool for tracking ad results. If you notice an ad is performing well and your cost per conversion is acceptable, you can increase your ad spend and ultimately increase your return. If you find your cost per conversion is unacceptable, you will need to find where the leak in the funnel exists. This can be anything from the type of language you use in your ads to the page speed of your website pages; user experience, or UX, is a very important factor affecting your conversions. We’ll discuss how to improve user experience soon. Posting status updates, links to articles, images and/or videos is only a small part of your social media marketing plan. You will miss conversion opportunities if you are comparing likes, comments and shares as your only measurement. Facebook Pixel is a great tool to help you increase your return on ad spend; finding out your return on investment is one of the first steps in scaling your Facebook marketing efforts.
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