Dr. Mohamed Al-Janabi

Dr. Stacey Doncaster

Dr. Alexander Bickerton

Book a free consultation today and receive 100 Airmiles ® ! 1.877.312.3229 | 332 Willow Street, Suite 301 Truro, NS B2N 5A5 | IF YOU HAVE DENTURES OR MISSING TEETH, WE HAVE THE PERMANENT SOLUTION. Learn how East Coast Dental Centre can help restore your smile with “All-on-4”.

SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • APRIL 2017 In additional to our extensive dental implant treatment options, we now offer a full range of general dental services.


EDITOR Lee Atwater




RESEARCH Sarah Lajoie Alia Morash Ashley Lindsay




EDITORIAL David MacDonald Jamie Barrie Katie Davis





Denise Alison Ceiledh Monk

W hat started as an outing to watch some whales turned into a love for a small island known for being the gateway to the Bay of Fundy. The drive to Brier Island was amazing, through coastal villages with two ferries offering opportunities to stretch your legs, meet others travellers and take some amazing photos of the area and views. Once we arrived to our des- tination, The Brier Island Lodge, we were great by an amazing staff and given our rooms. The view from the main lounge was breathtaking as we check in and had the opportunity to speak with Virginia Tudor for the first time. As you will read in David MacDonald’s story about Brier Island and the Lodge, you will see that Virginia is an amazing ambassador for the area and advocate for the eco- tourism industry. After an amazing meal at the Lodge in their beautiful restaurant that feature not only delicious food but a fantastic view regardless of your table. Once having had the chance to retire to our rooms, each having its own magnificent view. We had a great evening and woke in the morning to head out on our whale watching adventure. It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky and the water was calm as could be. We spent about two and a half hours out on the Bay of Fundy, unfortunately it was early June and the whales were more interested in feeding then coming up to see us, but the cruise was still joyful and very educational. The tour operators were quick to point out rare birds and wild life and give a history of the waters and the area making the cruise very enjoyable with or without the whales. Once we returned to the dock and were back on land we roamed the Island and what it had to offer. We were amazed that we had never been to this beau- tiful jewel of an area before as it is truly one of the most beautiful places we have been and would recommend for both recreational or for business as the Lodge does offer all the facilities needed to house a first class event or confer-

ence and the Island residences and businesses are extremely friendly and willing to working with you to create a vacation or conference experience that will soon not be forgotten and you and your guests wanting to get back to this amazing place again. We hope that you enjoy all of our amazing feature and articles, as you start to think of those summer plans. Whether it is building or renovating your current home or investment properties, expanding your business or looking for a way to meet your hiring demands we have something for you in this issue. We hope that you spring had sprung and we looking forward to hearing and telling your successes stories and keeping you update in what is hap- pening in business.


APRIL 2017 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE PO Box 350007 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3M 0G3 P: 613 699 6672 E:



When I spoke with Virginia Tudor – the owner and operator of the Brier Island Lodge – over the phone in mid-March, a nor’easter had just swept across

Nova Scotia. If you’re not familiar with Nova Scotia geography, Brier Island is the most southwesterly point of the province and sits at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy. (For you birds of passage, it’s a four hour drive along NS-101 from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.) Spotlight on Business Magazine’s Halifax office wasn’t worse for wear that morning, but I was curious how the approximately 200 permanent residents of this island – which is only 7.5 km (4.7 mi) long and 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide – fared against the freezing rain, sleet, snow, and gales.

“We’re half a kilometre from Long Island with the Grand Passage between us, so Mother Nature is truly in control,” she told me with a halting stoicism in her voice. “


In late March, Spotlight on Business Magazine had the opportunity to speak with the Senior Director of Human Resources and Retail at Sobeys Atlantic, Stephanie Forsythe. The opportunity arose after speaking with five represen- tatives from the DIRECTIONS Council of Nova Scotia, a non-profit vocational services society for citizens with disabilities...







12 STRATIGRO SMALL BUSINESS TIP FOR APRIL How our Attitude Affects our Productivity


Like a Trip into Canada’s Past (with WIFI)


Wayne Gohl Jr., President of Doubl-Kold, has been in the refrigeration business since 1978, so you can imagine that he’s been told every joke, heard every idiom, and asked every wisenheimer question. Yes, he keeps it cool. No, his all-time favourite football player isn’t William “The Refrigerator” Perry. Yes, his refrigerator is running – but it’s way bigger than you’d think and quite a sight to see running down Ahtanum Road in Yakima, Washington. Doubl-Kold is an Industrial Refrigeration and Controls Contractor licensed in 11 states. Wayne and his staff of more than 60, including a full-time engineering staff of three PEs (Professional Engineers), have “done refrigeration projects...

PROGRESSIVE CABINETS Light for Living your way, whatever that may be


Custom Homes, Obtainable Luxury


Community Leadership to Support Citizens with Disabilities


60 RAGOT CAD / CAM SERVICES From Paris, with LOVE (and Robots) 66 DOUBL-KOLD Staying hot in cold business for nearly four decades means you never stop



TAKE A LOOK at the Store Locator at You’ll notice two outlying Google Maps pins. One of these wandering franchises is well north of Living Lighting’s Eastern and Southern Ontario stronghold, in Timmons. The other is east, in Dart- mouth, Nova Scotia. Lauren Langlois is an American Lighting Association (ALA) certified lighting associate and the Showroom Manager...



The Road to Recovery




A IDACA MEDIA understands that small and medium size enterprises and businesses are key to the successful growth of any economy and just as import- ant as big businesses to the global economy as a whole. By putting a spotlight on your business, organization or commu- nity with effective and interactive media and advertising we will help you capture the interest of business leaders and potential clients, giving you an opportunity to promote your brand and grow market share through mobile, online, print and social media support, helping your business connect and stay engaged with your customers.



When I first stepped into the beautiful East Coast Dental Centre (ECDC) office on Willow Street in Downtown Truro, Nova Scotia to interview Dr. Mohamed Al-Janabi, I was hoping for the complete tour – and I wasn’t disappointed.  It’s an expansive space – over 6,500 square feet – with a gorgeous modern vibe. It certainly doesn’t feel like your average dental office.  When I pointed this out, Dr. Al-Janabi said, “ECDC was designed with our patients in mind and we took into consideration every step of the patient journey.” This couldn’t be truer. The bistro bar adjacent to the waiting area is stocked with free snacks and refreshments for patients and guests.  And the diversions don’t end there. There are even flat-screen TVs and desktop computers for patients and guests to enjoy. Even the recovery room is cozy with its lounge chairs, blankets, and large fireplace. ECDC really does have all the comforts ...



business. Take control of your future, increase your income, find your path to a better lifestyle. Get the info you need to find the business that is right for you! For more information of the event: montreal-spring

The meeting place for Canada’s Trucking Industry showcasing over 120 exhibitors and the latest innova- tion for trucks, equipment and tech- nology with new products, new ideas and logistics solutions.

For more information of the event:



April 21 st – 23 rd , 2017

Scotia Bank Convention Centre - Niagara Falls, ON Canada

April 18 th , 2017

Victoria Inn Hotel & Convention Centre - Winnipeg, MB, Canada

This Expo is a premier internation- al tasting event featuring wines, beers and spirits from around the globe and stunning regional wines direct from neighbouring vineyards. These delectable samples will be served alongside fresh, local cuisine prepared by top area restaurants. For more information of the event: http://www.niagarafoodandwineex-

This event showcases over 166 exhib- itors and the latest automation, industrial, meteorology equipment, machine tools and services associ- ated with the Industrial Products, Minerals, Metals & Ores industries.


April 22 nd – 23 rd , 2017

The Palais des congrès de Montréal – Montreal, QC, Canada

For more information of the event:




Largest  Own Business” Event, This event showcas- es product from Business Services, Franchising & Retailing industries. Buying a franchise or proven business opportunity eliminates all the hard work of opening a business inde- pendently and will help you avoid much of the risk of starting a new “Own Your



April 20 th – 22 nd , 2017

April 21 st – 23 rd , 2017

Place Bonaventure – Montreal, QC, Canada

Metro Toronto Convention Centre - Toronto, ON Canada



familiar with all kinds of fitness programs, home improvement products, food products, health and wellness products etc. in the Apparel & Clothing, Medica l& Phar- maceutical, Travel & Tourism, House- hold Consumables, Ayurvedic & Herbal, Household Services, Food & Beverage industries.

bilities and prospects to the exhibi- tors and introduces them to new cus- tomers.

Total Health 2017 our nation’s premier national health show, will celebrate 40 years of striving to make a differ- ence in the world, bringing cutting edge knowledge to the public by the leading innovators in the natural health field. Our speakers will focus on creating good health and preventing disease using natural methods: good nutri- tion, living foods, herbs, natural sup- plements, diverse healing modalities, energy medicine, organic gardening, traditional farming, agricultural bio- diversity, healthy homes, ecologi- cally based communities, renewable energy source and preserving a healthy environment for our children. We as consumers must choose foods and medicines which do no harm to people, animals or our planet.

For more information of the event:


For more information of the event:

May 1 st – 2 nd , 2017


Paris Las Vegas - Las Vegas, NV, USA

The Tortila Industry Association Convention and Exposition is one of the top most events which will bring together all the producers, suppliers, distributors together in a live forum from different corners of the world. As we know that the recent food market is changing rapidly as per the tastes of the individuals which have prompted the producers to produce such types of food and refreshment items like chips which are healthy as well as tasty to eat. Watching the requirements of the individuals, there is a need of having in-depth knowl- edge about the markets. For more information of the event: tentID=106

April 21 st – 23 rd , 2017

Colosseum Sun Life Financia - Rimouski, QC, Canada

For more information of the event:

This event showcases over 90 exhib- itors with the latest outfitters, boats, mountain bikes, motorcycles, RVs, tractors, docks, hunting and fishing equipment. Everything you need to enjoythe great outdoors in one location.

For more information of the event:


April 30 th – May 3 rd , 2017

Stewart Hotel – New York, NY, USA


The International Fashion Jewel- lery & Accessory-New York is quite an exclusive event that features jewelries, fashion jewelries, jewelry accessories, contemporary jewelries, silver and gold jewelries, designer jewelries, occasional jewelries, hair jewelries, jewelry materials and lots more to talk about. It is an interna- tional platform that features the best collection of jewelry products and accessories and attracts buyers from around the world. The event is also known to give huge business possi-

April 21 st – 23 rd , 2017

Exhibition Park Halifax - Halifax, NS, Canada

This event showcases products like opportunity to exchange their hew ideas, thoughts and views with the consultants, agents and pro- fessional experts related to these sectors. By exchanging these ideas and views these experts can get



May 1 st – 4 th , 2017

NRG Park – Houston, TX, USA

TheOffshoreTechnologyConference (OTC) is where energy professionals meet to exchange ideas and opinions to advance scientific and technical knowledge for offshore resources and environmental matters.OTC is the largest event in the world for the oil and gas industry featuring more than 2,300 exhibitors, and attendees representing 100 countries.


May 1 st – 2 nd , 2017

Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile – Chicago, IL, USA

For more information of the event:

This year we are pleased to host 250 international winegrowers, bringing their best wines from: Italy, France, Spain, Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania, Argentina, Chile and Aus- tralia. A great opportunity to increase your network! Importers, Distributors and Retailers will join us from all the USA, Canada and South America to be part of WWM 2017.


May 2 nd – 4 th , 2017

Caesars Palace - Las Vegas, NV, USA

Obtain the knowledge and resources necessary to excel in today’s housing marketplace. You can choose from top quality educational programs and special events; network with the most successful professionals in the industry including manufacturers, community owners/managers, sup- pliers, financial service providers, insurers, retailers and more; learn what is working for others and how it can work for you.  In addition, you can also establish new business rela- tionships to enhance your potential for growth; develop new ideas that will make a meaningful difference for your business; hear from powerful general session speakers; and see the latest and greatest technologies and products available for the industry by visiting the exhibit floor. 

For more information of the event:

For more information of the event:




By Denise Alison W hile working on a project recently I was having a super positive day and that made me really productive, because I was excited about what I was working on and the opportunities it would create. Having that excitement gave me some clarity on what I wanted to accomplish. It gave me the motivation needed that day to knock off the many things on my to-do list. That got me to thinking about how our attitude affects our productivity, and ultimately, our success. POSITIVE Ever have one of those days where you are in a super good mood and are just so excited about your business and all the opportunities that lie ahead? On those days, it’s so easy to get up in the morning and get to work. Work feels easy and fun. The projects you are working on are exciting. Time flies by and you barely even notice, because you are loving what you are doing. You’re able to let minor setbacks slide. Your perspective is focused on the “What if I can” instead of the “What if I can’t”. You become an unstoppable machine of productivity. And you’re having fun while doing it! You think about all of the possi- bilities of what you can accomplish. You focus on the opportunities you are facing. So much in life depends on our attitude. You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude. You can turn an experience into a lesson. You know the saying: when life gives you lemons… It’s up to you to take something from your experiences and turn them into something else! NEGATIVE So what happens when you have a negative outlook? When you are negative about your situation, it’s really hard to get things done. It makes it difficult to In just a few short hours you’ve gotten tons accomplished!

move forward. Being negative sucks out all of your energy and motivation.

If you think you can’t accomplish something. You’re right.

If all you focus on is how hard it is to get anything done, instead of the fun you are having, or the possibili- ties, it will run you down. If you focus too much on one bad thing that happened, it will show. It’s so easy to fall into negativity. People seem to be programmed to complain. It seems like when one person experiences success, others are quick to judge them and try to break them. Look, we all have some type of crap to deal with. Whether it was an investment in a product that didn’t take off, a partnership gone sour, or some hater bad mouthing you. What benefit will you get from dwelling on it? That’s right, none. It’s best to just let it go and move on. You will feel so much better without that chip on your shoulder!


I’ve met hundreds of entrepreneurs



from all walks of life. Do you know the one thing that separates a successful entrepreneur, from one who probably will not achieve what they want? A positive attitude. When I meet with a positive business owner, I can feel their excitement about their business, and I always think “This person is going places”. This is the type of person I love working with. When I meet with a business owner who is a downer, and only focuses on the negative, I have a hard time getting excited and seeing the pos- sibilities, no matter how interesting their business is. This is because I know they will not accomplish amazing things with a negative outlook. Unfortunately, many fantastic, prom- ising businesses fail, because the owner lets all the negative things get them down. When a business owner has this type of attitude, there isn’t much I can do for them. They need to be able to “visualize success” (yes that sounds cheesy). Do you know anyone who is positive about everything 100% of the time? That sounds pretty annoying, actually. I don’t know if there are any people like that in real life. The important thing is to focus on the positive MOST of the time. It’s easy to get tired as a business owner. A lot of us work alone, work long hours, and it’s just plain hard. It’s easy to lose optimism, so you need to remind yourself of the positive. An important role I play with my cus- tomers is helping them focus on the positive, and getting them re-excit- ed. I help them realize that with a bit of planning and support, they CAN achieve their dreams goals! They need to be excited about their business and what they can accomplish. LIFE ISN’T BLACK AND WHITE, NEITHER IS BUSINESS

HI. MY NAME IS DENISE ALISON AND I AM OBSESSED WITH HELPING ENTREPRENEURS GROW THEIR BUSINESS AND REACH THEIR POTENTIAL. Let’s face the obvious first: I’m not your typical business coach! Obvious reasons aside, I am a very creative, quirky person, who is not afraid to tell it like it is, and learn from my mistakes along the way! I am putting a new twist on an old idea. While business coaching and consulting used to mean driving all over the place to present work- shops and meet with customers (and charging them an arm and a leg to do so), I’m not interested in that model. (FYI, I live in rural Nova Scotia, so getting anywhere involves a long enough drive). Like most entrepreneurs, I am a risk taker. Stratigro offers all its programs virtually, so there is no need for me or you to travel. We also offer online workshops, free challenges, and tons of free content on our blog! I became a business coach and created Stratigro, because I saw so many entrepreneurs struggle when it comes to running their business, and saw that there was a need for business coaching that was practical, helpful, and FUN. I formerly ran my own market research company. I quickly realized that I loved the feeling of helping entrepreneurs grow their business; helping small business owners was my calling. I didn’t just decide this out of nowhere; I’ve been under the influence of entre- preneurs my entire life!  However, I knew that I didn’t want to go on this new adventure alone, so I called up the person I know who knew the most about business growth: my dad, Tim Alison, a lifelong entrepre- neur and long-time business coach I’ve helped hundreds of entrepre- neurs grow their business and, in some instances, put the fun back in their business! So, if you’re tired of spinning your wheels with strategies that just don’t work, from people who don’t get you or your business, I am here to help.




By Jamie Barrie H old off on that college degree if money is your motivation. A bachelor’s degree is not what is used to be in today’s US job market. The reces- sion of 2007-2010 has made is hard for wages to rise. In fact, wages for college graduates have fallen, a lot. Younger career minded workers are the hardest hit according to an unpublished analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education. The pain is not being felt equally across all areas. Chemical and computer engineering majors are still seeing realistic starting wages at $60,000 as the main starting point for entry level positions since the recession. The data is not so good for science majors and business grads.

With science major earning $31,000 on average in 2015 for a starting wage which is down 10% from 5 years ago.

Ban Cheah, a research professor at Georgetown who compiled the data

stated,”It has been like this for the past five, six years now,” adding it is a little depressing. The good news is experience still pays. Grads 35 to 54 have not seen a momentous change in their wages over the same period. Technology and automa- tion are at the heart of much of it. Always the enemy of manu- facturing jobs, these two forces are now impacting white collar employment. Roles such as paralegals and researchers are in lessor demand as computers have made some of their functions redundant. There are some degrees that are still highly popular. A petro- leum engineering major with work experience earned $179,000 a year on average in 2015 which is nearly $50,000 more than 5 years earlier. Additionally, philosophy and public policy majors have also seen an increase in wages. You can boost your wages by chasing that graduate degree which is increasingly scoring higher on the salary scale than a basic undergraduate degree. Additionally, things like intern- ships and soft skills mean a lot. Jeff Selingo is a professor of practice at Arizona State University who tells students “Just getting a degree doesn’t matter anymore,” Selingo added ”What matters more are the undergraduate experiences that you have.” So if you are a student it is good to look for co-ops or summer employment that builds your resume not just your bank account. If you are an employer this is a great opportunity to high a student as you might just gain an experienced employee after graduation.



By Katie Davis K raft Heinz shakes up big food sector as it looks for acquisitions for increased market share and sales growth. Campbell Soup Co., General Mills Inc., Kellogg Co. and Mondelez International Inc can breathe a little easier now that Kraft Heinz has put Unilever in its acquisition targets. The only question is for how long and if Kraft Heinz can persuade Unilever to form the world’s second-biggest food company. This could be a hard task as the two corporations have very differing cultures with Unilever Chief Executive Officer, Paul Polman stating that their focus is on emphasized sustain- ability and that profit and social responsibility are company goals, However, for Kraft Heinz it’s all about a relentless focus on the bottom line.

the merger would unite the two companies making them the second largest food come with only Nestle SA being larger, for now. If Unilever agree to merger U.S. competitors will be forced to now compete with two industry giants that could prompt General Mills, Kellogg, Campbell and Mondelez to seek deals of their own or to merger themselves. We are in a time where big food companies struggle to grow. With the millennial foodie culture and consumers seeking out less-processed products and spend moving to companies promising more natural ingredients and more social engagement with their customers. For now these start ups are offering something big food has not been able to figure for some time now and that is how to develop new products that reignite sales.

Kraft Heinz has offered a $143 billion USD deal to Unilever,



By Katie Davis T he reports of how business is going the dollar stores retail sectors depends on which side of the 49 th parallel border you are on. North of the border line, Dollarama, Canada’s biggest discount retailer, with 1,100 stores across in the country, has seen it shares reaching new highs with company’s results exceeding analysts’ earnings estimates. Which is great news for Dollarama as the company is planning to accelerate its aggressive expansion plans which saw 26 new stores open last quarter and looks to open 1,700 stores in the next eight to 10 years, which is more than the 1,400 previously anticipated. Meanwhile, south of the 49 th , Dollarama’s U.S. counter- parts Dollar General Corp. and Dollar Tree Inc. shares have been dropping faster than their prices with decreases of 20 percent or more from recent highs. The news could be getting worst for those south of the border as this segment buys more than half of its goods outside of North America, which would effected if the Trump administration implements a border tax on imported goods

in the U.S. as this would have no impact on Canadian based retailers, but could be another heavy blow to those south of the board in the battle to make America great again. So what is the secret to success in the north? Well it is not much of a secret but more of being one with their custom- ers. Dollarama is just as frugal using the same cost saving strategies as its customers. However, it is not all about being frugal for Dollarama it is also about being selective of the markets and segments that it offers. Staying out of fresh food segment has played an important part of their success as U.S. rivals like Metro Inc saw opportunities in using food to attract customers however this was a poor decision as a recent run of food deflation has hurt margins for grocers and discounts chains on both sides of the border. Although Dollarama is very selective of productive segments, it is constantly testing new ideas, but knows the key is to keeping costs low, allowing them to give more value to their customers and them coming back for their party accessories, kitchenware and seasonal goods.



By David MacDonald I f Amazon pockets one in every two dollars spent online in the U.S. and 44 percent of American households are Amazon Prime users, what does that make Walmart’s ShippingPass? Shut down.

But don’t start selling off your WMT stock.

Walmart is still taking on the world’s largest internet-based retailer, but just on new terms. Well, sort of new terms.

Now, with no membership or enrollment required, Walmart is offering free two-day shipping on all orders $35 and up.

If you’re one of the 44 percent – and have been since 2015 – you’ll remember that Amazon’s minimum price for free shipping started at $35 before increasing it to $49 last year.

Well,Walmart’smove has forcedAmazon to turnback the clock.

All non-Prime users who place an order that includes $25 of books or $35 of other eligible items will receive free shipping. These orders have a shipping time of five-to- eight days. Amazon Prime users are guaranteed free two-day shipping on all eligible items. A standard Prime account is available for $99 and Prime Student for $49. Amazon offers monthly payment plans and a host of sign-up benefits, including Prime Video, Prime Reading, and Prime Music.



When I spoke with Virginia Tudor – the owner and operator of the Brier Island Lodge – over the phone in mid-March, a nor’easter had just swept across Nova Scotia. If you’re not familiar with Nova Scotia geography, Brier Island is the most southwesterly point of the province and sits at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy. (For you birds of passage, it’s a four hour drive along NS-101 from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport.) Spotlight on Business Magazine’s Halifax office wasn’t worse for wear that morning, but I was curious how the approximately 200 permanent residents of this island – which is only 7.5 km (4.7 mi) long and 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide – fared against the freezing rain, sleet, snow, and gales. “We’re half a kilometre from Long Island with the Grand Passage between us, so Mother Nature is truly in control,” she told me with a halting stoicism in her voice. “





By David MacDonald S potlight on Business Magazine: I think a lot of readers are wondering what I am and that is: How does the weather impact your livelihood on Brier Island? VT: An extended bad weather forecast during peak season can lead to mass booking cancellations, which isn’t pretty on the revenue side of things.  High winds cause the most havoc, that and heavy fog. “The weather, and the seasons, actually, is what make Brier Island what it is. It’s as natural and untouched as it comes.” That’s the combo that keeps the whale watching boats from sailing.  On the positive side, which there always is, those who stay on Brier Island during storms and who are adventurous enough to head out along the 25 kilometres of shoreline – at a safe distance, of course – are treated to some amazing storm watching and wave shows. The weather, and the seasons, actually, is what make Brier Island what it is. It’s as natural and untouched as it comes. Yes, I understand that you’re a strong proponent of eco-tourism. VT: It’s integral to what we do. We’re in-line with the sus- tainability initiatives in Digby County, but we also try to go above and beyond.  We follow similar waste and cost reduction practices that all hotels do, in the way of on-de- mand linen refreshing.  Being on wells rather than a town water supply makes water conservation extremely import- ant to us, so plumbing is tailored for low consumption. We try to reduce the plastics used and opt for biodegradable products in all departments.  We compost much of our kitchen waste and use the compost in our landscaping. We have on-site greenhouses that we use to grow some of our food in, and this year we are focusing on sourcing our food

supplies within 100 kilometres to offer fresh, local dishes on our menu.

The island is also a mecca to nature lovers for so many reasons. One of the big reasons is that it’s home to one of the world’s rarest plants: the Eastern Mountain Avens or Geum peckii. The only two places in Canada that this flower grows are here on Brier Island and in the East Ferry area of Digby Neck, not far away. The flora of Brier Island is very plentiful and diverse due to seed drop from the many migrating birds that stopover in the area.  There are actually 21 different species of orchids that grow here. Botanists travel from around the world to see the flora. The Eastern Mountain Avens is a protected plant species, so it’s a look with your eyes experience.  With the emphasis on nature and the reality of conservancy now, the Island has become a real centre for research. There are a lot of unique opportunities, especially for people who are into botany, here on the island. The bog here that the nature conservancy is reclaiming is only one of three of its type in North America. They’re raising the water levels in the bog to protect the Eastern Mountain Avens.



A third of the island is actually owned by the Nova Scotia Nature Trust, and not just for the flora. The fauna, as I men- tioned, plays a major role in the biodiversity of Brier Island. It is, in fact, one of the major resting spots for migratory birds on the eastern seaboard. There is a species of hawk that migrates through here every fall, for instance. There are thousands and thousands of them. It’s something to see. Every two years, we host nature retreats by Speyside Wildlife, a group out of Scotland famous for their guided birdwatching and wildlife holidays around the world. Brier Island is also part of the Southwest Nova Biosphere. Growing up in Nova Scotia myself, I remember hearing about the dancing lambs at Brier Lodge. It seems like animals have always played an important role in the everyday life of residents and the experience of guests. VT : Animals have been associated with the lodge from day one. I’ve been interested in farm animals, particularly heritage breeds, for a number of years. Actually, when we opened the lodge, the Cotswold sheep was an endangered farm animal, along with the Berkshire pig, and some of the heritage breeds of chickens. Well, I decided I’d get myself a sheep for a pet – but I didn’t originally get a Cotswold, I



And for those who aren’t familiar with the story – or reputation, really – of Teddy and Dudley, can you please say a few words? VT: I love this story: When we first opened as a bed and breakfast, we had two dogs. They were rescues, a German Shepardmix and a poodle breed: Teddy andDudley. There’s a trail that’s still used today that runs from the house to my shore property. It follows about a quarter of the coastline and then up to the northern lighthouse and back down to the road to the lodge. It’s a loop and the scenery is beauti- ful. Our two dogs appointed themselves tour guides. They would wait outside for guests – who always want to know where the walking trails are – and as you probably know, dogs get into routines quite easily. “Even the CBC television show ‘On the Road Again’ with Wayne Rostad did a feature on Teddy and Dudley when they retired. It was a tear-jerker about their final trip.” Eventually, the trail was named after them: The Teddy and Dudley Trail. They became famous. The local paper did a weekly blurb called ‘The Teddy and Dudley Update’ and the CBC Radio program ‘As it Happens’ profiled them as well. Even the CBC television show ‘On the Road Again’ with Wayne Rostad did a feature on Teddy and Dudley when they retired. It was a tear-jerker about their final trip. Dudley actually lived for 19 years. So Dudley was a loyal employee for 19 of the 28 year history of Brier Island Lodge? That’s incredibly touching. How has the lodge and its services evolved throughout

got a Dorset. Well, it took-off from there. We didn’t know that the Dorset was pregnant – and she had twins! Eventu- ally, I got a beautiful Cotswold ram from Ross Farms here in Nova Scotia and ended up with a pretty large flock of sheep out here on the island. I have six Cotswolds right now, in fact. They graze on the lawn here, actually. What we used to do, the staff I mean, we’d often use the sheep as a distraction for the customers in the restaurant when things got really backed-up in the kitchen. We’d let the sheep out and they’d immediately run for the front lawn, which is right in front of the dining room window. The lambs in particular would get excited and start running up and down the driveway and jump on a rock positioned at the bottom of the driveway and do a little dance. Every person in the dining room would be glued to the lambs and sheep. If your meal was late, you didn’t care. “It’s home to one of the world’s rarest plants.” The people who enjoy this more than anybody are seniors who grew up on mixed farms, which is a thing of the past. It reminds them of their childhood, all the different animals together. It takes them down memory lane when they’re sitting in the lawn chairs with the sheep all around them.



the years? VT : It’s evolved quite a bit. Originally, before I had the lodge, I tried the bed and breakfast scene for a year or two. I learned from that experience that I needed to be in the hotel business. There was so much demand and only one other bed and breakfast on the island – and she had up-to 50 people sleeping in that house every night during peak season. It was really apparent that we needed to have a lodge here. I built my house here first, but both the house and the business were built with the view in mind. When I built my house, it wasn’t the typical design for the area. There’s a tra- dition in many small communities in Nova Scotia where the locals take tours of people’s homes when they’re built or renovated. What people wanted to do more than anything was stand on the deck and see the view. During that first year I must have had a hundred people tell me that this was the perfect place to build a lodge or hotel because of the view. When we built the original hotel, we received help from ACOA [Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency], but that came with a lot of restrictions. We didn’t end up with what we had in mind. One mistake we made in the original hotel was making the dining room too large. We quickly realized that we didn’t have enough rooms. We were almost imme- diately past capacity. We knew that if we were going to

survive as a business, we needed more rooms. We put together the means to renovate and make some additions.

With the additional rooms, it then became apparent that we needed a communal place, that wasn’t the dining room, for guests to gather to specifically enjoy the view. That’s when we built the lounge on. We can easily seat 50 people in the lounge. Our last phase of expansion was to add-on to the dining room because it became too small. It’s now licensed for a hundred people. We’ve also added several more rooms. We now have 38 and we’re happy with that number for now. We have a range of rooms. We have rooms that start at $109, and they’re the original rooms we opened with. They’re a little smaller than standard hotel rooms. Ten dollars more gets you a small walk-out deck. From there, there’s our Superior Rooms, which all have an ocean view. Those rooms have either two queens, or one king size bed. We use those mainly for our packages. We get a lot of off-season weddings. We don’t do weddings during peak season – we’re just too busy as it is. When we do weddings, though, we get people coming from all over and with different spins on their ceremonies. Sometimes the wedding is done on the grounds of the lodge, some- times it’s done at the lighthouse here on the island, or on one of the whale watching boats, or down on one of the



really opened up the corporate retreat market for us.

We have total of 38 rooms of various set-ups, as well as a lounge and two dining rooms that can be adjusted to fit the needs of our retreat guest.   Our kitchen facilities can be used by the group directly if they wish to prepare their own meals, which is an accommodation available in the off-sea- son only. Otherwise, our chefs can create custommenus for any group. You must be very conscious of shaping the employee culture of the Lodge because of this. VT : I come at it from two angles: I’m a resident and a business owner. We hire seasonally and the amount of employees depends on what time of year it is.  During the off-season, we can maintain operations with one-to- three staff members and at the peak of tourist season up to 30 people. As the owner and operator, I never stop working – and neither does my daughter-in- law and marketing director, Amy Tudor. The Lodge has been in operation for nearly 30 years and in that time it has been a first job for many Islanders. Being a family business, many family members have worked here as well. Finding willing and qualified workers on the Island has always been a challenge for us and we have in the past hired employees from off the Island and offered on-site staff accommodation. This year we are investigat- ing the possibility of using foreign workers and hiring immi- grants for positions not sought after, for whatever reason, by local and in-province workers. “Bringing employees to Brier Island can allow them to focus on the corporate goals, each other, and themselves.  It is a place that can rejuvenate them, but also excite them with nature adventures, like hiking and whale watching.” I imagine that businesses on Brier Island work quite closely with one another to survive and thrive. VT: Yes, the fishing village of Westport keeps the commu- nity going in the off-season. That’s also where the ferry service takes people from Freeport on Long Island. There are two short ferry trips to get to Brier Island, actually. Both ferries run once every hour, 24 hours a day and are on-call after midnight. The cost is only seven dollars per car, cash only. You pay to get here, but it’s free when you’re leaving.

beaches – and, of course, we do the reception either way. We have some great pictures of weddings.

When we opened, the Canadian dollar was quite low – as it is right now – and we had a lot of American business. That has continued, off-and- on, over the years, depending on our dollar. Do you get a lot of lodgers from outside of the tourism demographic? VT : Yes, whenever there is major construction work in the area, we are often the choice of the work crews for accom- modation. We hosted an international crew of workers who were laying underwater power cables to connect the Islands to the main grids.  The project lasted over a month and the crew became like our family. What does a corporate retreat at Brier Island Lodge look like? VT : A corporate retreat on Brier Island is first and foremost an escape from the over stimulating urban environment. Bringing employees to Brier Island can allow them to focus on the corporate goals, each other, and themselves.  It is a place that can rejuvenate them, but also excite them with nature adventures, like hiking and whale watching. The Island and the Lodge has long suffered a disadvan- tage in the world of internet access.  Connections over the years were slow, unreliable, and costly – as satellite and hub services were the only options.  About four years ago, Mainland Telecom – a company out of Kentville, Nova Scotia – setup a successful high speed wireless service.  This affordable and reliable service has

There are no longer any local commercial companies that offer fishing expeditions or short day-trips.

There was a gentlemen, years ago, who did it for a year or



so, but he decided to move into whale watching instead. Whale watching is the big draw here. It was the advent about 30 years ago and the subsequent rise in popularity of whale watching that really proved to me that larger scale accommodations were necessary on the Island. We have always promoted the Island as a whole, but a special mention should go out to our whale watching partners, Brier Island Whale and Seabird Tours, and Mariner Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours. In 2018 we are hoping to have the 1st whale festival on Brier Island.  We have been in talks with promotions com- panies and whale watching enthusiasts from around the world for a while and it is looking like 2018 just might be the year.  No details are ready to release but stay tuned to our social media channels, Facebook and Twitter, for more information. I was actually checking out some of the whale watching videos you have posted to Facebook – and they’re incredible. You must have stories unlike anything the readers have heard or imagined. VT: That’s the truth. Years back, a huge 20 tonne We trust these companies to give our guests an experience they’ll never forget.

humpback whale and her calf named Flash made the ocean around the island home for a number of months. They spent at least the entire summer here and then went missing in the fall. The mother was spotted without the baby and eventually, its body washed to shore. It was sad. What’s worse, but very common, it washed from beach to beach all winter. Well me and several people on the island take it upon ourselves to clean the beaches here. When you go on a walk, you bring a bag and you pick up mainly plastic. One day when I was walking and cleaning, I came across the baby whale’s body. I collect- ed its baleen, which had come dislodged from a bad storm the night before because I remembered that years



destinations.  We purchased many domain names relating to our business and used them as landing and redirect pages for our main page. We were using SEO [Search engine optimization] before it became a trend.  Our web- master Kevin

Esty has done a great job on our website.

Wehave recently addedonline reservations fromonourwebsite and partnered with booking companies such as, Expedia, and TripAdvisor. This has greatly increased our global presence, and we are starting the 2017 season with some of our best pre-season reservation counts ever. Our Facebook page was started about six years ago, but it was not heavily focused-on until 2012 when our son Jess and his wife Amy returned to Brier Island to work at the Lodge. They took over the social media side of the business and between them have created multiple channels of social media.  Amy is a creative and avid photographer and her ideas, images, and stories have attracted many followers to our business and area. Amy saw that the Island as a whole was underrepresented in social media, so she created Facebook pages for locations like the lighthouse, which at the time had no funding for promotions.  She’s continued sharing content

earlier, two of my siblings had removed the bones from a 60 tonne humpback for the Ontario Science Centre. It is quite a site and I felt like I could do more or less the same for my guests. I took a faster approach than the conven- tional way which is to bury the carcass for up-to two years, then extract the bones. I hired a young gentleman here on the island – the only one willing, actually – and we more or less flayed the whale and extracted the bones. They came out very clean and very usable. Sometime later, I saw some footage online from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of biology students disman- tling a whale’s carcass in the same manner that I did it. I kept them in the sun for only a year to dry them out and then moved them inside to a storage area during the off- season so that the elements didn’t damage them too much. But the smell of the whale oil wasn’t completely gone and it made for quite the cleanup. But there is now a whale skull in the lounge where you check-in. When you walk-in, you walk between the jawbones, and all the ribs and vertebrae are on display in the restaurant and lounge. You’re connected to the sea everywhere you look and travel on Brier Island. It is also home to three lighthouses, includ- ing the beautiful and historic Western Light and the Peter Island lighthouse, which is off the Island in Grand Passage. How has the internet changed the way you do business? VT: When Brier Island Lodge started, the only thing that was online was the bedsheets.  As the access to the internet grew, we got online very early compared to most tourism



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