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EDITORIAL TEAM Denise Alison Jamie Barrie Janice Buckler Jody Euloth Dan Monk Jordan Parker David MacDonald CONTRIBUTING WRITER Ceiledh Monk Katie Davis Arleen Atienza MEDIA CONSULTANT Tim Kohoot




E ntrepreneurs and business owners wear many hats on the day to day oper- ations of their business. They can be found out on the road looking for new clients or making follow up calls for their current clients, or they can be updating their social media and getting posts out to promote their products and services. We do know that most, well at least successful ones, jump in when and where they are needed, and they understand that it is not a simple 9 to 5 job. I always laugh when I remember telling my Dad back when I got my first job, that I would be working 40 hours a week and he looked at me with a smile on his face and said, “Good to see that you have a part time job so, what are you going to do with the other 128 hours in the week?” Don’t get me wrong he was very happy for me, but he was and still is a hard worker and has a strong work ethic that he has passed on to me for which I will always be thankful. He also taught me to give back and help others not for the recognition but because it is the right thing to do and that has always stuck with me. In this issue spotlight entrepreneurs understand that a lot goes into making a successful business and brand and that it is more than just longs hours, but the focus that you put into building your brand that counts and that it does not happen overnight and takes a lot of planning and staging along the way. Well speaking of staging, we chatted with Patricia Turton, interior decorator, accredited Staging professional, and the owner of the Ile-des-Soeurs, Que- bec-based business, Turton Interiors this month. We learned how Pat, as she is known to friends and clients, left a solid career in banking and investment to pursue a more artistic path in interior design and we and her clients believe that she made the right choice.

helm of the full-service Atlanta-based production company Terebinth Tree which is an “over-arching” outlet for Tommy’s creativity as he creates branding and media for businesses known around the world along with creating and perfecting his Bootlikker Hot Sauce, a tequila-based condiment with an origin story befitting a brand under the Terebinth Tree portfolio. We learn from Tommy that entrepre- neurs can at times have too many irons on the fire and that you can’t be a master of everything and you need to hone your focus, to be successful and that is not always easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. We hope you enjoy the issue and we would like to thank all those involved in putting this month’s issue together along with our readers as we look forward to telling more stories about successful businesses and the people behind the scenes making it happen. Lee Ann Atwater Editor

When we a talk about wearing a lot of hats as an entrepreneur it was never more apparent than when we chatted with Tommy Wood, who is the person at the

P.O. Box 35007, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3M 0G3 P: 902 593 0533 E:




In May 2014, MH said, “Patricia Turton was so awesome at Staging our home that we sold it in four days!” In November 2016, ZT said, “I was very lucky to work with her. Patricia is into details. She is easy to work with. Has bright ideas and good taste. She definitely knows her work.” And in October 2017, FYL said, “Patricia transformed my tired-looking condo into a work of art!” These unsolicited testimonials from grateful Turton Interiors clients were our initial introduction to Patricia Turton here at Spotlight on Business. Her colleagues, like the folks at Tapis Essgo Carpets, are equally impressed: “We have been working with Turton Interiors for years. Patricia is a talented and a true professional.” The popularity of her “classic yet modern minimalism” approach has Patricia’s phone on permanent glow-up mode. She is an interior decorator, an accredited Staging professional, and the owner of the above-mentioned Ile-des-Soeurs, Quebec-based...

It is not uncommon to visit some of Canada’s oldest cities and find that the anchor business is new to town. Well that is not the case in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, where Chris Galer, the fourth generation of his family to operate one of the town’s oldest incorporated businesses, sat down to chat with Spotlight on Business Magazine in early June of last year. It was very clear in our conversation that Chris and his family are very proud of their slice of Canadiana. Chris and his cousin Jeff run POCO Building Supplies, a fixture of the Tri-Cities of Metro Vancouver since 1921 – or even longer, depending on how you look at it, Chris explained.




02 SPOTLIGHT ON NOVEMBER 08 NOVEMBER INDUSTRY EVENTS 12 SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY 14 MESH MEDIA NETWORK- THE DYNAMIC SOUL OF SELLING Experiential Marketing produces Sales 16 STRATIGRO- GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA! What is live video and why should you care 18 CONTRACTORS CORNER Who is responsible? “Due Diligence” 28 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS 32 TURTON INTERIORS Interior Design & Home Staging 36 WALLS CABINETRY PLUS Custom designs without the designer prices 40 POCO BUILDING SUPPLIES Successfully growing a business for 10 decades 48 MISSIONBELL Helping new spaces reclaim history through wood 56 MEANDER RIVER FARM & BREWERY Family building a brewing brand together 62 TEREBINTH TREE (BOOTLIKKER HOT SAUCE) Branding & Design... and Bootlikker Hot Sauce! 66 RAGOT CAD/CAM SERVICES Helping new spaces reclaim history through wood 72 SPOTLIGHT ON INNOVATION 78 AMERICAN MUSIC FURNITURE Making sure music history doesn’t dry up 84 SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTH 86 HOLISTIC HEALTH TIP FOR NOVEMBER BY JANICE BUCKLER Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar)- An Addictive Cause

Early in 2016, Kurt Russell made headlines around the globe by violently destroying museum property. No, the star of Tombstone didn’t deliberately walk into the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum and set ablaze Lindber- gh memorabilia – or anything of that nature. He smashed – well his character, John Ruth, smashed – a 145-year-old Martin guitar on-loan to the prop department of Quentin Tarantino’s most recent film The Hateful Eight. It was, of course, an on-set accident captured and immortalized on the silver screen which, inevitably, stirred-up the usual muddled recipe of condemnation and solidarity on social media. But the acoustic guitar community and, in particular, the Martin Museum... 78

When Tommy Wood – Tommy is the man at the helm of the full-ser- vice Atlanta-based production company Terebinth Tree – spoke with Spotlight on Business back in the dog days of summer, we could tell straight away that he’s the kind of business owner who doesn’t feel the heat. Tommy’s cool. In fact, he’s contagiously calm. When we asked the award-winning writer, director and producer – and now bona fide Southern saucier – for tips for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to know how to stand the heat in the kitchen, Tommy was, well, cool and direct. “When people ask me about my story as an entrepreneur, I tell

them that I did it honest,” he explained. “I grew up in a house where my dad not only owned his own equipment rental store – equipment like tractors, lawn- mowers, chainsaws; a whole array for homeowners and construction workers – he also specialized in making parts for vehicles like Volkswagen Beatles that weren’t available locally at...




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.



So how does a Humber College graduate who left a successful career in the travel and tourism industry to be a stay-at- home mom become one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in real estate staging, well if you ask Wendy Black, she kind of fell into it and has never looked back. Now Wendy Black Interiors carries their own extensive line of furniture and accessories that are housed in their sister companies, Exit, Staged Right! warehouse located in Kitchener, Ontario. Having both a staging company and furniture rental business keeps rental costs down while allowing for all the furnishings to be carefully chosen by Black to capture the latest styles and trends. Whether you are looking to stage a tiny condo or a multi-million-dollar home and all properties in between, we have the right scale and style of furnishings to suit your...



information that they can immediate- ly put to work. Once again this year, Maintenance & Repair Day which will take place on the first day of the show and include a full day program geared toward maintenance and repair pro- fessionals. For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @WorkBoat Follow on Facebook: @WorkBoat

Discovery District and live demon- stration areas.

For more information of the event:


November 28th – 30th, 2018 Morial Convention Centre | New Orleans, LA, USA WorkBoat is the leading provider of breaking news and relevant, rich, content specific to the commercial marine industry in North America. Each year The International WorkBoat Show presents the WorkBoat Annual Conference curated by the editors of, WorkBoat Magazine, and the WorkBoat Content Team. This year’s Conference will be broken out across two days and will focus on five sectors: “Maintenance & Repair”, “Tugs & Coastal Towing” “Shipyards”, “Inland Waterways & Passenger Vessel” and “Offshore”. Each program is custom designed to provide high level education and networking opportunities in a com- prehensive format. The cornerstone of the program will be intensive half-day sessions that will allow the participants to dive deeper into the challenges and opportunities facing commercial mariners today. Led by industry experts, the program will encourage critical thinking as attendees work through issues, ask questions, and receive actionable



November 28th – 30th, 2018 Metro Toronto Convention Centre | Toronto, ON, Canada The Buildings Show provides an unforgettable experience as North America’s largest event for products, services, educational programming and professional networking. Cele- brating their 30th Anniversary, with a spectacular event where the design, architecture, construction and real estate sectors meet. Get ready for some big changes in 2018 as STONEX Canada relocates with World of Concrete Toronto Pavilion and HomeBuilder & Renovator Expo in the North Building and Construct Canada and PM Expo expand in the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The enhanced Show will provide an immersive and unique experience through larger-than-life, dynamic exhibits, thought-provoking edu- cational discussions and innovative product showcases including the new

November 30th – December 9th, 2018 LA Convention Center | Los Angeles, CA, USA Founded in 1907, the Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show), is one of the world’s largest and most influential and best-attended auto shows globally and spans more than 1,000,000 square feet with the who’s who of the auto industry there to unveil the future of mobility in the car culture capital of the world. This event delivers worldwide media exposure, global industry networking and experiential marketing and follows the AutoMobility LA (formerly Press and Trade Days) which draws more than 25,000 auto industry decision makers and influencers including 4,400 media from more than 58 countries. The LA Auto Show is to public and gives hundreds of thousands of qual- ified car shoppers and auto fans the



5TH ANNUAL ECOLOGICAL FARMERS OF ONTARIO CONFERENCE December 3rd – 6th, 2018 Four Points by Sheraton| London, ON, Canada Once again, the conference will bring together ecological farmers (and sup- porters) from across the province to share ideas, learn from experts and from each other, and of course, cele- brate with good food and friends. The vision for this conference aligns with the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario’s (EFAO) mandate “to support and promote a vibrant community of ecological farmers through education, training, farmer-led research and knowl- edge sharing.” More than 300 attendees are expected and will be offered over 30 intermedi- ate to advanced level workshops on horticulture, livestock, field crops, seed saving, soil health, and more. For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @EFAO2 Follow on Facebook: @Ecologi- cal-Farmers-of-Ontario


opportunity to be part of the nation’s biggest car buying market for ten exciting days. The show is your one- stop-shop for comparison shopping cars, trucks, SUVs, electric vehicles & more without any sales pressure.. Whether it’s new vehicle shopping, free test drives, experiencing the latest tech or exploring an assortment of customized rides and exotics, there is something for everyone at the show. For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @LAAutoShow Follow on Facebook: @LAAutoShow Follow on Instagram: @laautoshow

December 3rd - 4th, 2018 New York Hilton Midtown | New York, NY, USA Today’s women who lead or aspire to inspire others must possess the language of possibility. To break new ground for their organizations, ascend personally and profession- ally, women must understand that possibility is a new framework for thinking. This means getting com- fortable with what is less certain and choosing words that drive inven- tion and creativity. Women of the channel today are gaining significant power across the IT industry and in the corporate world. Their roles and influence have clearly evolved into a major force. As individuals and collectively, women today can change the way people think about the future of sales, marketing and partner management. Women of the Channel Leadership Summit includes the most promi- nent and rising women across the spectrum of builders, buyers and sellers. This one-of-a-kind event empowers and cultivates the next generation of female leaders; and offers female channel and IT exec- utives an opportunity to advance their skills, network with peers and be inspired by the women making a significant impact on the IT channel and industry today. Attendees benefit from interactive workshops, peer panels, motivational speakers, networking time and engaging sessions – all focused on the chal- lenges, trends and opportunities in the today’s technology sector. For more information of the event: ht tps:// even t s /women - of - t he - channe l - east-2018/about Follow on Twitter: @TheChannelCo Follow on Facebook: @TheChannel- Company


December 1st, 2018 Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion (The Big Fiddle) | Sydney, NS, Canada The 3rd Annual Cape Breton Beer Fest will take place at the Joan Harris Cruise Pavilion (The Big Fiddle). VIP holders will receive a special edition CBBF Glass along with early entrance to meet the vendors and sample their products first. This is a great oppor- tunity to sample food and Beer, Cider, Wine and Spirits beverages from all over the province. For more information of the event: Follow on Twitter: @beerfestcb Follow on Facebook: @capebretonbeerfest Follow on Instagram: @capebreton- beerfest


December 5th, 2018 Metro Toronto Convention Centre | Toronto, ON, Canada



This event is designed to elevate Toronto Area Business Leaders and in its 8th years has been a prominent event for empowering and connecting local Entrepreneurs in the GTA. This event takes pride in the com- munity of Entrepreneurs they have assisted and helped develop over the years and look forward to continuing to assist organizations in building their businesses through connections made through this event. With 2,500 Business Leaders attend- ing, with 20 plus Speakers and over Trade Show Exhibitors this is the place to be form GTA entrepreneurs to help grow your business. For more information of the event: https://www.torontoentrepreneurs. ca/ Follow on Twitter: @TOEntrepreneur Follow on Facebook: @torontoentrepreneurs

Follow on Instagram: @toronto_entrepreneurs


December 5th – 6th, 2018 The Rimrock Resort Hotel | Banff, AB, Canada

Today’s agricultural systems are complex, interconnected networks that rely on the most advanced technologies and practices to ensure that the food we grow is abundant, safe and is profitable for the farm. With added pressure from consumers looking for transparency and traceability, to continued emphasis on the environment and sustainability, producers need to be masters at optimizing multiple factors to raise their crops and livestock. This event will take you deep inside the critical components of the new farm ecosystem. We’ll explore the many facets of farm sustainability and profitability, including plant growth, soil health, equipment advancements, emerging tech- nologies, best practices in farm data, changing climates and more.

Those who attend will learn how to identify the key decisions, innovations and tools that will best help themmeet their targets for both profitability and sustainability on the farm.

For more information of the event: fied-farm-conference/

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BAD NEWS FOR CANADA’S AUTO INDUSTRY GM’s Oshawa operation which was the talking point for U.S. President Donald Trump during the Canada-U.S. trade negotiations, looks to be on the chopping block. The Oshawa plant which is a 45 minute drive east of Toronto produces GM’s Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac XTS and has been in existence since 1953. According to GM’s website, the Oshawa Assembly Plant current employs 2,522 workers with Unifor Local 222. However, in the 1980s the plant employed roughly 23,000 people. In a statement Unifor, the union representing auto workers at the plant, said they have not heard “complete details of the overall announcement” but were told that no cars are set to be assembled at the plant past December 2019.

FARMERS GETTING FOCUSED FOR FEDERAL ELECTION Farmers and agriculture groups are changing their focus from farming to politics now that the harvest is in to get their voices heard in the next round of elections coming up both Provincially and Federally. More than 100 crop growers gathered in Red Deer recently to learn about the political landscape and make plans to work with or against parties with a federal election in the fall of next year and a provincial election in Alberta expected in the spring. Farmers have an opportunity to lobby political parties about important issues like railway access, trade deals and the carbon tax along with a variety of other issues facing farmers.




It’s evident of the severity of the supply shortages that have plagued Canadian cannabis retailers since legalization on October 17.

Quebec’s government-controlled retailer has restricted its operating hours to four days a week, while Alberta has tempo- rarily halted the issuance of new retail licenses due to lack of product with Ontario restricting licensed producers and their affiliates to just one store each for the same reason.

Limited supply has retailers and customers waiting on product and there does not seem to be a solution any time soon.

SODA GIANTS TRYING TO PUT THE LID ON TAXES Major beverage companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are spending millions of dollars on commercials that push people to vote to prohibit local governments from applying additional so-called health taxes on their products. Advertisements from groups like Yes! To Affordable Gro- ceries, have spent millions campaigning and lobbying which is largely financed by the big beverage companies in a fight with anti-obesity efforts pushed by state and local governments. The fight is with health advocates who want to see taxes on sugar-packed drinks to reduce consumption of them in the battle against obesity. More than 30 countries have taken on the sweetened tax on sugary beverages, which has municipalities across the U.S. now considering doing the same. It should be no surprise that beverage companies dislike the tax initiatives as they result in lower soda consumption, but are those consumers that are moving away from soda because of the higher taxes and prices choosing healthi- er drink options or getting their sugar fix with others less taxed products.



Jody Euloth is the CEO of The Mesh Media Network and Founder of The Dynamic Soul of Selling. She helps entrepreneurs, business and sales professionals and creative visionaries get over their fear of selling so they can generate more revenue and make a bigger impact in business.



By Jody Euloth M ost of us know that a marketing team and a sales team have two very different functions. One, the marketing team, is a broad message output that generates awareness for your brand; while the sales team is more targeted and focused in approach. So, can these two things be working together strategically to convert pros- pects into buyers? The answer is yes, they should be. The integration of channels in your marketing strategy requires experimentation. Understanding what avenues work best for your product and tracking the results of lead generation is always helpful. Whether it is digital adver- tising, social media, email and/or content marketing, live events are one avenue that should always be a part of the mix. In fact, ‘65% of brands say that their event and experi- ential programs are directly related to sales.’ Experiential marketing is very effective and is increasing in popularity. There is something so magical in the expe- rience of the live events. It gives brands the opportunity to connect with and engage consumers face to face while creating a lasting memory with them, while ‘98% of users feel more inclined to purchase after attending an activa- tion.’ And it’s how you engage with your audience that will ultimately determine the impact. Just like anything, you get out what you put in. Whether it’s your own event, or your brand is sponsoring one, the creativity in the activation is what’s important. In the spring, Mesh Media Network’s team executes the Atlantic GOLFExpo, in partnership with the National Golf Course Owner’s Association of Canada. One of our major sponsors, a local retailer, brings with them some of the biggest brands in the golf industry, including Taylorma- de, Calloway, Cleveland/Srixon, and Puma to name a few. Instead of having the new models of clubs just on display for people to look at, we set up a complete driving range for the attendees to experience the product. They can come to the show, work on their swing, hit the balls and

interact with the latest and greatest products. They have a chance to speak with the brand reps who can answer any questions consumers may have. Setting up this activation, directly translates into sales for our retailer, driving consum- ers to the store where they can get fitted for and purchase the product they just tried out at the show. Sampling products to a live audience is another great way to directly increase sales. Often a print advertisement or social media campaign will put the product in brains of the consumers, but it’s not until they get to taste it or try it first hand, that they will be more likely to buy. So, if you’re not executing your own event, try seeking out exposure oppor- tunities that will help your brand stay relevant and top of mind. Generating this emotional connection with your clients is so valuable. The more creative you can be with your acti- vation at live events, the greater the impact your brand will have. There’s no question: experiential marketing produces memories, positive memories strengthen trust, and trust develops consumer loyalty. All the above, produces sales. For more, sales tips and strategies, sign up for ‘The Dynamic Soul of Selling’ Newsletter at dynamic-soul- of-selling/ For a free 15-minute sales consul- tation to determine if you would benefit from ‘The Dynamic Soul of Selling 90-minute Strategy Session’ email jody@ Jody Euloth is the CEO of The Mesh Media Network and Founder of The Dynamic Soul of Selling. She helps entre- preneurs, business and sales professionals and creative visionaries get over their fear of selling so they can generate more revenue and make a bigger impact in business.

Social handles @jodyeuloth



Denise Alison empowers business owners to build relationships and connect with their potential customers on social media, and through live video.

By Denise Alison L ive video isn’t new. We’ve all seen live breaking news reports on tv, on location coverage, and more. But a technology that was once limited to tv crews, and people with cash, is now accessible to everyone around the world. Content creators started flocking to live video as a content platform a few years ago with the introduction of Periscope, and a few other programs, but now, with Facebook live, the number of live video users is growing daily. But, is live video right for you? Why should you leave the comfortable world of written blogs, static content, or produced videos to jump into the unknown, and not always controlla- ble world of live video? In this article I share 3 Key Reasons. IMPACT

The first reason you should join me in the wonderful world of live video, is your impact. Social media platforms want their users to get on live video. They are encouraging them to do so by giving live video a much higher reach than any other type of content. That means by simply doing your video live instead of pre-recording it, you will automatically reach more people. And if you are com- paring the reach to text or blogs, forget about it. Those don’t even come close. Social networks are businesses and they make money by having people spend time on their platform, because in return they can sell ads and have a bigger audience. Social media users LIKE watching live video. In fact, social media users will watch a live video for 3 times longer than they will watch a regular video. AND, they comment 6 times more on live video than other types of content. So, if social media users like live video, and it keeps them around longer, it’s in the best interest of these platforms to show their users more of it. Win-win-win for everyone! Did you know, the longer you go live, the better your reach? Unlike other types of video, which really should be a short 2-3 minutes, the sweet spot for live video is 10-20 minutes. (Yes, it’s no accident that my videos are always within that range). What happens when you go live is your followers are notified, and slowly trickle in. The longer you continue your broadcast, the more time



people have to discover your stream, watch it, and invite their friends to join in.

When you’re live, you can’t fake it. When you are sharing live video, it’s real and in the moment. And, as we know, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. If you are popping into their newsfeed and sharing valuable informa- tion, in a friendly attractive way, you will build strong rela- tionships with your audience. They will get to know you. On video you can hear a person’s voice, tone, see their man- nerisms, and facial expressions. Live video amplifies that because there is no time for editing, so your audience is really getting the real you. The problem with many produced videos out there is they have edited the personality out of them. But as people, we relate to people because of their unique quirks and characteristics. Live video really is changing marketing. It’s shifting the paradigm from glitzy produced videos, to authentic, real videos, where you can connect with one another! If you share informational content with your audience on a regular basis, you will be gaining their trust, loyalty and establishing yourself as an expert! We relate best through face to face interactions, and your audience is seeing you for who you are. Live video let’s us open this type of interaction and brings us one step closer to an in-person conversation. The point here is not to be perfect, it’s to be yourself, and let people see who you are, and what your person- ality is like! We don’t relate to perfect, personality-less people. We all related to certain types of people, and to let that happen you need to be authentically you!

But like seriously. Why would you post something that will reach 1% of your fans, when you could do a live video with the exact same content and reach a much larger number? GETTING STARTED IS EASY There is a 99% chance that you already have the equipment you need to get started with live video. A smartphone/ laptop, and some type of internet connection. IT REALLY IS THAT EASY TO GET STARTED! A lot of the time potential live streamers overthink it and create their own barriers by saying they need certain equip- ment to go live. Not true. You can create a great live show from your phone or laptop! However, if you are looking to level up your live videos, you may want to consider invest- ing in: A Tripod A Microphone Lighting These simple pieces can make your videos look much more professional. But again, don’t let not having them become an excuse. THE PERSONAL CONNECTION



By Dan Monk, P.Eng., Red Seal Carpenter and Owner of MONK Renovations A s an industry professional, I never want to hear bad things about my industry, however, I hear far too many horror stories about home renovations gone wrong; everything from a project that was scheduled for three months that took twelve months to complete to a contractor who never showed up and kept the deposit. These problems hurt my industry and I would like to elim- inate or greatly reduce the likelihood of them happening to you. The following article will provide guidance on how to protect yourself from creating your very own renovation horror story. For starters, you should know that not everyone who calls themselves a “contractor” has the carpentry skills and professional qualities required to operate a successful company. There are virtually no barriers to entry in the res- idential renovations or building industry; no requirement

for experience or professional qualification, no licensing in most provinces, Nova Scotia being one of them, and minimal oversight by any authority. If you have a business card, a name on your truck, and possibly a website, you can call yourself a contractor! This extremely open industry allows for increased potential for dishonest or incompetent persons operating renovation or construction companies. Therefore, it is critical you as homeowners complete your “due diligence” before hiring a contractor. Often, people are taken advantage of because the average person is uninformed, naive, or too complacent when hiring a renovator. Home renovations are a significant expense and require you to spend your hard-earned money, so you should do your “due diligence” and make sure your potential contractor is actually capable of completing your project. It is the client’s responsibility to protect themselves

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Another common mistake clients make when selecting a renovator, which can lead to disaster, is hiring based on low price. Looking at a project through the rose-coloured glasses of low price can make it difficult to see the thorns. Here’s a quote I stand by: “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgot- ten.” It is important to be realistic! In an ideal world, every contractor should give you exactly what you request for the price they quoted, however, realistically, in order to experience a smooth renovation process, it comes down to who you select to complete the job. You should base your decision on reputation, skill, quality, and price, without hyper focusing on one aspect. Often, clients will question a high price but never the low price when, in reality, the high price is often most accurate. While studying engineering, we discussed the low bid system as being flawed because it rewards cutting corners and, more often than not, the low bidder actually forgot an important detail or simply made a mistake. Select your contractor based on qualifications first, then price, not the opposite. It may appear challenging to find a professional reno- vator but here are a few steps to facilitate the process: Google search the company and check out the website & social media links! A reputable company will likely have a solid online presence and several reviews on platforms like Facebook or Google which will help with your research. Check for company association memberships! Confirm whether the company is involved with any asso- ciations such as the Canadian Home Builders, Better Business Bureau, and Chamber of Commerce. All are indications of professionalism and commitment to a higher standard. Confirm the company is professionally operated! The company will have a GST number, a safety certification, warranty, and insurance (WCB & Liability). A professional will have all of the above and will provide you copies upon request. Ask for references! Make sure to call a few of them and ask one simple question: “would you hire them again?” Listen to their answer because most people will tell you the truth. If you follow the above process, you will find a repu- table and professional renovator! Be prepared to pay a little more for the service of a professional because, in the end, it will be worth every cent as it will significantly reduce stress during your renovation project. I hope you find the above comments helpful and they guide you through a successful renovation project. Hiring a pro- fessional is the first step!

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By Jamie Barrie A is going after your Holiday dollars by offering free shipping with no purchase minimum for the first time this holiday season. So as the weather starts to cool off, competition for where you are spending your money this Holiday season is heating up. Unfortunately for those North of the boarder, you will still have the $25 minimum order requirement for U.S. shoppers only at this time, and with the recent rotational postal strike in Canadian ordering online for this Holiday season might not be an option free or not. Amazon’s free delivery offer went into effective November 5th and will last until the company can no longer promise items on time for Christmas with free delivery, which will be somewhere between five and eight business days before Christmas.

and online retailers like, Walmart and Target to follow suit. Target has already scrapped its minimum until Dec. 22. However, for now Walmart has maintained its $35 order threshold this holiday season as they did not respond to Amazon when it cut its order minimum for free shipping from $35 to $25 indefinitely back in May of last year. This is the first time that the Seattle based company has offered free shipping to customers outside of the Prime subscription base, showing that Amazon is now courting those outside the club, hoping its brand and wider selec- tion will set it apart. The advantage for shoppers using Amazon versus Walmart and Target this Holiday season will be that with Amazon free shipping can apply to hundreds of millions of items compared to hundreds of thousands on the other sites. Which gives you lots of options for the person on your list that is hard to shop for.

This will no doubt put pressure on other brick and mortar



By Jamie Barrie A ccording to a survey by market research firm J.D Power, Canadian consumers are increasingly looking for better rewards programs when it comes to choosing a credit card and most are also willing to switch cards for better rewards plans. The firm did an online survey in May of more than 6,000 customers who used major credit cards in the past three months. The majority credit card users that were surveyed (87 percent) stated that they were enrolled in a rewards program, and about 48 percent of them had switched credit cards in search of a better rewards program. Now a better rewards program does not necessarily mean more points on their average $600.00 of monthly spending, but in the ease of using and understanding their point programs. If the user doesn’t know how to redeem those points to unlock the savings or benefits, then the rewards lose their value and that can also lead to a user switching cards for a different rewards program.

64 percent of the users surveyed said they understood how to redeem rewards offered by their credit cards, but 36 percent said they did not understand the process, which lead to their dissatisfaction with the program.

So, it looks like in the rewards game knowledge and ease of use gets you card holders.



By Jamie Barrie A s the automobile industry continues to see the trend of buyers who are opting out of luxury sedans and coupes and replacing them with pickups and SUVs, Detroit’s Big Three truck makers; General Motors, Ford and Dodge are struggling to keep up with demand for their new pickups, especially the higher-priced models being offered between $70,000 to $100,000. Trucks have traditionally been the sort of vehicles you would expect to be purchased by farmers or construction companies for use on the farm or work site. That is not the case anymore as demand has been surging among regular buyers who are opting out of sedans and coupes and replacing their family vehicles with pickups and SUVs. Don’t think that they are looking to lower their vehicle payments either as the largest demand is for the high-end models, with former luxury car buyers looking to fork out between $70,000 to $100,000 for their daily driver. Don’t think that buyers are cutting back on features or luxury either as these high-end pickup models have it all with features like:

• High-end audio systems, In-vehicle WiFi and USB ports

• Premium leather and real wood finishes

• Active cruise control and Navigation Systems

• Blind spot detection and Automatic emergency braking

• Multi-zone climate system with heated and cooled front seats and even the heated rear seats.

• Touchscreen Technology

Although the luxury truck market is still a relatively new phenomenon and whether the segment will continue to grow is far from certain as industry analysts and planners alike continue to debate if this is just a fad or a long-term shift, though the latter is looking more likely. And while Detroit automakers have clearly taken the phe- nomenon to new levels, their success has not gone unno- ticed as their import rivals are now trying to capitalize on the industry trend, with new offerings of their pickup lines, which mean more models and options for buyers.



By Jamie Barrie T his month saw Amazon raise its minimum wage for 250,000 permanent employees and another 100,000 seasonal employees in the U.S. who will be hired at sites across the country this holiday from $11.00 to $15.00 per hour which will be more than double the current U.S. minimum wage rate that was set at $7.25 an hour more than a decade ago. The world’s largest online retailer also said it would now lobby in Washington for an increase in the federal minimum wage and urged its competitors to follow its lead on the “Fight for Fifteen” movement pushing for higher remuneration. “We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Historically, large companies have been a driving factor for increases in minimum wage rates. As others tend to follow in response to competitive forces, to prevent other compa- nies from pulling their staff away from them. Target Corp raised its minimum hourly wage last year to $11.00 and has promised to raise it to $15.00 an hour by the end of 2020, while the world’s largest retailer Walmart raised its minimum wage to $11.00 an hour earlier this year but has not mentioned moving the mark to $15.00. The strong economy and shrinking labour pool have made workers hard to find for employers of all kinds, including big retail chains, fast-food restaurants and small business- es. Some are boosting pay. But higher wages are harder for small businesses to absorb because they don’t have the massive revenue stream of a company like Amazon, but they may have greater flexibility to offer employees that can’t be offered by companies like Amazon, Target or Walmart.

“We’re excited about this change and encourage our com- petitors and other large employers to join us.”

But the question is, will they?



By Jamie Barrie A ccording to forecasts released by the web analyt- ics arm of Adobe Systems, Adobe Analytics, which measures the transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers and trillions of customer visits to U.S. retail sites, the online sales sites will benefit from a $284 million sales boost because of an extra day of sales between Cyber Monday through to Christmas. Many are asking, “When is the best time to buy to get the most from their holiday budget?” Well Adobe Analytics says, it depends on what you are looking for: Looking to purchases sporting goods, Thanksgiving is the time to buy as prices could be up to 13 percent lower compared to the year-to-date average. If you are in the market for electronics it should be no surprise that Black Friday is still the best time to purchase that new television or wireless earbuds as prices could be 22 percent lower compared to the year-to-date average.

on November 25th as your must have items could be up to 22 percent below the average.

And if you are on the hunt for toys for Christmas, Adobe says get out your credit cards for Cyber Monday when that special gift will be 19 percent below the average. It is important to remember that sales in November and December are critical for retailers, as it tends to be the time that they capture the largest portion of their annual sales and profits. U.S. online spending during the holiday shopping season is expected to grow 14.8 percent this year compared to the 2.7 percent growth predicted for brick-and-mortar loca- tions, but you can be confident that if store and online pur- chases start to fall below the expected increases you will see both brick-and-mortar and online retailers take aggres- sive pricing action to make up for lost sales, making it a win for shoppers looking to stretch their holiday dollar further this year.

For the best buy for your buck on apparel, it is best to shop



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well-being practices, environmental stewardship, and responsible use of technology and modern production practices of our family farm partners while paying them fairly to encourage and support responsible farming practices and to help continue the proud agricultural legacy of Lewis County and the Black River Valley.

At Black River Valley Natural, our vision is to partner with these family farms to provide our valued customers with premium handcrafted locally sourced artisan foods and to strengthen the connection between our farmers and customers. We seek to build trust and pride in our local food system through transparency and a strong focus on showcasing the caring animal 315-741-5872




LOWE’S MAKING SOME TOUGH DECISIONS TO STAY COMPETITIVE Lowe’s announced that it will be closing 51 underperforming stores in the United States and Canada to better compete with rival Home Depot in a slowing housing market. There will be 20 U.S. closures in New York, Texas and Califor- nia, with remaining 31 closures in Canada with retail outlets and two plants closing. No details were given regarding the impact this would have on the business or potential job losses in the decision. Other than it was in efforts to catch up with the long-time sector leader Home Depot which has per store sales of twice that of Lowe’s. In addition to becoming more completive with Home Depot, this is also a result of Americans spending less on housing as it seems the industry has hit a seven-year home- building peak and things are starting to level out in the industry. Lowe’s, which operates about 1,800 U.S. stores and 300 in Canada, expects the closures to be completed by February of next year, with the exception of some U.S. stores that are closing immediately.


AltaGas Ltd. announced it has a signed deal to sell about $560 million worth of natural gas midstream assets and power generating assets to two buyers.

Birch Hill Equity Partners Management Inc. has agreed to pay $165 million for a group of smaller scale gas midstream and power assets in Canada, as well as its commercial and industrial customer portfolio in Canada. This transaction would also include 43.7 million shares of Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Inc., which AltaGas holds.

A second buyer is Avenue Capital which will acquire AltaGas’s San Joaquin power assets in California for roughly $400 million.

AltaGas says the proceeds from the sales will be used to repay debt related to its acquisition of Washington, D.C.-based energy utility company WGL Holdings, Inc., which closed earlier this year in July.



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