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 • MARCH 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



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Janice Buckler Denise Alison Lisa Daher


A s we move into the end of the first quarter of 2017 we are looking forward to the last of the snow and for our businesses and revenues to continue to grow. We are very happy to have Denise Alison of Stratigro Business Consulting featured this month in her article with David MacDonald. Plus we are very excited to have her join our team with the monthly article to help you get the most out of your business. You will find out very fast that she is obsessed with helping entrepreneurs grow their business and reaching their full potential. Our feature on DFS Pharma shows the power of partnerships and the amazing things that can be accomplished when working harmoniously with other busi- nesses towards a common goal. Most solutions are made up of many parts; working with the best companies ensures that companies deliver results. Whether Amanda and her team at iCar Canada are working with lenders to get you the best rate on your loan or with other local businesses in Thunder Bay to make sure every customer that comes through her door to purchase a vehicle has an amazing buying experience. It is important to work with great partners so customers tell others about their experience so they come through your door or online the next time they are looking for something new for the road. Partnerships are important, especially in the construction industry where many trade specialists have a hand in the building of the final product and have a major impact on the customer’s satisfaction with their new home or renovation. Abe Wall of Walls Cabinetry Plus is such a specialist. Abe gets a lot of satisfaction out of being able to make his customers happy by providing them with custom solid wood cabinetry of the highest quality for their dream home or project. Abe believes “word of mouth’ is the best way to advertise, don’t get him wrong, he likes the exposure that his feature is getting however, if you were to ask Abe what is important he would say, doing the job is not our primary goal, making the customer happy is and that is who I want working

on my next build and we are sure that you agree.

Passion goes a longway, and nowhere is that seen more than with East Coast Dental Centre where they not only help you restore your smile with beautiful, natural-looking results, they help rebuild people’s lives with restored confidence and that in our books is priceless. Thanks to East Coast Dental Centre a full-scale, on-site lab, their team of amazing professionals customizes and places your new teeth quickly and safely, as they only partner with companies that source the highest quality mate- rials and technology. Add to that a friendly, caring team and a warm, wel- coming environment, and you begin to understand the East Coast Dental Centre difference and why they were selected to be featured along with these other amazing companies.

Here is to a productive end for the first quarter and happy reading.


PO Box 350007 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3M 0G3 P: 613 699 6672 E:




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...


DFS Pharma is a Contract Research Organization (CRO) specializing in pharma- ceutical data management and statistical support. They partner with like-mind- ed domestic and international CROs to offer clients in the worlds of biopharma- ceuticals, biotechnologies, and veterinary medicine a fluid sponsor-consultant experience. “The industry has changed quite a bit over the last 20 or so years,” Rod McGlashing, Senior Director of Operations for DFS Pharma, told me as he quickly returned a text to a client before I asked my first question...








Forget your Pre-Conceived notions about Pre-Owned


Custom Design doesn’t have to come with Designer Prices


Introducing Denise Alison



Rines Creek, a small rural community in Hants County, Nova Scotia, is one of the bases of Abe Wall’s custom solid wood cabinetry business, Walls Cabine- try Plus. That’s where his wife, Raylene Wall, coordinates marketing. Twenty kilometres north on Nova Scotia Route 354 in Noel is Abe’s second base, his manufacturing facility. I use the word ‘base’ because Abe is mobile. He takes on projects in Kings, Lunenburg, Halifax, Colchester, and Pictou counties. “If it’s within two hours, I’ll be there,” he told me. Abe builds the solid wood cabinets in his 3,500 square feet shop and then oversees the delivery and installation. And according to his customers, he doesn’t waste any time...


42 JANICE BUCKLER : NATURAL LEGENDS NUTRITIONAL CONSULTING The Hype on Essential Fatty Acids (EFAS) 46 EAST COAST DENTAL CENTRE Because Nothing you wear is more important then your Smile


Flexibility and Data Management can walk Hand In-Hand


If you’ve ever driven through Thunder Bay, Ontario, taken the James Street Bridge and followed the old City Road to Mission Bay, you know that auto sports are a cultural event in Canada’s Gateway to the West. Amanda Ingberg, one of the sales representatives I spoke with at iCar on Memorial Avenue in Thunder Bay’s thriving commercial district, told me it’s a bigger part to the...



A IDACA MEDIA understands that small and medium size enterprises and businesses are key to the successful growth of any economy and just as impor- tant as big businesses to the global economy as a whole. By putting a spotlight on your business, organization or community 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.



In 2016, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) ranked Truro at 32 in their 9th annual report, Entrepreneurial Communities: Canada’s top places to start and grow a business. According to Truro Town Hall, this one-year 42 place improvement is due in part to three factors: Population Demographics and Growth, Education and Available Talent, and the fact that Truro is a Transportation and Logistics Corridor ( I spoke in mid-December with the Mayor of Truro, Bill Mills and Truro Business Development Officer, Ben Seveno about the big boom in their small town.



The Manitoba RV Show offers 130,000 square feet of exhibitors, products and services that will include different RV products, financial services, tourismasso- ciations and development authorities. For more information of the event: information/


March 10 th – 12 th , 2017 Queensbury Conference Centre, EVRAZ Place – Regina, SK, Canada This is the 14 th year of The Body Soul and Spirit Expo and this year promises to offer attendees more exciting program of lectures and workshops, as well as a wider selec- tion of exhibits ranging from an array of products for wellness, alterna- tive therapies, healing arts, aroma- therapy, natural healing, to intuitive arts, esoteric philosophy, metaphys- ics, astrology and much more. Our exhibitors range from local talent, stores, & societies, to interna- tionally known experts, which has built the reputation of The Body Soul and Spirit Expo as one of the most interesting events, not only through- out Canada, but also throughout the United States. For more information of the event: March 10 th – 12 th , 2017 Westerner Park – Red Deer, AB, Canada Celebrating 38 years as Central Alberta largest spring home show! Indoor, outdoor, construc- tion, landscaping, gardening, and more! We hope that you will join us again. Hosted by the Canadian RED DEER HOME SHOW


March 8 th – 10 th , 2017 Metroland Media Agriplex - London, ON, Canada Eastern Canada’s Largest Indoor Spring Farm Show featuring over 370 exhibitors in 290,000 sq ft of show space, showcasing the newest in agri- cultural technology. Vendors from all across the globe will gather here to showcase a wide range of products to display big brand equipment, provide insightful speaker programs and showcase the latest products and services in agriculture.


March 10 th – 12 th , 2017 Eastlink Centre – Charlottetown, PE, Canada Returning to the Eastlink Centre the PEI Provincial Home Show is the ultimate authority for those looking to build, buy, renovate and landscape. This show has been help people make connection with vendors offering a one-stop home and garden solution for making their house a home for over 30 years! For more information of the event:

For more information of the event:


March 9 th – 12 th , 2017 RBCConvention Centre –Winnipeg, MB, Canada




Home Builders’ Association – Central Alberta, the Red Deer Home Show has provided products and services featuring award-winning builders, renovators, products, ideas and décor in Canada’s hottest economic region for over 37 years, where there is something for everyone!  For more information of the event: home

The National Home Show pre- sented by RE/MAX and co-located with Canada Blooms for the largest North American display of innova- tive products, new ideas and great deals for all things home and garden with over 700 retailers and industry experts.

March 10 th – 19 th , 2017 PNE Forum Building – Toronto, ON, Canada The National Home Show pre- sented by RE/MAX and co-located with Canada Blooms for the largest North American display of innova- tive products, new ideas and great deals for all things home and garden with over 700 retailers and industry experts. For more information of the event:

For more information of the event:

THE ATLANTIC CITY BEER AND MUSIC FESTIVAL March 31 st – April 1 st , 2017 Atlantic City Convention Center – Atlantic City, NJ, USA The 12 th Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival is a “Celebration of the Suds” and will debut some exciting new elements to round out this constantly evolving event. Beer enthusiasts, music aficionados and avid runners alike will be brought together to indulge in all of the things they crave during the 2017 Festival!  ​ From down the street, to across the globe, nearly 200 breweries will be present, serving almost 1,000 beers for all to try. The goal of The Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival is to promote and educate attendees on craft beers as well as the brew masters that create them. This event is the perfect opportunity for beer


March 12 th – 14 th , 2017

PNE Forum Building - Vancouver, BC, Canada

The Vancouver Gift Expo is produced by SMART Shows Inc. and run by Cameron Dix bringing twenty years of Gift Show experience and sound show management.  SMART Shows Inc. has produced Wholesale Gift and Consumer shows for over thirteen years all across Canada.  Cameron and his team have been producing the Vancouver Gift Expo for over seven years at its current location. Cameron strives to produce a quality professional platform for wholesalers and retailers to build relationships while seeing new and unique finds in the latest trends that will set their store apart while helping grow their businesses. For more information of the event:


March 10 th – 12 th , 2017

Halifax Exhibition Centre – Halifax, NS, Canada

At the 34th Annual Atlantic Outdoor Sports and RV Show you will find the entire outdoor sports and RV world under one roof. If it has anything to do with the great outdoors, we have it! Visitors to the show know that the Atlantic Outdoor Sports and RV Show offers the best of the outdoors includ- ing entertainment for the entire family. There are sport fishing and fly fishing manufacturers displaying and dem- onstrating the latest equipment. Plus Hunting gear for every interest; from bow hunting and backpacking to ATV’s and the latest ultra-modern outdoor equipment. Visitors learn from the outdoor experts how tomake the most of their outdoor adventure experience.


March 10 th – 19 th , 2017

PNE Forum Building – Toronto, ON, Canada

For more information of the event:



geeks, beer lovers and beer begin- ners to speak to the brains behind the brews. It is also an opportunity to discover and taste new brews and special “limited release” beers and ales rarely seen in our area! For more information of the event:

the most visionary designs, products, technology, medical advances and business solutions within and around the eyecare industry, and it’s the only place where you can experience it all first-hand under one roof.

For more information of the event:


April 1st - 2nd, 2017

Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell – Lowell, MA USA

At the Home Show, our goal is simple: to inspire, motivate and e xcite you for your upcoming home improvement - whether it’s a minor renovation or a major remodel. Our events feature a wide selection of home improvement professionals in a fun, interactive environment. After meeting with and comparing our over 240 expert exhibitors, we know you’ll be inspired and motivat- ed to start planning with confidence. More importantly, we want you to be excited for all the fantastic possi- bilities that come with your project! When it’s all said and done and your’re ready to celebrate your home, we’ll do a little celebrating ourselves, knowing we had some part in it.


March 30 th – April 2 nd , 2017

Javits Center – New York, NY, USA

By joining the International Vision Expo and Conference community, you gain the most direct path to becoming Visionary in your own right. This is where the global eyecare community comes together for two unique events focused on educa- tion, fashion and technology. It’s the preeminent destination for unveiling

For more information of the event:



By Jamie Barrie M GM Holdings which was founded back in 2005 and later the same year acquired MGM for $4.8 billion USD. However, the company is most likely better known as the movie studio behind the James Bond, Rocky and Mad Max film franchises. MGM is currently in discussions to acquire control of the premium entertainment network Epix, which is headquartered in New York City, for more than $1 billion. The Beverly Hills, California- based MGM would be buying out the other two Studio 3 Partners, LLC stakeholders in the deal.

Viacom Inc, which own 50 percent of Studio 3 Partners and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp, which has a 31 percent of the business, in a deal could be announced and inked very soon.

However, all parties are keeping the terms of the agreement very private at this time. The deal would boost MGM’s flourishing television business by adding the premium cable network saying they had more plans for investing in even more content in MGM’s recent full- year earnings report to investors. The finalization of a deal between MGM, Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp would end months of speculation about the future of Epix since Lions Gate’s $4.4 billion acquisition of premium programmer Starz, which is an American premium cable and satellite television network offering programming which features theatrically released motion pictures and first- run original television series, had the fate of the entertainment network on the minds of investors.



By Jamie Barrie I t seems like forever since Apple released the iPhone 7 last September and now investors and users alike are antici- pating some big new features from Apple for their 10th anniversary iPhone 8. Apple isn’t releasing any details about what the iPhone 8 will look like, but a growing list of rumored features has surfaced speculating that it could release 4.7-inch, 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch models with edge-to- edge organic LED screens, wireless charging capabilities and some form of augmented reality technology.  Market analysts say that these new features would represent a significant shift from the iPhone 7 model, released last September, and could drive existing iPhone users to upgrade from earlier models more quickly than normal. However, some analysts argue that these new features will not be enough to drive user upgrades because of the iPhone 8’s expected high suggested retail selling price being a major deterrent.  The iPhone 8’s high-end components (such as a 3D mapping chip, AR sensors) could lead the top-tier iPhone version to cost as much as $1,000, which could limit demand, since that price would be beyond what most users are willing to pay to upgrade from previous generations of iPhones. In saying that, Apple may use the release of the 10 th anniversary iPhone 8 to specifically target iPhone users in China as most users are due for an upgrade as it was back in 2015 when China Mobile, the country's most popular carrier started to offer customers iPhones as part of their phone packages. This type of demand could lead to a huge sales boost for Apple in China, allowing Apple to focus on high-end users in other markets like North America..



Campbell missed on just about every metric it set. Simple Meals and Bev- erages were hurt by weak perfor- mance in its V8 beverage. Adding to this was that Campbell Fresh sales were hurt by higher than expected produce prices and capacity con- straints. Operating income was $417 million, or 19.2% of revenue, down 1.4% compared to last year. There was good news for the company as its expense reduction plan is ahead of schedule and Camp- bells will likely achieve its target of $300 million in savings by the end of fiscal 2017 and it believes it can save an additional $150 million by 2020. Campbell’s has a corporate strategy to regain growth of its brand and has been on an acquisition spree, acquir- ing brands that sell healthier foods. For example, Campbell acquired Bolthouse Farms and Plum Organics in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Most recently, they acquired Garden Fresh Gourmet to expand its “fresh through innovation” platform by adding protein juices, salsa and hummus. Next year the company plans to add fresh soups, milk products and fancy smoothies to take another kick at the can to try and push the company earnings to $3.00-$3.09 a share and revenue to over $8.0 billion.

By Jamie Barrie C ampbell Soup recently reported a decline in quarterly organic revenue growth and the stock shares fell 6.5% in response to the announced results. It is clear that the company needs a change in direction, as consumers are not buying pre-packaged foods in the volumes they once did which is putting a lid on revenues. However, Campbell’s management team recognizes this change is customer behaviour and is in the midst of making drastic product changes to regain lost market share. Campbell Soup reported second-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings of $0.91 a share, $0.03 better than the consensus estimate. However, revenue fell 1.4% to $2.17 billion, slightly below the analysts estimate of $2.22 billion.



By Katie Davis T he Israeli company SodaStream is a company that sells in-home devices that turn still water into sparkling water by adding carbon dioxide using a pressurized CO2 canister. The system uses special carbonating bottles that users attach to the SodaStream device during the carbonation process. Well the company that makes the water carbonation machines said it was voluntarily recalling 51,000 bottles that were sold in the U.S. and another 7,600 that were sold in Canada due to a manufacturing defect. In a statement, the do-it- yourself seltzer and soda maker pointed out that the recall applies to a small fraction of the 13 million bottles it produced last year. On the Consumer Products Safety Commission website it says that, "The bottles can burst under pressure, posing an injury hazard to the user or bystanders." The recall only affects one- litre bottles that are tinted blue, marked dishwasher safe and have a blue plastic bottom and a blue cap that were sold between March and November of last year and have an April 2020 expiry date. The CPSC urges consumers to discontinue use of the bottles and contact the company for a refund. The Company said that there have been no reports of actual explosions or injuries that have been reported, but cus- tomers are being told to stop using the bottles immediately and contact the company for information on how to return the product for a refund.

This adds to the list of problems that SodaStream has been plagued with recently and a shift in consumer tastes away from soda has presented a challenge to the do-it- yourself soda maker.

But SodaStream enjoyed a resurgence last year as it shifted its focus from soda to sparkling water, plus the company is also branching into a do-it- yourself beer machine market to capitalize on the interesting popularity of craft beer, which has SodaStream stock up 200% over the last year.



By Katie Davis U nited Parcel Service, Inc. the world's largest package delivery company and a provider of supply chainmanagement solutionswill start offeringSaturday delivery options to the largest U.S. metropolitan areas. The package delivery company expects to reach half of the U.S. population by the end of the year with the new schedule, said Myron Gray, president of U.S. operations. The service will give UPS six delivery, sort and pickup days for both business and residential customers and the “fastest and widest delivery service on Monday,” Gray added. The increase in users shopping online and wanting their purchases delivered has been a double edged sword for UPS and other delivery companies in this Industry. E-commerce has given new package volume and revenue to carriers, but unfortunately at much lower margins than business-to- business deliveries.

UPS CEO, David Abney said a "significant shift" to its lower-revenue offerings and ongoing investment in new technologies weighed on results, but U.S. domestic fourth-quarter revenue rose 6.3%, driven by e-commerce. Abney also said that, "The shift online is permanent," adding that the trend is accel- erating. Abney mentioned that UPS will also be investing aggres- sively in automation to drive improved performance. The company is currently testing residential delivery via drone and with continued positive results this could be a viable option for deliveries in the future helping to cut costs and increase service. These new services will contribute to UPS’s overall revenue which is expectations to grow between 4% and 6% over the next year.



By David MacDonald A quick trip to, a third-party consumer review platform, shows just how much iCar cus- tomers have taken to John’s business model. “We ask our clients after a sale to rate us on their experience – and we encourage them to be as honest and open as they like,” Amanda said. “We’re almost at a five-star rating – it’s currently at 4.8 – with over 300 reviews in total.”

“We had a customer in mid-February who bought his



“But I can say with absolute sincerity, John’s vision is one where everything is on the table.”

If you’ve ever driven through Thunder Bay, Ontario, taken the James Street Bridge and followed the old City Road to Mission Bay, you know that auto sports are a cultural event in Canada’s Gateway to the West. Amanda Ingberg, one of the sales representatives I spoke with at iCar on Memorial Avenue in Thunder Bay’s thriving commercial district, told me it’s a bigger part to the community than most people know. “Over in Mission Bay, it’s ice racing in the winter and autocross in the summer – but that’s not all. Between the Jeep clubs, the hunters, the fishers, and the off-roaders there’s a steady flow of auto sports enthusiasts coming onto our lot for anything from pre-owned vehicles to aftermarket parts to custom work,” she explained. “And that’s just one part of the market here. Our General Manager John Murphy had a vision for unequalled transparency in a business that sells pre-owned vehicles and the people in this community and the whole Thunder Bay District have come to embrace his vision.”



pre-owned vehicles. But I can say with absolute sincerity, the iCar vision is one where everything is on the table. Numbers, options, history – we give you the full scoop.” Every iCar pre-owned vehicle purchase includes a 100-point mechanical inspection, iCar quality vehicle reconditioning, CarProof report, guaranteed credit, a one-year CAA mem- bership, and a 90-day free preview of Sirius Satellite Radio. “We’re always looking for ways to make the iCar experi- ence standout,” Amanda said. “This is just as true online as it is here at the dealership. Our website is designed to be user-friendly. The layout is about accessibility more than anything else. People want to see exactly what they’re looking for right away, which is why I think our PureCars Value Report is so amazing. Basically, it’s a complete vehicle overview of the vehicle you’re considering, includ- ing price, body style and colour, mileage, engine and transmission type, fuel economy, and complete history otherwise. You just click the PureCars link below the picture of the vehicle you’re considering. I email or text these links to all my on-site customers so they can ask informed questions.” Part of the problem with the traditional used-car lot, Derek believes, is the condescension. “Contrary to how some dealerships think and operate, nobody wants to spend three or four hours buying a vehicle,” Derek laughed. “Our informal research shows that an hour or an hour and a half is what most consumers expect and want. So we streamline the process with step-by- step protocols for all of our sales representatives, including providing the PureCars link, and we know our customers appreciate being empowered like this. It shouldn’t be an experience that makes you feel small.” If it seems to you like Derek is a lot more empathetic than the average pre-owned car sales rep, you’re right. It was the fact that he didn’t have to check his compassion at the door that made him a permanent part of the iCar team. “You only have to hear John speak to know he’s a genuine guy,” he explained. “We have customers come in all the time – some repeat shoppers, some first-timers – and they all tell us what a positive atmosphere we have going on, what great energy we have. Well, that’s for two reasons: First, John hires proactive and social people like himself; second, it’s hard not be positive with a boss like him. One of the first days I came here to work, I was shadow- ing everyone. An older woman came in who had bought a pre-owned vehicle the year before and she was having some car troubles. It turned out that the fuel pump had failed and a repair in the order of $700 was needed. Now, this was well over our grace period for warranty and reclaims. But John overheard the story and recognized the woman. He knew she was raising four of her grand- kids and that the likelihood of her being able to continue making payments and fix that repair was slim to none. Typ-

seventh vehicle from us,” added Derek Pugh, who’s been with iCar as a sales representative for four years. “This is someone we all know by name. In fact, when he comes in he usually gets a round of applause. So many of our customers have been dealing with us since we opened our doors six years ago – we call them the iCar family. And some of them come from a lot farther away than the outskirts of town. Some of our most loyal customers come from Reserves up-to 16 hours away and they tell me again and again that they travel all this way for the consistency. I know so many customers by name because they appreci- ate transparency and consistency.” “People want to see exactly what they’re looking for right away, which is why I think our PureCars Value Report is so amazing.” Derek is what you’d call a self-aware guy. “There’s a lot of stigma around this industry,” he said. “The used car salesman is obviously a well-known cliché. They’re crooks; they pull the old bait and switch; it’s all a cat and mouse game to them. Like everyone else, I know all the lines people run through their minds when they hear you sell



ically, most dealerships would play the ‘Too bad, so sad’ card but John looked at her like part of the iCar family. He knew her family bought several pre-owned vehicles from us and he went the extra mile. He took care of the repairs himself and topped-off her gas tank. That made me want to work here so much more.” “Our General Manager John Murphy had a vision for unequalled transparency.” Amanda explained that not being tied-down by profit motive is beneficial, in the long run, to both the customer and the dealership. “We focus on volume, service and sales with much smaller margins thanother dealerships. We don’t have that back-and- forth with our customers. There’s no need to script an elaborate price negotiation in your head on your way down to our lot. We’re a one-price dealership and that price is the lowest price. We compare our prices with dealerships all across Canada so that our customers know they’re getting the most for their dollar. Other deal- erships don’t realize or care that people are willing to travel pretty far to get the best deal; they’d rather sell fewer cars with higher margins. That’s just not who we are.” “We currently sell anywhere between 80 and 100 pre- owned vehicles each and every month,” she continued. “One hundred sales is that invisible mark we strive for each month. With numbers like these, it’s safe to say that we dominate the pre-owned market in Northwest- ern Ontario. I think one of our strongest angles is going after the new car market. A lot of our inventory is 2015s, 2016s, or 2017s with low kilometers. For many practical car buyers, these are basically brand new vehicles. We can optimally save these customers 10 to $15,000.” iCar’s inventory is impressive. At any given time, the half- acre lot and 1,300 square feet dealership on Memorial Avenue is a temporary home to three hundred vehicles. Truck enthusiasts – and auto sports enthusiasts in general – have another reason to stop by and pay John and his team a visit: custom work. “We’ve now been doing custom work for about a year,” Derek explained. “The iCar Customs team will build a vehicle to yours specifications. We’ve installed lift kits, fender exit exhausts, fender flares, large and small wheel combinations, you name it. We also offer financing on custom work. While we don’t have an in-house shop right now, we’re more than happy to engage to local business community here in Thunder Bay and use a third- party shop. Superior Auto Body and Rust Check have been fantastic partners, just to mention two.” Back in February, iCar was the lead sponsor for an event in support of the Arthritis Society called Jailhouse Rock. “It was a live Monopoly game where we actually put up a 2014 Fiat 500 for auction. We helped raise a lot of money

811 CENTRAL AVENUE • 346-0405

for a good cause and it was a really fun night – every- body won! We’re really looking to do more like this. I’ll be representing iCar at an upcoming benefit at the end of March for first responders, which aims to raise awareness of PTSD in this occupation.”

iCar won the 2016 Consumer Satisfaction Award from





Rines Creek, a small rural community in Hants County, Nova Scotia, is one of the bases of Abe Wall’s custom solid wood cabinetry business, Walls Cabinetry Plus. That’s where his wife, Raylene Wall, coordinates marketing. Twenty kilometres north on Nova Scotia Route 354 in Noel is Abe’s second base, his manufacturing facility. I use the word ‘base’ because Abe is mobile. He takes on projects in Kings, Lunenburg, Halifax, Colchester, and Pictou counties. “If it’s within two hours, I’ll be there,” he told me. Abe builds the solid wood cabinets in his 3,500 square feet shop and then oversees the delivery and installation. And according to his customers, he doesn’t waste any time. Amongst the testimonials found at, Deanna W’s captures the collective experience best: “Walls Cabinetry Plus delivered everything we dreamed our kitchen would be. They offer nothing but superior quality and fast installation. We were very happy with the outcome. If you are looking for a superior custom made kitchen then you have found the right place. We highly recommend Walls Cabinetry Plus and will for years to come.” Abe, who spoke with Spotlight on Business in late February, is modest about his success but also adamant about two things: “First of all, custom solid wood cabinets don’t come with the price tag most people assume. The price is quite low considering the quality of the product. Second, solid wood cabinets are up-to five times stronger than manufactured cabinets made from faux wood, which most companies use. ” Apparently Nova Scotians are getting the message. Abe is currently booked for jobs four months in advance and his appointment calendar is getting busier by the day.




By David MacDonald

on small projects for friends and people in my family. I was one of those kids running up the driveway after school, but I wasn’t grabbing my hockey stick or getting on my bike. I was grabbing the sandpaper and getting back to work on a night stand or an end table.”

WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT F or Abe, quality control comes down to one thing, and it happens to be the thing he’s best at. “I keep every element of production under one roof. There’s no detail that I don’t personally attend to and I’ve got to say, it’s a bonus that I get paid to do this,” Abe laughed. “Working with my hands, working with wood has never really been work to me. I tell people it’s part of my DNA and honestly, that’s what it feels like.” “Walls Cabinetry Plus delivered everything we dreamed our kitchen would be.”


By the time he was 14-years old, Abe was an apprentice, working part-time for a kitchen cabinet manufacturing company owned by a Mennonite friend. “I spent the next 10 years honing my skills with several Mennonite kitchen companies,” he said. “At first, I was strictly assembly and installation but it wasn’t long until I was taking on more responsibilities, like spray finishing, design, foreman, and eventually subcontractor. I put everything into my pursuit of this trade and eventually I came to realize that what I really wanted was a business of my own, something that I could shape. And here we are.” Abe explained that after more than a decade of building custom, solid wood cabinets as a family-owned business, his work and reputation speaks for itself. “Up to now, our customers have done most of our advertising for us. We believe word-of- mouth marketing suits our needs quite nicely considering our range is within six Nova Scotia counties, but we’re happy to be reaching out to more people. We want people to know that our primary focus is making your vision a reality.” “Working with my hands, working with wood has never really been work to me. I tell people it’s part of my DNA and honestly, that’s what it feels like.” SPREAD THE WORD


“I grew up a Mennonite, so you can imagine that I’ve been around woodworking since before I can remember,” Abe explained. “When I was young, I couldn’t stay away from my Uncle Henry’s solid wood furniture business. The time I spent there really had an impact on me. I kind of took after him – and other people I knew – and started taking





Not only does Walls Cabinetry Plus come with the best price tag in the market, they also work closely with their clients every step of the way. “We’ve done details on things like kitchens, bathrooms, walk-in pantries, walk-in closets, laundry rooms, mud rooms, and mini bars that we would have never thought of,” Abe said. “Listening to our custom- ers not only strengthens our brand, it turns us onto trends and adds something else to our repertoire. It’s a win-win.” “I highly recommend Abe to design and build your dream kitchen.”


Denice C-F agrees. Her review on the Walls Cabinetry Plus Facebook page says it all:

“Abe worked with us when we built our new home. I showed him numerous pictures of what we wanted for our kitchen and he came up with the perfect design and layout. I also showed him bathroom vanities online and he built them perfectly for us. We couldn't have been happier with the final product. Start to finish, Abe was reliable, on time, trustworthy and completely profes-

1 800 361-6000 •

sional. I highly recommend Abe to design and build your dream kitchen.”

“But I wasn’t grabbing my hockey stick or getting on my bike. I was grabbing the sandpaper and getting back to work on a night stand or an end table.” Because there’s a vernacular toAbe’s work, he’s thought ahead to make the process of articulating just what you want a littler easier. “Working with solid wood requires a level of expertise. There’s a feel, a texture, a smell that defines every grain. The Samples tabon thewebsitehas anicearrayof painted samples, stained samples, and natural wood samples so that when per- spective customers book an appointment, they have a general idea of what they’re looking for. It’s great when a customer is able to get out their phone and show me exactly what stained wood, or whatever it is, they’re looking for.” MAKING SENSE OF YOUR DREAM

Abe can be reached at 902-305- 4128 or abe@wallscabi-



By David MacDonald D A: I’ll be sharing advice on growing your business, but the readers should know that I don’t do anything the old fashioned way. It’s going to be about defining your brand, finding your voice, and finding your people. It’s all about approaching business growth from a personal perspective – something that jives with your outlook. My focus is small business owners who are [usually] based in rural communities and small towns. Simply put, I’m a business coach who specializes in helping small business owners attract more customers and get noticed online. Last fall, I created a Facebook group called Small town Denise Alison is a Business Growth Specialist and Founder of Stratigro Business Consulting Limited based in Clare, Nova Scotia. She’s also now a colleague. Denise has joined the Spotlight on Business Magazine team and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have a mind like hers adding to the conversation here at the magazine. She will be writing a monthly column that, well, I’ll let Denise explain.

biz. It’s for business owners based in rural communities who need to communicate with like-minded people or people in the same niche as themselves. It could be an interesting place for source material for my column. Are your services confined to your corner of Nova Scotia or does your range extend beyond Digby County and the Fundy Shore? DA: The bulk of my work is done virtually. Technically, I can work with businesses anywhere, however most of my work has been in Atlantic Canada. I’m seeing a lot of work coming in from Newfoundland, New Brunswick, PEI, and





DA: Yes, that’s my Dad, Tim! His knowledge and expertise has been invaluable to me. I don’t know if I’d of had the guts to become an entrepreneur without his mentorship. I like to make light of how he works for me now! He takes care of any projects we do on the profit side of things. I s there such a thing as a typical client need? DA: It’s an assessment-based business. Every customer has different needs and challenges. A mature business that has perhaps been operating for years, their focus is usually on increasing profits. They’re working really hard, revenues are coming in, but the cash flow is often close- to- short. In these scenarios our overall goal is to help get them back in the black and reinvesting in their business. A newer business usually has one priority: getting custom- ers through the door and generating revenue. To do that they need to build a strong brand and get noticed by their potential customers. If a customer wants to increase sales, they’re usually talking about attracting customers and this is my passion. I love working with people, helping them define their brand, their voice and what it is exactly that they want to achieve. If there was something that your clients have in common, what would it be? DA: The common thread with all of my clients is that they want to work with someone that they can identify with and trust. They’re invested in who you are as person as much as your expertise as a business coach. My Facebook profile, for instance, is a mixture of family, friends, and clients. The divide between private and professional exis- tence is practically a memory. Attracting clients is more about being yourself than ever before.

all through Nova Scotia. What motivated you to help entrepreneurs? Was it the fact that you come from a family of entrepre- neurs? DA: In a way, yes, but I never looked at it that way. All through my childhood, my Dad, Tim Alison, ran an edu- cational software business and afterwards, he moved into consulting, so having that kind of mentorship in my life now is something I’m grateful for every day but that’s not necessarily what motivated me then. Like most teenag- ers who grow up in rural areas, I couldn’t wait to explore the world outside of my community, the municipality of Clare. I went to Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick for my undergraduate degree and I did my masters in political science at MUN [Memorial University] in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Basically, I’m groomed to work in government. I went that route because I’ve always wanted to help people in some way. But after one par- ticular work term, it became clear to me that if I wanted to affect change it would need to come from the ground- up. So, I moved back home to Clare and put my skills to use. I started my first business, a research company, and aftertwo years I came to realize that my favourite custom- ers were entrepreneurs. I heard their stories, I was inspired by their passion and motivation, I saw their struggles, I understood their concerns, and I recognized the need for a socially-savvy business coach. “I don’t do anything the old fashioned way.” Is that your Dad I see you posing with on the Stratigro Facebook page?



I read your blog and I have to say I love your candid and conversational writing. Is blogging more or less leading by example for you? In other words are you demonstrating how to find your voice? DA: Thank you and yes. Blogging is tantamount to teaching in the online world. It establishes you as an expert and at the same time it allows you to establish relationships with potential customers through a medium that lacks pretense because they get to know you first. People let their guard down and let you in once you have provided them value and that’s what the blog does. It also goes a long way in establishing and instilling loyalty with existing clients. “I started my first business, a research company, and after two years I came to realize that my favourite customers were entrepreneurs.” I recommend starting a blog to a lot of clients because it helps you define your voice, your brand, and the way you do things. We all have competitors, but we also have a different approach, our own system. I tell my clients all the time that it’s a matter of convincing your potential cus- tomers that the shoe you’re holding fits best. I love the layout of It’s very user-friendly. DA: That’s what we were going for and that’s what we got. We had a local web designer create and we couldn’t be happier. On our website, we share a weekly blog and regular free resources to help small business owners grow their business. We have a very interesting online tool called Finding Opportunities to Increase Profits that analyzes profits. Any business owner can buy the tool, plug in the pertinent information like cost of materials, wages, and total expenses and it creates an extremely thorough report with trends between year one and year two, for instance, and shows you a series of benchmarks. It’s about showing them where they are, what they should be aiming for, and tips to get there. It seems like a business that keeps you on your toes and your imagination active. DA: There are no two business owners who are alike. Everyone faces different challenges, but business is business. What we learn from our mistakes and successes with one business is usually transferable. We like to call them ‘common challenges’ and we like to help people through them and then to recognize them. I love seeing how excited people get when they tell the story of their business. There’s nothing like it. Even when an idea has

been sitting on the shelf for years, people still get that glimmer in their eye. Keeping that hope alive, helping them find their voice – or in some cases just help them make their voice louder – and making it a reality is what it’s all about for me.

“Everyone faces different challenges, but business is business.”

If you’d like to book a free telephone consultation with Denise, simply visit All other inqui- ries can be directed to



By Katie Davis I n a time when retails stores and outlets are investing in technology trying to keep their customer engaged both online and in-store with touch screen mirrors in changing rooms and virtual assistants providing shopping ideas to get consumers to spend more time in the store and online to capture more of their spending dollars. The truth is consumers are not looking for help they are lookingtobuy stuff asquicklyandeasilyaspossibleandthe proof is in the numbers. According to a recent study by mobile commerce and analytics firm GPShopper, only 18 percent of the more than 1,000 consumers polled think smart mirrors

will improve their shopping experience.  With only 21 percent saying that virtual assistants Technology makes purchasing in store or online better.  There is a disconnect between retailers and custom- ers over technology. Maya Mikhailov, a co- founder of GPShopper, explained that, while retailers get excited with the latest technology, hoping it will catch on as the next big thing, people just want to buy stuff as quickly and easily as possible. “They may be very excited,” Mikhailov said of stores, “but consumers aren’t neces- sarily as eager as they are.” In many cases, shoppers don’t even know that the technology exists. Technology is the new annoying store assistant that is asking you if they can help you or what you are looking for. Trust me, customers know what they are looking for when then shop and that is to be left alone when it comes to fancy technology shopping gadgets. However, one technology that is winning customers over is the ability to self-checkout, with more than 50 percent saying it is beneficial to them when shopping, which goes further to prove that customers want to get in, shop and get out, with little to no interaction or help.



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