EDITORIAL TEAM John Allaire Jamie Barrie Janice Buckler Denise Alison Jody Euloth Dan Monk Jordan Parker CONTRIBUTING WRITER Ceiledh Monk MEDIA CONSULTANT Tim Kohoot



B usiness is more than just products and services, it is people working together to build something better. Whether it is a better province to live and work in, more economic growth for a region, a new kitchen or bathroom for your house or the latest new technology for your Jeep. When we spoke with Brittany Davis, Marketing and Communications Specialist and Eric Virkler, Executive Director of the Lewis Economic Development Council we learned that while Lewis County is “Naturally” connected to its historic economic roots – it’s agricultural and resource- based abundance and produc- tivity still does more than its share fueling the trade and industry supremacy of the Empire State. We also learned that Lewis County is also a progressively “green community” with wind, water, and solar projects reshaping the idea of local opportunity in a county of roughly 30,000 residents. With the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Race heating up we take a look who is involved, what their platform is and what they look to offer the people and business of Nova Scotia should they lead the party into the next provincial election against the governing Liberals. We chat again with Dan Monk of Monk Renovations, who for the second time in three years, has been awarded Renovator of the Year at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association at the Nova Scotia (CHBA-NS) Peter Kohler Peak Awards. We talk about how Monk Renovations has proven their utmost commitment to the community, professional contribution to the renovation industry, and opera- tional standards in daily work and how Dan and his team are working to continu- ally raise the bar for the growing residential renovation industry.

Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray when he spoke about the number one des- tination for original equipment manu- facturers (OEMs), specialty equipment distributors and buyers about their upcoming annual event. 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

With the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas just around the corner in October, we revisit our conversation with SEMA’s

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




We love our history and trivia (and scuttlebutt) here at Spotlight on Business. In fact, the question “What’s behind the name?” is key to our writing paradigm. Business decisions are, after all, informed by context and stories about legacies, symbols, and abstractions make for great reading. But it’s rare that these stories are unquestionably history in motion. When the Marketing and Communications Specialist and the Executive Director of the Lewis Economic Development Council spoke with the magazine in late August, I didn’t realize that I was speaking with two inheritors of the original American Dream.

During our chat, Brittany Davis and Eric Virkler explained how the Council’s “Naturally Lewis” efforts are quarterbacked from the county seat of America’s 21 st Congressional district, Lewis County, New York: the

For the second time in three years, Monk Renovations has been awarded Ren- ovator of the Year at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association - Nova Scotia (CHBA-NS) Peter Kohler Peak Awards. This is no small feat as Monk Renovations has proven their utmost commitment to the community, professional contribu- tion to the renovation industry, and operational standards in daily work. Monk has been working to continually raise the bar for the growing residential renovation industry. They have a professional and skilled crew that allows Monk to execute a wide variety of projects from installing a window to doubling the size of your house. Monk’s commitment is demonstrated by their accreditations and associa- tion membership. They are RenoMark certified, Safety Certified, Certified Aging in Place (CARP) professionals, have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau




02 SPOTLIGHT ON SEPTEMBER 08 SEPTEMBER INDUSTRY EVENTS 12 SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRY 14 BRIER ISLAND As natural and untouched as it comes 22 LEWIS COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Recruit. Retain. Expand. 34 NS PC LEADERSHIP RACE Memberships are in, now things get exciting 40 MESH MEDIA NETWORK- THE DYNAMIC SOUL OF SELLING Increase sales with active prospecting 42 AU PAIR EXPERIENCE 46 STRATIGRO- GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA! How the AlgorithmWorks 48 CONTRACTORS CORNER What is the protocol for completing a renovation project? 52 SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS 54 MONK RENOVATIONS 10 years of trusted professionalism 62 HUDEC WOODWORKING Innovation meets intuitive direction 66 SEMA SHOW Disneyland for the automotive customization market 72 MANZER APIARY INC. Building Better Beehives 80 SPOTLIGHT ON INNOVATION 82 DRIVEN AUTOMOTIVE Changing the image of automotive repair one customer at a time 92 SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTH 94 HOLISTIC HEALTH TIP FOR SEPTEMBER BY JANICE BUCKLER Health problems caused by leaky gut syndrome 96 VICTORIA DENTAL Smiling with Hometown Pride


With the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas just around the corner in October we revisit our conversa- tion with SEMA’s Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray when he spoke with Spotlight on Business about the number one destination for original equipment manufacturers...




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.



A lot of business owners struggle when it comes to Instagram. They either don’t quite know how to use it, aren’t on it yet, don’t know what to post or, in the words of a couple of my clients, don’t “get it.” Instagram is a great platform to grow your visibility and attract more customers. Let’s explore how you might add Instagram to your online marketing efforts to create a well-rounded social media strategy.

Instagram arrived on the scene in 2010.  This app encouraged users to take a photo, use a filter, write a caption, and post. And there were a lot of food pics. Instagram was bought by Facebook in 2012.



BC Hop Fest is all set to start off BC Craft Beer Month with a bunch of great beer and great people! This unique annual event brings together the best of British Columbia’s rapidly growing craft breweries and hop products of all kinds. This year, we welcome hop lovers to enjoy the offerings of 40 dif- ferent breweries, of which many use fresh Sumas Prairie grown hops so you can’t get much more “fresh” and local than that! Gather your friends for a Fraser Valley experience like no other. Eat and drink among hops still on the bine, kick up your heels to live music, talk to your favorite brew master, and join us in celebrating the hop harvest at BC Hop Fest 2018. The BC Craft Brewers Guild rep- resents craft brewers from all over BC. Some are small and others smaller, but they all brew flavorful local beer with passion and dedication. The mission of the guild is to support the ongoing creation and discovery of truly great BC Craft Beer. BC Hop Company Ltd. is dedicated to supporting family farms through the world class processing and distri- bution of high quality BC grown hops to brewers, culinary experts, and hop heads everywhere! For more information on the event: h t t p s : // w w w . b c h o p . c a /e v e n t s hop-fest/about/ Follow on Twitter: @bchopfest Follow on Facebook: @bchopcompany

ages available including domestic, imported and local craft beers and wines. So, put on your lederhosen or dirndl, learn the words to Ein Prosit and practice your chicken dance then come out and join us for the greatest party in Atlantic Canada. For more information on the event: Follow on Facebook: @Tatamagouche-Oktoberfest 14TH ANNUAL PORTLAND FRESH HOPS FEST September 28 th – 29 th , 2018 Oaks Amusement Park | Portland, OR, USA The Portland Fresh Hops Fest is a cel- ebration of the annual hop harvest that takes place from mid-August to mid-September in Oregon. The festival features Oregon craft beers made with hops that are freshly picked off the vine and used within hours of harvesting. For more information of the event: http://oregoncraf hopsfest/

THE 39 TH NORTH SHORE BAVARIAN SOCIETY’S OKTOBERFEST September 28 th – 29 th , 2018 North Shore Recreation Centre | Tatamagouche, NS Canada The largest Oktoberfest east of Kitch- ener-Waterloo takes place on the last full weekend of September each year with over 3,000 party goers travelling to Tatamagouche to attend the North Shore Bavarian Society’s Oktoberfest which is a non-profit multi-cultural society with members from various communities with its home base in Tat- amagouche, N.S. Each event includes good food, bev- erages, music and dancing. There’s great entertainment as they play German Oktoberfest music as well as popular music, so there is something for everyone. There are many concession booths serving up all kinds of tasty treats ranging from traditional such as sausages, schnitzel, to pizzas and potato chips along with many bever-

Follow on Twitter: @OregonCraftBeer Follow on Facebook: @OregonCraftBeer

BC HOP FEST 2018 September 29 th , 2018 BC Hop Co Hop Farm | Abbotsford, BC, Canada



PRINT 18 September 30 th – October 2 nd , 2018 McCormick Place| Chicago, IL, USA PRINT 18 is the ONE event that helps you Grow YOUR Business. More than 80 engaging education sessions, an extensive exhibit floor featuring the latest RED HOT technologies. Networking with colleagues, custom- ers and potential business partners. At PRINT 18 you will learn, shop, strat- egize and solve complex challenges with unconventional thinking, inno- vative products and trusted solutions that can be implemented immediately. PRINT has served as the platform for breakthrough ideas and technologies for 50 years. Owned and produced by the Association for PRINT Technolo- gies, it’s where emerging technology and powerful businesses meet. For more information of the event: events/print18/ Follow on Twitter: @APT_tech Follow on Facebook: @APTtechorg

Follow on Facebook: @NocturneHalifax

collections and design services, the caliber of resources and fashion direc- tion is presented with West Coast’s Contemporary & Lifestyle designers in mind. For more information on the event: http://www.californiamarketcenter. com/latextile/home.php

Follow on Twitter: @ latextile Follow on Facebook: @latextile

NOCTURNE: ART AT NIGHT October 11 th -13 th , 2018 Multiple Locations | Halifax, NS, Canada Nocturne: Art at Night is a fall festival that brings art and energy to the streets of Halifax between 6 p.m.-midnight. The completely free annual event showcases and cele- brates the visual arts scene in Halifax. Nocturne, designed and planned by volunteers, is an opportunity for everyone to experience the art of Halifax in a whole new light. The Nocturne Program Guide provides details about exhibitions in galleries and public spaces throughout the city. The Nocturne program and map guides residents and visitors alike to a variety of exhibitions in galleries and public spaces throughout the city. Nocturne is a volunteer-run not- for-profit organization. We work on building partnerships with the city and area businesses and government organizations to bring the city access to art and wonder with no barriers.  Every year the city of Halifax partners with Nocturne and that year’s curator to bring art and artists to create fixed points for the evening. These projects echo the year’s theme and create gathering spots to which to explore the festival from. For more information on the event: ht tps://noc / what-is-nocturne Follow on Twitter: @NocturneHalifax

14TH ANNUAL AUSTRALIAN BEER FESTIVAL October 12 th – 14 th , 2018 The Australian Heritage Hotel | The Rocks, NSW, Australia A giant celebration of craft beer in the Rocks as Cumberland and Gloucester streets will come alive with great Aus- tralian craft beer festivities as festival goers celebrate it’s 14th year champi- oning craft brews down in the Rocks they’re kicking the street party into gear with over 30 breweries where you can meet the brewers, attend blind tasting sessions and enjoy live entertainment. We’re talking 120 beers and ciders for you to taste and rate over two and a half days, so like fun to us. For more information on the event: the-australian-heritage-hotel/14th-an- nual-australian-beer-festival/ HIGH POINT MARKET October 13 th - 17 th , 2018 Multiple Locations | High Point, NC, USA The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 75,000 people to High Point every six months. Serious retail home furnishings buyers can be found in High Point twice a year because if you can’t find it in High Point…it probably doesn’t exist.

LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL TEXTILE SHOW October 3 rd – 5 th , 2018 California Market Center | Los Angeles, CA, USA Los Angeles International Textile Show (LA TEXTILE) is the fashion industry’s premier West Coast destination for textile, design & production resourc- es from around the globe. Showcas- ing hundreds of international fabric



What High Point Market offers those attending: • 180 Buildings • 11.5 Million Square Feet of Showspace • 75,000 Attendees Each Market

For more information on the event: http://www.michigan- Follow on Twitter: @ MiBrewersGuild Follow on Facebook: @michiganbrewersguild

• More Than 2000 Exhibitors • 100+ Countries Represented

• Tens of Thousands of New Product Introductions • Approximately 10% of Attendees Are International

For more information on the event: http://www.highpoint- Follow on Twitter: @HPMarketNews Follow on Facebook: @hpmkt

7TH ANNUAL HARRISON BEER FESTIVAL October 26 th – 27 th , 2018 St. Alice Hall | Harrison Hot Springs, BC, Canada

The Harrison Beer Festival has been created to showcase BC Craft Breweries and to celebrate craft beer month in beautiful British Columbia. The Harrison Hot Springs and the Agassiz Regions has a rich history in the beer industry. For 60 years hops, a basic ingredient in beer was the main industry in the Agassiz area of British Columbia. At the height of business, 300 acres were planted with hops. This annual event in addition to bringing great beer to the shores of Lake Harrison will also bring amazing food and entertainment and we celebrate our place in beer history.

10TH ANNUAL DETROIT FALL BEER FESTIVAL October 26 th – 27 th , 2018 Eastern Market | Detroit, MI, USA Join the Michigan Brewers Guild at Eastern Market in October for one of the largest all-Michigan beer tastings around. Attendees can enjoy some incredible food from Detroit area restaurants (available for purchase) and listen to a talented line-up of local musicians while sipping any of more than 800+ craft beers and nearly 120 Michigan brew- eries. The Motor City has a long-standing brewing history and in recent years it has been revitalized thanks to a growing interest in the craft beer movement. Established in 1891, the current Eastern Market is one of the nation’s oldest farm markets and the area is rife with brewing history. In its heyday, there were more than 40 breweries in the Detroit area and malt silos still stand as a testament to the rich brewing history – making it the perfect backdrop for the Detroit Fall Beer Festival.

For more information on the event: https://www.harrison-



Pouring Perfect Pints

Did you know that an estimated 10 million Canadians drink beer as their alcoholic beverage of choice? Draught beer is the freshest of these beers, as it does not go through the same distribution channels as canned or bottled beer. It is produced, kegged and delivered fresh to pubs and restaurants. As a draught system technologist, BeerTech’s number one goal is to ensure that draught beer be dispensed to consumers as the brewer intended. It all starts with system balance. Whether it is a short draw system (direct draw from a fridge below the towers) or a long draw (from a cooler located somewhere

in the building and driven to the tower and faucets at the bar), it is imperative that the system be balanced. Cooler temperature, beer temperature, gas pressure and calculations on the route the beer will travel (distance, any gravity or lift the lines will travel, restriction caused by hardware such as tubing size and hardware within the towers) must be correct. The result will be a perfectly poured pint; cold, properly carbonated and with a nice head on the beer. It is critical after a proper install that the BeerTech system is maintained regularly. Temperatures should be monitored and the lines, couplers and faucets should be kept clean. As well, the cooler in which the beer is stored should be kept clean.

Serving quality draught beer requires time and technique. Select the proper glassware for the style and brand of beer you are offering. When pouring draught, the glass should never contact with the faucet. Hold the glass at a 45 degree angle until reaching ¾ full, then straighten and lower slightly to allow for the head to form. Beer, much like wine, has a nose. The glass should be served with the logo or label facing the customer and, whenever possible, on a coaster from the respective brewery. Follow the steps above and you are ready to enjoy a fresh, perfectly poured pint every time! Please enjoy responsibly! Ken Greer Owner Technician BeerTech Draught Systems Technologies









CANADA’S ECONOMIC GROWTH LOWER THAN EXPECTED Statistics Canada reported that Canadian exports surged between April and June resulting in the largest increase seen in the last four years with energy products showing a 3.6 percent increase. Data shows household spending rose by 0.6 per cent, doubling results from the first quarter. However, spending by businesses slowed showing a minimal growth of only 0.4 percent for the period. A slowdown in business spending was to be expected after a strong start to the year, “but this component is definitely one to watch carefully going forward,” said Toronto-Dominion Bank economist, Brian DePratto after the numbers were released. Canada’s gross domestic product was slightly less than economists predicted for June, growing 2.9 percent, but not the predicted 3.1 percent.

OTTAWA TO MOVE FORWARD WITH TRANS MOUNTAIN PIPELINE The ink is hardly dry on the federal government’s $4.5- billion deal to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and expan- sion project from Kinder Morgan Inc. and already a major setback as the Federal Court of Appeal has overturned the pipeline’s construction permits. Appeals Court judge, Eleanor Dawson ruled that the federal government did not carry out its duty to consult with affected First Nations on the project and that the National Energy Board’s report was flawed because it did not consider the issue of tanker traffic. The project will now need to undertake new reviews if it is to move forward, which is not good news for the Canadian oil industry. However, even with this latest setback the federal govern- ment remains committed to building the pipeline. “This is a project that’s in Canada’s national interest. A project that means thousands of good, well-paying jobs for the middle class,” said Canadian Finance Minister, Bill Morneau. Morneau goes on to say, “This one will be a strong, commer- cial project once we de-risk it. That’s what we’re attempting to do, so we can be in the market in the long term.” The court decision is expected to cause further delays to the project and drive up its final price tag, previously estimated at $7.4 billion. Kinder Morgan’s disclosures had shown the price could rise as high as $9.3 billion if construc- tion wraps up in 2021.

In comparison, south of the border the U.S. economy grew at a 4.2 per cent pace during the same period.




American consumer confidence is rolling the right way and that is up as results for August are the highest level since October 2000 at 133.4 up from 127.4 in July and 127.1 in June.

The Conference Board’s index measures American’s sentiment on current economic conditions and prospects for the next six months, including business and labor market conditions. Since consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, economists’ pay close attention to the number. The recent Conference Board data shows that consumers South of the border are feeling that the U.S. economy will continue to grow in the near future. However, most are less optimistic about long-term continued growth of the nation’s economy.

CRTC CALLS FOR INCREASED SPENDING FOR PROGRAMMING WITH CANADIAN CONTENT Canadian movies, documentaries, award and television shows will be guaranteed more funding after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission bent to increasing pressure from creative groups, like The Writers Guild of Canada, the Canadian Media Producers Association and the Directors Guild of Canada and the Liberal government. The CRTC announced Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertain- ment Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. must spend 7.5 percent, 8.5 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively, of their previous years’ revenue on Canadian content production to renew their broadcast licences. The decision comes as the government reviews broadcast- ing laws to adapt to disruption from the internet. Quotas and Canadian content requirements can seem ineffective and dated as consumers can view just about anything they want online now. However, this is not just a big media regulation as Netflix, which has more than 6 million Canadian subscribers is also included in the Canadian content requirement.



When we spoke with Virginia Tudor – the owner and operator of the Brier Island Lodge a nor’easter had just swept across Nova Scotia. If you’re not familiar with Nova Scotia geography, Brier Island is the most southwesterly point of the province and sits at the entrance of the Bay of Fundy. It is about a four-hour drive along NS-101 from the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and has approximately 200 permanent residents of this island – which is only 7.5 km (4.7 mi) long and 2.5 km (1.6 mi) wide.





By David MacDonald H ow does the weather impact your livelihood on Brier Island? VT: An extended bad weather forecast during peak season can lead to mass booking cancellations, which isn’t pretty on the revenue side of things.  High winds cause the most havoc, that and heavy fog. That’s the combo that keeps the whale watching boats from sailing.  On the positive side, which there always is, those who stay on Brier Island during storms and who are adventurous enough to head out along the 25 kilometres of shoreline – at a safe distance, of course – are treated to some amazing storm watching and wave shows. “The weather, and the seasons, actually, is what make Brier Island what it is. It’s as natural and untouched as it comes.” The weather, and the seasons, actually, is what make Brier Island what it is. It’s as natural and untouched as it comes. Yes, I understand that you’re a strong proponent of eco-tourism. VT: It’s integral to what we do her e on the Island. We’re in-line with the sustainability initiatives in Digby County, but we also try to go above and beyond.  At the lodge we follow similar waste and cost reduction practices that all hotels do, in the way of on-demand linen refreshing.  Being on wells rather than a town water supply makes water con- servation extremely important to us, so plumbing is tailored for low consumption. We try to reduce the plastics used and opt for biodegradable products in all departments.  We compost much of our kitchen waste and use the compost in our landscaping. We have on-site greenhouses that we use to grow some of our food in and focus on sourcing our food supplies within 100 kilometres to offer fresh, local dishes on our menu.

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



It is, in fact, one of the major resting spots for migratory birds on the eastern seaboard. There is a species of hawk that migrates through here every fall, for instance. There are thousands and thousands of them. It’s something to see. Every two years, we host nature retreats by Speyside Wildlife, a group out of Scotland famous for their guided birdwatching and wildlife holidays around the world. How has the lodge and its services evolved throughout the years? VT: It’s evolved quite a bit. Originally, before I had the lodge, I tried the bed and breakfast scene for a year or two. I learned from that experience that I needed to be in the hotel business. There was so much demand and only one other bed and breakfast on the island – and she had up-to 50 people sleeping in that house every night during peak season. It was really apparent that we needed to have a lodge here. I built my house here first, but both the house and the business were built with the view in mind. When I built my house, it wasn’t the typical design for the area. There’s a tradition in many small communities in Nova Scotia where the locals take tours of people’s homes when they’re built or renovated. What people wanted to do more than anything was stand on the deck and see the view. During Brier Island is also part of the Southwest Nova Biosphere.



We have a range of rooms. We have rooms that start at $109, and they’re the original rooms we opened with. They’re a little smaller than standard hotel rooms. Ten dollars more gets you a small walk-out deck. From there, there’s our Superior Rooms, which all have an ocean view. Those rooms have either two queens, or one king size bed. We use those mainly for our packages. “It’s home to one of the world’s rarest plants.” We get a lot of off-season weddings. We don’t do weddings during peak season – we’re just too busy as it is. When we do weddings, though, we get people coming from all over and with different spins on their ceremonies. Sometimes the wedding is done on the grounds of the lodge, some- times it’s done at the lighthouse here on the island, or on one of the whale watching boats, or down on one of the beaches – and, of course, we do the reception either way. Do you get a lot of lodgers from outside of the tourism demographic? VT: Yes, whenever there is major construction work in the area, we are often the choice of the work crews for accom- modation.  We hosted an international crew of workers who were laying underwater power cables to connect the Islands to the main grids.  The project lasted over a month and the crew became like our family. What does a corporate retreat at Brier Island and the Lodge look like? VT: A corporate retreat on Brier Island is first and foremost an escape from the over stimulating urban environment. Bringing employees to Brier Island can allow them to focus on the corporate goals, each other, and themselves.  It is a

that first year I must have had a hundred people tell me that this was the perfect place to build a lodge or hotel because of the view. When we built the original hotel, we received help from ACOA [Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency], but that came with a lot of restrictions. We didn’t end up with what we had in mind. One mistake we made in the original hotel was making the dining room too large. We quickly realized that we didn’t have enough rooms. We were almost imme- diately past capacity. We knew that if we were going to survive as a business, we needed more rooms. We put together the means to renovate and make some additions. With the additional rooms, it then became apparent that we needed a communal place, that wasn’t the dining room, for guests to gather to specifically enjoy the view. That’s when we built the lounge on. We can easily seat 50 people in the lounge. Our last phase of expansion was to add-on to the dining room because it became too small. It’s now licensed for a hundred people. We’ve also added several more rooms.

We now have 38 and we’re happy with that number for now.



place that can rejuvenate them, but also excite them with nature adventures, like hiking and whale watching.

director, Amy Tudor.

The Lodge has been in operation for nearly 30 years and in that time it has been a first job for many Islanders. Being a family business, many family members have worked here as well. Finding willing and qualified workers on the Island has always been a challenge for us and we have in the past hired employees from off the Island and offered on-site staff accommodation. I imagine that businesses on Brier Island work quite closely with one another to survive and thrive. VT: Yes, the fishing village of Westport keeps the commu- nity going in the off-season. That’s also where the ferry service takes people from Freeport on Long Island. There are two short ferry trips to get to Brier Island, actually. Both ferries run once every hour, 24 hours a day and are on-call after midnight. The cost is only seven dollars per car, cash only. You pay to get here, but it’s free when you’re leaving. Whale watching is the major draw here. It was the advent about 30 years ago and the subsequent rise in popularity of whale watching that really proved to me that larger scale accommodations were necessary on the Island. We have always promoted the Island as a whole, but a special mention should go out to our whale watching partners, Brier Island Whale and Seabird Tours, and Mariner

The Island and the Lodge has long suffered a disadvan- tage in the world of internet access.  Connections over the years were slow, unreliable, and costly, but now we have high speed wireless service which has really opened up the corporate retreat market for us. We have total of 38 rooms of various set-ups, as well as a lounge and two dining rooms that can be adjusted to fit the needs of our retreat guest. Our kitchen facilities can be used by the group directly if they wish to prepare their own meals, which is an accommodation available in the off-sea- son only. Otherwise, our chefs can create custom menus for any group. You must be very conscious of shaping the employee culture of the Lodge because of this. VT: I come at it from two angles: I’m a resident and a business owner. We hire seasonally and the amount of employees depends on what time of year it is.  During the off-season, we can maintain operations with one-to-three staff members and at the peak of tourist season up to 30 people. As the owner and operator, I never stop working – and neither does my daughter-in-law and marketing



grew, we got online very early compared to most tourism destinations.  We purchased many domain names relating to our business and used them as landing and redirect pages for our main page. We were using SEO [Search engine optimization] before it became a trend.  Adding an online reservation form to our website and part- nered with online booking companies has greatly increased our global presence and we are seeing some of our best pre-season reservation counts ever. Our Facebook page was started many years ago, but it was not heavily focused-on until 2012 when our son Jess and his wife Amy returned to Brier Island to work at the Lodge.  They took over the social media side of the business and between them have created multiple channels of social media.  Amy is a creative and avid photographer and her ideas, images, and stories have attracted many followers to our business and area.  Amy saw that the Island as a whole was under repre- sented in social media, so she created Facebook pages for locations like the lighthouse, which at the time had no funding for promotions.  She’s continued sharing content year round so people can see Island life even in the off- season.  She is proactive. She creates content for specific target markets and

Cruises Whale and Seabird Tours.

We trust these companies to give our guests an experience they’ll never forget. We were actually checking out some of the whale watching videos you have posted to Facebook in our editorial meeting – and they’re incredible. VT: That’s the truth. We want people to see the amazing adventures that you can have while on the Island and the whale encounters are second to none. You’re connected to the sea everywhere you look and travel on Brier Island. It is also home to three lighthouses, including the beautiful and historic Western Light and the Peter Island lighthouse, which is off the Island in Grand Passage. “Bringing employees to Brier Island can allow them to focus on the corporate goals, each other, and themselves.  It is a place that can rejuvenate them, but also excite them with nature adventures, like hiking and whale watching.” We are confident that you will not leave the Island disap- pointed. How has the internet changed the way you do business? VT: When Brier Island Lodge started, the only thing that was online was the bedsheets.  As the access to the internet



does a great deal of strategic tagging in many channels. Being part of ongoing online conversation when travel tourism tips are being requested is vital to the year round live marketing plan she has in place. We have also worked with travel bloggers and see the growing importance these new advertising mediums have. But as they say, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ I understand that Brier Island and the Lodge has become a generational vacation destination for many families. VT: It’s a sign that I’ve been in the business for a long time, but I’ve noticed more and more people are coming in with their families and telling me stories about when they were a kid and came with their parents for whale watching over a holiday weekend, or what have you. It’s very rewarding to make those connections. The island is also one of those rare places where you can let your kids out the door to play. You don’t see that every- where anymore. The island is their playground, I mean, that’s how I grew up, and that’s priceless.



We love our history and trivia (and scuttlebutt) here at Spotlight on Business. In fact, the question “What’s behind the name?” is key to our writing paradigm. Business decisions are, after all, informed by context and stories about legacies, symbols, and abstractions make for great reading. But it’s rare that these stories are unquestionably history in motion. When the

Marketing and Communications Specialist and the Executive Director of the Lewis Economic Development Council spoke with the magazine in late August, I didn’t realize that I was speaking with two inheritors of the original American Dream. During our chat, Brittany Davis and Eric Virkler explained how the Council’s “Naturally Lewis” efforts are quarterbacked from the county seat of America’s 21 st Congressional district, Lewis County, New York: the village of Lowville. That was enough for us in the writer’s room to play (again) a spirited game of “What’s behind the name?” when the cross-border conference call came to an end. (You see, we’d already discovered that the county is named after the third Governor of New York, Morgan Lewis.) As it turns out, Nicholas Low, for whom Lowville is named, embodied the Council’s slogan: Recruit. Retain. Expand.



By David MacDonald E ric, Brittany – can you please tell the readers a little bit about your- selves and what Lewis County means personally to you both? EV: I was born and raised in Lewis County. In the middle of my previous career – I have a background in accounting and finance – I decided that community service, the idea of making Lewis County an even better place, was important to me. I became a board member for the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation and that led to an interest in this work. I have worked in public service for almost 20 years now and with Lewis County Economic Development for ten years. This type of work constantly brings new challenges, not to mention a great sense of mission: to benefit our citizens. BD: Lewis County will always be home to me. I grew up on a farm here in Lowville, New York and I have always loved the scenery, the hard-working, dedicated people, and the friendly and safe towns and villages. I have always seen the opportuni- ties for growth in the County. After gradu- ating with my Masters, I came to work with Lewis County Economic Development with hopes of taking my drive and ambition and making Lewis County even better than it already is. I am very involved in community initiatives to bring more opportunity to the County, and so far, when you hear “outsid- ers” say things like “Wow, things are hap- pening in Lewis County,” you know you are going in the right direction. Lewis County has been a great fit for me and I want to make sure it is a great fit for future gener- ations. It’s our aim to continue to inspire young people to live, work, and play here in Lewis County. I have always said – even through high school and college – that I wanted to help my community and be a part of the growth in some way. This opportunity to work for the Economic Development office could not have come at a better time: there is a renewed drive to better the community and it felt like the perfect fit for me. Like Eric said, working for the Council gives you opportunities to learn something new each and every day because every day brings something new to Lewis County. Let’s say, hypothetically, that I’m a small

Low was a prominent New York City land developer and merchant – and staunch supporter of General Washington and the rebel cause during the American Revolution. Following the evacuation of the British Army and British Loyalists in 1783, Low purchased tracts of land in Upstate New York, laid out townsites, and began to develop Lowville – and nearby Watertown – by dividing his holdings to sell both land and lots. Brittany and Eric are nothing short of stewards of Low’s vision. They’re a part of a development process that’s been going strong for 235 years. And while Lewis County is “Naturally” connected to its historic economic roots – its agricultural and resource-based abundance and productivity still does more than its share fueling the trade and industry supremacy of the Empire State with the likes of Kraft-Heinz setting up shop inside county lines – it’s also a progressively “green community” with wind, water, and solar projects reshaping the idea of local opportunity in a county of roughly 30,000 residents. The following are highlights from our conversation which include information about Lewis County Economic Development’s incentives for entrepreneurs and small business owners, a few words about some of the major manufacturers on the ground, the “Naturally Lewis” and “Naturally Dairy” campaigns,the green future of business opportunities, and the annual Cream Cheese Festival.



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business owner with a young family who is considering Lewis County as the new home base for my growing company. What do you tell me? EV: I’d tell you how Lewis County has a great balance. It has a very high quality of life, it’s a family- oriented and driven community, and it has always offered strong business opportunities. The four season climate is enjoyable – at most times – and we do not experience unusual weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and etcetera. Our economy is based on agriculture with a strong core of manufacturing, tourism, and service-based businesses. BD: I’d add that Lewis County is strategically located in the perfect spot of Northern New York. We’re 40 miles from Canada, a short drive to several major interstates, and anywhere between a two and six hour drive to Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, Toronto, Montreal, Boston and New York City. We have ample water and land for natural resource-based businesses – and like Eric said, we have a great work-life balance with plenty of outdoor recreation, safe and friendly neighborhoods, an excellent New York State public school system, and most importantly, some of the hardest working people you will find anywhere – we have a very motivated and dedicated workforce here. People here are dedicated to their careers and dedicated to Lewis County.

If you are looking for the perfect place to raise your family Lewis County is the place for you. You can live in walkable villages where it is safe for your kids to walk to school, where there are plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities to accommodate the four seasons, where your neighbors are friendly and helpful, and where a supportive business climate and county government are waiting to help you. The people of Lewis County are famously extremely inviting to new residents and businesses. It really is the perfect spot for anyone who has in mind the homegrown business approach. You will find the support you need to grow and expand your business organically in Lewis County. “It’s our aim to continue to inspire young people to live, work, and play here in Lewis County.” The Lewis Economic Development Council has put in place some very tempting incentives for entrepreneurs and businesses to set-up shop in the County – care to tell the readers about those opportunities? BD: Absolutely. The Lewis County Economic Development Council and the Industrial Development Agency offer various tax incentives for new business and/or business expansions. These incentives include: payment in lieu of taxes, sales tax exemptions, and mortgage tax exemptions.



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We also offer IDA sale-lease back transactions, and manage a small business revolving loan fund. We are currently in the process of acquiring multiple spaces for business growth and expansions around the county, such as a commerce park and vacant buildings. Because they will be owned by a governmental agency, the lease options could be very affordable for new businesses or expanding businesses. Can you please tell the readers more about recent infra- structure development and projects in Lewis County like the Lyon Falls Mill Revitalization and Commerce Park? EV: We have been in the process of developing the County’s first commerce park to spark business growth. Many of our local businesses are in need of expasions, but it may not be

feasible for their current location. Providing location oppor- tunities for not only our established businesses, but new businesses as well, is vital to growth of Lewis County. We are currently embarking on the fourth and final stage of demolition of the old Lyons Falls Paper Mill site in Lyons Falls, New York. The nine-acre property falls under the Brownfield Opportunity Area, which could allow for poten- tial tax credits in the future, but is also a spectacular water- front property on the Black River – and is directly adjacent to a hydroelectric facility, which could produce inexpensive power for a business. Lewis County is always eyeing infra- structure improvements in our county to support business and residential growth for our communities.



How far and wide is the “Naturally Lewis” brand known? BD: I said before that Lewis County will always be home – and that is also the case for many ‘Lewis County born and raised’ who live outside of Lewis County or in differ- ent states or countries. People like to keep tabs on what is happening back in their hometown, and is a great way to do that. We showcase their friends, family, and neighbors and their successful business ventures, the beauty of our county, and the many reasons why you should live, work and play here. “We’re 40 miles from Canada, a short drive to several major interstates, and anywhere between a two and six hour drive to Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, Toronto, Montreal, Boston and New York City.” On the other hand, with “Naturally Lewis” still being a somewhat new brand in the economic development world, we are making a name for ourselves throughout the North Country region and getting recognition through state-wide economic development initiatives and organizations. The brand was created to promote the county as the “natural

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ily-owned dairy farms. Can you please tell the readers about the “Naturally Dairy” campaign? BD: It’s true that dairy agriculture continues to be the backbone of our economy in 2018. Without the dairy industry, our economy and communities would not be where they are today. Although the industry is currently struggling it will continue to be our backbone as many of our small businesses here in Lewis County were established to support the dairy industry. We are currently in the middle of a County-wide dairy campaign called “Naturally Dairy” to help promote the industry and educate the community on the impact the dairy industry has on our economy as a whole. We will continue to support our dairy farmers, but also hope to see more and more value-added agriculture to help offset any potential burdens on the agricultural industry as a whole in the future. We have a thriving winery, apple orchard, breweries, hop and lavender farm, goat farms, honey, produce farmers, and more, to help continue to sustain the agricultural industry. Lewis County thrives off both types of agriculture and we will continue to do whatever we can to support farmers. How has becoming a largely green community impacted jobs and everyday life in Lewis County – and what does that mean for the County’s future growth? EV: Lewis County is a strong supporter of alternative energy production. We have the potential for additional wind farms

choice for business success,” but it has evolved to become so much more than that. It is a natural choice: to live, raise a family, be with friends, and explore new places. It is a life- style brand, it is our local foods brand, and it is our identity to be proud of. We have natural resources and natural beauty and that is what makes the brand so special. It is all encompassing and when businesses start here or locate here, they see the value in the branding, the promotion of businesses, and promotion of Lewis County as a whole. EV: In a lot of ways the brand has been known worldwide for a long time. I always encourage people in big business, entrepreneurs, and small business owners with families to check out because it really answers the question “Why Lewis County?” but people have known about our resources – great land and great weather for agri- cultural activities of all kinds –for generations. Some of the major employers in the County, like Kraft-Heinz, have really put us on the map in the business world. In fact, Philadel- phia Cream Cheese is proudly made here in Lewis County.

We are also a huge timber resource and that’s been good to the manufacturing sector here, as well.

A number of facilities in the County produce speciality paper, paperboard, packaging, wood products – that sort of thing. I understand that the economy in Lewis County revolves around the success of your farms, 200 of which are fam-



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