Business people talk about their products and their hiring needs
The 11th annual Biz2Biz Expo brought together 125 PEI businesses and organizations that help businesses succeed. The event was presented by the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, and sponsored by Corkum Arsenault Crozier and Stewart McKelvey.
For more information, visit www.charlottetownchamber.com.
Nina Hu arrived on PEI in November 2015, and opened her business at the Kirkwood Mews in Charlottetown in May 2016. She travels to South Korea and Japan to purchase the clothing, accessories, and skincare products sold in the store.
“These products are very popular across Asia,” says Nina. “I researched the market before opening the store, and didn’t find similar products in Charlottetown.”
So far, three UPEI students have been hired to work part-time. “I like the girls I hired very much, and they all have different strengths. One is very good at writing descriptions of the products that we put on social media. One is very good at serving customers, and the other is very friendly too.”
“I am often away traveling, and I need to be able to rely on the staff to take care of the store. I value people who are loyal, enjoy the work, and are familiar with the products so that they share that knowledge with customers. They should also be good at photographing our products and adding new content to our facebook, instagram, and WeChat accounts to let people know about our products.”
Nina advertised the open positions through WeChat, an Ap popular with the Asian community. “Lucky for me, many young women were interested in the position. In one day, I received over 20 resumés, and I only needed three people.
“If I advertise any new positions, I will only use WeChat because the word gets out very quickly. I have no trouble finding new staff.
For more information, search BeStylish PEI on facebook. [email protected].
Dynamic Fitness & Freshii, Charlottetown
Dynamic Fitness and Freshii are owned by Dave Eli MacEachern. Dynamic Fitness recently relocated to 99 Pownal Street at the old Charlottetown Legion, and Freshii is a block away at 133 Queen Street. Dynamic Fitness also has locations in Fredericton and Moncton.
Dynamic Fitness includes a boutique which sells athletic gear, as well as space for fitness classes. “We have created a cooperative space for self employed people to offer classes in nutrition, self defence, dance, massage therapy, sports psychology, counselling, yoga, and hot yoga,” says Neally Currie. “We are always looking for certified people to teach these classes.” “We are always looking for certified people to teach these classes.”
Freshii offers casual, healthy fast food, such as full meals, juices, smoothies, and breakfast, and partners with local businesses such as Receiver Coffee. Freshii has expanded its offerings to elementary school lunch programs and catering for local businesses.
“We employ a foundation staff that runs the boutique and the businesses, and the instructors are self employed. At Dynamic, three people work at the boutique, and check people in to classes. Freshii has about 20 full-time and part-time staff, and is busier in the summer months. Front-line staff duties include making the food, doing dishes, prep work, work cash, and washing tables.
“To apply, it is always better to drop off a resumé in person, so that I can gauge your personality right away,” says Neally.
“When we hire, we look for the right personality, and attention to a healthy lifestyle. It is terrifying for anyone who goes into a fitness facility for the first time. We need staff who are welcoming and put our clients at ease, and can engage them in conversation and tell them how our services can fit their lifestyle.”
Hillside Motors Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, Charlottetown
Hillside Motors, PEI’s only full-line General Motors Dealership, has been a family-owned operation since 1973. They recently launched a service where they will do an oil change and tire rotation for all makes and models with no appointment necessary.
They currently employ just over 50 full-time employees. Job titles include Sales, Red Seal Service Technicians, and administration. They are willing to take on people going through the apprenticeship process.
Automotive Technicians: continuous learning is important
“The technican role was harder to fill when the oil boom out west was at its height,” says Neal Noseworthy. “Many tradespeople were going out west to make a lot more money than at home. Since the boom has started to scale back, there seem to be more people going into the technician trade, and it is easier now to find the right people.
“The job has become a lot more complex. The technology is now so advanced, you can’t bring a vehicle to an after-market garage to get most repairs done. Vehicles need to be plugged in and diagnosed with world-class multi-scan computers.”
Sales people need a lot of skills
“Good salespeople are always hard to find. It is a changing industry and typically 100 percent commission based. It’s harder to attract the millennial generation, which values a good life balance, combined with a good compensation plan.
“Sales is one of the hardest high-paying jobs, and one of the easiest low-paying jobs. If you are enthusiastic and know how to treat people like you would like to be treated, it can be a very rewarding career, with lots of room for advancement. In 2009, I started out in the car business in sales, became a sales manager, and now I’m the general manager for the dealership.”
“To be a good sales person, you need to be educated on the product you are selling,” says Pierce MacLean. “You are selling yourself too. You need to be approachable, talk to people like they are your friend, and listen to them about what they are looking for.”
“When we hire Sales people, we give them extensive training in product knowledge and salesmanship, and it is ongoing throughout their career,” says Neal. “The best salespeople are continuously learning and trying to make themselves better.”
For more information, visit www.hillsidechevrolet.com.
In September, Don Ramsay opened a homegrown service new to PEI. Don and his team of developers created an Ap and website you can use to order things, pay for them, and have them delivered in Charlottetown in a very short period of time.
Customers call the toll-free number or go to the website to place their orders, and drives can be dispatched within five minutes to do anything from taking a hockey bag to a rink, picking up laundry, or shopping for and delivering groceries. The service is also offered to businesses that need deliveries made.
“We have done our research, and it has been confirmed by a lot of people that there is a huge demand for the service,” says Don. “The service is growing very rapidly.”
“We have a dispatch system that shows us where our drivers are and who is available, so that we can get things picked up and delivered very efficiently.
“We hired more than 20 drivers in October. They are paid by the trip. They make quite a bit more than a regular job, because they get more deliveries, our service is faster, and they tell us they get better tips. As we add more businesses, we will be even busier.
“This is a phenomenal part-time job for anyone from students to seniors. You can drive for us full-time or part-time, and pick the hours you are available.”
“We look for drivers with a good driving record, who are enthusiastic, well presented, care about the customers and about the delivery, have their own vehicle, and have a smart phone.”
Driving jobs are advertised on Kijijji and at www.jobbank.gc.ca. They are considering expanding, and hope to soon be serving businesses in Moncton, Fredericton, and Summerside.
Norton Arts, Island-wide
This company teaches conflict management, including prevention, escalation, and resolution.
Robert Norton started the business in 2010 in Ontario and began operations on PEI in March 2016.
For over 25 years, he’s continuously evolved Shoto-Chi, a martial art he developed, to be more about psychology and conflict resolution than fighting.
“I cover all aspects of conflict, from verbal to physical. Individuals can take my community-based workshops, such as the women’s self defence workshops.
“My company is mobile. I can do the training in your own home, or in schools, colleges, universities, or workplaces.
“My goal is to get what I do into the schools, because teaching personal safety is a vital life skill. In the future, I hope I will be in a position to hire and train people to teach my program.”
For more information, call 902-978-1738. Visit www.nortonarts.org.
Provincial Realty, Island-Wide
This real estate agency has been in operation on PEI since January 2016.
“We are a one-stop shop which helps to arrange mortgages and helps people find houses or businesses,” says Cheryl Burns.
“Most of our staff are Sales Associates. We also have a Mortgage Specialist, Broker, Marketing Coordinator, Marketing Specialist, and an Administrator.
“The market is really strong on PEI right now, so we may be looking for more Sales Associates. As we grow, we may need more administrative and mortgage staff as well.
“Working in the PEI market is less stressful than in Toronto. Volume here is much less, yet the service is much more personal. You get to know people here better.”
A person interested in a career as a real estate agent would first contact the PEI Real Estate Association. It offers two training courses a year. Once the person passes the exam, they can work for a broker.
“To apply for work at Provincial, contact Sharon Laybolt, our Administrator, who does the initial interview. She passes applicants’ names to company President Jeff Murphy or Vice President Greg MacDougall.”
Pure Spa Inc./Moksha Yoga, Charlottetown
This full-service aesthetics salon, yoga studio and boutique is located near the Charlottetown waterfront.
About 10 Aestheticians and seven Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) work at Pure Spa. About 15 Yoga Instructors are at Moksha Yoga.
“There is a demand for massage therapy, so we are currently seeking full-time RMTs,” says Amber Bambrick.
“We accept resumés in person or through email. We like to see people with outgoing personalities and a strong work ethic and those who truly care about offering an excellent service to every client.”
For more information, call 902-894-YOGA (9642).
Total Green East, Stratford
NATURAMA® is a line of chemical free, biodegradable, hypo-allergenic cleaning products derived from plant-based ingredients.
The products, which are new to Canada, were developed in Israel 20 years ago for industrial and household use.
Naturama is a natural disinfectant and sanitizer and is safe for people, pets and the environment. It is also certified by the Environmental Protection Agency for direct release into waterways. Total Green East is the only eastern Canadian distributor.
“We are new to PEI and it’s a family-owned business, with me, my mom and dad,” says Venessa Backman.
“We are targeting businesses and government agencies as our main user and we are looking at retail sales as well.”
“We hope to hire a few salespeople soon. When we hire, we will be looking for someone who is excited about our products, has the confidence to cold-call businesses and tell them what we have to offer, and has connections within the community, perhaps from a past employer.”
Event showcased world-class businesses operating in Eastern PEI
The Eastern PEI Chamber of Commerce (EPEICC) kicked off Small Business Week by hosting an Explore Economics East conference in Georgetown. More than a 100 participants attended the event.
“People are always surprised at how many world-class businesses operate out of Eastern PEI, and most do it very quietly,” says Keir White, President of the EPEICC. “We decided it’s time to celebrate, bring our success stories out of the shadows, and share them with the world.
“We plan to make this a yearly event, with our local businesses sharing their success and providing a forum to pass their knowledge and experience to the next generation.”
The keynote speaker, John Ellis, is a Partner with Global Investment, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). He works with businesses and governments to facilitate investments and partnerships in the UAE.
“The population is set to double in cities like Dubai, and as a result all types of companies can excel in this market,” says John.
“Industries of particular interest are food, fish, beverage, bioscience, manufacturing, cosmetics, aviation, and marine. Many other areas would do equally well.
“Manufacturing in Middle Eastern countries does not meet demand, so products are imported from all over the world. There is a lot of interest in Canadian companies. Products and services from Canada are considered to be high quality.
“The culture of face-to-face meetings is very prominent in the Middle East, and the use of emails less so. We find serious potential investors, partners and clients, and carry out initial meetings on the behalf of PEI companies. We also follow up with clients to ensure maximum success.”
Panelists talk about their businesses
Colville Bay Oyster Company
This family-run oyster farm grows and sells oysters in the global marketplace. Their oysters are known world-wide for their flavour. They also fish and sell lobsters and other shellfish at a retail outlet, The Lobster Shack, on the Souris boardwalk.
“We started growing oysters 25 years ago after the closure of the cod fishery in the early 90s,” says Johnny Flynn. “We did our homework to see what works best on PEI and decided to grow oysters because they are native to the area.
“When we started out, it took six years before we actually sold oysters and received a cheque in the mail. We started out selling our product to Island restaurants. A few years later, our name became known, and we began to sell off-Island and around the globe.”
For more information, visit www.colvillebayoysterco.com.
Navigate Food Safety Solutions
This business has been in operation for three years. Navigate Food Safety Solutions is currently located in the Launch Pad building on Main Street in Montague.
“Food Safety is more complicated than ever before,” says Maureen Hanley. “Our expertise makes food safety simpler in a very complicated world. Our customers present us with a food safety issue, and then we work with them to find a solution that makes sense.”
For many years, Co-founder Alex Hanley audited hundreds of food plants throughout North America and abroad. He noticed that many processing facilities were dealing with a lot of the same food safety issues, which, more often than not, resulted in food recalls.
“We developed a training process with tools and templates that allow processing facilities to create a simplified, yet highly effective food safety management system that makes sense to everyone in the plant. Clients buy a license through the company and we deliver the customization for that plant through coaching.
“Currently, we are focusing on the 200,000 food plants in North America and working with 30 of them at the moment. We are experiencing rapid growth with a team of four Island-based staff.
“Today you can live anywhere you want and work anywhere in the world. We chose to do business on PEI because we want to work and live here.”
For more information, visit www.navigatefoodsafety.com.
Duke Ferguson is a certified professional dog trainer who started a business out of the back of his truck in Montague. Unleashed Potential, now based in Stratford, is a registered private dog training school.
Dog trainers from around the globe travel to the school to learn training techniques. As well, Duke provides obedience training for companion pets, trains service dogs, and trains sniffer dogs to detect anything from bombs to drugs to bedbugs. He travels the globe giving seminars, and he’s worked with many animal trainers, including those who have worked for Universal Studios, Sea World, and other production companies.
“I always knew I wanted to work with dogs,” says Duke. “It’s having a passion for what I do that has made the business so successful. You can work from anywhere and be successful, if you have a passion for the job.”
For more information visit www.unleashedpotential.ca.