Monthly Archives: December 2013

December / 2013 Wrap Up

Well, this post is one more compromise in the month of compromises. I’ve been fairly militant in my ongoing updating of this blog, but I decided to relax a bit this December. Changing some dates, even letting a week go by after the WordPress update caused me some grief. I was ok with it though.

I don’t know if it was because of the holidays or some routine changes in my life, but it didn’t bug be as much as I thought it would to be a little more relaxed about posting. I’m glad that I was OK with it. This isn’t a job, after all.

The one thing that I wished that I had paid some more attention to was writing about businesses appreciation. There are many more companies that I like, but I sort of fizzled on the topic. I’m going to keep my eye out, though, and sprinkle it in. I think that an entire month was too much for me. Why put unnecessary constraints on the project.

Ironically, although this is a time of reflection for a lot of people, I’m coming up a little dry. Going to keep on swimming with the blog and see if people can still stand reading it.

Other than that, Happy New Year to all! Good luck in 2014.

Cornelia Bean

My family is all about the tea and I’m not afraid to admit it. I don’t do the coffee thing too often, but do enjoy a warm drink, especially in the winter. Tea is the logical step and with the huge number of flavours out there, the possibilities are endless.

My favourite local place to get tea is Cornelia Bean. Not only because it was close to me when I lived in River Heights and isn’t too far still, but because it was a product of theirs that opened my eyes to the wide world of tea available to me.

For the longest time I was an earl grey and green tea kind of guy, never really venturing too far from those. Then I received the Cornelia Bean screened tea mug as a gift. Thanks to this product I was no longer confined to the tea bags that I had grown tired of.

Going into their shop and seeing the volume of product they have on display is awesome. Not only that, but you’re able to take a look and smell of what you’re considering before you buy it, giving you some peace of mind before you make a purchase.

One of the major reasons I like this shop is that it has got me out of a gift buying pickle more than once. Knowing that what they sell is quality and the service is great makes it an easy no-brainer if I’m out of ideas for a birthday or other holiday. So thank you for that!

Sport Manitoba

This one is a little different, seeing as it is a not-for-profit. Nonetheless I think that Sport Manitoba deserves a mention because of the huge role that it played in my life and the lives of a huge number of people.

Basically if you played a sport in the province at any point in your life, you have Sport Manitoba to thank. The simple structure is that every sport played has a Provincial Sport Organization and Sport Manitoba houses and helps all of them.

Being someone who was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play a number of sports, I have Sport MB to thank for the organization, partial-funding and training that is involved for every team. In addition to focusing on athlete development, there is also attention paid to coaches and officials, as well, because without them there is no organized sport (which is why until there are some refs involved, Ultimate is never getting into the Olympics).

Sport MB doesn’t just organize, either. Based on the belief (that I 100% share) that all kids should have the opportunity to play sports, they support charity KidSport. It gives the opportunity to participate to children who may not have had the chance otherwise.

Besides their work focusing on the on field / ice / court / track / ring / etc. activities, there is also a focus on enhancing other sport services. Sport medicine is important for athletes at all levels and is treated as such. The Sport for Life Centre (145 Pacific) is a state of the art facility which is able to help with a wide array of maladies.

So thank you Sport Manitoba! Not just for the sports that I played, and continue to play, but also for the development of the entire sport community!

Price Industries

Next on my list is Price Industries. I’ve been fortunate enough to had the opportunity to go on a tour of their facilities, and they are quite amazing. But I’ll take a step back before I get ahead of myself.

Price is a worldwide supplier of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) units. Basically those metal boxes you see on the top of buildings that have fans in them.

Not only is being a world leader impressive enough, but the values that Price practices are almost exactly like any company that I would want to grow. This, of course, is no accident and takes years of careful action. While it may not always be easy, Price is an example of when the correct values are instilled properly into a company great things can happen.

First, Price’s is commitment to innovation is commendable. By investing in projects that may not see any direct cash inflows for many years, if ever, Price does what many companies refuse to do. Not focusing on quarterly profits, but rather the long-term future of the company is, in my mind, the best way to ensure the success.

Being a privately owned company, it is easier to make these decisions. Public companies can often fall victim of focusing on short term gains, rather than worrying about what’z going to be happening 10 years down the line.

What I appreciate most about Price is the fact that they started a Manitoba company and have stayed a Manitoba company. By operating here they bring skilled labour jobs, which is a great thing for our province! While it would likely make more financial sense to move operations to the US (or even next door to Saskatchewan for that matter) by staying here they can keep Manitobans employed with meaningful work.

I’m so sure that it would be less expensive to operate elsewhere thanks to the payroll tax. A company the size of Price has to deal with the Manitoba government taxing them for employing Manitobans. If that isn’t the most backwards thing I’ve ever heard, I don’t know what is.

So thank you to Price for staying in Manitoba and leading by example. in my mind they are exactly what every company should aim to be in their respective industries.

True North Sports & Entertainment

Well, going to start off the month with one that very few people will have any sort of issue with. The local company that brought back our beloved Jets, which now that I’ve mentioned that’s all I’m going to say about the hockey club.

It wouldn’t be much of a post and there are thousands of people who could write it better than me. I’m also a huge fan of True North as a company for more reasons than just them bringing professional hockey back to the city, including what they did leading up and the process they went through in order to reach their goals.

The first thing that I’ve wanted to say, but haven’t had a post to do it before is that how much does every marketing / brand person watching a game salivate every time the crowd shouts “TRUE NORTH!” during the national anthem. I sure don’t remember that happening in Moose games, and while I can’t imagine a situation where when naming the company this possibility came up as a real consideration, it’s still pretty sweet.

Accidental branding perks aside, the lead up to getting the Jets back is what I like most about them. TNSE knew that there would have to be baby steps and waiting, as well as learning from the past Jets owners’s mistakes.

Starting years before the team was a possibility TNSE set the goal of getting professional hockey back and knew that they would need a facility. Enter the MTS Centre. Owning the building that the team would play in was a big lesson that they had learned.

Unfortunately, Winnipeg isn’t anywhere near wherever Field of Dreams is set, because once it was built it would be a while before it would come. So in the mean time the Moose were acquired and run with a great level of professionalism. Using the NHL’s farm system to show they had what it took to operate a pro sports team, like with players they hoped that it showed they had the skills to make it to the big leagues.

Not only that, since the Moose wasn’t enough of a draw to keep the MTS Centre profitable, True North worked to make it the busiest venue in North America. Acts which likely would have been passing Winnipeg over before were now selling out arena shows, and as a music fan I got to be one of the many to reap the benefits. It was of particular satisfaction when friends from other markets travelled into town to see an act they weren’t getting.

By proving that they could run a hockey club and could keep cash flows positive without relying on huge team revenue, True North Sports & Entertainment brought back the NHL in a very “Winnipeg” way: By quietly being better than anyone expected, waiting patiently and positioning themselves as the clear choice for the next opportunity to relocate a team.

Not only all of this, but the TNSE leadership seems to have always seen the best in Winnipeg, the Winnipeg the rest of us want our city to be. For that I salute them the most.

December: Business Appreciation Month

So I have been reading back through some of the last few blog posts and have decided that the feeling is a little to negative / critical. I don’t want to be like that all the time, so I have decided that this month is going to be Business Appreciation Month.

Following my regularly scheduled blog update plan (Mondays and Thursdays) I’m going to write about a Winnipeg / Manitoba business that I appreciate and why.

If you have any suggestions please don’t hesitate to let me know!

Moving On – Phone Wise

Well, since I’ve posted about my mobile phone situation before and it was fairly well-read I’m going to do so again! Last week my contract came up and it was time for a new phone, for which I chose an iPhone. I’m off BlackBerry.

For the decision I considered all options (BlackBerry, Android and iPhone) and came to this decision for a few reasons:

  1. Believe it or not, but the move away from a BB isn’t going to be an easy one for me (insert sniggers here). Aside from the fact that I’ve been using them for years, I really haven’t had too much to complain about. Although I would like to support Canada, as well, the future of the company (along with future technical support) is what is worrying me the most. I know I’m contributing to the catch-22 of their demise, but I can’t help it!
  2. The software the Snap It uses is built in Cocoa and if there is any sort of mobile capability in our future it’s going to start on iPhone. While nothing’s in the pipeline, who knows what the next 2 years are going to bring, so being proactive is likely a good thing.
  3. I’m a Mac and Apple TV user, therefore having another iPhone device integrates well. Not that I think it’s going to be a monumental upgrade to my life, might as well keep things in the family if there’s a choice.

While these aren’t the most sophisticated reasons, to be sure, I’m sticking with them. After using the iPhone for a while I honestly miss the old BlackBerry e-mail organization a bit, but the new ones don’t look much like the old ones anyway, so couldn’t stay regardless.

This isn’t a very scientific list and it’s very specific to me, but those are the reasons I had. Android was a strong possibility, but once I was trying it out in the store I just didn’t end up liking it as much. This is likely because I’ve messed around on people’s iPhones more than Androids, but the benefits that I found on the online reviews didn’t really sell me on Android. Not that they weren’t valid, just didn’t matter to me.

So, as many people have pointed out to me this week, I have “come over to the dark side.” What I’ve made sure to point out to them is that I have never been an iPhone hater, but rather preaching indifference to what other people are running. I made my decision for me and you should make it for you.