John Thomson  

John Thomson's I Didn't Know That!

The Target Canada people have decided to open a training store this month to see if all their systems are working. The first store and the training store will be in Guelph, Ontario not too far from their head office in Mississauga.

Meanwhile, their food supplier for all the stores as they open up across the country, Sobeys, has a strike on their hands. Last week at the Sobeys warehouse in Milton, Ontario workers walked off the job at midnight Tuesday.  Sobeys own three warehouses in Ontario.

The major point for the Union in this situation is a nine-year term in the proposed contract. They have been bargaining for more than two weeks.

There seems to be a move to open some of the stores earlier than expected. The last list I saw was that 24 stores would open first in Ontario, although Target Canada isn’t providing any real information. There is still a lot of work to do on the Kelowna store and they were scheduled for early May and of course everyone here, including the contractor, is sworn to secrecy.

Target has announced they will be bringing their Archer Farms and Market Pantry lines to Canada. The President’s Choice-like lines have been very popular with their America customers. Target are always referred to as “Master Marketers". Food will be an important part of the company’s strategy.

They have not told us whether Target Canada will be carrying fresh items in some of their stores. A number of ex-Zellers stores are smaller and are not able to do some of the things they would like to. The company is spending $11 million on the stores in the remodels.  The selection of Target brands in Canadian stores will be similar to U.S. stores.

Target has said they will be carrying Pixi, an exclusive makeup in a very good price category.

The biggest complaints I hear are that Target will be charging higher prices in Canada than they do in the U.S.  They have built their business model to be competitive in Canada and the lowest price leaders in Canada. I read the other day that Walmart prices in the U.S are twenty-three per cent higher than their Canadian stores. It was from a study just completed. 


Here is good news for the people who liked the food at Zellers. The former cook at the Zellers Café in West Kelowna has opened her own diner downtown on Main Street called Sam’s Diner. Samantha Meyer and her husband have redecorated the new place.  It's home cooking all over again.

I wonder if she makes Denver sandwiches? They were the best.


T.J. Maxx who own Winners and now Marshalls Canada are bringing their first store into our market with a store in Abbottsford. The Marshalls division has 17 stores in Ontario with another one planned in Vancouver in April. There is already one in Winnipeg.

TJX Companies own TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods in the U.S. and Winners, Marshalls and HomeSense in Canada.


Last week the Senate finance committee studied issues on the tariffs and what the government can actually do about the prices on this side of the border. 

Let me give you an example.  For years and years hockey pants were made in Canada by CCM. We all wore CCM equipment when we were younger. Now they are imported. None are manufactured in this country. Hockey pants now have an 18 per cent tariff. The problem just gets larger when the tariff is applied to the supply chain. That could triple by the time it gets to the consumer.

The Senators didn’t say get rid of the tariffs but it is time to study them and see if they are doing the job they are supposed too. The government collected $3.6 billion at the border last year.

Think of this for moment as Lexus, assembled in Cambridge, Ont. sells for $44,950 but in the U.S. they sell for $40,950. In Woodstock where they make the Toyota cars it costs more in that city than it does in Honolulu.

The study pointed out that 90 per cent of the goods enter Canada duty free and that means that all tariffs are eliminated.


Since his presidency, Bill Clinton has made 98 million dollars from speaking fees.


This is the second part of the interview with Don Turri.  Click here to read Part One.

Q.  What are the key factors that a business family needs to think about once they have decided they want to become multi generational?

A.  First, they have to review their performance; are they operating the business in a manner that will allow it to remain viable? Then they need to look at their vision for the family and the business; it’s like the old saying “ if you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there”. If vision is in place then they need to ensure they have set the strategy  to allow them to get where they want to go; vision without strategy is just wishful thinking. If the family and the business is to continue to grow and prosper then governance needs to be looked at, not to over complicate things but the proper policies and structures for communication and decision making need to be in place. With all those in place the family and the business need strong leadership to steer the ship and also to be looking ahead to who the next generation of leaders will be. Lastly, a family enterprise needs to pay close attention to its relationships, those between family members, and with employees, suppliers and customers. If they manage to get all of these factors figured out they will have significantly increased their odds of success.

Q.  Any advice for Okanagan business families who want to start the process to becoming multi- generational?

A.  Sure, my advice would be to make use of the resources already available to get started. The Canadian Association of Family Enterprise has an active chapter in the Okanagan ( CAFÉ Okanagan 250-764-0638). They offer both education and the opportunity to dialogue with other business families. CAFÉ and the Sauder School of Business Families Centre offer the Roadmap program, which is offered over 2 weekends in Vancouver. It provides business families with education and training and gives them a pathway to success. Of course along the way they can also engage the services of those who specialize in this area.


When Urban Fare was under construction it was very difficult to get information but one of  the things I was able to report on was the company and their use of local producers in many items in their stores. When you walk around the store you’ll see all kinds of B.C. brands represented on the shelves.

The store just added new gourmet pizzas.  These pies come from Bellissimo Pizza on Spiers Road in East Kelowna. Buzy Shuttleworth and his lady Jenelle Hynes have started a new business in the Harvest Grocery in East Kelowna and the raves are coming in. This is a whole new experience in pizza eating and they are freezing them cooked, ready to go home or take the you-bake home where you cook them yourself.  The Urban Fare has some neat items you really have to walk around to see in the store for yourself.


I have received lots of e-mails from readers about the Cora restaurant on Harvey Avenue. I believe it was all cleaned up and maybe ready to go when they discovered cracks in the ceiling. Here is the latest news I have; the corner of the plaza where the restaurant is will be demolished.  At the moment I don’t know where the popular breakfast and lunch diner will move or if they will wait for the new building.


The new Valley First Centre will open its doors to the public on Thursday, March 4th.  The Centre will house the twentieth branch of Valley First Credit Union, Don Stobbe Insurance Associates which has been rebranded as a Valley First Insurance office.  The 16,000 sq.ft. building was led by Compass Real Estate Development. Coming from head office to be manager of the operation is Shawna McCrea.

I didn’t realize there are now twenty branches in the organization that began in the 1940s in Penticton. I became a customer when Bob Lindsay came over from the HSBC as Vice President and manager of the first Kelowna branch in 1991, followed by Rene Wutke who was also my banker at HSBC the following year. The company has a policy that everyone is friendly and you know what?  It works.  


There is a new name on the meat ad deli store at the corner of KLO and Benvoulin Road. Johnny’s is now Anderson Meat & Deli with the same people, Bill & Lisa Anderson. There is fresh soup and sandwiches in the deli all the time. Bill tells me they do a lot of custom packaging for customers who want to fill up the freezer.

They have good store hours: 9 AM to 6 PM Monday through Saturday.

Lisa makes very good sandwiches.


Prestige Hotels & Resort are presenting a new series of Lifestyle Awareness events throughout communities in B.C. and Alberta.  The first event is called; “Kids Say Things More Better”.  The Kids Say Things More Better events will take on a format similar to the Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby shows called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” years ago.  Children aged four to six years old will be interviewed as a fun, light hearted form of entertainment.  The theme for this event is:  all about LOVE.  We will discover the pure, innocent opinions, perspectives and young but wise words from six children.  

  • Thursday, February 28th:  6:00 - 7:30 PM - Prestige Inn, Kelowna (1675 Abbott St., Kelowna)
  • The tickets are $25.00 per person with $5.00 from each ticket being donated to The BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.

Kids Say Things More Better is a community event that is appropriate for ALL ages and is in alignment and reinforcing the healthy living that so many corporations encourage, which is to LAUGH more!!

They are registered with TicketWeb so the public will have access on line or by phone, making the experience easy and consistent in every community.   TicketWeb.ca (type Prestige Hotels in the search space) or by phone at 1-888-222-6608.

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