Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jun 11 2015, Page 23

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - June 11, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE B8 BUSINESS BUSINESS EDITOR: SHANE MINKIN 204- 697- 7308 I BUSINESS. DESK@ FREEPRESS. MB. CA I WINNIPEGFREEPRESS. COM THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2015 B 8 A FORMER senior provincial government official and two- term Brandon city councillor has been selected to run Yes! Winnipeg. Vince Barletta, the outgoing director of community and economic development with the Government of Manitoba’s priorities and planning committee of cabinet, takes over the Economic Development Winnipeg initiative. Its mandate is to attract, retain and expand businesses in the city. Barletta has been working with the province since 2010, and has been involved with many of the major developments that have occurred in the past few years, including the recent announcement NewLeaf Travel Company will establish a head office and new discount air service based in Winnipeg. “ I have had the chance to work with just about all the members of the Yes! Winnipeg team over the last number of years on some great projects,” he said. “ I’m really excited to be able to come and lead the team over the next five years.” Barletta will start his new job at Yes! Winnipeg on July 6, and his first order of business will be to meet with the investor council and start planning to raise money for Yes! Winnipeg’s second five- year mandate. It is expected about half of the $ 6- million, five- year budget will come from public sector contributions and the other half from private sector donors. Barletta succeeds the popular Bill Morrissey, who was recently terminated only months before his planned retirement. There has been some rumblings among former private sector donors that the unceremonious way in which Morrissey was dispatched might negatively impact the next round of fundraising. But Marina James, the CEO of Economic Development Winnipeg Inc. ( EDW) which operates Yes! Winnipeg, said pre- marketing intelligence indicates that won’t be the case. “ We had done some extensive focus groups and surveys to show there was interest from the private sector in continuing on with Yes! Winnipeg,” she said. She said the first investor council is July 9. “ I see the first several months for Vince will be out meeting people. The real important part is cementing the funding model for the next initiative.” According to its own accounting, Yes! Winnipeg came close to hitting its goal of creating/ saving 4,200 jobs by 2016. The plan is to expand some of the metrics to be able to show the impact of Yes! Winnipeg, James said. Barletta said he does not plan to change the formula. “ Whenever I have seen successful things happen in this community and across Manitoba it has always been because of a tremendous team effort and collaboration across government the private sector and the community to all pull in the same direction,” he said. Doug Harvey, president of Maxim Truck & Trailer and chairman of Yes! Winnipeg’s investor council who served on the executive search committee led by law firm MNP, said: “ At its core, Yes! Winnipeg’s business- development team is focused on attracting investment and creating job growth for Winnipeg. And Vince’s experience makes him an invaluable addition to this integral initiative.” If there are any pet projects he wants to key on, Barletta was keeping it close to his vest. “ One of the great things about Winnipeg is that we have an incredibly diversified economy,” he said. “ To me, the secret sauce for Yes! Winnipeg is trying to lead and co- ordinate the community collaboration with EDW more broadly and all the organizations that are involved with trying to grow jobs and the economy in Winnipeg.” martin. cash@ freepress. mb. ca AFTER a three- year hiatus, Winnipegbased North West Company is set to unleash new Giant Tiger stores in Western Canada. North West CEO Edward Kennedy said Wednesday the discount junior department store operator plans to open three Giant Tiger outlets this year — one in rural Manitoba, one in northwestern Ontario and likely one in Alberta. And he indicated that pace of expansion will likely continue for the foreseeable future. “ I think three or four stores a year would be a realistic range for us,” he said after the company’s annual general meeting in Winnipeg. Kennedy said there are several reasons why it makes sense for the company’s 31- store Giant Tiger division to shift into expansion mode: not only is the brand performing better these days, the retail landscape has also changed with Target’s recent withdrawal from Canada. “ We looked at the market conditions and saw that the lay of the land is better,” he said. “ With Target’s exit, the market is more stable and that gives us a clearer picture.” Kennedy said North West is also on the lookout again for acquisition opportunities after focusing its efforts last year on replacing, renovating and upgrading stores in its top- 40 markets in Northern Canada. Although that remains a priority — the company plans to spend another $ 65 million this year and $ 150 million over the next three years — Kennedy said North West is open to acquiring another retail operation or maybe even a wholesale/ distribution operation. Shareholders attending Wednesday’s meeting were told 2015 is off to a good start for the company, with first- quarter sales up 10 per cent to $ 414 million and net earnings up 23.8 per cent to $ 15.7 million, or 32 cents per share. North West chairman Sandy Riley also took the opportunity to outline the company’s position on the recently released Truth and Reconciliation Commission report. The commission spent the last six years investigating the devastating impact of the residential school system and issued more than 90 recommendations. Chief among them was the federal and provincial governments take concrete steps to improve health, education and economic opportunities for Canada’s aboriginal people. Riley said as a leading retailer in aboriginal communities throughout Northern Canada, the NWC recognizes the historical opportunities the report presents. “ We want to add our voice to those who are calling on governments to act expeditiously on many of the key proposals within this report. Particularly those that enhance the educational opportunities, health care and living standards for our indigenous citizens,” he said. “ If we do this right, there will be a huge payoff for Canada’s economy as we engage and mobilize the skills, talents and aspirations of our indigenous communities. Especially their youth. But if we get it wrong, the costs, both social and economic, will be immeasurable.” The NWC operates more than 200 stores in Canada, Alaska, the South Pacific and the Caribbean under the trading names of Northern, North- Mart, Giant Tiger, AC Value Centre and Cost- U- Less. murray. mcneill@ freepress. mb. ca August accepts committee job JIM August, who retired at the end of last year as CEO of Forks North Portage Corp. after a 14- year run, has taken a senior job with the Manitoba provincial cabinet. He will become executive director of the planning and priorities committee. August said he was not looking for a job but got a call from Jeremy Read, the chief of staff to Premier Greg Selinger, about a month ago. “ It is something I am interested in,” August said. “ I have a high regard for Premier Selinger and I have known him for a long time. “ I’ve never really worked within government. I’ve worked with government extensively with the Core Area Initiative ( the downtown Winnipeg development initiative he headed in the ’ 80s) and Forks North Portage. So I was intrigued.” He will take over some of the responsibilities of Vince Barletta, who is leaving his position to run Yes! Winnipeg. “ I think it will be very interesting and engaging,” said August. “ It’s a good group of people, and I’m not looking for a new long- term career.” — Martin Cash By Martin Cash By Murray McNeill North West Company shifts into expansion mode Yes! Winnipeg gets new face Team effort key for Barletta ‘ I’m really excited to be able to come and lead the team over the next five years’ JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES North West CEO Edward Kennedy ( left) and chairman Sandy Riley. Jim August PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Yes! Winnipeg investor council chairman Doug Harvey ( from left), Vince Barletta and Economic Development WInnipeg CEO Marina James were all smiles Wednesday. 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