Signex Manufacturing Inc.
We pride ourselves in listening to the needs of our clients which has always stretched us in providing sustainable and innovative solutions. That was put to the test this past year and half. At the beginning of the pandemic, that meant holding off on those large projects due to uncertainty but pivoting to provide what they needed most – a way to keep their staff and public safe with acrylic guards and social distancing decals. Once those needs were taken care of, clients were willing to take a look at projects again with peace of mind. The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce set up a resource page for such needs and it was a great way for us to connect with new and old customers again.
– Stacey Gagné, Signex Manufacturing Inc.
Dynamic Chiropractic & Sports Therapy Center
This past year has definitely provided challenges that a lot of businesses have never faced. Although we have been able to be open, except for a five week stretch, it didn’t mean patients came without thinking of Covid-19. We wanted to make sure that after our short closure, patients were very comfortable coming into our business and made that our top priority. We spaced out our schedules so that often patients would come in and immediately go to the health professionals room, and as soon as they were done they could leave. Our staff was so gracious and so flexible that we were able to continue on without a hitch!
Since Dynamic opened, we’ve tried to take customer service to another level and genuinely care about all our patients, not only about why they are coming to our clinic, but all aspects of what is going on in their lives.
Some businesses had to change the way they carried out their daily routine or figure out ways they could reach out to people and get them back in their businesses. Luckily for us, we could let groups like the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce and our professional associations take care of things like that, which did a great job of taking care of our business. We just tried to show people that we genuinely cared about them, understanding that people are coming from many different situations and all have valid reasons for their opinions, and no matter what we were there to show compassion.
From when the pandemic began to now, we have added six more staff members and moved into a building over twice as big! We have definitely been one of the lucky businesses during this pandemic and have no one to thank but our amazing patients.
As we continue to grow, we never lose site of our main priority being to put the patient first, and at a time where everyone in the world needs compassion, to be the first to show it. So far, it’s the best business plan for growth that we’ve ever had.
– Ben Townsend, Dynamic
There’s no denying the huge impact COVID-19 has had on the hospitality industry. There was hardly a moment to process what was happening; we simply had to dive in and find ways to keep our business afloat in new and creative ways. In all of my years in the restaurant industry, I’ve never had to think so quickly on my feet!
Naturally, Chicken Chef Steinbach immediately offered FREE Delivery service to all of our customers, which then evolved into contact-less delivery so we could continue to serve customers that were literally unable to leave their homes due to quarantine and isolation. To help with crowd control in our front entrance, we also extended curbside pickup, so customers could even remain in their vehicles, also a perfect opportunity when the weather was less than ideal. We also started our own online ordering system that included our take out menu and some essential goods.
However, our most innovative idea was Window 365, our takeout window which opened this spring. Serving hard and soft ice cream, smoothies and bubble tea, as well as hot dogs, burgers and spring rolls, and of course PAWsicles and PUPsicles for the furry friends, just to name a few. Window 365 was exactly what Main Street and exactly what our customers needed. It was exciting to see the joy it brought to so many people, and all the excitement around it, especially in such a discouraging time when everyone was exhausted and over-burdened with mandates and restrictions. Chicken Chef Steinbach’s Window 365 could now accommodate customers that did not want to put on a mask, or simply forgot a mask; patio dining became an option when dining rooms were closed or when customers did not feel comfortable dining indoors, and for a period of time for our unvaccinated customers. The staff and I had so much fun with Window 365, it truly was something to look forward to!
Through all three of our dining room closures, we have managed to sustain through some creative thinking as well as some much needed COVID funding, including the dining room relief program offered by Chamber of Commerce. The Chambers played a big part of providing materials and assistance that help us during the pandemic. We also tried our best to keep our employees at work by cross-training servers to help with prep in the kitchen, work on delivery and Window 365. But all of the credit goes to our local customers. Chicken Chef could not have survived without the support from Steinbach and surrounding area. This was especially clear on Mother’s Day in May 2020 when dining rooms were closed, and then again in May 2021 when dining rooms were closed the day before Mother’s Day. These two Mother’s Days were among the busiest we have ever seen on record, plus we could only offer take out!
While COVID has been a challenge to us all, and we are all eager for the day that it is a part of our history, I am grateful that Chicken Chef Steinbach survived this storm, and that as a community, it truly feels like we are in this together. I’m so excited for the day that I can open my dining room to everyone, and hope that day will be soon!
– Suke Koeuth, Chicken Chef Steinbach
Air Master Mechanical
In 2006, shortly after high school, I was presented with an offer to join the sheet metal trade. After careful consideration, this seemed to be an interesting opportunity with the strong construction industry and the constant need for heating and cooling. Fehr Sheet Metal was my first employer and gave me the open door I needed to start my career. I spent the first four years of my career developing my skills from being an apprentice to becoming a supervisor on construction sites until I became a journeyman in my trade. I am very grateful to Martin Fehr for believing in me and giving me a chance. He spoke many kind words of encouragement to me. Shortly after becoming a journeyman, I began doing heating and cooling on larger projects, multifamily-residential commercial and industrial. This gave me the experience to take on a management role that was offered in 2015 with EG Penner in their Plumbing and Heating Installation division. During the three years in this role, we grew our Plumbing and Heating division from 9 to over 30 employees. My time with EG Penner allowed me to gain leadership experience with the opportunity to have success and the leniency to learn from mistakes.
After 12 years in the heating and cooling industry, I still felt like I had a strong passion for this line of work, so I made the decision in 2018 to start Air Master Mechanical. While growing our business in the first year, we chose to engage in relationships that shared the same vision and values as us. When COVID hit us in March of 2020, we heard rumors of supply shortages which eventually did hit us. This created a new normal for us in how we run business, with more attention to detail required and more foresight on upcoming projects to ensure projects flow smoothly without disruption. We were fortunate to maintain the relationships that we built prior to Covid to stably grow during these uncertain times. Today, we have five vehicles on the road with eight wonderful employees that are dedicated and passionate to service the heating and cooling needs of southern Manitoba. We have a brand-new shop that we will be moving into very shortly on Industrial Road in Steinbach which is very exciting. If it wasn’t for good local businesses that invested in us, the opportunities we have today wouldn’t be possible. We want to thank the Chamber of Commerce for recognizing us and for being an important resource for our business community.
– David Broesky, Air Master Mechanical
I was recently asked to speak to leadership during challenging times and before doing so it is important to note the insurance industry was deemed essential in Manitoba which is something Savante took very seriously! A lot of our clients didn’t have that luxury – commercial clients were mandated to close their doors and residential clients lost their jobs as a result. It was critical for Savante to be flexible and pivot because if we are essential that means we are deemed to be of service and it was SO important to us to keep our doors open so we could provide that service. By adapting, and in particular embracing technology, it allowed us to remain open without interruption and we used a lot of tools like social media to provide real time updates to our clients: to update our safety protocols and communicate to customers what they could expect when they came to our office because we never closed our doors. We created updated monthly newsletters with tips and coverage updates unique to their insurer and we proactively advocated for return premium for clients whose bottom line had been deeply impacted. In addition to that it allowed us to accommodate how they prefer to do business. If our clients preferred to talk to us in different mediums we had to learn to work in different mediums. It allowed us to breed loyalty and trust with our client base but it also allowed us to safeguard and defend the psychology of our team and keep our employees safe. Retaining top talent is a challenge in our industry and it really drove home the point a rewards based culture isn’t based strictly on compensation!
Not unlike Savante, the Steinbach Chamber has been forced to pivot during these unprecedented times. We are beyond grateful for their support and commitment to our shared business community! Opportunities to learn and network are invaluable and the Steinbach Chamber is amazing at providing professional development outlets like the Emerging Leaders Breakfast Series, webinars to bring awareness to owners about covid relief programs or online networking opportunities. Their various awareness campaigns reminding us to Support Local may drive more purchasing decisions than we could ever know! Awards of Excellence, Burger Days, newsletter announcements of growing membership keep us connected. Savante is particularly grateful for the commitment to celebrate entrepreneurship in spite of the pandemic… the chamber was kind enough to broadcast our grand opening to it’s membership and the executive and staff joined us to celebrate our Steinbach expansion while serving complimentary specialty coffees (we are particularly thankful they braved the unseasonal late spring snowstorm and social distanced in our parking lot)! As a direct result business owners attended to make us feel welcome which was a much appreciated gesture recognizing the varied and many demands on their time!
– Danielle Tkachyk, Savante Insurance Inc.
Red Moon Creatives
My mentor once told me that the greatest skill I can have in life is knowing how and when to adjust. Life isn’t always as predictable as we would like and the current pandemic has forced us all to adjust and pivot. Since 2012, my company, Red Moon Creatives, and I have helped businesses to become seen, heard and understood through strategic branding, engaging visual media and professional design. As our world has transitioned into the digital shopping era, we have also had to adjust our services by developing branding and content specifically aimed at helping them create a strong online presence and connecting them with their audience in a relevant way.
Sustaining our local business economy is important, and in light of the pandemic the ‘Shop Local’ trend has become a shining example of how much we love to help each other in Manitoba. I love supporting initiatives that bring our communities closer together!
My company and I have had the honour of using our expertise to help develop and promote ‘shop local’ initiatives such as:
The Manitoba Supports BOGO coupon book: An initiative spearheaded by former Blue Bomber Kito Poblah with the aim of connecting local businesses, community centres and sport teams through sponsorship, advertising & fundraising exchanges.
MBbiz: A local online marketplace aimed at empowering small businesses.
Being a member of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce has allowed me to find new ways of supporting our local business community and has connected me with like minded people that are passionate about impacting our city & province in a positive way.
– Mayo Sowemimo, Red Moon Creatives