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Township puts local businesses in the ‘spotlight’

November 25, 2015   ·   0 Comments

By Mark?Pavilons
Recognizing the contributions of local businesses was in the spotlight at King council recently.
The mayor and councillors recognized four local companies during the 2015 Spotlight on Business presentation.
Mayor Steve Pellegrini said long-serving local businesses are key to a prosperous and sustainable community. There’s a need to tell these King stories and Pellegrini said this year’s recipients are catalysts to important community events. They are businesses that share the Township’s common goals and have demonstrated adaptability, sustainability, growth and good corporate citizenship.
Tom Allen, president of the King Chamber of Commerce, noted they love to see thriving businesses in King. The smiles on the faces of this year’s recipients speaks volumes.

Nobleton Farm?Service

Having opened Nobleton Farm Service in November 1956 with 3 employees, Glenn began selling farm equipment the following year. Phyllis Davis handled the books and other administrative tasks. Glenn had his two sons, Karl and Greg, helping out at an early age. In later years, he also put his grandsons, Keith and Kevin, to work. Karl, after graduating from Guelph with a degree in engineering, worked as an engineering sales representative for 3 years at the John Deere factory. He returned to the family business in 1981, taking over in the late ‘80s and early 1990s. Barb, Karl’s wife and a soil sciences graduate of Guelph, manages the day-to-day bookkeeping and sales administration. Both Karl and Barb have hands-on experience in all areas of the business operation.
Keith and Kevin both worked for the company as students, and continue to do so as their career of choice, working out of the Nobleton location. Keith, a graduate of McMaster with an MBA from Schulich, is the manager for the store in Milton and the Human Resources “go-to” person for the company.
Kevin studied geography and music at York, but followed the path of Integrated Technology and manages the technology operations of the company.
Full-time employees in the Nobleton location now number 25, with the range of tenure between 1 and 41 years. Staff is hired, as often as possible, from the local area.
The Davis Family has owned the property at 6770 King Road since 1918.
Glenn Davis opened Nobleton Farm Service in one of the out-buildings near the house as a small repair shop for agricultural equipment. Nobleton Farm Service expanded into the sale of equipment, beginning with tractors and hay equipment.
The Davis Family has always been actively involved in the Nobleton community. Over the years, they have been dedicated and generous supporters of the Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the Curling Club, Nobleton Victoria Day celebrations, the Schomberg Fair and Main Street Christmas, and other initiatives of the local community groups. They are also sponsors of S.H.A.R.E. (Send Help And Resources Everywhere), an initiative of Peel Farmers.
From Nobleton Farm Service to Green Tractors Nobleton, three generations of the Davis Family have provided the King community and beyond with quality products and services in an industry that is constantly changing.
Products, from a variety of quality manufacturers, include everything from John Deere toys, clothing, finding tractors for sale and winter machinery.

Farm machinery should always have an hour meter, as there are a wide range of hour meters to choose from, and as Stihl works in maintenance there’s no reason his machinery wouldn’t have an hour meter. Stihl is popular for property maintenance, with saws for every need in both the residential and commercial sectors. European lines, like Lemken and Deici, are available. Snow removal equipment and attachments have been included in the regular inventory, especially as the tractor has evolved over the last 10 years into a multi-tasking piece of machinery. Canadian sprayers and wood chippers are also on the list of products available, as well as John Deere equipment specifically dedicated to golf course property maintenance. A line of Honda products is a recent addition to the inventory.
Service technicians have ongoing virtual classroom training. They provide regular maintenance and repairs to all the products.

Jessop Auto

The Jessop Family celebrated 60 years in business in 2014. As well as being a dedicated member of the business community, the family has always been involved in the King community, volunteering and participating in such organizations as the Schomberg Agricultural Society, the Schomberg Horticultural Society, the Lions Club, and the local Curling Club.
Clarence and Mildred Jessop moved to Schomberg in 1947. Clarence began the family business with a stock truck, hauling coal and livestock. When oil replaced coal as fuel for heating, he purchased a fuel oil truck to deliver White Rose fuels. In 1954, needing space to service the trucks, he opened C.W. Jessop Auto Repair with two full-service bays, leasing the property now owned by Petro Canada, on the west side of Hwy. 27 just north of Main Street.
They also owned and serviced the trucks used to deliver fruits and vegetables from Hardy Farms across Ontario. On the day of Hurricane Hazel, C.W. Jessop Ltd. was officially registered as a business.
In 1968, more room was needed to service the trucks. The property directly across the highway was purchased, and the business was moved to its current location, with three service bays. At that time, C.W. Jessop Ltd. included a Shell (previously White Rose Fuels) Gas Bar, fuel oil delivery service, parts department, and repair shop.
Clarence’s three sons, took on more responsibility in the business.
Bruce, a volunteer firefighter for 28+ years and chief for 18 years, was trained as a mechanic and serviced all models of vehicles. Bill continued with the trucking function, and Bob operated the gas pumps.
Clarence got involved in local politics as Ward 4 Councillor from 1977 until he was elected Mayor in the 1980 election, serving three terms in that position.
In 1997, the business was registered as Jessop’s Auto Repairs Ltd., with Bruce and his wife, Linda, as sole proprietors.
Mark took over from his late father, Bruce, and is the third generation Jessop in the shop, operating the business with his wife, Ronda. He started going to the shop with his dad at a young age. Licensed as an automotive technician for 18 years, Mark has had over 30 years experience in the industry.
Ronda, a seventh-generation resident of Schomberg, joined the team as an employee 6 years ago. She married Mark, and they now have three children (a 4-year-old and 2-year old twins), and a successful full-time business operation.
Two other employees also work in the shop. Dino Savoia lives in Nobleton, is originally from Woodbridge, and has been a licensed automotive technician for over 20 years, working at Jessop’s since July of 2013. Wesley McClelland, having taken automotive technical training at school, has been apprenticing with the business since June of 2013, and lives in Newmarket.
Shop equipment is regularly upgraded to further ensure high quality service on vehicles brought in for maintenance. The new data base, installed in January of 2015, has made it easier to manage information to better meet the needs of customers.
Regular training for staff offers opportunities to see new products, and be trained through the suppliers. It also creates an opportunity to network with other technicians to share information about best practices.

The business has grown significantly over the years, building a very loyal customer base. Although most of the clients come from Schomberg and the local King area, other customers come from municipalities such as Palgrave, Keswick, Bracebridge, Orillia, and Brampton, to have their vehicles serviced.
Mark and his team stand behind the quality of work, offering warranties/guarantees on service and parts.
Sixty years in business, having begun with one truck delivering coal and livestock and evolving into a well-established auto service provider, is a testament to the success and sustainability of Jessop’s Auto Repair Ltd.
In the parts department, most dealer parts are available for pick-up within a day. The business also carries parts for farm equipment and property maintenance equipment. The owners have built collaborative working partnerships, for services like emission testing, with providers in the local area, which allows them to offer one-stop service for the Jessop’s customer.

Kids’ Country Children’s Boutique

Kid’s Country opened in August of 1987, and is now in its 28th year of operation. Originally owned by Carmela D’Andrea, it was purchased in 2008 by her long-time employee, Emily Fiorentino, who had worked there since she was 16 years old. Carmela had always believed that Emily would take over the shop, and continued to manage the store until Emily was ready to take it over full-time, 20 years later.
Emily worked for Carmela as a student, having been referred to the owner by a family that had been frequent customers of Carmela’s for years, and for whom Emily worked for many years. She enrolled in York University, but switched to Humber College where she graduated with honours from the Early Childhood Education Program.
Her path changed direction when she married and had children. She continued to work part-time at Kid’s Country on Saturdays. Emily stayed at home to look after her son and identical twin girls until all were in school full-time, while opening her home to looking after other children at the same time. With the children in school full-time, she decided to buy Kid’s Country, and make it her own full-time business.
Kid’s Country is truly a family business. Emily’s mom, an employee at St. Thomas of Villanova, helps in the store whenever needed, usually later in the afternoon or on a Saturday. Carlo, the younger of Emily’s two brothers, has been involved since she bought the business. He is also an entrepreneur, operating a wedding and event planning business. Carlo has played a significant role in assisting the children of customers frequenting the store in making their wardrobe choices.
Emily’s aunt also is available to help on occasion. Emily’s twin girls, now 13 years old, have provided assistance, as well. Sometimes they have modelled clothing for customers, who have children or grandchildren of similar age, or have made style suggestions.
Two part-time young ladies also work in the store, as needed, during the week and on weekends.
Emily values the importance in consistency when serving customers, so anyone working in the store knows to treat the customer with the same attention and respect.
Although customer preferences have changed, expectations have not. High standards of performance ensure customer satisfaction. Kid’s Country is now dressing the grandchildren of families who originally shopped in the store in the 1980s. Looking ahead, it is important to give consideration to maintaining the existing customer base, regardless of age.
The store is filled with top-quality brands. There are clothing items to meet the wardrobe needs of newborns to 16-year-olds.
Casual wear is available, but the focus tends to be more on dressy items and clothing for special occasions: baptism, communion, confirmation, graduation, weddings, and other special family celebrations. New ladies’ lines have been introduced for the secondary school young adult and moms alike.
Top quality designer brands are purchased to meet customer demand. Some products are Canadian-made, while others are imported from the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and other countries offering high quality-made items. Over 50 different brands are carried in the store. Emily has found that being “married” to a particular line does not always work. Ultimately, customer demands dictate product lines. The preferences of the customer base can change, as can the quality of the product, should the manufacturer or owner change.
Clothing collections are coordinated with shoes and other accessories to encompass a one-stop shopping experience.
Many of the accessories are hand-made by small independent businesses, focussing on unique and customized designs. New collections are being added to meet the needs of the children as they mature, beyond the age of 16 years.
There are many factors to consider in a single order. A great deal is speculation, as it is often a challenge to forecast what the next fashion season will feature. There is a delicate balance to determine the correct number of styles, sizes, colours to order. Possible delays in shipment, for a variety of reasons, must also be factored into the mix.
A high level of customer satisfaction reflects positively on the store. Kid’s Country has a strong customer base of repeat customers. Reputation is passed along by word-of-mouth, with referrals in high numbers.

Priestly Demolition

Vic Priestly founded Vic Priestly Contracting Limited in 1971 as a site works, excavation and landscaping company and worked out of a small yard in Aurora. He incorporated a second company, Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) in 1993, as a unionized demolition company in order to work on larger projects in the Ontario market, initially focusing on the Toronto area.
Over 40 years later, under the leadership of the second generation and mentorship from Vic, the companies continue to successfully grow and compete in the Ontario construction market.
Priestly Demolition Inc. has become one of the largest demolition and ancillary service companies not only in Ontario but in Canada as well, due to the confidence and vision of President Ryan Priestly.
Ryan, Vic’s son, oversees the operation of PDI. He is involved with the estimating and sales, the equipment and manpower, and overall site operations. Ryan has always been fascinated with the business. When most kids were playing on weekends, Ryan was at the yard sweeping floors, washing trucks and machines. Ryan attended Fanshawe College in a construction engineering technology course, completed his co-op positions and officially joined the company in 1996.
Robin, Vic’s daughter and executive vice-president at PDI, oversees the financial, administrative, and marketing areas of the company.
The company works in demolition, abatement, and remediation, concrete crushing, salvage, and emergency services. The focus is on quality and safety, with regular safety training programs for employees and weekly equipment inspections.

PDI has the most extensive fleet of specialized equipment in the industry, including high reach excavators, specialized attachments, loaders, bull dozers, skid steers, trucks and cranes. Recently PDI invested in the largest long reach excavator, a Kobelco SK1000, with an operating high reach of over 120 feet and weighing in at 100 tons.
There are 25 to 30 active projects on a daily basis across the province. On average, projects have 8 people on a site crew for 4 to 8 weeks, although projects may take 1 day with others taking up to 7 years. There are 25 to 40 workers on large sites like Marathon Pulp and Paper, Union Station, and General Motors. Most sites are in Ontario, with the occasional bid on out-of-province projects.
The size of jobs varies from small residential sites to the demolition of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, the largest demolition and abatement project in Canadian history. In 2010, PDI had the job of gutting one of Toronto’s most famous landmarks, Maple Leaf Gardens. Current projects include Women’s College Hospital, Bridgepoint Health Hospital, the Four Seasons Hotel, and Toronto’s Union Station.
The company is known for its green solutions, salvaging almost everything from a demolition site. One employee is dedicated to finding a buyer to salvage material, and removing it directly from the job site.
The Priestlys moved their operations from the small yard in Aurora to King Township in 2009 to accommodate their amazing growth. The new building and yard at 3200 Aurora-Lloydtown Road provided much needed space for their people, materials and equipment. The goal of the company is to become the first choice of potential clients and the best in Canada. The growth of the company has been one project at a time, and one piece of machinery at a time, now the largest demolition fleet in the country.
The company supports its local and surrounding communities, offering sponsorship to King Chamber of Commerce, York Regional Police, Southlake Hospital, Big Brothers and Sisters, Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, Royal Winter Fair, local golf tournaments for charities, and a variety of local sports teams.

         

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