Weekly Regional Business Intelligence
“People don't like to be sold, but they love to buy.” — Jeffrey Gitomer
Pillar Nonprofit Network and TD Bank Group partner to launch complimentary coworking resource

Pillar Nonprofit Network announced on Thursday it has partnered with TD Bank Group to launch the TD Zone at Innovation Works in an effort to help empower equity-deserving communities and Indigenous leaders. With financial backing from TD, Pillar will offer complimentary, flexible working space to grassroots and volunteer-led organizations at Innovation Works, its coworking space at 201 King Street. The partnership will help Pillar provide an enabling working environment and continue to develop its programming, including its Local Indigenous Learning Series and the upcoming Treaty Series. For its part, TD employees gain the opportunity to engage with community partners at Innovation Works and participate in individualized learning around Indigenous history, treaties and reconciliation delivered by Indigenous community leaders with the support of Pillar.

The upshot: It’s a community win-win aimed at helping bolster economic recovery while at the same time fostering equity and inclusion, as well as facilitating engagement with local changemakers. “We are incredibly proud to partner with Pillar to bring the TD Zone to Innovation Works,” noted TD district vice-president, Keri Kowalski. “Innovation Works is a vitally important community resource in London and we are delighted to help make it and its programs more accessible to those who are working toward positive impact in our community.”

Arva Flour Mill achieves B Corp certification

After being saved from the brink by new ownership, the 203-year-old Arva Flour Mill (Canada’s sixth oldest operating business) has achieved B Corp certification, a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. “Certified B Corporations are more than just a business. They are a force for good, using their influence and power to help make the world a better place,” the Arva Flour Mill said in an announcement.

The upshot: Under new owner Mark Rinker, who took over the Mill last September, the Arva Flour Mill is undergoing something of a renaissance, with new product lines being launched, investments being made to modernize production and efforts well underway to turn the Mill into something of a community hub. B Corp status, which has grown into a prized designation for socially-focused enterprises, gives Rinker’s efforts a major stamp of approval.

Read more: B Corp
From our Content Studio: From a kitchen counter to millions of bottles sold, how Pulp & Press became a made-in-London success story

When Pulp & Press was founded in 2014, there was no playbook for growth in the new juice economy. Sure, juice itself wasn’t new, but the industry was evolving ― bringing new forms of organic juice to market in the form of cleanses, diets and more. Now, nearly a decade later and millions of bottles sold, the company credits much of its success to the loyalty of the London market.

Read more: London Inc.
The emotional journey of business transition
Transitioning ownership of a business can be stressful for all involved. But with a prepared and positive outlook, business owners making their exit can move past the anxiety and find comfort in seeing their life’s work pass into capable hands.
Forest City Mazda acquired by FFUN Group

Forest City Mazda has been acquired by the FFUN Group, a Saskatoon-based ownership group of dealerships with a large presence in Western Canada. Forest City Mazda, previously owned by Sudbury-based Palladino Auto Group, is the first Mazda property in FFUN’s portfolio. “Getting to know Jay (Maroney), the general manager and his staff here, we have been blown away by the positivity and desire to scale this business,“ said FFUN CEO and president, Mark Loeppky. “We look forward to not only providing a better product offering for the London area but participating and growing this community as well.”

The upshot: Consolidation continues apace in the Canadian automotive dealership industry. Consolidation was already happening at a rapid pace before the pandemic, and it continued throughout the pandemic as demand for cars remained pretty stagnant. Now, coming out of it, increased borrowing costs and persistent supply challenges are keeping forecasts tepid (nationally sales were down 8.5 per cent in May, 13.3 per cent in April), and we’ll likely continue to see lots of M&A activity. 

Read more: Financial Times
20 Under 40 update: 519Pursuit hits the road with new outreach vehicle

Announced earlier this year as the recipient of the annual Twenty Under 40 Foundation Community Project Award, 519Pursuit has put its grant money to work to purchase a Dodge Caravan to help the organization further its mandate of meeting and supporting community member facing poverty and homelessness right where they are ― on the street. Backed by the Twenty Under 40 Foundation grant, and in partnership with Oxford Dodge and the London Food Bank, the vehicle hit the road last week and will further enable volunteers to provide those in need with clothing, snacks, PPE, lunch and daily necessity care packages. (Pictured from left are Twenty Under 40 Foundation board members Ashley Didone and Shannon Ruffell with 519Pursuit’s Allison DeBlaire and Sean Horrell.)

The upshot: “Winning this award has supported the growth of our organization in ways we couldn’t have imagined,” said 519Pursuit co-founder, Allison DeBlaire. “We rely heavily on volunteers and the use of their personal vehicles. We’re so excited to have an organization vehicle which friends can recognize ― and a vehicle that has capacity to bring more items to our friends at the time of need.”

Read more: London Inc.
From the magazine: Putting a modern spin on the oldest form of commerce, barter is emerging as a hot entrepreneurial niche and a valuable tool for businesses of all stripes

Pounds, euros, dollars, crypto, your credit card balance: all of these are, essentially, made up ideas. Money, as we know it, exists in the abstract, as a medium of trade that only has value because we agree that it has value. It is little more than the conductive material that facilitates the trade of goods and services; take it away, and you’re still left with tradeable goods and services — a consumer system you probably recognize as bartering. And far from being a thing of the past, the business of ­bartering remains an active part of the modern economy.

Read more: London Inc.
Dispatch: June 24, 2022

A summary of recent business appointments and announcements, plus event listings for the upcoming week.