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Your week in Atlantic Canada business news
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Walking the talk at BMI Ltd.
“Right now is when we need entrepreneurs to step up and create jobs.” Easy to say. Harder to do. But while most were in survival mode, Martin Balcome's company has doubled in size. The metal shop, recycler, waste manager and small contract staffing outfit stepped up recently and bought OnPayroll.ca in a seven-figure deal that will double staff and revenue. For the record, the quote is Balcome’s.
Cows out, lobsters in
The cows may be out of work but some of the folks who worked at Scotsburn Dairy are busy cranking out cans of ready to drink Blue Lobster. How many cans? Nova Scotia Spirit Company says 10 million this year and they’re aiming for 20 in 2021
Pouring money into the ground
Gold was an easy guess. But who’d have thought when the pandemic started that the folks who pour concrete would come out winners. They’re booking well into 2021 and here’s why.
Need a nurse? Loblaw has an app for that
The Borg cube that is Loblaw/Superstore/Dominion/Shoppers Drug Mart has just launched an app that will help you track your meds, dish out health info and even put you in touch with a nurse for free one-on-one advice. Small print says they’ll collect some data. No surprise since Loblaw owns a top health records company and recently bought a stake in Maple Health, Canada’s largest virtual health care provider. Loblaw says virtual doctors are up next.
Ante up for Come By Chance
There are three potential bidders and now refinery owner Silverpeak has an ask in to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador for money to keep the refinery idling until a buyer is found. Best of luck, but it’s far from a sellers market.
Oil clock is ticking
There’s a big pot of federal cash for Newfoundland’s oil and gas sector — $320 million — and the province hopes to have a list by Christmas of how it will be spent. Who gets it will have to wait until the new year. Since it’s for the offshore, though, Come By Chance seems out of luck for now.
Oh deer, what have you done now?
If a couple of dozen neighbours showed up every day and ate one-eighth of what you produced, you’d probably build a fence. That’s what winemakers at Avondale Sky did this fall when they just couldn’t stomach losing 15 per cent of their crop again to grape-loving deer.
WestJet takes off
East Coast airports were already hurting before WestJet killed off 100 flights to, from or within the region this week. Halifax’s airport bosses figure it will be years before full service is restored.
The ups and downs of Middle Ground
Brittany Smith picked a tough year to launch a business. The Cape Breton entrepreneur launched her Middle Ground design and decor business, closed shop and reopened as a hub for nearly two dozen craftspeople and artisans, all without government pandemic aid.
Best island ever?
So Conde Nast Traveler readers have picked Cape Breton as the best island in North America. Again. Why ask? Any Cape Bretoner could have told them. Sorry P.E.I., you came in at Number 4.
A Viking ship in West Pubnico
Non-Business bonus here, about a boat, a builder and one happy kid. Fun all round, whether you're the 71-year-old craftsman making it or the three-year-old Norwegian grandson getting it as a gift. Thanks to Carla Allen for writing this tale and David Surette for telling it.
CHARLEBOIS: Welcome to the food security nightmare
Food processing jobs have never been glamorous. Hard work, low wages. Then COVID, CERB and other incentives to stay home came along. Food professor Sylvain Charlebois says it might be time to let people collect some pandemic support while working in a sector that ought to be seen as essential or take other steps to keep the grocery store shelves stocked.
SNYDER: Trade gap sign we’re on slippery slope to the poorhouse
Jesse Snyder explains how being hooked on oil and easy access to U.S. markets has made Canada a pushover in the elbows-out export scraps to come.
FERREIRA: Market fence-sitting a losing strategy long term
Victor Ferreira tells the tale of the worried Millennial teacher socking away $3,000 a month but afraid to do anything but bank it. What does the banker say?
That’s the wrap
Have a tip, a comment or something else to share? Email me at email@example.com.
Back next Friday. Until then, give some love to local. It’s Small Business Week, it’s been a tough year and they could use it. And check out what CFIB boss Jordi Morgan has to say online or in your paper Saturday.
Brian Ward is SaltWire Network's managing editor for business.