From restaurateurs to cloud-based news content distributors, Douglas Magazine’s 10 to Watch honorees are a varied and innovative bunch. In the countdown to the 2013 Douglas awards on March 27, we caught up with some winners from years past.
Be sure to check back next week for another round-up of Vancouver Island business leaders.
BUSINESS: IKAN Installations
YEAR THEY WON: 2012
WHAT THEY SAID THEN: “IKAN Installations utilizes IKEA’s buying power to build beautiful kitchens at a fraction of the cost. We have developed a streamlined, simple process that, for the first time, allows a homeowner to take advantage of IKEA’s excellent kitchen cabinetry without leaving their own home.”
UPDATE: As of their second anniversary in Februay, IKAN had installed almost 180 kitchens. To keep up with demand, they moved into a permanent office and warehouse space, and added new members to their team. In March of 2012, IKAN become an incorporated company with the help of their very own in-house accountant, Chelsea Paget. They also announced their new interior Designer, Alexis Solomon, who will be heading up their kitchen design service.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW: “Since receiving the ‘10 to Watch’ award, there have been many new and exciting opportunities come our way… Early this year IKAN also launched a new website and blog and we’ve been busy exploring the world of social media.”
YEAR THEY WON: 2012
WHAT THEY SAID THEN: “At a time when news gathering and distribution are being shaken to the core by new technologies, and who collects and disseminates the news is redefined, SendtoNews is rising as the unifying technology between creators and distributors.”
UPDATE: Last June, SendtoNews opened a New York Office. In September, they closed $3 million in venture funding. In February, SendtoNews signed a video highlight distribution agreement with the LPGA and they just landed worldwide digital rights for NASCAR, which is rated the second-highest watched pro-sport on television, after the NFL.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW: “Headquartered with studios in Victoria, affiliate offices in Vancouver, Toronto and New York SendtoNews is a trusted source of broadcast-quality and digital sports highlights for newsrooms across North America and abroad via its News Partnership Network, which is currently capable of serving a combined 100+ million broadcast and digital viewing impressions… SendtoNews is building a new studio and offices in Victoria at 1111 Wharf Street and moving in at the end of March; We’re looking at opening a London, UK office for expansion into Europe; and we are in active talks with more than 30 strategic partners such as TSN, Getty Images, USA Today, AOL, and Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.”
BUSINESS: Cook Culture
YEAR THEY WON: 2011
WHAT THEY SAID THEN: “We opened to overwhelming response right away…This makes sense; it’s fun. People can take part. It’s absolutely zero intimidation.”
UPDATE: According to owner Jed Grieve, Cook Culture hasn’t needed to make any major deviations from their business plans. They’ve added many new classes, with even more qualified instructors, and gotten more sophisticated in their inventory. In April 2012, respected foodie David Mincey of Preservation Foods brought his chocolate program to Cook Culture, and it’s now one of the largest retailers of fine chocolate in North America, with $16,000 worth of inventory.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW: “Things are going very well. We’re looking for a second location, but are not entirely sure where. We’re looking at different communities in Vancouver Island where we can grow. At the same time, we’re very cognizant of each and every customer we have coming through this door, and making sure that the team we have in place is solid and knowledgeable. We’re constantly trying to provide what the devoted food community is looking for.”
BUSINESS: Foo Asian Street Food
YEAR THEY WON: 2010
WHAT THEY SAID THEN: “Some days it just doesn’t stop… We just keep getting busier and busier…I don’t think we could have gotten a better neighbourhood.”
UPDATE: FOO is looking to expand beyond their current downtown location at the corner of Yates and Blanchard. Co-owner Sterling Grice says they’ve been invited into the Hudson Market, and are in negotiations to set-up a mini-Foo there. They’re also looking at some of the popular neighborhoods for another location.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW: “We’re increasing business every year, which is good, especially in the financial climate that exists today. We’re going to do V.I.C. Fest this year, and hopefully JumpShip. Try to get out in the public a little bit more, which is great for marketing, being local boys ourselves.”
YEAR THEY WON: 2009
WHAT THEY SAID THEN: “We are learning every day, and doing business in China is an education in itself, particularly dealing with government participation and regulations, but it seems to be working.”
UPDATE: Indochino’s rapid online growth has resulted in a loyal customer base of over 70,000 that extends across 65 countries, firmly establishing the brand as the global leader in custom menswear. Now Indochino is taking the online experience offline with Traveling Tailor pop-up stores in cities across North America
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING NOW: “Men have generally been treated like second-class apparel shoppers for too long and Traveling Tailor was conceived almost as an epiphany-like response to that situation . . . We really wanted to create an experience that speaks to the needs of today’s connected, style and time conscious man who wants to build a custom wardrobe that matches their size profile and lifestyle.”