Idea of The Week: Jim Pattison goes green-really!

>The Situation:

A news story about Overwaitea Foods (billionaire Jim Pattison’s Western Canadian food empire – consisting of Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Cooper’s Foods and Urban Fare Stores). And it reads: “Overwaitea Foods  has become the only retailer to sell sustainably grown Coho salmon, farmed on land, in a closed containment system.” If you believe that wild salmon stocks are being hurt by coastal salmon farming (as I do) this is Big News.

>The Idea:

I’ve never met Jimmy, and I don’t know the length, breadth and depth of his commitment to green. But it looks like his commitment to sustainable is, well, sustainable. I say this because I read another news report, a few months back, in which Greenpeace lauded Overwaitea as Number One on its list of food retailers – “because it has stopped selling species at risk (even though these are popular with consumers); it has started implementing a seafood policy, and is actively promoting sustainable seafood initiatives to customers and suppliers.” The report also mentioned Overwaitea’s commitment to marketing naturally grown west coast spot prawns. (Land-farmed coho, bearing the SweetSpring salmon brand, has also been placed on “The Super Green List” by the national Seafood Watch Program).

>The Risk:

Land farmed salmon and naturally grown prawns are more expensive than the usual – so there’s a risk of losing business to run of the mill competitors. But. There are enough sustainable seafood choices in Overwaitea stores (selling at lower prices) that Jimmy has minimized his risk.

>The Reward:

People like myself – who live just beyond easy reach of Whole Foods and other sustainable food outlets – really appreciate being able to shop at a mass marketer (like Save-On-Foods), and still be able to buy green products. I was a Save-On-Foods regular before they began to champion the cause of fish, because natural food choices are made available in every department. The fish connection just ties me a little tighter.

>The Call to Action:

Jim Pattison’s commitment to green has brought his food chains a huge amount of positive free publicity (as well as enhanced customer attraction and loyalty). This kind of “earned media” coverage (and customer bonding) is available to our smaller businesses as well. Like Jimmy, all we have to do is “change our mind.”

PS – An important note from Jonathan:

Imagine all the ways you would benefit from a $6000 marketing and sales makeover – including turning your website and web presence into a ‘sales machine’ – with Neil Godin training your team? Now imagine that this program would cost you only $1000 – with the balance picked up by a Government of BC small business stimulus grant? If you’re located in BC, call me now for full details at 778.378.9100.

Important point: To qualify, you must have between one and fifty employees on your payroll (we’re sorry to say that the program is not available to business owners who do not have employees). The application process is simple and applications are still being approved quickly. But this funding will not last. Why not call me now?

Jonathan Christian

Please scroll down for details on the grant program.

We invite you to connect with us at:

Twitter: @jdgem / @neilgodin

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Phone 778. 378. 9100/ 604. 888. 4612

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Details re BC Government grant program for training:

The BC government is providing $5000 grants to companies that need sales and marketing training (and other forms of training) but need help with funding. (This is part of the stimulus program, aimed at making BC companies more competitive and innovative).

My colleague (and our Program Coordinator) Jonathan Christian, has already conducted several of these programs with his own clients, and in both cases his clients received approval of their applications very quickly, and received payment from the government before the training started. His typical sales and service training programs cost $6000 each, with $5000 being paid by the government, and only $1000 paid by the client.

My typical small business makeover program costs $6000, and involves training a team of three to ten. But we can scale the program and the cost down for companies that only have one of two employees. Important note: employees must be ‘official,’ meaning that they are on your payroll – with appropriate payroll deductions – they can’t be contract workers who assist you but are not on the payroll. Part owners can be subsidized as long as they hold no more than a 10% share.

While you can choose any trainer and just about any kind of training you like, if you want me to come in and conduct training with your team (in sales, service, marketing and/or team building), it would be at the same typical cost – $6000 – with $5000 subsidized by the government (subject to their approval, in advance, of course), with you paying only the $1000 balance. This is a very unusual opportunity that probably won’t last, so if you’re interested please contact Jonathan right away.

Call Jonathan at 778.378.9100 – or email:

Here are the basic details:

  • The program is available to companies with a minimum of one employee but less than 50 employees (‘employees’ include owners who hold no more than a 20% share).
  • The maximum subsidy is $1500 per employee, and $5000 total).
  • You can use any training company you wish, and you can choose any kind of training, as I understand it.

In publicizing this program the government has required that training companies like ours use their text (below) to communicate the information.


Here is the text of the official government notice:

“The Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development has established a new initiative, the Workplace Training for Innovation Pilot Program (WTIP). The program is designed to provide funding to eligible employers with less than 50 staff for the employee training of their choice, delivered by the training provider of their choice. Through WTIP, employers decide on the training and the training provider best suited to assist them to improve productivity, enhance competitiveness, and/or introduce new technology, equipment, or work processes. There are hundreds of training options available across the province for employers to choose from, including colleges or private training institutions. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development has not pre-approved nor endorsed any courses, programs, or training providers with respect to WTIP. For more information, please visit the WTIP website at or contact the Program Administrator (Chemistry Consulting Group Inc.) toll-free at 1 877 365-5757. Of course, you’re welcome to contact the government’s consulting group. But if you want to work with me, specifically, please contact Jonathan right away, as I’m sure these grants will be taken up very quickly.


Call Jonathan at 778.378.9100 – or email:  Or Twitter @jdgem

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