The Little Movie Store with an Urban Edge

Upon entering Terri McGuire’s Take 5 Media in Gibsons, you know you’re not in your average movie-rental store. The distinctive colour scheme of pumpkin and split-pea green walls, dark floors and elegant chocolate-brown leather club chairs welcomes you to “a little movie store with an urban edge.”

McGuire, an outgoing woman with a ready smile, wanted a warm, contemporary space that customers would find inviting and relaxing. “This business is about people and developing relationships with them,” she says. “Customers can come in and sit down and visit, which is something I love about having my own business. I truly enjoy meeting and speaking with all the interesting people who stop by and, being my own boss, I can take the time to do that.”

A long-time resident of Roberts Creek and the mother of three young adults, McGuire opened Take 5 Media in September 2006. In discussing the store’s name she says: “It has different meanings to me. Take 5 as in coffee break, Take 5 in the movie world – Scene 2, Take 5 – or Take 5 movies for a deal.”

“I chose the word ‘Media’ rather than DVD or Video,” she explains, “because it leaves the door open for future changes. I don’t rent videos, and before we know it the DVD will be replaced by a higher-definition format. Who knows what we’ll be watching in five years, and I want to be ready for it.”

McGuire strives to offer a real alternative to the standard movie-rental fare, with an eclectic inventory of hand-picked new releases and a high ratio of independent and foreign films. “People are often reluctant to watch a subtitled film,” she notes, “but they’re missing so much of the world – other cultures and perspectives. It’s surprising; a few minutes into a subtitled film, the viewer generally gets so engrossed in the story they forget about the subtitles.”

McGuire takes pride in her exceptional customer service, saying, “We can order films for purchase and welcome suggestions for additions to our rental stock. If there’s a film you’re looking for, we can source it. As I get to know my customers’ tastes and interests, I can make knowledgeable recommendations. My customers know they can count on me to have films that have never before been available on the Coast.”

Over the years McGuire worked mainly in customer service, including 20 years with Visa and the past seven years in movie rentals and sales. But opening her own store has long been her dream and she believed in herself enough to make it happen. “I love people and have been a movie buff most of my life, so it was a natural choice to combine the two.”

For start-up advice, McGuire turned to the Aspire Self-Employment Program, which offers small-business training and assistance. “For me it was a fabulous support group; I got the help I needed in sorting out my niche business concept and getting it onto paper in the form of a business plan,” she says. “From conception to opening day took only six months, which was very fast. Everything just fell into place for me.”

Take 5 Media is a family-run business and McGuire expresses her gratitude for all the help she’s received. Husband Gary and son Tyler laid the flooring, Gary installed the track lighting and designed and built the sleek black shelves that line the walls. Brother-in-law Danny built and installed the impressive granite-topped counter, and a “wow factor” 42-inch plasma TV was mounted on the wall behind it. Everyone pitched in to apply the striking paint colours that were carefully chosen by McGuire. Daughter Megan, 16, assists in the store, and McGuire says of her: “Don’t let her age fool you. She grew up watching films and her knowledge is extensive. She’s a great help to me.”

In deciding to open her own business McGuire was inspired by strong, determined, courageous women who were willing to take a leap of faith and pursue their dreams. “No matter what happens,” she says, “I’m proud of the fact that I’ve given it my best effort and didn’t spend my time wondering what might have been. My definition of success includes personal fulfillment, independence, flexibility and the chance to help others, not just financial rewards. Just as I’ve been inspired by successful local business women, I would love to know that I made a difference in the life of another woman by inspiring her to follow her heart and take a chance on herself. That would be a source of real satisfaction and pride for me.”

Take 5 Media is located at Kerns Plaza.

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Building Log Homes For The World

When commercial fisherman Andy Koberwitz faced a shortage of fish on the coast he observed there was no shortage of trees. Identifying an opportunity and calling upon his engineering education, Koberwitz decided to build log homes that could be shipped anywhere in the world. West Coast Log Homes (WCLH) started in 1999 with the display of its first home at the BC Log Home Show in Abbotsford. Koberwitz recalls, “My last penny was sunk and I had to sell that home at the show.” The log home was an instant success and sold before the show officially opened. Much to Koberwitz’s delight, more orders were taken during the show.

A key to West Coast Log Homes’ success was participation in the BCIT Venture Program where Koberwitz developed both a business plan and a mentor relationship with program director and Sunshine Coast resident, Peter Thomson. Koberwitz praises the program and from time to time still calls upon its expertise. Over the last eight years many typical business challenges have been overcome. He advises new businesses to take the business plan process seriously. Koberwitz explains, “Issues I didn’t anticipate arose quickly once the business started, such as the need for contingency funding, shareholder agreements and an employee handbook.” Koberwitz’s son Sven is a shareholder. Koberwitz proudly says, “West Coast Log Homes is a father-son business.”

To date WCLH has built over 150 homes that can be found in Canada, USA, South America, Europe and Japan. The farthest away is located in Punta Arenas at the southern tip of Chile.

Full Scribe, Post and Beam, and Fusion-style homes built by WCLH are sought primarily for second or third homes in rural areas for discerning customers with deep pockets. Prices range from $150 to $400 per square foot according to design features. The shipping bill alone came to $100,000 for a home recently delivered to Maine in nine truckloads. “There is a lot of trust developed between the client and us during the design and building stage,” says Koberwitz. “At one point we have both the home and the full payment.”

Koberwitz explains that a typical sales cycle from first contact with a client averages four to five months and includes receiving and completing their design in-house, hand selecting the logs, building, disassembling and shipping the home.

The majority of WCLH sales are generated from referrals and the internet. Koberwitz receives email inquiries every day from points around the world. WCLH’s website showcases the company’s team of 24 employees, unique production methods and environmental policies, and attracts attention from an affluent target market with photo galleries featuring the phases of creating handcrafted log homes as well as stunning exterior and interior shots of completed homes.

The company’s passion and pride is evident right from the start of a project. The plan is studied meticulously by the WCLH team and every production detail is anticipated and worked out on paper.

WCLH is partnering in Tumble Creek, a six-hundred-home resort community located east of Seattle, with post and beam “cabins” starting at $1.5 million. Tom Goett, project manager for the construction, was quoted in a recent press release: “Andy’s probably one of the most cool-headed people I’ve ever worked with, one of those rare people born to this industry. Andy just gets it.” WCLH solved technical, planning, architectural and engineering issues for the project.

WCLH’s commitment to quality is one of the reasons that Koberwitz is now capping growth to building about twenty homes a year. Koberwitz understands that WCLH’s niche of hand constructing log homes with uncompromising standards is not suitable for expanded production.

The business often sees Koberwitz on site seven days a week. As his vision and business goals are met, Koberwitz is eager to meet his next goal of spending more quality time with his wife.

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Building Peace and Good Will

“Rotary International is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.” ~ www.rotary5040.org

Rotary club memberships represent a cross-section of the community’s business and professional men and women. Speaking with several Gibsons Rotary members, I heard a common refrain: People join Rotary because they are community-minded and wish to embrace the motto “Service above self.”

“You get what you give,” says Blane Hagedorn, who has been a member for 18 years. Hagedorn’s business is based in retail foods and the service industry. While Rotary membership develops business relationships, he said that is not why he joined. Fellowship and service to the community are uppermost in his mind.

Lynette Robinson, a top-producing realtor for 15 years, is excited about the good that is done by Rotary. She has been a member for just one year, but was involved with the organization for quite some time before that. Robinson greatly admires the positive differences made by members, both globally and in their own community.

Carol Doyle owns the unique Gift of the Eagle, a gallery that features the work of local artists. “Rotarians are from every walk of life,” Doyle says, “and so they offer a great deal of expertise and support, both to their members and the community at large.” Doyle looks forward to her weekly meetings where members work on common goals involving global projects or raising funds to put back into the Gibsons community. Some examples of projects the Gibsons Rotary Club has been involved in are the gazebo in the harbour, the stage in Winegarden Park, the first three computers at Gibsons Library and the change rooms at Brothers Park. Doyle feels that Rotary is like a family where everyone is equally valued.

Gibsons Rotary unites with other Coast clubs, particularly on international and joint projects. Additionally, each club has its own projects.

Gibsons Rotary has made young people in our community a high priority. The Beachcombers Gala and Auction set up an endowment producing thousands of dollars in scholarships annually. Interact Club, which involves local high school students in projects both locally and internationally, just celebrated its 15th anniversary. This was the first Interact Club in our Rotary District, which includes part of upstateWashington, most of Lower Mainland, Powell River, Whistler, and up to Prince George and Terrace. International student exchanges, Rotary Youth Leadership Camp and Sprockids programs all benefit from strong Rotary involvement.

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