|GARY NYLANDER/The Okanagan Saturday|
Big Steel Box president Jason Siebenga shows off the containers the company offers for household moves virtually anywhere in the country.
You've probably seen those Big Steel Box containers at its depots in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon, Osoyoos and West Kelowna and at construction sites, where they are used as offices.
The 20-foot-long containers are also ideal for their original use of hauling, so Big Steel Box has launched house-to-house
delivery of a 20-foot container for people moving.
The shipping container is delivered by truck to the customer and is left there for as long as it takes them to pack. Which means no more moving day stress because the
container is picked up and trucked to your new home and left for as long as you need
Big Steel Box attended the conference in hopes that HR professionals recommend use of the containers when they hire and/or move an employee.
The house-to-house moves using a Big Steel Box are available between 50 cities across the country and the company has 16 full-service locations coast to coast.
"Knowing you can offer your employees a stree-free move will reduce the time needed to close hirings or transferring an employee," said Big Steel Box president Jason Siebenga.
"They arrive happy with the primary focus on their job and not their relocation.Ã®
Big Steel Box recently merged with Kelowna-based developer Mission Group.
While the two companies operate
separately, they have the same 10 owners.
The two companies see opportunities in using Big Steel Box containers in workforce housing complexes that Mission Group hopes to build in Northern Alberta's oil patch, Mexico and Nigeria.
While Turn Down the Heat Week wraps up today, electric and natural gas utility FortisBC hopes people remember to pay heed to the concept moving forward.
The utility teamed up with 20 business improvement areas across the province - including the Downtown Penticton Association and Uptown Rutland Business Association - to encourage people to don a sweater during the winter so they can turn down the heat both at work and at home.
Of course, that conserves electric and
natural gas heat, saves consumers money and helps FortisBC avoid having to buy
expensive resources at the height of winter.
"The object of Turn Down the Heat Week is to make everyone more aware of energy consumption," said Business Improvement Areas of B.C. chairman Ken Kelly.
The 20 business groups also collected 2,500 used sweaters over the week to donate to those in need. People were also encouraged to Tweet FortisBC a picture of themselves in a cozy sweather for a chance to win a $200 gift card.
High-tech industry group Accelerate Okanagan has landed $200,000 in government money to run a Traction Program for start up and mid-stage tech companies.
The cash from the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program will fund workshops, training and business development help for people running firms that are starting and growing.
"Once accepted into the program, an
executive-in-residence will be assigned to the company to identify major gaps within the organization, create and deploy single-focus action plans to move the company forward," said Accelerate Okanagan CEO Jeff Keen.
"(There will be) ongoing assessment and accountability to ensure the company is meeting milestones."
Real estate blues
Dreary winter weather and tough new mortgage rules kept property buyers away last month as real estate sales were down compared to January 2012.
However, most of the five per cent dip overall was attributed to a 32 per cent plunge in the North Okanagan.
The drop in the Shuswap was much less at three per cent and there was a four per cent improvement in the Central Okanagan.
"Due to the divergence in our market areas, sales tend to vary among single-family, townhouse and (condominium) properties month by month and zone by zone,' said Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board president Rob Shaw.
For instance, in the North Okanagan in January, 50 properties of all kinds (residential and commercial) worth $13.4 million changed hands compared to 73 worth $24.6 million in the same month last year.
In the Shuswap last month, there were 36 sales worth $10.9 million, down from 37 sales totalling $12.6 million in January 2012.
In the Central Okanagan in January, 219 properties worth $87.7 million sold, up from 211 totallyng $74.8 million in the same month in 2012.
"We hope the slowdown in sales activity will be short-term," said Shaw.
"While we expect sluggish sales will likely continue in February, we are cautiously optimistic that the second quarter of 2013 will see an improvement."
Famous name in wine
The Okanagan's newest winery has a legendary name in Canada's wine industry behind it.
Oliver's Culmina Winery is owned by Donald Triggs, originally from Ontario and part of the namesake of the long-time Jackson-Triggs Winery that has properties in both Niagara and the Okanagan.
Jackson-Triggs is now part of the Constellation conglomerate that has wineries around the world.
Triggs and his wife Elaine bought property on Oliver's Golden Mile Bench in 2007, planted it with grapes and made their first wines in 2011, which are ready for release this year.
While the winery building is complete and wines are bottled (cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, chardonnay, riesling and Gruner Veltliner), it won't open its doors to the public until late August.
By the way, the name Culmina comes from the Latin meaning 'peak,' a fitting way for Triggs to mark the 'culmination' of a life in wine.
- The CBC-TV business pitch show Dragons Den is at Okanagan College in Penticton today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., auditioning people who hope to get on the program.
- Speaking of Dragons Den, the segment featuring Joe and Janice McDonald from Kelowna and their My Smart Shower pitch is on the show that airs Sunday night at 8 p.m.
- To tie into the timing of the penny going out of circulation, all 78 London Drugs stores in Western Canada are collecting the one cent coins in a fundraiser for The Variety Children's Charity, from now until the end of the month.
- The Vernon Chamber of Commerce will announce the finalists for its Business Excellence Awards at a reception 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday at 3000 28th St.
- Adastra Corporate Finance is putting on a free business valuation workshop for people looking at retiring from, selling or transferring their business to family or employees.
Register at AdastraCorporateFinance.com/Events.
Steve MacNaull is a business reporter and columnist with the Okanagan Saturday. He can be reached at steve.macnaull.ok.bc.ca, or by calling 250-470-0767.