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Category: Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton restaurateur putting restlessness to work By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, November 22, 2019

Brad Lazarenko of Culina to Go, one of the food-based tenants in the Oliver Exchange. Taken on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 in Edmonton.Greg Southam Greg Southam / 00086532A By GRAHAM HICKS If one thing is predictable about chef/businessman Brad Lazarenko, in the 30-plus years he has been active in Edmonton’s dining and food circles, it’s his unpredictability. He delights in left turns without signaling.  Once Lazarenko has launched and executed an interesting food concept, usually under his Culina kitchen brand, he’s thinking of his next move. Culina Mill Creek, Bibo Wine Bar, Passa Tempo in Osoyoos’ Spirit Ridge Resort, a wine bar in Nelson, B.C. a return to Edmonton to open Culina Muttart, the Culina Cantina in the downtown police station, helping his sister open Culina Highlands, catering, running the food outlets at the City of Edmonton golf courses, and now, his latest venture, the take-out-only  Culina To Go in Ivan Beljan’s newly renovated Olive ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Alberta farmers need to change the way they do business By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN November 15, 2019

Consultant Jerry Bouma warned regional leaders agriculture in the Edmonton region is close to a tipping point in his state of the industry report on agriculture at the Edmonton Metropolitan Regional Board meeting on Aug. 9, 2018.Elise Stolte / Postmedia, file Jerry Bouma is frustrated. The agricultural consultant, past Northlands president — when Northlands meant something — and now honourary consul for The Netherlands has long worked within Alberta’s $8.5-billion agriculture industry. Always a pragmatist and a realist, Bouma is worried. He says opportunity is slipping away in this province … at a time when the entire economic effort of Alberta should be in well-directed strategies to boost and modernize business sectors besides oil and gas, for obvious reasons. But he doesn’t see much happening. It’s as if the province has forgotten agriculture. November, for instance, used to be rural/farm awareness month In Edmonton, centred around the week-long C ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Who needs pipelines? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN November 8, 2019

(This is the last of a Hicks on Biz series on Alberta’s economic future if new pipelines are not built.) For decades, Alberta’s wealth was criticized for being harvested, 100%, from the low-hanging fruit of oil and gas extraction and processing. It was just too easy to make money from oil and gas. The sector scooped up every new engineer and scientist graduating from our universities, every skilled tradesperson coming out of our colleges. Eighteen-year-old dropouts were paid $1,500 a week to drive truck. The bloom is off that rose. Alberta’s future growth will be the result of technology-savvy entrepreneurs reaching for that higher-hanging fruit. But not entirely. As mentioned at the start of this series, oil isn’t going away. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Even without new pipelines, and with more oil-by-rail, oil production at a minimum will grow from 3.5 million barrels a day today to 4 million. Meanwhile, despite the persistent denial of climate-change extre ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Crossing the digital bridge By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, October 31, 2019

EDMONTON ALBERTA: OCTOBER 2, 2019. Alta-Fab Structures CEO Hank Van Weelden, left, and President Mark Taillefer stand inside one of their community ever trailers in Nisku Alberta, October 2, 2019. Jason Franson for PostmediaJASON FRANSON / PST By GRAHAM HICKS Public-sector unions scream at any suggestion their members shoulder some of Alberta’s economic pain. Interest groups go bonkers at the very thought of the provincial teat running dry. Never considered is the source of the wealth that pays the health care workers, the school custodians and subsidizes start-up companies. Which is — duh! — the taxes paid by thousands of small-to-medium sized  Alberta companies and their employees.  At least what’s left of those companies and their payrolls after the “right-sizing” of the past four years. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Alberta’s future well-being depends on the entrepreneurial will of those owner/operators. Put yourself ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The next 10 years are vitally important for Alberta By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, October 25, 2019

Hicks on Biz: The Conservatives will not win By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN October 18, 2019

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer.GEOFF ROBINS / AFP/Getty Images It looks like Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives will not win Monday’s election. A very accurate, independent and unbiased website – 338canada.com – brings together every bit of data gathered during this election and publishes a daily update. For every electoral riding in the country – all 338 of them (hence the website’s name),  338canada.com declares if the riding is, from among the four major political parties and independents, “safe”, “leaning”, “likely” or a “toss-up.” If the Conservatives do not lose a single seat they now hold, AND they take every seat from the other parties that 338canada.com says is leaning or likely to go Conservative, AND they win every seat that 338canada.com says is too close to call, the very best Scheer’s party could do is 127 seats, up from the current 95. Then there’s reality. Outside Alb ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The divisions in Canada grow ever deeper this election By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN October 10, 2019

Federal party leaders ready for debate: Green Party leader Elizabeth May, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, Bloc Québécois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.POOL / REUTERS By GRAHAM HICKS As this uncomfortable federal election stumbles its way to Oct. 21, there’s early-warning signs of irreconcilable differences between provinces, between provinces and the federal government, between Canadians of different age groups, between regions within the country. All over Canada’s approach to climate change. As Calgary Herald columnist Don Braid so gloomily and accurately pointed out, four of the five federal party leaders have cast their lot, supporting policies that mean the end of oil and gas. The worst-case outcome of the federal election would be a Liberal minority government, kept in power in coalition with either the NDP or the Greens, both deeply opp ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Poland a big surprise By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN October 4, 2019

The historic Old Town of Warsaw, Poland, was rebuilt after being destroyed in the Second World War. GRAHAM HICKS...EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS Before leaving on a September-long extended holiday in Poland – both as tourist and as a volunteer English teacher – I had no idea what shape the Central European country would be in. Three decades after the fall of communism, Poland has had 27 years of steady economic growth, an average 6% annual growth in family incomes. Yet our primordial impressions of Poland are still from Iron Curtain days: Of grime, grimness, hopelessness, poverty, garbage piled up in the streets, brown-outs and black-outs. Nothing could be further from the truth! Today, Poland is Europe’s biggest and best secret. As the ninth biggest country (by size) in Europe, with about the same population as Canada (38 million), it has fully emerged  from its shell-shocked recent history – the devastation of the Nazi occupation of the Second World War, with ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Get rid of the middle man By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN September 6, 2019

Chris LaBossiere, CEO of Yardstick. It was a rather jolly meeting — the Yellowhead Brewery event-pub quite packed, the beer flowing. All kinds of technology/biz folks were renewing acquaintances. The occasion was the release of a report commissioned by the Downtown Business Association, called Accelerating Tech in Downtown Edmonton. The get together had a right to its jolliness. As was detailed in a recent Hicks on Biz column, Edmonton’s technology/artificial intelligence/machine learning sector has, at long last, reached critical mass. Enough technology-based companies are now making enough money to significantly grow in scope and employment. That said, there’s an annoying Catch 22 to technology-innovation  business development. Every time something starts up, governments (or government-funded agencies) feel an overwhelming need to throw a whack of money at it. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Agencies are allegedly set up to assist these hard-working entre ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton real estate has not been kind By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN August 30, 2019

The average selling price for all Edmonton homes in March was $357,316, a drop of more than five per cent from $377,145 in March 2018.Postmedia, File / Perry Mah/QMI Agency By GRAHAM HICKS I am happy to be an Edmontonian. This is home. But Edmonton real estate has not been kind to homeowners. The average home in Edmonton is worth 6.8 per cent less today than was the case in 2014, five years ago. Had you moved to Vancouver or Toronto in 2014, bit the bullet, paid three times as much for the same house as you had in Edmonton … it would be worth 50 per cent to 60 per cent more today compared to its purchase price.  (All figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association.) STORY CONTINUES BELOW Going back 10 years, according to the city’s annual market assessment, my Edmonton residence is worth 15 per cent more today than in 2010.  That’s a whopping 1.5 per cent average annual gain!  (Property and education taxes are up 35%, but that&rs ... Read the rest of entry »
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