Town & Country

Mar 2017

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I t can be hard to aim for the high bar and adopt laudable business ethics when so much of what is said about business is a smokescreen for how things really operate. When GORP Energy Bar founder Colleen Dyck laid down the guidelines for her business, she decided to clear the smokescreen and really 'raise the bar.' "The biggest lie in marketplace culture is that it's just business — but it's not just business because there is always another human involved," says Dyck. "It's not about business-to-business or business-to-consumer — it's about person- to person." Dyck's company produces and sells an all-natural energy bar designed from Manitoba's farmland up with home-grown, highly nutritious ingredients, thoughtful marketing and well-designed packaging. "In our core values, we have a statement about seeing people — and really seeing people, beyond someone's skill set or what service they provide." That philosophy plays out at every level of the company, starting with GORP's staff — and a work schedule that accommodates the school bus schedule. "I schedule the moms so they can get their kids on the bus and then pick them up, so they don't have to worry about rushing around to before- and after-school day care," she says. Her staff are appreciative, and at the end of the day they're left with more of their well-earned pay in their pockets and a whole lot less stress. "I did this right from the beginning because I'm a mom and I knew that it was what I would want," she says. Dyck also has guidelines on how to interact with outside service providers. "Sometimes delivery guys can be treated poorly. You know, you look down, you sign the paper, you grab your stuff," she says. "I just really stress with my staff that you look them in the eye, and you have to ask him one question about his day — and I want them to think about it; make conversation, see him, make a relationship, take the opportunity to be a light in his day instead of just another stop." She says the same consideration applies when staff are at trade shows. "Trade shows can be really petty environments," she says. "I tell my staff, 'We are the company that helps everybody else set up their booth and we might as well stay and make relationships and help people.' No gossiping about or badmouthing our competition." Often, people from competing companies flip their name tags over so they can check out other booths incognito. Dyck says it's happened to her a number of times. "I said to my staff, 'We're going to go with our badge the right way up and we're going to introduce ourselves and we're going to speak collaboration instead of intimidation.' " Dyck says she actually had a situation where another energy bar company — a big one — copied GORP's contact page on its website, word for word, graphics included, but failed to change the phone number. Her staff started getting calls looking for the other company, but instead sold them some GORP Bars. "At first I was really mad and then I thought, 'Let's just see how we can handle this.' It was actually pretty hilarious," she says. The next time they met at a trade show, Dyck approached the company's reps and asked what happened. They were embarrassed to have to explain that their graphic designer took more than inspiration from the GORP site after they told him they admired it. "They felt terrible and we ended up talking to them and kind of laughing about it, and now we've collaborated on a few things," she says. "I was really glad that our staff got to see us go through that situation and model it, because they've come back to it many times as inspiration of how they handle weird things that they've come across." Engagement with the community is another a key component of the company culture. "We also really love getting involved with anything to do with mental health, so for the local marathon we volunteer as a staff group," she says. "We help Siloam Mission when we can; our Christmas party was held at Manitoba Harvest and then we all went out and had pizza." She says those activities build great memories and foster community among the staff. "We try to keep everything as real as possible, so when we have events we try to make them something where we're all giving together." Country Town & MANITOBA Editor: Pat St. Germain – PG 6 W I N K L E R M O R D E N SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS Morden Corn and Apple Festival's roots run deep PG 2 COVERING ALL THE BASES Winkler Canvas excels at innovation Saturday, March 25, 2017 PG 6 Brock Vanderveen Email: 204-325-8941 KEEPING IT REAL GORP RAISES THE BAR FOR COMPANY CULTURE BY WENDY KING When GORP Energy Bar founder Colleen Dyck laid down the guidelines for her business, she decided to clear the smokescreen and really 'raise the bar.' NICHE MARKETING Tiny Haven showcases local artisans W I N K L E R PG 3 NATURAL GROWTH Bigger things for Pure Anada M O R D E N PG 4

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