The Entrepreneur Podcast
The Entrepreneur Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

16. How does 150-years in business prepare you for modern day disruption?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Entrepreneurship is a journey, not a destination, and few have been on that journey as long as the Oland and Stanfield families.

In this episode, Eric Morse speaks to QuantumShift alums Andrew Oland, CEO of Moosehead Breweries, and Jon Stanfield, CEO of Stanfield’s Ltd, on how the long history of their business impact how they view, and handle the current disruptive landscape.

Listen to the fascinating histories of two pre-Canadian institutions, and how they continue to balance history, innovation, business, and family.

You're listening to the IVY entrepreneurship podcast from the Pierro Morisset Institute for Entrepreneurship at the Abbey Business. Cool. My name is Eric Morris and I will be your host for this episode. All Right, I'm really happy to be trying this today. We are. I've started a series of podcasts and we're going to give this one a shot. I thought it was a great opportunity to have two of Canada's oldest businesses, oldest family private run businesses, with us today and we heard from Charles hundred, your business almost and today this afternoon we're going to hear about a couple more that are even older. I'm going to let them tell their stories. I'm not going to steal that, but I'm really happy that both Andrew and John agreed to be with us today to talk about their business. And my idea behind it was when you are able to get to an age of business that long, you've been through a lot. Okay, whether it was a great depression, World War Two, World War One. I mean your company survived that and those were times of huge uncertainty, and I'm sure there's probably half a dozen or other episodes. So I was really kind of interested in the in the idea of family lore and some of those things around how do we deal with these situations? So I'm putting a lot of pressure on them, but that was one of the things that I thought would be interesting to explore and how they've dealt with uncertainty over the years. So what I'd like is I'm going to Andrew Start and just to tell the story of his family business. And you know, what are some of the stories you remember about how the family's dealt with uncertainty in the past and maybe if there were decisions made during those times that change the course of the business, that would be interesting for us to tell understand as well. So and her. Thank you very much, Erica. It's pleasure for me to be here this afternoon and I just thought I'd start with a disclaimer. Sometimes, when you get up on these panels you portray that sort of everything is perfect in your business and everything's perfect in your life, and I want to be very clear that is not the case with my business or with my life. But I'm I'm looking forward to offering some some insights. So Moose had breweries, multigenerational family business started about a kilometer from here, from right where we're sitting, just across from the Halifax shipyard on the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbor, by my great great great grandmother, woman named Susanna Olwyn's, move from England's to Halifax one thousand eight hundred and sixty five. Family of very limited means. Her husband John was a bit of a man about town but didn't do much about town and she was she was a home brewer, as many women were at the time. She'lls all the secure some capital and they started in one thousand eight hundred and sixty seven. And what I thought is I take you through four stories sort of between eighteen sixty seven and in about nineteen seventy eight, because I think in any multigenerational family business there's one or two big events or big decisions that define that that generation. And as I've been going through this as reflecting on us an advance of the remarks afternoon, what occurred to me was they often occurred when the next generation was relatively young in their tenure, though, it was the next generation coming in and saying, yeah, this maybe your company today, but it's mine tomorrow and this is what we need to do today, to pivot or to adjust, to go forward. So Susannah relatively successful business from eighteen sixty seven on to when she died in eighteen eighty five. In addition to starting the business and running it for almost twenty years, she did something very unusual for the time. She left the business to her youngest son when she died, and...

...that was in eighteen eighty five, and I think it turned out to be a pretty good decision because her son, George ran the business until nineteen thirty three and that included by far the most traumatic event in the history of what is now Mu said brewery's and the Olwen family. That would be the Halifax explosion. So I think most people in this room would know about the fax explosion. At that time the brewery was in the the north end of Halifax. Brewery was completely destroyed. Member of the family died and that's where you had the split between I'll call the Halifax Olands and the Saint John Lands. So George Oland was still very much in charge. He and some of his sons stayed in Halifax and rebelt here in Halifax. My great grandfather, another George, George B Oland, to confuse things. Moved to St John and Nineteen eighteen purchased a brewery there and continue the family business. and the idea in nineteen seventeen nineteen eighteen that a business, that a brewery and sat in Halifax would compete with a brewer in St Johnny Brunswook could be like us going to the moon tomorrow just was not in anyone's could. No one could foreseen that in nineteen thirty seven my grandfather, Philip Oland, had graduated from UNB had gone off to Europe, to Copenhagen to brewing school and this was his first export disposure to Logger Beers. So prior to nineteen thirty seven, as a brewery and most brewers in Canada, all we brewed were ales, stronger, darker. In two thousand and nineteen terminology, less drinkable, less sessionable than loggers. And my grandfather came back created a log her which is which were still selling today, Alpine logger. It's actually a number one stellar seller to this day in the province of New Brunswick. And his insight was just this, and I'm trying not to speak beer sort of commercial terminology to you all, but his insight was just refreshment and the consumer, and I don't think too many people were thinking about the consumer and our family and our business in nineteen thirty seven or the previous sixty odd years. It was brew the Beer, get it to the market and that was it. But he had the first insight in terms of what does the consumer want and where where is the consumer going? And then the fourth story revolves around my father, again a young man early S S. So father was born in Nineteen thirty nine. So we sort of twenty three and twenty four and a federal cabinet minister was in Saint John for a speech and behind the podium is a banner and the banner says export or Die, and my father tells the story of This Day. He had never thought of exporting. Now it was a it was a business that was in a sould beer and at that time Nova Scotia, new BRUNSWIL CAN PI. Under rules of the time you had to actually have a physical brewery and in another province to sell beer there. And he would have family discussions with his father about the merits of exporting. But eventually did export, starting in nineteen seventy eight to the United States and so we were selling in California long before we were selling in Ontario, which is sort of classic Canada at gain. So you know, if you think about my grandfather and the consumer and my father thinking about where is growth going to come from?...

So I'll pass it over to John. Thanks, Andrew. I'm happy to be here. I'm going to share a little bit of story about underwear. It's an exciting topic. So our would be my great great grandfather emigrated from England to Prince Edward Island in eighteen fifty six and built a factory there that basically made woolen blankets and such. Along the way he eventually sold the business to his two sons, frank and John, and frank and John moved the business to Nova Scotia. They first went to St Croix, which is down in the valley, and then they settled in Truro in the eighteen seventies and built a factory where we manufacture our product today. So we moved into that factory in eighteen eighty two and that's where her head office is, that's where the factory is, that's where we make today. Roughly, you know, seventy percent of our products we're not lily white anymore. We do import and when I think of the generations, probably where Stanfield's first got its name was in the S, which is, you know, amazing when you think of it. It was during the Klondike Gold Rush. Obviously these people who are participating that were running for money, they were probably taking their lives and their own peril and we were able to provide a one piece combination made of course wool that would not only help them survive the climb, survive the weather, the rain and everything else that went along with that, but when they found the gold, standfields was synonymous with, you know, that particular product that went up the mountain with them and the great story of that. Today we still have the same shirt that they used when they went on the Klondike cold rush. Other than it's not a hundred percent well anymore. It's like twenty. So it's not it's kind of itchy and scratchy, but that is something that is very symbolic inner company and especially in the Western market. It's still a very popular item, which is amazing. They call it the island tuxed don't now. So those that was probably where stanfield's got its name. Frank and John. We're also political in nature. The standfield family also has either it's underwear it's politics. So we'll be my great grandfather was an MP for our area for lots of years. John Stanfield went to World War One and he came back and he became a senator. So his brother Frank, if you know, eventually took him out. And then we get onto the third generation and that generation created, you know, they had patentable one piece what we call in Canada combinations, what they call United States is union suits. So we had the patent for that, which was basically taking a shirt and a bottom and connecting them to one piece, and of course patents last for x amount of years. Today it we probably worth money, but back then it was part of what we think around our places being innovative in underwear product. So back then that was quite an innovation to be able to put one piece underwear together. The other thing that would have been my grandfather's generations, this is a third generation, was to shrink proof like that was on the outside of the build and used to stay standfields unshrinkable underwear right like. There was a process that in the time was environmentally okay to do. It's not today. So we had to take unshrinkable off the building and paint a big black paint over. But you know, that is innovation as well. So that is separating differenti in your products in the market versus what others are doing, because at the end of the day it is underwear. There are other people to make underwear and there's choices. My grandfather, who I never met, he died in one thousand nine hundred and sixty seven of her attack, and my father took over the business at the age of twenty two years old. He was just a recent graduate of Tuch School of business. I...

...know it's not ivy, but talk was pretty good in the day and I remember the story that he told me about his profess and this process. Would say like Geez, Tom why are you going back to Tron Nova, Scotia to run your little family business? Like he should be going to Wall Street, you should be doing this and that, and he said well, this is sometimes family duty, family calls and unfortunately year after he got home his father passed away. He knew was thrust into running the business and being handed the keys by his mother. One of the biggest impacts of the my father had on my career would have been my grandmother. So my grandfather's Stanfield's wife. She lived next to me growing up. I spent a lot of time with her when I was born. I was born when Robert Stanfield was in Hellifax. that a speech and everybody in the family was ericscept her. My mother was in the hospital given birth to me. So I'm not sure if the next underwear anointment was was was occurring, but certainly, and Charles lives in trole so he knows a lot about the family story in our area. So my grandmother was a heavy influence on really my participation and passion towards the business. I really didn't get that from my father when he was young because he was very busy. He was at work sixteen hours a day, putting in all of that time. Where's today like I don't have to do that because we have people that can actually help. But you know, it came on later in life, my passion for the business. There was, you know, a couple of things that in my time. So I would consider my time. I start in the business when I was thirteen years old. I've just completed my thirty five year of being in the business. So and I'm still young, under fifty, but one of the things that I remember the most I would have been in college and my father and the VP of sales at the time, similar to maybe what Andrew Story was around. You know, Canada only had so many people and so many restrictions in terms of where you could go with your business and we felt, well, we'll just be smart, we'll get down of the US, will just take our products and replicate ourselves down there, will hire sales for us and do this and that. Well, the sample order was about the biggest order we got and it was. It was, as we talked about there. Maybe maybe you know a flawed strategy, but really was probably, when you look back on it, was testing because of our presence at the show, as we recognize that we might have not been able just to take our brands there and be successful. But what we did have expertise in is manufacturing, finance, capital, branding, understanding how the markets work, which led to the next year at the show a little bit more eyes open. But who might be available for us to acquire so we can build a platform? We can start with that. So in one thousand nine hundred and ninety three, which would have been my last year at university. That's what we did. We went down and acquired a company which start it the geographic expansion of for our business. Today, one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, we acquired another American company in the Snow Sports Specialty Business and and today the revenues are about split. Actually we probably have more US revenues than Canadian revenues. So if we didn't, if we hadn't have deployed that type of strategy back in the early S, we probably would be in trouble today because of what's going on in the retail market and Cana. Will, I'm sure we'll, get to some of the disruptive things that have happened to us, and these are the things like free trade agreement came in, Nafta came in, we went from nine hundred eployees to six hundred employees. We reengineered the firm again in one thousand nine hundred and ninety three and went to five hundred employees. We're roughly a little bit over three hundred today that are still sewing product in Tro so that to me, and that was maybe at the front part of mine, and Er like and referred to. A lot of the stuff gets not on the front and it was probably in the middle of my father's but it was a real turning point for our business when we point it south and today, you know, these types of things really get you thinking about what is next, what...

...is next for the company in terms of where we going to grow? We'll talk about a bit of what happened to us in our Canadian market and how business evaporated, essentially, but that is a little bit of the history line of where we came from. Thanks John. So again I'm going to ask both. The following question is, what's the biggest issue you're facing today, or issues you're facing today, and maybe you know, given what we've been talking about today, what are some of the greatest uncertainties that you're thinking about? Andrew, will start with you again. So I've been I've been present now for eleven years and I had to grin when you're doing the drug plan. I know about more about drugs and anyone we have, maybe not Charles, but let's just say we had some very generous drug plan offerings, particularly for our retirees, that I had to deal with very early on in my tenure as a new president and I'll be dealing with those for the next forty years from a cost perspective. So the reason I say that is when I became presidents, the decisions that I had to make were very easy. Executing them was difficult. So we got to get out of the retiree healthcare business, we've got to get out of the defined benefit pension business, we've got a modernize the facility, we've got to evolve the culture from a culture of entitlement to culture of business acumen, safety, things of those news. So we've made good progress on those. So now it's like, okay, where do we want to go today? I've got options. Didn't really have options. Just have to get this done. And it's all about growth. And where do we find growth in in a category that is not growing and that is under pressure from big, small government, alternative products such as cannabis, all those, those type of things. And so you're dealing with all of these sort of uncertainties in your day to day business or how you go to go to market, while you're still looking to to try to try to uncover those opportunities for growth. So and we can you can you tell me maybe a little bit I'mout. Just follow up with that. When you think of the different opportunities and in front of you, what are those things you're taking in mind in terms of making that decision to have? But you have a framework of some sort of a family history or you know something that you've picked up along the line that's helping you frame those issues way. I mean, ultimately it comes down to the consumer and where the consumer is going and what the consumer is is looking for, but you also have to put that through the Lens of the customer. So, and you know, and people often get consumer and customer mixed up and they use the terms of the consumers, the end user, the customer is the buyer, it's the bartender, it's the bar owner, it's n SLC, it's Lcbo or things of that nature. And as we are, you know, we have to be realistic as a smaller player in the category, in terms of what are we going to be able to achieve from a customer perspective and actually be able to get in front of our Cup consumers? Thanks, enter John. So I'll go with three. I probably have a list of twelve, but I'll go three main issues that have affected our business. I'm similar to Andrew. I've been probably running our business for about twelve years as the lead. I've always been at the table, so to speak, learning and understanding how the company made decisions. And we're not only the the directors of the company thought we should go, but you know, the family and management thought we should go. So lots of conversations in and around that. But I think my generation even more...

...so than my father's. My father would say, you know, we had the oil embargo, we had, you know, big time inflation in my time we had kind of price controls that were in there, we had free trade and after that came in there. He had to battle all those. But I think the de consolidation of the retail channel, in the bankruptcies that occurred within our business, not only in Canada but in North America, post our biggest challenge and continue to pose challenges on our business as we have to remain very fluid through the process and it's far from over. I don't want to wake up with that cyber security call like that scares the crap out of me, but I sat at my desk one day and the first one to go was sports authority in the US and that was our largest customer, Inner California Business, and they were twenty five percent of our business. And I said, wow, I've never thought that I would have to deal with that, because you just humming along, or how along. Everything's kind of good. Then twenty five percent of your business is gone the next day, and not only gone, but in the US they sue for the receivable a year back. So you lost all the receivable that you collected to in that period leading up to that. So it was it was roughly five million dollars that went out the door, which was, you know, an amazing amount of money. And our North Carolina Company, the largest customer in the snow support side, went bankrupt as well within six months. And when I was dealing without I was thinking about what's next and I could just think of sears Canada and started to prepare for the demise of sears Canada inside of my own mind, even though they were our third largest customer. I was always at the table say we must replace this customer, we must start now, we must move on. They're going to be gone. I know, John, they're okay, that's going to be all right, and well, it wasn't. They went bankrupt. So in that span of eighteen months we lost the sniff now and wherevering you for our company, of which we also had to recover. We had to manage tour so that was a significant challenge for us and a little bit of a lesson learned for me on that was we always were a lean company in terms of management and style, but I think keeping lean keeping, very nimbook keeping very I don't like the word use agile loosely because it's a big word. Use the business, but being to be able to have a little bit of agility inside of Your Business is key. And from that as the reason why consolidation occurred in bankruptcy happens because consumer preferences were changing rapidly and they're still changing, whereas it's the onset of online and ECOMMERCE businesses, the digital and social how they change consumer preferences, and now it's all basically in your hand, which, when you think about how you're running your life, you're running to your hand and the challenges that that poses for what I would consider ourselves as a manufacture to bricks and mortar, to the new world versus there's lots of underwear companies are just online direct that's how they stare at their business, but we have to come from a different angle. So that really challenges our position in the market. So consumer preferences and they're evolving rapidly and impacting everybody. They just shrink merchants immensely because of that. And the third thing I would say, and it's a really result of too, is the people inside the business. Like I love our people. We have a great culture of our people, but they don't fit anymore with where we need to go. And some of these managers is not their fault. They've been with their business for two, twenty five years and they've served us really well and it's not about having you know, as they say, that you know it's the wrong ass and the wrong seat type of thing, but it's not. It's not that a just the world has gone by them and that is really challenging for not only our company but for probably every employers to hide.

You deal with the thirty year employee that it's very costly to get rid of. Do you move them sideways? What can you get out of them? But that is one of the things that I'm really challenged with today. What I'm really struggling with internally is how to do the skill set realignment inside of our business. And a couple guys are here, my ypl for me and and Charles for disclosure, in my form group. So you know they hear a lot about my kind of rants and rambles from time to time, so they have a little bit of personal knowledge of that. It's John. So the world is changing. When you think about growth and where it might come from next, what are you thinking about? So the the good thing that we've done is we replaced all of that business over the two year period that we lost with those three bankruptcies and largely or sery placed through similar channel, maybe close proximity channels. But I think our growth in Canada's very challenged because of it's just not a big place. I mean it's a big place in geography, but it's thirty six million people. We're already coast to coast. I think we can expand a little bit, maybe in channels we can be a little bit better and industrial safety in those types of things, but I think our growth is probably going to come more from geographic expansion in the future versus kind of domestic expansion. Thanks John. So, you know, one more question and then we'll open it up to the to the group here. But you know, these are long standing company. So you know, use your crystal ball. Where do you see? Yeah, the business ten years from now. So in Canada there are four breweries who have a coast to coast operation, sell across of people in in all all provinces. Of course, Lebat Molson, Sliman and Moose head. Moossett's the only one that's Canadian, not so Lebat Wilson and slimming Sparta. Thank you. So we need to do a better job telling that story in a meaningful way that resonates with our that resonates with our consumers. So, from a branding point of view, we want to be at in ten years. We'd like to be canvas brewery and we're not there today. I would say that one of the challenges for Canadian companies is everyone knows what their first international or export market is going to be. It's easy. So United States. What's the second one? Is it Mexico? Is South America? Is it Seeda? Is it China? Like you know, pick a spot right. We don't have as a country a natural number to market. So we're going to have to figure that out for Moosett in terms of where that's going to be. It won't start with bricks and mortar, but it wouldn't surprise at some point if its evolved to bricks and mortar just because of the nature of particularly shipping beer and the costs associated with that. That being said, in Canada we have a nice business. In Ontario we continue to have a nice business in the mirror times. Lots of growth potentials we would still see in western Canada. I know the folks in Alberta say that it's tough times there, but when you grow up in Atlantic Canada and you go to Albert it looks pretty good. And in classic Canadian fashion, we've only been shipping beer from New Brunswick to the province of Quebec for two years now. So took us a hundred and fifty years to do that. And so we would still see, and there's eight or nine million people live in Quebec. So still we still see opportunities in Canada, both from a volume but also from a margin play perspective. But we do need to find that either that one or that group of international...

...export opportunities. Thanks Er John. So in ten years I'd like to still be on earth. Would be the first thing I would like to be because my kids are both young and this business is very challenging. It comes with a lot of heartache and a lot of heavy thoughts about producing product in Canada. We have taken enormous amount of pride and saying we're made in Canada and some of our marketing people and internal and external, I would say we got to put the flag up the pole and always say that and I said we can't say that a hundred percent. So we have to be a Canadian company first. That's how we have to explain our story and or talked about a story like we have at a we have a fabulous story and if people knew more about our story I think they would resonate towards us as a company and us as a brand, whether that brand is produced in Canada or produced in Vietnam or produced in the Caribbean Basin, wherever that might be produced. So probably our company is going to look a lot differently in where and how we make products in ten years. All of our competitors are global. We do not have a local competitor other than maybe sacks apparel now who's has socks underwear out there in Vancouver. They have done a really good job as a new entrant to the market. It's also allowed us to expand into a different price point. So I welcome them right like. They take a little bit of piece of the Pie, but are also extends our brand from into a different price point. That gives us opportunity for the future as much as anything. So I'm thankful for that. But our main competitors are free of the loom, Haynes, Calvinclin, jockey. I mean these guys are big companies compared to US sitting in Toron Nova, Scotia's so and saying that as retail consolid dates, you know, pricing pressures come that forces you generally to go off shore to get production and to hire people in Tro to come in and be soer's. This generation just doesn't want to do it like the previous generation and maybe they want to come in and run the bawling line for beer, maybe a little bit simpler. Like we don't have a problem running our textile division. So our bigger machines are knitting machines or dyeing machine. See Types of things but to find people on the street to come in and so product is very challenging. The other growth is going to come from our US businesses management in my father would have thought of he thought of it as a consolidated business, but how I'm structuring it, where I'm going with my senior leadership team, is is these three businesses are the same and we are working together and the people that I put in place in those are going to help not only the company where they are situated, but they're going to provide insight and input to all three companies and help guide us to the future, because the challenge that we face is a lot of the decision making us in one person and I don't want to be that one person ten years out it even today. So I think you need at least four or five people at your table who can help guide you. Like I might be a a CEO, I am the majority shareholder, I am the chairman, I am a stakeholder, I am a director, I have all kinds of responsibilities and these people in the management team are really strong help guide you for your next ten years. You have to really find strong people to help guide you. You can hire external people, you can have a sessions like this with your management team that could commit and help you get focused and so on and so forth. But it always will come down to those who surround yourself with to be to be successful. Great, thanks, John. So at this point open it up to to any questions in the group. So let me just repeat the question real quick. The question was asked. How did you guys feel when you took the range of the company? What was the relationship like with the family and you know kind of how to did you deal with that as you went forward? I'll start. So we had quite a long succession plan. In two...

...thousand I became Executi Vice President of the company. That was really the onset of the succession plan to the presence roll. I was a point of the board at that time. So on our board of directors we have into pend of directors, we have family directors. So those family directors were able to get exposed to me, my thinking, my participation, because I was probably I had a couple of older cousins and I have younger cousins of course, and my siblings never were interested in the business, so they really didn't know me. So they had to really understand how we thought. You know, it is John, just like the kid riding around its bike that was in his grandmother's yard. Is that? That's how they probably thought of me at first, and they were probably skeptical, like it's John's Tomson. Mom's done a great job, like John's not going to be able to do as well. This is father. So there's a probably a lot of skepticism when it came. So I had to earn their and I really earned their respect through participation at the board level and outside of that, trying to spend some time with them. The biggest thing when I kind of took over the whole thing was through all of this bankruptcy stuff, and basically they really understood the chops that you have kind of thing to be able to like just put the massinations in place to survive. That not only capitalized with your banking partners, your internal people, like my God, we're gonna be on my jobs going to go well, no, it's not. We're going to fix this, going to take time, but we're going to do it right, and they were more worried about their investment, like Oh, we got to sell, we got to move on from this business. And I'm saying like no, we need to generate value, you know, we need to there's a going to be time to recover. So I and through that whole process they gained, you know, a lot of respect for me as a leader, a lot of understanding of, you know, work ethic. And I'm not just, you know, the you know, Tom's son from truro. I'M A, you know, an individual who can lead a company, but I was probably greet it with a little bit of skepticism when I first started the you know, the evolution of the process. So I'm the oldest of four boys. My brother Patrick is our CFO and he has an interesting career. He was on the commercial side of the business, brand managements and at a early s deciety want to go back and become a cea at the time and went through the whole auditing thing and and so went for there. My brother Matthew, who's currently running our cannabis business, was started in sales in sort of multinational CPG and then went over to marketing. And then brother Giles is a it entrepreneur here in Halifax. And my father was able to execute a buyout of my uncle and aunt in the mid two thousand so my father had a hundred percent of the shares. So in one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, father hired gentleman named Bruce mccobban to be the first non Oland to be president. Mohu said. Bruce Ryan the company for about eight years and then in two thousand and five Bruce was started easy into retirement. So our VPF of sales and marketing at the time, and gentleman named Stephen Pourier, became president. And True Story. I'm sitting in my office December, early at early December two thousand and seven, and I get a call from my father's assistant, who's Janet, who's now my assistant. Your father wants to see you. Very unusual. I go down. It's father and Bruce. My media thought is what did I do wrong here? And they said Steve's resigned and we'd like you to be from President. And all I could think of is don't see anything stupid. They might change your room mind. How to get how do you get ahead of this office as quick as you can? So we sort of chatted for like and and then they said and we're not going...

...to tell anyone till sort of January fifteen or something like this. So it's just like December ten. So it's like a five minute meeting and I leave and sort of go back to what I was doing and get home that night my wife says, any interesting happened today at work? Well, and I think from that the rest of the family perspective, I was the one they would have seen as becoming the next president. But this was this was premature, this was earlier than than we had expected and in hindsight I if if they had made the decision, because I was I was very early s if they'd made the decision to bring someone in for a period of time, I that would that would have been a great experience for me and I would have been fine for that. And just one other thing I'll say is so I'm heavily involved in Tech Canada. The most of you would know it, in my in my group and part of the tech experiences the tech chair. You have a monthly coaching meeting and I would say from the second meeting that I had with with Mike Mallor, the tech Chare is. He was saying, Andrew, you're the head of this family, you run the company, or the head of the family, and I'm gonna have that head of the family. I'm forty four years old and no, you're the head of the family and ultimately, when you are in that leadership position in the family business, you are the head of a family. There are lots of little decisions that, if they go the wrong way, can disrupt the dynamics of the family and it's not necessarily equal, but it has to be fair and that's that's a rule, that's that I've had to grow into, I would say, and it's just to me. It's it's part of being a family business. Thanks, guys. Any other questions? So question is, will robotics help replace the need for Labor on the sewing factory floor here in Canada? Yeah, I think in time robotics can help support a pair of manufactories and throughout North America that are left. The technology isn't quite there in terms of, you would say, with your own fingertips, a dexterity of robots to move things efficiently down a production line on the so side is not quite there yet. There's still multiple steps in sewing a t shirt or a pair of boxer briefs that you know, the rotics can't quite do yet. But I do think that someone is going to resolve that issue? You know, that might be in the ten year window where we could repatriate some of that product production back to Canada if it happens to move off shore because of robotics. Have a level of labor force and then have a level robotics and investment in technology and that should be able to support production. There's a big question there. So microbrewery is very prevalent in the in the markets today, and Andrew, do you have a plan for that and what do you think the future hold? Great questions. So I'm going to take it from a couple of angles. So first of all, microcraft, small whatever you want to call a breweries have been fabulous for the beer industry. If you look at the excitement and the interest of beer today versus twenty or twenty five years ago, it wouldn't have been acceptable to in some cases, to have a beer in your hand at a high end cocktail party or something like that twenty five years ago. No, no, you have to have a scotch right. So now there's there's lots much more offerings available for the consumer and you know the tremendous styles that are available for beer and it's done just a lovely, lovely thing, and that is take a lot more money out of each of your pockets because it's premiumized the category and you know, used to be all on price...

...and now people don't think anything. are going in and Nova Scotians been in for fifty or five dollars for, you know, a four hundred and seventy three mill sixteen ounce can. And it's create a different competition because you have consolidation with the big guys, so the anheuser Bush, so the bud bud lights of the world, and then and then the Heinekens and all those. There's massive consolidation there. One of the challenges in Canada that the small brewer's face is in most provinces they're subsidized and if they go above a certain threshold or volume threshold, they lose that subsidy. So you have a business that's pick a number, it's got any but four hundredzero dollars. Nice business. And then we buy them and now the but does a hundred fiftyzero or less, or they merge and they lose the scale, they lose that markup advantage of both of those and so that is that's something that they're grappling with is they're trying to figure out their exit strategies. You've seen a few instances where, both in the Canada and the US, where the big guys have come in and they've absorbed that hit and they've done it for one reason and that's the brand. So they want the brand because they think they can grow the brand and because they think they need to keep that take up that shelf space. They'd rather have the shelf space from one of theirs since than somewhere else. So for us, when we look at those opportunities and the reason that we did one transaction, but it was really more for a distribution reasons than than for branding. You know, how do we overcome this small brewer's tax advantage? And you know, if you've got the business with the four under thousand dollar e but die, you expect to be paid off the four under thousand dollar, but though not the one hundred fifty thousand dollar, but all that you're going to have, that we're going to have, so that that creates an issue and then ultimately becomes how strong is that brand, because most of the brands are geographically constrained. So okay, I'm craft beer and pick a spot. Stew we act Nova Scotia. No, I'm not going to do it. I'M NOT gonna go to I'm craft beer in Chicago. That's great, but when I go to Cleveland I'm just the same as craft beer from everyone else. Why wouldn't I drink the Cleveland Craft Beer? Bows would be one of the ones that's been able to, I would say, do a good job, as has steam whistle. They've gone they've gone beyond that, but most are very geographically limited. I'm not going to rephrase that one. Just go ahead. I yeah, I think to a certain degree every day those types of things that can impact your community creep into your thought process about, for instance, if we all shore more, what's the impact of that to our people? You need a you need a level of scale inside your manufacturing operation to support the overhead and these types of things. You know, people, I think, drive by our factory every day and say, you know there is stanfields is still there, you know John and Tom are still in the building. Things must be going swimmingly well. As and or aluted to earlier, it's you know, sometimes it's not as it appears from the outside, on the inside of the battleground, so to speak. You know, when I was younger I felt an enormous responsibility in my community that was bestowed on me at a very young age through my father and would be my grandmother again, about having to get back to the community, supporting the community. I did a lot of that when I was in my mid twenties to about the age of forty before I had my first child, where I backed off some of the community stuff. So I got a reck center built...

...in Truro standfields was a big donor to that and I was the energy behind getting thirty million dollars for that place through government and local my father was instrumental in getting the new hospital built in Tro and instrumental and raising money for the old hospital throughout the years. So there's there's always a face. There's a serious responsibility that you take on when your CEO of a family business in the maritimes that has a significant size for that community. Now tro has changed. There's a lot of good sized companies in Tro. So there's a little bit of diversification that's happened. There's other people that can rise up and take on and bear some of that responsibility. But there's no question deep down inside and your soul and your heart, some of these, you know, community impacts, you know, really impact your decision when you're because you're making a decision alone. Really it's your decision. So you can sit in a chair some night, you can be standing at a wall saying when I make this call, it's going to affect those twenty two people over there. And but at the end of the day you're in business. You have to do the right things for your business to move it forward and hopefully you know the decisions that you do make that or hurt for people in your community can get dispersed in a short period of time throughout the community. Yeah, I've had to sort of had to make a number of tough decisions in terms of layoffs, restructurings and all type of stuff. Isn't sure everyone else in the in the room. It had to, and with my makeup it's it's it's very easy for me, not easy, but I quickly get to know what's best for the long term of this business and generational and you know it's better to have a business with x minus fifteen percent employees in a community then x. So I don't. I don't struggle with that long history, obviously in the family in terms of investing in volunteering community. I'm currently chair of the Economic Development Entity for St John, your Brunswick so and that's giving back, but it's also it's very much if Saint John's not a competitive city or community for attracting human capital, then we're just not going to be successful long term. You know, the capital, human capital is just so mobile and there's so many opportunities for folks to go and so that's that's really really part of how I got into that. I will just tell you a little bit. As I'm sure everyone here you know, you're sort of inundated with these requests for corporate donations and all that type of thing. And so we did an exercise about five years ago where we did an extensive study and we actually picked a corporate charity and we wanted something that would go across Canada but would have an ability to make a significant impact in St John. You know, some charities the National Office is in Toronto and you know, yeah, sure, termpers of the money goes local, but most of it's going to the National Office for whatever they do. So we wanted that. We wanted something where our employees could actually volunteer as part of it, and then something connecting with families. So and so we ended up picking habitat for humanity. Yeah, Keith, it doesn't cause me any sleepless nights. There's not a logical succession plan in place currently. My kids are nine and seven. I did get a little heart string the other night. Drive it in the truck. Jackson I were driving to hockey and he said, Dad, I'm thinking about coming into the family business. He said, I don't know what that looks like yet, but I'm thinking about it. And and then he said you can't sell the factory...

...and you know. So you sit there in the front seat driving the car and you're going like man, if there's anything that could ever get you in a statement, be that. So you know the the battle the battle lines have been drawn. So the strategy needs to be mapped out for the next generation. But who knows where that will be. But from a from a fundamental perspective, it is the desire of the family to maintain the business in the family, whether that is a six generation leader in the future. Hopefully we will. Let we would like to have that as a family, always as a head of the business, be a stanfield or a you know, a generation of a stanfield. It may happen to be that we need a transition. We might need an external CEO president, no different than and refer to earlier. That allows us to transition, allows us to mentor that next generation. But on the radar today it's not fully on the radar. If something were to probably happen to me, it would have to be an external CEO. Have to come a place, unless my father chose to come back in the business, which I would highly doubt that he would, but he would probably step back into a chairman type of all somewhere. That me so I I used to be able to just say we have a rule in the family business you have to work outside the family business before your work in the business. End of answer. I now have three adult children. My eldest is an architect and so you never know, but unlikely. My other one is a CEPA with earnest and young and the other is a CPA. Well, he took the course of the exams in in September. So let's just hopefully the bull CPA is or will be soon, and so it's becoming more of a topic. It's becoming more of a topic in my mind. I have had conversations with both of my younger children so that the accountants about you. I'm not going anywhere, or hopefully I'm not. My brother Patrick is not going anywhere and if anything sort of happened, if I get hit by the proverbial boss, he would be the next he would go in there right away. And so, you know, take some time do some really cool things. You have just this incredible opportunity to work all over the world and really get exposed to things and stuff like that. And then it goes back to what I talked about earlier, right in terms of the role is sort of leadership of the family because, yeah, I've got three kids, but my brother Patrick has three kids and my brother Matthews four kids and my brother, well, Chiles, is kids are only like one and two or something. But it's so there's it's not just my kids, it's and you get into really complicated you know, well, whose kids can come and work in the business and want role. And ultimately we have set up the succession planning where I'm going to go on a little high horse here, but I don't believe cousins should ever own family business. I think siblings can own it, but I think when you get into cousins, I think they move from being owners to shareholders and there's a completely different thing. And if they're going to be shareholders, somehow figure out how to give them some money and then they can be shareholders a td bank or Royal Bank and get the dividends from there and go to shareholders meeting once a year and complain to those books. Right, and so we are, because that that's that's that's that's what happens. Right. They're like, well, I need the dividend of you know, pick a number every year to support the lifestyle and if it doesn't come in, well, I got this lifestyle at the support right. And business doesn't work like that. And you know, one of the things you know about uncertain times, you just you don't know. I mean, John have the situation with, you know, the account in California, and then a couple more I've had a similar situation where you know, it was always there that we could lose this piece of business. But I think someone was talking about it here. It's like, but you know what we really don't want to...

...talk about that because you know, that's just we're having a good day and why would we spend the next five hours talking about and then it happens and you got you got to deal with it. So that was a bit of a rant. But anyhow, we're trying to get to the point. We're going to get to the point where we will just it will go from generation five to generation six, just one family. It's your job to look after the family, well, not the family business. The family wealth, well, not the family business. You know, talking about money in a family business. It varies from family to family and it's like talking about sex in a family. Like some families talk about it openly and some it never happens and you just appeared right, and each family is different. I would say that I'm perhaps more inclined to talk about those aspects with the rest of the family then maybe previous generations were. I'm not sure if that's a if that's just a an advancement in time, or if it's my makeup versus the interests of various previous generations in terms of talking about it. But ultimately it's it's just it's about communication and I think about setting expectations. And really, you know, there's sort of two elements of this. One is dealing with with children, you know, whether they're eight years old or whether they're fifty eight years old, and what what the what's the scenario there? What's going to look like? And then the other element is is dealing with spouses, and that is that can be challenging because, you know, everyone has expectations, everyone has a struggle sometimes between a want and need, and that's where, as a family, there has to be some leadership. And again it goes back to fair but not necessarily equal, and the littlest things can just be blown out of proportion and can be cause a lot of angst. On the other hand, I would say that a family business that does have some wealth gives you the an amazing opportunity as a family. And so one of the things that we've copied from another family, my parents are both in their early S, is we now do every couple of years a family trip together. So I don't know, it's all twenty three or twenty four of us. It's paid for by the business and you know, CRA gets their thousand percent or whatever, but they're they're awesome and so and that's a good way to have communication. I would say the same thing. I think communication is very key inside of family wealth and inside a family business, and I agree with you, Andrew. Like the prior generation just didn't do it. They didn't structure themselves to do it. They weren't as open to do it. It probably took me, I think, until the late S to get my father to the table with my mother to talk to the sisters about how it was structure, because they never knew how it we're structured. And back in the you know, before the succession plan kind of started, I oh I would have two sisters that would have zero interests in the business, no interest in maybe doing anything with it, I don't know. But what I said to my father at the time was if I don't have controlling interest in our family shareholdings, I don't want to go through the succession process because I know where it's going to land at the end of day. So at least I had a hundred percent of my vote our family side, but I'm at the board table do with potential shareholder decisions and we had shareholder decisions in the end when we were going through the big disruption process and through that process communication with the cousins was key on the family wealth versus family business. As CEO, I...

...focus very much on the family business and building the business and moving it forward because at the end of the day that's going to generate value and wealth for the family. And what I always think of, and I've said this to my cousins inside of our family meetings, whether right, wrong or in different but I said, listen, if it's good for John, it's going to be good for you, because I'm in the driver's seat and I'm not trying to drive this business into the ground. I'm trying to make it work so I can drive wealth for my children so they would have an opportunity to do what, you know, what I had as a child, which was to be able to travel and ski and play hockey and do all those types of things that everybody does. But so I think it's a combination of both. Obviously, if succession is not in the family and it becomes to a sale, then it's in my interest to Seeo to drive the business, to build as big as I can, which will also drive the family wellside. If there is ever an exit strategy to the business from the family just saying let's just roll the flag out, we've taken this as far as we can and let's carry on with life. So it's a bit. It's a bit of a balance. It's just a small addition. Unfortunately, there's just a lack of financial creativity amongst many family business owners. It's Oh well, I got four kids who every kid gets twenty five percent of the business and and it's like well, no, I mean if you gave me a million dollars at thirty two years old instead of, you know, these shares at seventy, will guess what? You know, I'm probably take five or ten percent. You know that there's lots of ways you can do that. And to John's point, at a certain point that next generation has to have control. They have to be able to make the tough decisions. The decisions are tough enough, but if you got to be worrying about going to the Family Council, who will, you know, get the approval on the cap backs budget and there's something wrong there. Yes, let's let's question. Yes, so you know, when Cannabas first came in, it was that's Canada. That's stupid. You know why? Are we going to do this? And part of it was because all of my customers at the time in Canada, liquor boards, saw this cannabis opportunity and every time you went to them to sell beer, all they want to talk to you about was cannabis. And so we were a little late to the party and it was because of me, because I was a little late getting on board in terms of, I think, the same issues as you, just getting comfortable with what cannabis is it. And then, and this again speaks back to the family, one of the few times we actually had a family meeting, which included my mother, on whether we're going to get into the cannabis business, because it's it's it's a big deal. And mother was and it was an interesting comment my mother made. My mother's a veterinarian and if you think about the whole issues with Oxyconton and the sackler family and what they did, she said, boys, if ten or fifteen years from now it's proven that cannabis is actually harmful, will you shut the business down? Yes, mom, as a great last question for John, just to keep things very yeah, Hebby yeah, I mean it's you know, we used to talk about share a stomach in terms of I don't know what it is, share a brain cells or whatever, but it's it's it's definitely I would say there's not enough data so far to prove that it's affected the business or the beer business, but I see signs that it has. And it just comes back to the consumer who, at the end of the day, and this is probably the person who's working for you, who has twenty five bucks for Friday night and I used to get it all with a case of beer and now I only get a sixth act because he's bought something else. Do we have a question for John? And Canada's watching John? Yeah, well, so international expansion has not been a party...

...for the business. Our priority is to do what we do well in the market is that we know well, which is essentially been North America. So when you think of stand fields underwear, you think of stand fields. But we have the number one ski bass layer brand the United States market. Hot Chili's we have the number one brand, if I should say there's so not US military bass layer, homeland security, custom border patrol in Xgo out of North Carolina. So what we have done as we tried to strategically build brands in markets in North America that we know well, that we can manufacture here, that we can deliver here and we can expand that way. It's inner. Should we be focused on international markets? It all comes down to people and process, where you're going to get it made and what's your priority in terms of you know where you're going to go with your business, and we were very lean in our management and management style. It would be very difficult for us to execute what we need to do in North America and all three business units and then think about, okay, well, let's go. Let's go to Europe, because we just saw it Teta, and let's focus on, you know, these five or six countries. I think we probably have to get there at some point. We do show up in little bits and pieces with our hot chillies brand and places like Japan and South Korea, with our fire retarding the safety business in in Norway, South Africa and Australia and their fire protection programs. So we do it. We don't do it probably as in your faces. Maybe we should and obviously our company could do that. We would have to, you know, get a lot of help with doing that because our PROCIS is primarily North American in the channels and categories that that we know well, but there's no question we have to look geographically. It's just a matter of, you know, when and then how we're going to take that approach to protect the stanfields brand so it can be legacy forever and the building can still stand up and people can come and see it and so on. All right, guys, thanks very much. Thanks to John and Andrew. Would you, guys, join me in thanking me? You've been listening to the Ivy Entrepreneur podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit IV dot ce a forward slash entrepreneurship. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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