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Trading names and numbers

The annual Kivalliq Trade Show drew a large group of business professionals to Rankin Inlet on Sept. 26-27.

Doug McLarty shows one of the coffee mugs promoting his small business, Arctic Tours, during the Kivalliq Trade Show in Rankin Inlet on Sept. 26. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

This year's gathering featured the open trade show floor on Sept. 26, as well as numerous presenters, an art market, the Youth Entrepreneur program, a community entertainment evening, an artist's workshop, and the Agnico Eagle Mines banquet and auction evening.

An under-riding theme to this year's show was that there is more to Rankin Inlet and the Kivalliq region than simply mining and exploration.

While Agnico Eagle Mines, along with the Government of Nunavut, Regional Inuit Associations and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. employ the most people and, on average, have the highest-paying jobs, small business is alive and well in the Kivalliq.

Many of the entrepreneurs running these operations see the Kivalliq Trade Show as a huge boost to small business.

Former Rankin mayor and current hotel owner John Hickes said he sees the trade show as extremely beneficial to the community.

He said small business owners need all the exposure they can get, and the trade show delivers that, big time.

“Most of the time, paying for ads and visiting other communities is not feasible for many of us (small business owners),” said Hickes.

“Those can be prohibitive to a lot of us because we need the time to manage our own businesses, or it's difficult to afford being able to travel to trade shows in other regions or communities.

“When the trade show is running in our community, we always have new people coming to stay with us here at the (Nanuq) Lodge and we get involved with new business opportunities, whether they're for us or our clients.

“Sometimes we play a co-ordinating role in introducing one person who is interested in a certain service to a person who can provide that service, so it's all good exposure for us.”

Hickes said local hotels, taxi companies, restaurants and carvers have a “good cash flow” during the Kivalliq Trade Show.

He said hotel prides itself on its service, so the biggest challenge for him during the trade show is to deliver the same level of service to a large number of clients.

“Our motto is our service is number one, so, during the show, we should receive the same positive comments from our guests as any other time, and, to me, when we do, that's a positive reflection on our staff as well as ourselves.

“Exposure plays a huge role during the trade show, and it's often the starting point for ongoing business relationships.

“You often see, a year after the trade show, there's more development and more work going on, because its brings another group of people into our community and shows them a different way of doing business in a positive way.

“I can't speak for other companies, but the trade show has been very good to us.

In addition to their regulars jobs, Doug McLarty and his wife, Karen, run their own small private business in Rankin.

Arctic Tours joins their Arctic Design and Services in what the McLarty's can provide locally. They bill Arctic Tours as a photographic and educational company.

They offer to take clients out on the land, visit landmarks, take great photos and learn a lot about the significance of the historic sites.

Doug said, as a local small business, the trade show helps a lot.

He said the trade show being open to the public helps a small business in a number of ways.

“It's a way for us to get our signage out there, and have the general public see another local small business and what it offers,” said McLarty.

“One of the key points of this trade show was that it's not all just about mining.

“It's great to see people realize there are other different services available in Rankin, and they're all of a high quality.

“We made a number of contacts during the show with potential clients for our tours, especially with the Aurora out there right now, and we're concentrating on getting people out there to see the Aurora shows that we see overhead overnight.

“I'm sure the trade show will continue, and it would be great to see more local businesses get involved.”