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Tray this on for size S

Food court ads for a captive audience By Derek Gagnon

ometimes in life, you find yourself staring into the void, looking for answers to tough questions, like how to get your ad in front of a mass audience.

For the guys behind Portray Advertising, the answer was

staring right back at them. Co-founders Kyle Boult and Greg Lipschitz formed the

food tray advertising company and launched the pilot run during the 2013 holiday season. Te inspiration for the idea actually came from a brain storming session that Kyle had at a mall while working for American Express in Toronto. “My boss and I were at lunch, bashing our heads on what

to use as a creative campaign and thinking of ways to get in front of mass audiences and it hit me,” said Kyle. “I was literally staring at it while we were having this conversation. I pitched the idea to Greg and here we are.” If at first you don’t succeed…tray, tray again

Before they were able to do their initial launch at St. Vital

Centre, there was a lot of pounding the pavement and cold calling to line up advertisers. “We set up meetings with 170 retail stores,” said Greg.

“We explained the program and the benefits to their store, and if they weren’t the decision maker they passed it along to their district manager or their marketing department.” Te initial campaigns for ads were very successful, and

featured large brands such as Scotiabank and Rogers. How- ever, the first batch of trays wasn’t up to standard. “Initially the trays were a little bit too heavy, and we

couldn’t change the ads quick enough,” said Greg. “So that’s what led Kyle and I to work in the food court for three months, scrubbing trays, washing dishes. You name it we did it.” Kyle and Greg made the changes to the trays in time for

the 2014 season, and continued to maintain their relation- ship with mall staff at St. Vital Centre. Te hard work and long hours did not go unnoticed, as

St. Vital Centre management brought their efforts to the attention of 20 VIC Management Inc., the company that manages St. Vital Centre. “They’ve become a champion of the program,” said

Kyle. “Tey worked with us to bring the program to their superiors, so they’ve been advocates for us, and we’ve been able to work with them and their superiors to roll this out nationally. 20 VIC owns a portfolio of 18 malls, so we’re rolling out with all of their mall locations in November.” Sticking to their roots

Kyle and Greg have been working together since they met

at St. Paul’s High School, and upon graduation they both attended the Richard Ivey Schools of Business at the Uni- versity of Western Ontario. After graduation, Kyle started work at American Express in Toronto while Greg worked with Richardson Capital back home in Winnipeg. When the two decided to go into business, the logical choice was to make the effort together and to set up shop in Winnipeg. “Greg and I were both looking to make the plunge at

the same time,” said Kyle. “We compliment each other extremely well from a skill set. I come from a sales and marketing background, whereas Greg is more operations and finance.” “We’re very appreciative of our network here,” said

Greg. “Tat’s why we launched in Winnipeg, because this is where our network is and it’s allowed us to use all of our resources.”

 Hubcaps Continued from page 1

back after work to pick them up. While he was unable to find his own, Baldur did find 19

others and took them to a local retailer that sold hubcaps. He offered to trade the 19 he found for a replacement for his missing hubcap. Tey said no. Baldur hung the 19 hubcaps up in his garage. Time went by

and soon the garage became full, and then the rec room. Te hubcap collection had now grown in number to nearly 1000. Baldur bought a new house with a large basement and garage, and those quickly filled up as well. While he had initially only been selling them to a few people, his ever increasing supply led him to find a bigger space to sell them out of. He was going to build a shed and sell them out of there, but a complaining neighbour lead him to search for retail space, which led him to seek one out. He ended up settling on a second floor spot at 424 Kensington St., and he’s been there ever since.

40,000 Hubcaps Later With more and more people bringing in hubcaps, including

construction workers, city workers and auto wreckers, Baldur amassed an inventory of around 40,000. But he won’t take just any old hubcap off the street. “We want to know if the back is ok and if it can stay on a rim

well,” said Baldur. “If not, a lot of it’s scrap and take off parts you may be able to use. If it’s good, we wash them. If there’s scratches we can sand them, repaint them and make them look like new again and sell them at a fraction of the cost of what they’d sell at brand new. Most of the hubcaps are 120 to 135 dollars, and we’re selling them at $20 to $35.” “I didn’t really think of it as a business, it started as a hobby,”

said Baldur. “It started off just dealing with a few guys, but then when you start getting hundreds of them and go ‘wait a minute, I’ve got to get rid of these things’ and I have to start

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selling them.” Baldur says that space restrictions mean that 40,000 is

about the most hubcaps he can keep, but there’s always a fresh supply of new hubcaps to replace the old ones he gets rid of. He makes note of places where hubcaps accumulate most often, such as bumps and holes going into curves. “Did you see my sign on the hallway coming up? ‘I never

met a pothole I didn’t like’.” Down the road

“When I was with Transit, I knew you can’t drive past 70,

and most people start retiring around 65 so I did around that age. I was looking for some hobby or another job to do. I didn’t want to sit around at home watching TV all the time.” While acknowledging that he’d like to sell someday, he says

it will have to be to the right person to keep his legacy strong. “You raised a baby and you want to see it grow.”

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September 2015 Kyle Boult and Greg Lipschitz show off their marketing ideas. Giving back Apart from business and entrepreneurship, Kyle and

Greg also share an interest in philanthropy, starting with volunteering while at St. Paul’s. Tey have contributed to various efforts, and have found one that ties in nicely with Portray Advertising. “We partnered with Breakfast Clubs of Canada, which

was an awesome fit with the platform, plus Greg and I wanted to be able to give every kid the sort of opportunity to educate themselves and learn,” said Kyle. “You never know who that future Wayne Gretzky or who the next Einstein is going to be.”

Going forward With the national campaign set to roll out in November,

Kyle and Greg hope to one day expand to venues other than malls, such as amusement parks, cruise ships and universi- ties. Tey also aspire to move into international markets. Te work remains difficult, but being friends for so long

helps make the difficult times much more bearable. “It never stops, but I guess the most rewarding part is

The ads are encased in the plastic tray so that they can be used over and over again.

I’m doing it with my best friend,” said Greg. “It doesn’t end, it’s a constant journey. So I think the fact that we can do it together and have so much fun with it, to me at least, is the most rewarding.”

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