Tag Archives: YMCA-YWCA Self-Employment Training Program

Wear your pride on your sleeve with Floodway Print Co.

By Brenlee Coates

Hip-hop leads me into Floodway Print Company’s space and assures me I’ve found the right place. Then a friendly Cory Beal hops up to greet me from his office and leads me to his setup: he’s got several monitors running his house brands as the screensaver, Floodway’s sleek logo and the BMX culture brand, Repset.
“It all came from Repset I guess,” says Cory, of his custom screen-printing business. “When I was 16 years old, it was just a website to promote BMX. It was like a blog; we posted our friends’ videos.”
He and his friends saw T-shirts as an easy way to promote what they were up to, and Cory went through some of the typical frustrations when he sought out a custom T-shirt printing service.
“Being a customer, I realized how tough it was just to get a shirt made… what was missing from all of it.”

Repset, the BMX culture brand, is what started it all.
Repset, the BMX culture brand, is what started it all.

Cory has helped streamline the process through an approachable, navigable website with easy-to-read FAQs and resources for each step from creating a design to completing the order.
As a high school kid in Toronto, Cory never went through “shops” classes where students are introduced to screen-printing and woodworking skills, so seeing the first-edition Repset shirts get made was his first sight of the craft. “I just kind of thought, ‘I could do this myself’ right away,” he says.
Making something out of nothing
With a door hinge and some scrap wood, he went to town producing Repset’s promotional wares, and ended up getting a job in the field of screen-printing, doing “really technical printing” like large-scale decals for machinery.
“I really fell in love with just the process… seeing it come from an idea right to the finished product,” says Cory. “Mailing it out, that’s just the best.”

Cory loves seeing photos of his satisfied customers after shipping orders.
Cory loves seeing photos of his satisfied customers after shipping orders.

The job didn’t last, but with his knack for making something out of nothing, the next step came quickly. “That sort of entrepreneurial way of thinking kind of just shows up,” says Cory. “I wouldn’t have it any other way now.”
Working with the YMCA-YWCA Self-Employment Training program, Cory got to work building a website, acquiring proper equipment, and locating a space in his desired area. “That was definitely a conscious choice to be in the core. I’ve kind of lived and worked in the downtown as long as I’ve lived here,” he says, of his Portage Avenue location.
Since launching in July 2014, Cory’s been busy with orders, and exactly the ones he was after.
“Every screen-printing job I’ve had, I’ve never printed anything cool in any sense of the word – and now, I feel like every other print is something really cool,” he says.

A beautifully bright two-colour print for a customer.
A beautifully bright two-colour print for a customer.

Keeping his overhead costs down (Cory completes all orders himself and takes time to source the best deals in wholesale apparel), Floodway Print Co. is among the leaders in value in the city. He also keeps costs relatively low for small orders, a point of difficulty in the custom wholesale printing business.
But that doesn’t explain the quality of the commissions he’s getting. One guess is his crisp social media presence, where he shoots his completed projects with a Canon before uploading them to Instagram. Most of his designs easily translate into a tappable Instagram post.
He believes designer referrals are what’s attracting the most business, followed swiftly by Instagram and other social media.
His next promotional venture? You guessed it: apparel. “I would never call myself a designer,” begins Cory, who created Repset but outsourced Floodway’s logo design, “but I love it.”
His latest foray will be based on “Winnipeg, prairie pride. It’s just built on genuine love for the city,” says Cory. “I’m looking for a non-abrasive way to sell our custom printing.”
The new apparel will also let him participate in the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s farmer’s markets and create a presence in the community.

The Downtown BIZ has enthusiastically welcomed Floodway, using its services for its Find it Downtown campaign.
The Downtown BIZ has enthusiastically welcomed Floodway, using its services for its Find it Downtown campaign.

“I think a lot of little places that can cultivate that kind of niche, cult following should do more (apparel). You can literally sell your advertising,” says Cory. “Communities can just be built so easily around good things.
“If you love your city, wear it.”

Photos provided by Floodway Print Co.

Ain’t nobody got time for that: enter InstaGroceries

By Brenlee Coates

It isn’t that Alejandro De Paz had an experience with a boss that was anywhere near those depicted in the Horrible Bosses movies – it’s just that he wants to be his own.
De Paz worked as a crewman in construction while attending university. “They were nice bosses, but at the same time, I don’t want to work for anyone else,” says De Paz.
He dreamt of owning his own restaurant, so he decided to start small and began using his weekends in the warmer months to man a hot dog stand.
Between the two jobs, he raised enough capital to open up a restaurant, but he started to worry about the risk involved. “I realized that it was competitive and the margins were small,” he says. Instead, like a savvy entrepreneur-to-be, he started looking for a need to fulfill in the community.
A need to satisfy
“I found when I was working in construction, I didn’t have time to buy groceries,” says De Paz.
He also drew on inspiration from the challenges his family went through when they first immigrated to Winnipeg and didn’t have a car. “It’s hard to go to the store, especially without a car, and then there’s six of us, so that’s a lot of groceries,” he explains.
Realizing he was on to something, he began exploring other markets that could benefit from outsourcing their grocery shopping. He found that parents with young kids, persons with disabilities, transit commuters, busy professionals, and elderly people all have a tough time getting to the store.
“It’s been getting a lot of response,” he says. “It’s mostly elderly so far… (but) there’s a lot of markets I can try.
“I found people bus there (to the grocery store) and they cab it back because of the bags. It’s not as comfortable as just getting it delivered to your door” – and likely, the costs would compare.
InstaGroceries, as it’s called, is an e-commerce website, where customers can select the products they want to buy, add them to a cart, and schedule a delivery in a minimum of two hours from the order time, or schedule a specific drop-off time.
So far, InstaGroceries has all of Real Canadian Superstore’s and Sobeys Canada’s products available, with more on the way. De Paz wants to allow consumers the freedom to choose their preferred store. “People say they’ve seen (this) before because some grocery stores deliver. But I think what I’m doing is very different because I go to your store,” says De Paz.
The cost of the shopping and delivery service is dependent on the number of items you purchase. There is a base cost of $11.98 and then for the first 12 items, an added charge of $0.45 per item. The cost added per item goes down as you climb up in number of items, and the base fee drops to $9.98 after 25 items.
An estimate of your total cost is tallied online when you place an order, though you pay when you receive your delivery. Price discounts and any discrepancies are applied at the point of sale at the grocery store.
Right now, De Paz is doing the deliveries himself, though he hopes to expand his business to include more delivery drivers.
De Paz began his business venture through the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg Self-Employment Training Program. The program offers people who meet the criteria courses and support in producing a viable business plan. Then, they continue to receive business coaching while operating the approved business and receiving Employment Insurance Benefits or a Living Allowance (up to a maximum of 39 weeks).
Though he plans on continuing his political science studies in the future, one thing’s for sure: De Paz’s happier being his own boss.