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Category: Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz columns from The Edmonton Sun

Hicks on Biz: Edmonton's eyelash queen By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 17, 2019

SugarlashPRO founder Courtney Buhler poses in Sugarlash's soon-to-open headquarters on Whyte Avenue. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS Name the Edmonton cosmetics company, that, in 10 years, has gone from a home-based business to a global eyelash company, with 35 staff and expected 2019 revenues of  $18 to $20 million? Stumped? Of course! But all will soon change. Courtney Buhler’s SugarlashPRO will be a local household name once the company unveils its storefront world headquarters, now under construction at Whyte Avenue and 108 Street, in the former BMO bank building. Courtney’s is a remarkable story of determination and perseverance, of sensing an opportunity, overcoming obstacles, taking on major financial risk … and winning. She started as a broke, 20-year-old single mom. Today she is only 30, with two more kids and a most supportive husband. Dustin Buhler formerly handled SugarlashPRO's logistics. Courtney and SugarlashPRO are proof positive that E ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Explaining Don Iveson By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 10, 2019

Mayor Don Iveson speaks with media at the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce's Mayor's State of the City Address luncheon at Edmonton Convention Centre in Edmonton, on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. Ian Kucerak / Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS Mayor Don Iveson gave his sixth annual “State of the City” speech on Wednesday to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. As he moved into well-covered territory – high-tech, innovation, blah, blah, blah – my mind wandered. The next municipal election is October, 2021 –  2½ years away. If Iveson runs for a third time will anybody challenge him? I  doubt it. Mike Nickel, city council’s lone fiscal hawk, knows he can’t beat Iveson – heck, he couldn’t even win a UCP nomination in his provincial riding. Councillors Michael Walters and Sarah Hamilton have flirted with the idea. But neither would run against pal Don. As Iveson moved on  in a rather boring speech, I thought about his political p ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Why moving oil by rail is a flop By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, May 3, 2019

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg. (File photo) By GRAHAM HICKS Today I am going to figure out, with the help of energy analyst Tim Pickering of Calgary-based Auspice Capital, one of the weirdest aspects of Alberta’s oil business. Despite good prices for our heavy oil, why has shipping oil-by-rail fallen off the map? Alberta oil producers are currently sitting pretty. Our Western Canadian Select (WCS) heavy oil – basically the oil from the oil sands — has moved from a rock-bottom $12 US a barrel last fall to around $40 today. (All prices are in American dollars. P.S. this column is not about the dreaded “differential” – it is concerned only with the actual price of heavy oil.) We all know the pipelines carrying our oil are full.  Our oil storage capacity – those great big tank farms we see around the Strathcona County refineries and elsewhere along our oil pipelines – is once again filling up. If the pipelines are full, the storage tanks ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The great challenge confronting Alberta By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 26, 2019

Alberta United Conservative leader Jason Kenney on election night at Big Four Roadhouse on the Stampede grounds in Calgary on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.Darren Makowichuk / DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia By GRAHAM HICKS As the election euphoria fades, here’s what Premier-Elect Jason Kenney is up against. Multi-generational Albertan families, for the first time, are seriously considering their futures in what once was a land of milk and honey. Our province’s great natural resources are under unrelenting attack. Author David Yager fittingly named his recent book on Alberta’s future,  “Miracle to Menace.” The urban latte-drinking crowd are convinced that a climate-change Armageddon is at hand, unless — damn all those who feed their families from oil-patch jobs — fossil fuel-burning is  banned from this Earth. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Being anti-oilsands is so trendy, so stylish. National Geographic Magazine just published ANOTH ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The industrial hinterlands will save Edmonton’s bacon By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 18, 2019

United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney addresses supporters in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 16, 2019.Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS Around 9 p.m. on April 16 jubilant cheers emanated from all around Edmonton. But within the city, in the centre of the doughnut, nothing could be heard but the gnashing of teeth and moans of despair. Our good city dwellers — so many on the government payroll one way or another — gave 19 of 20 Edmonton ridings back to the New Democrats. On that same  night,  workers from the Nisku, Fort Saskatchewan and Acheson industrial parks, from the metal fabrication and natural-resource processing  plants, from the refineries, the pulp mills, the grain elevators and the farms gave 15 of 16 ridings in Edmonton’s industrial hinterland to Jason Kenney’s get-the-economy-moving UCP party. Rachel Notley and her progressive troops may have won in Edmonton,  but the Orange were crushed everywhere else. Final tally (save ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: The Alberta election campaign that was By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun April 12, 2019

From left: Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney, Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan, Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley and Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel are seen Thursday at the leaders debate. Larry Wong / POSTMEDIA NETWORK By GRAHAM HICKS As Alberta finally heads to the polls on Tuesday, April 16, a last loving look backwards at this political campaign. And yes, these observations come from a pro-business point of view — this opinion column isn’t called “Hicks on Biz” for nothing. Like any fan of free enterprise, I believe in capitalism with a human face, in individual initiative over the collective. I believe human beings are generally better off if left alone, rather than subjected to the whims/over-taxation of the nanny state. I believe government’s primary role is to encourage a powerful economic engine, creating meaningful employment and the taxation necessary to support public social services, to help those truly in need. STORY CONTIN ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Alberta election proof of civility's decline By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, April 5, 2019

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley, Alberta Liberal Party Leader David Khan, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel and United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.File / Postmedia Why has the rhetoric of fear and loathing crept deeply into this provincial election? There once was a deep journalism dictum. Criticize the action, not the person. Criticize what a person says or promotes, not the person himself/herself. The two main antagonists in this election, Premier Rachel Notley and opposition leader Jason Kenney, have more-or-less subscribed to this convention. They hammer at each other over policy differences but have not (yet) descended to personal attacks. STORY CONTINUES BELOW But both have allowed their campaigns to indulge in, to actually trumpet, personal attacks. The website thetruthaboutJasonKenney.ca, is a rabid, pit-bull personal attack on Kenney openly sponsored by the Alberta New Democrats. It’s the first highly-publicized “official&rdqu ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: It's about government debt, stupid! By GRAHAM HICKS first published EDMONTON SUN, March 29, 2019

Premier Rachel Notley.Ed Kaiser / Postmedia Trying to track the real costs of election promises is a fool’s game. For every spending promise made in this provincial election, there’s some hypothetical, unprovable financial justification. Take Rachel Notley’s daycare promise: In return for the government’s social investment of $1.5 billion over five years in daycare subsidies, the daycare program will “add $6 billion to Alberta’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).” Where the $6 billion figure comes from is anybody’s guess. Theoretically, a daycare worker with a bigger pay cheque tips his/her server an extra buck, who in turn buys a chocolate bar from a 7-Eleven clerk, who in turn gets a raise for selling more chocolate bars … Then there’s reality. When Notley and her party ran in 2015, they promised to balance the annual provincial government budget within five years. STORY CONTINUES BELOW Five years later, Fina ... Read the rest of entry »

HICKS ON BIZ: Which way will you vote? By GRAHAM HICKS, first published Edmonton Sun, March 22, 2019

Rachel Notley (L) and Jason Kenney (R). As we finally head to the polls on April 16 for Alberta’s 30th provincial election, most commentators have written off Rachel Notley and her New Democratic Party (NDP) — the “accidental government” as they are oft derided, propelled into power only because of the collapse of the 44-year Progressive Conservative dynasty in 2015. But in politics … anything can happen. The most logical predictor I can think of is to start with a review of contrasting political values. How does an Albertan inclined to vote for the NDP think? Let’s call them socialist-leaning liberals. How about somebody likely to vote for the United Conservative Party (UCP)? Let’s simply call him or her a conservative. STORY CONTINUES BELOW This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. At the heart of the socialist-liberal/conservative tug-of-war is the emphasis placed on either the individual o ... Read the rest of entry »

Hicks on Biz: Just the Remedy for a long winter By GRAHAM HICKS, first published EDMONTON SUN, March 15, 2019

Zee Zaidi, proprietor of the ever-growing Remedy Cafe chain, shows off his "chai factory" in the kitchen of his original 109 St. outlet. GRAHAM HICKS/EDMONTON SUNEdmonton By GRAHAM HICKS For the longest time, just one Remedy Café/Chai Bar graced our town, a comfy hang-out to meet friends and sip on something besides Starbucks/Second Cup/Tim Horton’s coffee. For 13 years, owner Zee Zaidi appeared content with that one Remedy Cafe. It was in a great location on 109 Street across from the Garneau Theatre, close to the University of Alberta and Old Strathcona. Then, in 2013, a second Remedy Café opened downtown, on Jasper Avenue at 103 Street. Then a third — on 124 Street, a fourth — on Whyte Avenue near 104 Street, a fifth – near Terwillegar Towne and a sixth — in Southgate Mall. STORY CONTINUES BELOW You can’t turn around these days, without seeing the distinctive, bright yellow and red Remedy Café/Chai Bar sign. The bigg ... Read the rest of entry »