HicksBiz Blog

A chat with Earl's/Joey/Cactus Club patriarch Bus Fuller

While in Vancouver last weekend, soaking up the rain, my dear friends Sam & Sally Yehia took me to an Academy Awards party, a fund-raiser for the Vancouver children's hospital, at the Beach House Restaurant in West Vancouver."I've just met Bus Fuller," Sally said. "You're kidding!" I said. "He's one of my heroes!" The legendary restauranteur founded three of Western Canada's leading corporate-with-character restaurant chains, Earls, Joey Tomato and the Cactus Club, and it all started in Edmonton.The family continues to have majority control of all three, with son Stan the CEO of the 60-plus Earls, son Jeff head of the 20-or-so Joeys, an associate running the family-controlled Cactus Clubs, and son Stewart Fuller running his own restaurant brands.The latest figures on the privately held companies, from about two years ago, cite 100 restaurants in total, gross annual revenues of $450 million and 13,000 employees.So I had to go over and say hello.First off, Bus is the youngest looking 82-year-old you'll ever ... Read the rest of entry »

Reaction to my first Hicks On Biz column in the Edmonton Sun

Now I know why Edmonton has to fight to change its own perception of itself. My first business column for the Edmonton Sun, published on Sat. Feb. 25, was about Edmonton's need to blow its own horn, to recognize that we are so darn lucky compared to just about every other mid-sized city in the world, for wages, employment, value housing, educational opportunities and so on. You would not have believed some of the negativity expressed in the "comments" section of the online story! Edmonton-deadmonton; a dark, depressing, boring, crime-ridden city; nothing to be proud of; a general population of delusional, angry, sociopathic, aggressive, antagonistic, self centered, disillusioned people; boring as hell; homelessness; price-gouging; high rents; high cost of power .... What is with these people? How have they allowed themselves to enter into such a downward spiral of negativity about the city they live in? Why, as some other readers asked, do they continue to live here? I'll tell you what. It's about them, not t ... Read the rest of entry »

Edmonton isn't getting the credit it deserves - Hicks on Biz column from The Edmonton Sun, originally posted Friday, Feb. 24, 2012

By Graham Hicks ,Edmonton Sun First posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 05:10 PM MST | Updated: Friday, February 24, 2012 05:13 PM MST I’m sick and tired of Edmonton being Canada’s forgotten city. Every time, on every national newscast, it’s about Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Where’s Edmonton in the national consciousness? Where’s our hustle and bustle? Welcome to Hicks on Biz, the new weekly Edmonton Sun business column with one overriding objective — to let you, and the rest of the world, know that Edmonton is the most dynamic, fastest growing, best-quality-of-life, best-positioned-for-the-future city in Canada. And, if any of our cylinders aren’t firing as they should, constructive commentary will be offered to stay on course. We’ll do this mainly through looking at Edmonton’s economy in cold, hard numbers. Numbers can be manipulated, but they don’t lie. Nothing makes the case for prosperity like the number of jobs, amount ... Read the rest of entry »

Speech to the Northern Alberta Insurance Institute of Canada: "What's In It For You": Nov. 17, 2009

Speech to the Northern Alberta Insurance Institute of Canada, for Nov. 17 commencement exercises, at the Shaw Conference Centre. "Community Involvement: What's in it for you." Thank you so much for this opportunity to be your keynote speaker. It's a pleasure and a privilege to congratulate the latest graduating class of the Northern Alberta Insurance Institute of Canada, adding more letters after their names! My name is Graham Hicks. As a five times a week columnist in the Edmonton Sun, I really have no area of expertise. As a journalist I am one of the last generalists. I know a little about a lot, not a great deal about anything, especially insurance! An inch deep, and a mile wide. But I have had the immense privilege of being paid, for the last 30 years, to be an observer of Edmonton and Edmontonians. And I'd like to think I've gained a few insights into how this town works, what makes it tick. And maybe, just maybe, I can persuade you of the self-interest in my cause. It's my goal to have half of ... Read the rest of entry »