The News (New Glasgow)

Pictou welcomes new businesses to town

- BY SAM MACDONALD

The business community in the Town of Pictou is two counts more active as of Friday. The town officially welcomed two new businesses, with Mayor Jim Ryan and Councilor Malcolm Houser visiting the locations of Riva CRM Integratio­n’s new office on Falkland Street, and the Aphrodite boutique on Front Street.

As Ryan and Houser conducted their tour, they discussed the growth of the town’s business community, and the opportunit­ies that entails, with owners and employees. They were both were emphatic in their excitement over new the businesses bringing jobs and visitors to the town.

Ryan said the recent business growth in Pictou is “the result of recognizin­g the town is ready. We’re ready to be a destinatio­n where people can shop, eat and roam the streets — a destinatio­n where people can come and stay.”

The fact that the new businesses are unique and distinct from one another is a good thing, he said, noting it’s an example of what Pictou can and should aspire to be, as a community. He said the new businesses can promote the town as a good place to do business, visit and live.

“That’s what drives the economy. We definitely want that variety, and when we look at Riva, it demonstrat­es we can have informatio­n and technology businesses here in a rural community,” said Ryan “There is an opportunit­y for growth, for these business — and an opportunit­y to attract other people to our communitie­s.”

Riva CRM Integratio­n has started business at its first Atlantic Canadian location, providing a technical support and success center to better serve its growing base of global customers.

Riva systems architect and developer Derek Bond said the company offers software that integrates email and customer relationsh­ip management (CRM) systems, providing data syncing and tech support for customers around the globe, from the Prairies to the Asia-Pacific region.

According to a media release from the company, the Pictou location will allow it to take advantage of operating in two different time zones, to better serve internatio­nal clients, supporting customers 21 hours a day in total.

Victoria George, the success team manager with Riva, said the company’s growth was what brought it to establish a location in Pictou, and that it was fantastic to get the support of mayor and council.

“That growth is allowing us to keep our support within Canada. We were advised there was a lot of amazing talent out here,” she said. “We definitely found that.”

In a media release, Riva CEO Aldo Zanoni said the decision to open a Pictou

office “seemed like a natural fit. Two of our talented employees, Derek Bond and Dara Wong, used to work remotely from their home office in Pictou. Given that Derek and Dare are longtime residents of Pictou, (it) was the logical location for our expansion.”

The Edmonton-based company said it will hire more staff in the coming months, expanding its operations in Pictou to sales, marketing and digital media, as it continues to grow.

On the move

Aphrodite owner Tiiu Poder said her decision to move Aphrodite to Pictou followed the constructi­on of the new highway near Antigonish, which bypasses the store’s former location in that town’s downtown area. Once the highway was completed, Poder found her business began to suffer, with fewer people visiting.

“What I find so appealing about Pictou is that you have people here whose job is to get the word out with marketing and promotion,” said Poder. “That’s a strong appeal for me to be here.”

Aphrodite is a boutique store that sells women’s clothing, jewelry and accessorie­s, sourcing much of what it sells from Canada. Poder also takes pride in owning a business that sells locally crafted goods, as well.

“We want to have things that are largely Canadian-designed and higher quality... We carry items that are made in factories where employees are carried a fair wage,” said Poder. “I only buy three or four of one item, so (customers) will come here and always find things that are unique and different.”

Ryan said it’s important to have an artistic location like Aphrodite set up shop in Pictou, since “that’s one of the other things I talk to people about — we need to promote the art community and the value of the art community here.”

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