Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mark Brand's Save on Meats wins Arlene Dickinson's approval on 'The Big Decision'

Mark Brand was a featured speaker at opening night of Eco Fashion Week Vancouver at The Vogue. Photo by Sue Frause.
I'm a big fan of Arlene Dickinson on Dragons' Den. Now she's on another CBC show, The Big Decision, with fellow Dragonmeister Jim Treliving. Sorry to say, I've yet to catch it, so I'll record the series. But I'm happy to hear Arlene threw her full support to Mark Brand's Save on Meats on the 11/27 episode. 

Dickinson visited Save on Meats in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to see if she could help owner Mark Brand "trim the fat" off his business while increasing community support. To help gauge their level of commitment, the Save on Meats team was given a numer of challenges to try and increase their revenue. After working with the team, Dickinson was impressed about the critical role they play in supporting those in need. 

"Mark Brand is incredibly driven, hard working and visionary," said Dickinson on The Big Decision. "And those traits, combined with a great team, make for great entrepreneurs." Along with her marketing support, Dickinson has agreed to invest $250,000.

Save on Meats is a 21,000 sq. ft. space on West Hastings that includes a butcher shop, sandwich counter, diner and more. It's been a Vancouver landmark since it opened in 1957, and was resurrected by Brand in 2011. It's now part of the Mark Brand Inc. portfolio, which also includes Boneta, Sharks + Hammers, The Diamond and Sea Monstr Sushi. 

Brand and his team are hoping to create a "social venture network" by collaborating with community partners and programs in creating a sustainable business model that serves the Downtown Eastside. Save On Meats employs 65+ workers, many who live in the community and struggle with employment barriers. Their meal program includes feeding 450+ people a day, seven days a week.

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