We're excited to announce that the Province of Manitoba now is the fifth territory in Canada to operate the ShopCity.com platform! Welcome to the fold, Manitobans!
This new expansion comes from the City of Brandon, the second largest community in the province, with the launch of ShopBrandon.com by longtime Brandon resident, and new City Manager, Ken Dunkley.
Located on the banks of the Assiniboine River, Brandon is a major hub of trade and commerce for the area, including parts of Saskatchewan and North Dakota.
Ken was raised in Brandon, a city just small enough that there's still a real sense of community and an atmosphere of personal relationships where everyone knows each other. Blessed with an abundance of lakes and rivers, Ken spent summers 'at the cabin' and winters at the hockey rink, just like many of his friends growing up.
From top left to right: Brandon skyline, Brandon Court House, Dominion Exhibition Display Building II, Brandon Central Fire Station, Downtown Brandon, Assiniboine River, University of Brandon. By Krazytea
After experiencing such a great childhood in Brandon, it was natural for him to want to raise his own family in the area and now has a grown son, three grown daughters and two granddaughters.
Ken walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.
As an ambitious people person, Ken was naturally drawn to a career in sales, an area that he excelled in from day one. He began selling advertising for a local radio station before winding up as a sales trainer at XM satellite radio.
Because most of his advertising clients were local small businesses, Ken developed a real appreciation of the important role that local businesses play in Brandon, and found himself advocating for people to keep their purchases local instead of crossing over the nearby border to save money.
"I became known as someone who would always support local. Even if I could save thousands of dollars on a building project, I would make sure that I purchased everything in Brandon rather than travel south. To me, it's more about relationships and knowing that I'm doing the right thing for my community than just saving a buck", said Ken.
This long-term view served Ken well as he entered the automotive industry and worked his way up to become a partner and general manager at Northside Mazda in Brandon. Not content to rest on his accomplishments, Ken took an active role in the auto industry, sitting on national car dealer association boards and ensuring that the best practices from other communities made their way into Brandon.
After a 10-year run with Northside, two major fires at the dealership within a short period of time gave Ken pause as he reflected on the prospects of rebuilding a business not once but twice. He decided it was time to move on, sold his stake in the company and went to work as a finance manager at a Nissan dealership in nearby Winnipeg. Under new ownership, Mazda bounced back and Ken returned to his previous business, where he spent the past few years in sales and management roles.
In early October, 2016, Ken was meeting with a long-time friend who runs an employment agency. In conversation, Ken realized he was yearning to take the reins of a business again.
His friend asked him what his 'dream business' would look like: "I really enjoyed outbound sales and working with businesses. I wanted to build a business that would enable me to be active in the community and give back. I also wanted something that offered me freedom - I didn't want to be chained to a building. And I had a vision of operating a technology business where I could work from anywhere - home, a coffee shop, or a cabin on the lake" Ken told us.
"I still don't really know how it happened, but I stumbled across ShopCity and the opportunity to own ShopBrandon.com and I just knew it was for me."
No sooner had Ken found ShopCity.com than he was on the phone with Andrew and Rick, asking questions about how the model worked and who else was doing it. Ken knew he'd made his match and quickly made the decision, along with his wife, Sandra, to purchase ShopBrandon.com.
Within the span of a week, Ken had spoken with references, reviewed the City Manager agreement, negotiated a purchase, given notice at the dealership and hopped on a plane to do training at ShopCity.com HQ in Midland, Ontario.
Ken's cryptic posts on Facebook kept his family and friends wondering about what he was up to, and built some buzz in the community that has translated into hundreds of likes on the ShopBrandon.com Facebook page in the week since it's been online.
Indeed, we've never seen someone move so quickly, and were very impressed with Ken's commitment and vision for his market. Ken explained, "I had almost this exact idea maybe ten years ago. I could see exactly how it would work and benefit everyone, and I knew I could sell the value to businesses, but I had no idea where to start from a technical standpoint, and didn't have the organization behind me that I'd need to be successful. When I saw the ShopCity.com model and realized that everything I didn't know how to do was already taken care of, I knew I just had to do it."
Ken is already off to a roaring start and is building momentum quickly. Says ShopCity.com founder, Colin Pape, "we can't wait to see what Ken is able to accomplish in his community, and look forward to visiting at some point to enjoy his legendary deck that drapes below his house on the hill overlooking the Brandon valley."
As Ken wrote on Facebook, look out world, here he comes!