This is the latest entry in a series from Report on Small Business called Who Owns That. We've asked readers to identify their favourite small businesses from across Canada, and we track down the owners so they can tell us their stories. Their answers are edited.
Introducing Suzanne Bachur, the president of Premiere Executive Suites.
1. Let's start with the basics. Can you briefly describe your business, including when it was founded, what it does, and where you work from (city/office)?
Premiere Executive Suites (PES) was founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Tim Moore, who had a passion for residential real estate and a fascination with the growing extended-stay and corporate housing industry in Canada and the U.S.
Recognizing its popularity as a convenient, value-added alternative to typical hotel accommodations, Mr. Moore ask me to be his partner is this unique industry which started with a small office on Bishop Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. PES is now the only national provider of Corporate Housing, with more than 1,300 suites in over 300 buildings, located in 36 cities, generating revenues of nearly $50-million.
2. What inspired you to be an entrepreneur, and what inspired your concept?
Initially, the opportunity to partner in PES appealed to me as a gateway to invest in real estate. While I understood from the beginning that I would play an active role in the business, it was meant to be 'part-time' and primarily related to managing the financials. However, I love making a difference in people's lives. That can be difficult to do in a relatively large company while working for someone else. My husband Ron and I have been in the hospitality business for a very long time and we still own three Swiss Chalet restaurants. By way of providing exceptional food and service, you can make a person's day just a little better. This business is simply an extension of that concept. Most of our guests are away from home from extended periods of time. By providing exceptional service and residential suites that are designed to a four star standard, we make them feel much more at home.
3. Who are your typical customers, and how do they find you?
Typically our guests are away from home for extended periods of time. Some, like engineers, consultants and information technology professionals, are on project assignment; some are in training and others are being relocated as result of a transfer. On occasion, we have cast and crew for film and movie productions and families stay with us while there home is being renovated or constructed.
Our business guests usually don't just find us, we find them. We've built an extensive database of companies that need our type of accommodations and we have a sales force that calls on them. Some are already aware of our company and we do get a good deal of business from referrals. We get most of our retail guests, as well as some of our business guests from our marketing and communications efforts.
4. What is your role in the business? How many employees do you have?
Mine is a leadership role in both the company and Atlantic Canada. I am member of the board of directors for the national company. As such, I play a role in developing the longer term strategies and direction of the chain. And I am the President of the business in Atlantic Canada, which includes distribution in Halifax Nova Scotia, Moncton New Brunswick, and St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador. We
Luxury suites provider make travellers feel at home
have about 120 employees across the country and 36 employees in Atlantic Canada.
5. You've been identified by one of our readers as a standout business. What do you consider the key element of your success?
PES is in the business of providing temporary residences; in fact, it is the only business we are in. Our vision is to be the most recognized and trusted name in the industry. And what gets us there is the dramatic difference between ourselves and the competition. "It's about people, not poperties". We manage relationships first, and assets to support the relationships secondarily.
Great brands make an emotional connection with their consumers. At Premiere Executive Suites, we acknowledge the mobile employees state-of-mind and act to reassure them. Often, these people are facing a new project in a new city with new people. There's a lot of unknowns and a lot to think about. With all of these things on their mind, we're here to help them feel more comfortable, more relaxed and ultimately more at home until they get back home. It's our Brand Promise, the notion of: "Take more of your life with you."
Do you have a favourite small business you'd like to learn more about? Make suggestions and join the conversation on the Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group, use the comments field, or email us at email@example.com. You can follow the series on our Pinterest page.
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