Marvin Cieszecki has been the head baker at Cedarbrook Bakery for the past 29 years.

Young Langley entrepreneur makes Forty Under 40 list

In the weekly What's In Store column, editor Roxanne Hooper tells how Dana Matheson is being recognized for his work in the business world.

 

CAPTION: C&D Logistics founder Dana Matheson is one of the Forty Under 40 award winners.

Langley entrepreneur Dana Matheson will be downtown Wednesday night to be crowned one of the Business In Vancouver’s Forty Under 40.

The 37-year-old Walnut Grove resident, owner of five different businesses, was shocked to learn he was nominated for the honour. He was apparently even more surprised to find out he made the list of winners.

He and a group of family and friends are attending the 27th annual awards celebration at Vancouver Convention Centre.

To be a winner, he has to obviously be younger than 40 years old, which Matheson is.

But he must also demonstrate excellence in business, judgement, leadership, and community contribution. Matheson’s successes as an entrepreneur must have been enough swayed the judges.

Matheson has been president and CEO of  C&D Logistics since he created the company 11 years ago. Today, the Walnut Grove business has 22 full-time employees and annual revenues of about $13 million.

At the same time, he’s used his motivation to start and grow other companies, used his abilities to problem solving to advance the businesses, and used his passion for socializing and networking to build relationships that have not only helped enhance the companies but to foster what he calls many invaluable personal relationships.

“I love every day… I’m a builder by nature,” he said, explaining that  he purchased Cedarbrook Bakery in Brookswood almost a year ago, then started up Wrap Champs designer decalling in Port Kells, and took over a Burnaby sign company – Visual Systems – both about six months ago.

The most recent addition to Matheson Ventures is a partnership in a 30-year-old Vancouver advertising and communications business called Fusion Communications.

Wednesday night’s distinctions go to B.C.’s young entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals – and Matheson has garnered similar awards in past – in Langley.

For instance, the father of two received the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce’s U40 Business Person of the Year award in 2015 and the medium business of the year award for C&D Logistics in 2016.

According to the Forty Under 40 website, Matheson’s “passion for business parallels his loyalty to his family and his connection with his community.”

C&D Logistics, for instance, supports more than 20 charitable programs and many minor sports organizations.

Matheson, founder of Fraser Valley Family Day, also serves as a board member with the Life Ready Foundation – which works with at-risk youth in the Lower Mainland.

And Matheson, who was an offensive lineman for the Saint Mary’s University Huskies while on a football scholarship in Halifax, shares his love of the sport with locals as president of the Langley Rams junior football club.

What it takes to win on the football field is not unlike what it takes to operate a successful business, he insisted.

“There are a lot of similarities between football and business,” Matheson said. “Egos are checked at the door. All of the employees are valuable. You can’t have selfish players in either business or football.”

He continues to score touchdowns in the field of business, drawing on his father Bruce’s 35 years of industry experience.

He apparently learned at a young age how to engage clients to earn their trust and how to build long-term business relationships.

Congratulations to Matheson for his most recent acknowledgement.

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CAPTION: Marvin Cieszecki has been the head baker at Cedarbrook Bakery for the past 29 years.

Bakery celebrates 40 years

Speaking of Matheson and his companies, one of his businesses is holding an anniversary celebration this weekend.

Cedarbrook Bakery has been in business for 40 years – not all of those with Matheson at the helm – obviously, since he’s younger than the business is.

Actually, as mentioned before, Matheson is relatively new to this bakery – a company that has become a long-time fixture in the Brookswood neighbourhood at 41st Avenue and 200th Street.

There are customers still coming in the door today, now with their children in tow, who share with Matheson stories of how they came in weekly decades ago – with their parents or grandparents – to get their free cookie.

It’s those intangible memories about how the bakery, deli, and bistro have touched so many customers lives, plus the dedication and long years of service of most of the staff members, that originally drew Matheson to consider buying the business last May from the Peterse family. That, and some great tasting baked goods and sandwiches, Matheson added with a chuckle.

“I just thought it would be fun,” he said. “Some people collect baseball cards or hockey cards. I collect businesses…  I was right, the bakery has been fun and it’s so rich in history.”

Cedarbrook was started in January 1977 by Ron Peterse. In 2008, his son Mark took over the business. But as a Surrey RCMP member, Mark found it hard to juggle both jobs and mentioned his thoughts about possibly selling the shop in passing to an acquaintance – Matheson.

“It’s a cool little spot,” Matheson said, noting that it sounded like “a good, sound investment.”

Since Matheson took over, there’s been a few changes made, a few pieces of new equipment, new paint, an expanded menu – including 24 flavours of gelato, new take-and-bake pizzas, and a full spectrum of specialty coffees – diversification into more catering and special-event baking jobs, and an effort to be do more involved in the community.

But the foundation is the same including a lot of familiar faces. Matheson pointed specifically to baker Marvin Cieszecki – who has been there for 29 years – and Lisa – who has been managing the front end of the operation for more than a decade – as examples.

The devotion of the 23 full- and part-time staff continues to blow Matheson away, including their commitment to be part of the anniversary event.

Matheson noted that all hands will be on deck preparing for the deluge of visitors anticipated this Saturday.

Now, to mark the bakery’s anniversary, Matheson decided to have a birthday cake, of course.

But he wanted something more.

That’s when he decided to offer up a trip for two to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. One lucky customers, who makes a $20 purchase at Cedarbrook Saturday between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., will be lounging in the sun down south in short order. The draw will be made Monday.

“It’s a fun little spot and it’s become a real staple in the community,” Matheson said, inviting regular customers and newbies alike to stop by for a visit this weekend.

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CAPTION: Notary Public Lilian Cazacu is up for a provincial small business award. He won one of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce business awards recently.

Other accolades possible

In addition to the business award presented Matheson this week, another Langley business owner has been singled out – province wide – for distinction as an immigrant entrepreneur.

The top five finalists for this year’s 14th annual Small Business BC awards competition were just announced, and the shortlist includes Langley’s own Notary Lilian Cazacu.

Of the 699 nominations received from 72 communities in B.C., there were two other Langley businesses that made the top 10s list back in mid-December. Those were Roxann’s Hats in Fort Langley and the Vancouver ProStyle Contractors of Langley.

But when that list was whittled down further, Cazacu was the only Langley name to remain.

Now, he and the other businesses in the finals will have to face a Dragons’ Den-style panel of business experts.

The winners will be announced at the 14th Annual Small Business BC awards ceremony at the Pan Pacific Vancouver on Thursday, Feb. 23.

• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for the outcome of the provincial small business competition.