Langley playground builders given global spotlight by trade minister

Langley Advance editor Roxanne Hooper offers a few highlights from the Langley business community, in her weekly column What's In Store.

A Langley manufacturer is being held up to the world as an example using creativity and ingenuity to grow one of B.C.’s prime exporting businesses.

International Play Company (Iplayco), headquartered in Aldergrove’s Gloucester Estates, is a global leader in the design and supply of premium-quality indoor playgrounds for kids.

The minister of international trade, Teresa Wat, turned the spotlight on Iplayco three days before Christmas, describing the local business as a B.C. export success story, selling more than 2,700 playgrounds in 16 years to more than 50 countries worldwide, including China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, India, Egypt, Turkey, New Zealand and Australia.

Their playgrounds are found pretty much anywhere, from malls, restaurants, daycares, even zoos, to theme parks. And, of course, the best example is Great Escape, a family entertainment centre designed to showcase their products.

It grew from three employees in 1999, to a staff of 80 based out of the Langley manufacturing plant, offering careers varying from designers to welders, to sales and marketing personnel.

One of Iplayco’s strengths is its ability to adapt to international business practices and because of this, their play structures can be found in some of the hardest-to-reach markets in the world, Wat said.

For example, Iplayco built the world’s largest children’s indoor soft-play park for Billy Beez, a family entertainment centre of nearly 25,000 square feet in Dhahran Mall in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

“Iplayco is an inspiring example of a business that applied creativity and ingenuity to succeed,” Wat said.

The company was the recipient of the 2014 BC Export Award for manufactured products, and the same year was ranked among the top 10 best performing companies in the diversified industries sector on the TSX exchange.

When asked what advice he would give to a business wanting to grow across borders, Iplayco’s chief financial officer Max Liszkowski said success is in the details.

“When asked what sets Iplayco apart from our competitors, I joke that we are the most fun and creative people in the business,” Liszkowski said. “But really, what we offer is a complete product from design to installation, in minimal time.”

He went on to say: “We’ve also been fortunate to have the support of export development  Canada and the B.C. trade and investment office – we have global demand for our playgrounds, and we need help to understand and connect with our priority markets. That’s where government, both federal and provincial, has really helped us grow our business and succeed,” Liszkowski said.

Dinner with Greg Moore

Whether you believe in the man’s politics or not. Whether you like all he stands for, or share his opinions on regional growth for this region, or not. Here’s a chance to have dinner with Greg Moore.

The chair of Metro Vancouver is going to be in Langley on Tuesday, Jan. 19, to speak at the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce dinner, and here’s a chance for locals to not only break bread with the man, but to listen to and ask him questions about his plan for prosperity.

“In a region physically constrained by geography and international borders, thoughtful land use and transportation planning is key to ensuring the ongoing prosperity of the Metro Vancouver region,” Moore said, in advance of his visit.

He will be speaking about the link between Metro 2040 – the region’s long-term growth management strategy – and its impact on helping maintain the economic capacity of the Metro Vancouver region.

He’s speaking at the Jan. 19 chamber meeting being held at Cascades Casino, 20390 Fraser Hwy., in Langley. Networking begins at 5 p.m., with dinner and presentations to follow at 6:30. Pre-registration is required by calling the chamber at 604-371-3770, or emailing info@langleychamber.com.

 

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