Republica Coffee Roasters owners Rick Masana

Langley What’s in Store: local businesses up for B.C. awards

Two accounting firms in Langley have united under one banner.

Malish & Clark and Grant Thornton LLP are now one.

An announcement was issued Monday saying the long-standing Langley firm of Malish & Clark – which operates near 64th Avenue and 204th Street – shares a similar client base, similar culture, and similar focus as Grant Thornton. Therefore, partner Steve Malish calls the new union a “perfect fit.”

“We’re not just becoming a cog in a large, corporate wheel. Grant Thornton shares our belief in putting our people – and our clients – first, and that’s how we’ll continue to operate,” Malish said, his private company having provided accounting and tax services to Langley and Fraser Valley private businesses for the past quarter century.

“Working with owner-managed businesses is our passion, and we’re fortunate to have found a partner that also shares this focus and commitment,” he added.

Grant Thornton, which has an office at the freeway and 200th Street interchange in Langley, is a leading Canadian accounting (some 4,000 people in offices across the country) and advisory firm providing audit, tax, and advisory services to private and public organizations. It’s part of Grant Thornton International, which has member firms in more than 100 countries worldwide.

“Grant Thornton shares Malish & Clark’s commitment to the Fraser Valley community and that will continue to be an important part of our business moving forward,” said Colin Yakashiro, Grant Thornton managing partner for the B.C.’s south coast.

“In fact, it’s quite amazing how similar our two practices are – in size, culture and client base. We’re looking forward to coming together,” Yakashiro added.

On shortlist

Two Fort Langley shops have made the shortlist.

They’re classified among the best of the best of B.C. small businesses, and the news was well received by chef Stephan Schigas, owner of Blacksmith Bakery, an artisan bakery that was built on Church Street – on the original site of blacksmith Charles Reid’s shop that was established a century earlier.

Schigas’ company has been shortlisted as one of the province’s best employers, while just up the street and down the alley (Gasoline Alley, that is) sits another shop that is up for top honours in the international trade category.

It’s Republica Coffee Roasters Inc., a locally owned and operated artisan coffee roasteria operated by Hiro Tsujimoto and Rick Masana.

They started working with the coffee in 2007, but didn’t open their business until 2011.

Today, with 11 staff, they operate a wholesale operation out of a warehouse on 98th Avenue in Walnut Grove that accounts for about 70 per cent of their business, and a retail outlet in the village that was opened three years ago and accounts for about 30 per cent of the growing operation.

The duo still have no idea who nominated them for the award, but they’re very appreciative of the recognition. Once they learned of the nomination, Masana said they campaigned hard to make the current shortlist.

“We’re very excited,” Masana said, noting that they currently trade with 54 countries around the world, and have some exciting ideas about growing their little Langley business further.

Both these Langley companies have made it into the Top 10 semi-finalists in the competition.

Businesses in the Top 10 will now move forward to face a panel of judges, who will review their businesses, and based on the award criteria, narrow down the competition to the top five finalists in each category.

In this next stage, each semi-finalist must present a report summarizing their business. Much of the holiday for Masana and Tsujimoto was spent finalizing that report, which they’re presenting to the judges today (Thursday).

The winners of each category will be announced at the Small Business BC Awards ceremony on Feb. 25, at the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel.

Recipients of 13th annual awards will be given $1,500. They’re also offered a one-year all-access pass to Small Business BC education resources and experts, and one-on-one business mentorship opportunities with notable advisors from award sponsors.

There were originally six Langley businesses that were nominated for this year’s awards: Beatniks Bistro (in the people’s choice’s category), TPI Langley (best community impact), All In One Productions Inc. (best concept and best emerging entrepreneur), and Erikson’s Daylily Gardens (best community impact).

The Small Business BC Awards are the most visible awards program in B.C. for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

A key part of the awards’ mission is to celebrate the contributions new and existing businesses registered in B.C., with fewer than 50 employees, make to their local communities and the global economy.

This year, 535 small businesses were nominated from 71 communities across British Columbia.

These businesses were given two months to gain as many votes as possible.

Those who activated their communities and received the most votes have been named the Top 10 semi-finalists in the competition.

• Stay tuned to the Langley Advance to find out how these two local businesses do

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