Coranne Anderson, one of the owners of Aaron Service and Supply, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Wage Subsidy Service [WSS] delivered by Career Link. To date, she has hired three full-time employees through the service.
Her newest staff member, Stacy Mogan, celebrated her first anniversary with the company in November.
What kind of person were they looking for, at the time they brought Stacy on board?
“The person she is,” says Coranne, “someone who can work with a family business. We have a lot of different jobs to do in a day, so it had to be someone who can take on multiple tasks and be flexible.”
Aaron Service and Supply celebrates 35 years in business this month. Over the years, the company has evolved, to better serve the unique needs of Powell River. Services include water filtration systems and analysis, coffee and tea service, food products, ice in summer, roto brush air-duct cleaning, janitorial and cleaning supplies, paper products, cleaning products, and more.
“By doing all the things we do, we’ve managed to keep our employees working full time, rather than lay off seasonally,” explains Coranne. “I feel so sorry for people and families who are carrying three or four jobs and trying to shuffle them. It’s very hard on their stress levels. We do everything we can to not have that. We try to be creative instead of having people take fewer hours.”
While that creativity is good for business, the sheer diversity of goods and services is challenging for new employees. There are 70 varieties and blends of coffee alone.
“This business is not easy for people coming in,” says Coranne. “It’s stressful, and we certainly realize that. As Stacy can see now, it takes at least three months to start feeling like you have a bit of a handle on it. But Stacy is a really bright person and she hung in there.”
“I did not quit,” laughs Stacy. “There’s a huge knowledge base to absorb. First of all, there’s the product, but then there’s learning all about the systems and the suppliers, as well as the various customers and their needs.”
“We have 10 different brands of paper towel,” says Coranne. “Customers will call and say, ‘You know which one we use.’”
Both women credit the Wage Subsidy Service with providing Stacy the time in which to learn these new skills.
“As someone who used to hire people, I know what a benefit it is to have the training costs offset,” says Stacy. “It takes a lot of pressure off the employer and a bit of pressure off the employee too, because you don’t have to know everything all at once. It gives you time to train and learn.
“Anyone with a good work ethic wants to do a 100% job right away,” she adds, “but it’s just not possible when you’re learning so many new things.”
“The Wage Subsidy Service works well for business, by helping to reach out and find the right people,” says Coranne. A major benefits, she adds, is that the business does not have to bear the full cost. “It takes a lot of time and money to train.”
Coranne is especially appreciative of the efforts of WSS coordinator, Mark Lemna. “He has been very helpful. He would always meet with us separately so we could express any issues.”
The training period may be over, but the learning goes on.
“We all have lots to learn yet,” says Coranne. “As the world changes, the business has to change rapidly.”
Now, for example, there’s a new range of biodegradable containers. There’s also the challenge of establishing an online presence.
“Stacy has taken on some of that, Facebooking and letting people know what’s new,” says Coranne. “We know that’s an area in which we have to move forward, and creativity is one of Stacy’s strengths.”
“We are working with Facebook to get more coverage,” says Stacy. “Some days when we post, it’s seen by 1200 people, just through being shared and liked. I think it’s a really good way to get new product information out to people.”
Coranne and Stacy are happy with the results of the Wage Subsidy Service. “It’s exciting to join a business that has existed for 35 years and has a long history of being successful,” says Stacy. “This job has a lot of variety: there’s always something to do and learn. We’re multi-tasking all day long: it’s never boring.”
“I hope your program continues,” says Coranne. “I really believe that small business is the backbone of our province, our country.”
For Aaron Service and Supply, the Wage Subsidy Service is just one of many ways that allows the company to carry on its tradition of service to the people of Powell River.