A man who has interests in several companies – including one selling snore trays in Show Case retail outlets and another marketing teeth whitening wipes across the country – has come to Princeton as the municipality’s first economic development coordinator.
Until recently Gary Schatz was also an economic development officer for the region of Chatham-Kent in Southwestern Ontario.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 20 years old,” he said in an interview with The Spotlight. “I started in university. I was a pioneer in third party ticket marketing, one of the first third party sellers of concert and sports tickets.”
Schatz arrived in Princeton just three weeks ago, ending a protracted search by the municipality for the right person for the new position.
The office of business development in Princeton is a two-year project, funded 50 per cent by the province and 50 per cent by local tax dollars.
“This is an opportunity to do something I’m pretty passionate about,” he said, “working with businesses and business development.”
According to a 2012 article in the Chatham Daily News, in the first six months of Schatz’s five-year consulting stint with the region, 122 businesses were created along with 116 jobs.
“I’ve helped hundreds of clients back in Chatham with business and new business starts,” he said.
Schatz holds a marketing degree.
“We will be helping businesses here who are working for further development…hopefully expanding the businesses and creating healthy businesses that are going to last.”
He said he expects to work with everything from small local operations to businesses with potential for international growth.
Schatz has already started “a rough list” of business ideas that might take root successfully in Princeton.
“I’m always looking at things like that.”
However he is equally interested in helping to steer the individual dreams of Princeton entrepreneurs.
“I am a sounding board. I provide an unbiased view point.”
Part of Schatz’s mandate is to work one-on-one with business owners and people wanting to start their own businesses.
“Anyone who wants to take advantage of the services I am here for them, and hopefully they do,” he said.
“Everything we do here is confidential, that’s a really big point that has to be made. The trust factor and relationship is really important when you are doing business development.”
Schatz and his wife Donna, who is also an entrepreneur, chose to move to Princeton in part because she grew up in Vancouver and he has always admired the area and the outdoor recreational opportunities it offers.
He acknowledged Princeton presents a different pace from his former home.
“I’m happy to be here and happy so far with everything I’ve seen here. I like the people. They have been very friendly.
“It’s quite a change coming from the Windsor area where you’ve got 250,000 people to an area with 3,000 people. It’s different, but I grew up in a small down.”
Anyone wishing to take advantages of Schatz’s business development expertise can reach him at the municipal hall, 250-295-3135.