Is there life after beer?

When the community got news that Molson Brewery was closing last year, it was a big, economic story. I remember watching that first newscast with TV news people stopping workers in their cars as they left the plant, fresh with the news. People look at things differently but it struck me full force when one fellow spent the interview time badmouthing management, owners, city hall, everybody but himself. And the next fellow in the next car took a philosophic approach and said, “well, there are opportunities everywhere. Maybe this will just be the beginning of something else.”

And inside that plant, aside from the severence packages and the employment counselling, are individual economic stories about people who have taken diversity in their stride and made lemonade with the lemons.

Peter Schlaich is one of them.

Peter’s story is particularly poignant because he was sought by Molson and wooed to Barrie from his former engineering position in Hamilton only to move himself and his family here in time for the layoff notice.

First instinct might be to move back to Hamilton.

But Peter took a different tack and from his home out in Medonte he’s set up a virtual manufacturing centre. Peter’s making promotional coasters. In fact he just shipped 12,000 of them for the Professional Golf Association tour in Montreal this summer. He makes mouse pads with logos on them, anniversary packages with special messages. He makes leather luggage tags, stamped with your message. From his computer he replicates your logo and puts it on leather key fobs.

And this is just the beginning.

Peter Schlaich is developing his business idea carefully, focussed on mastering each product before adding another to his mix. He’s joined the federal government’s Self Employment Assistance Program and for 45 weeks as he plies his new trade, he’s also getting valuable training in how to actually run a business. This training, plus association regularly with other new entrepreneurs, gives Peter a great running start at Life Number Two.

Peter and Coaster to Coaster are great examples of what happens when you focus on a solution rather than laying blame for a problem. And all over Barrie people are benefitting from promotional items that are useful at the same time.

Thanks, Peter.

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