These competitors are working together

Anyone who’s collecting air miles with their charge cards or consumer purchases knows the value of corporate partnerships these days. Our society is moving with great speed towards the benefits of partnerships in strengthening what we do.

Two small, new businesses in the Barrie area are demonstrating the effectiveness of not looking at each other as competition but actually treating each other as extensions of the services they offer.

Scot White is a sole proprietor painting contractor who owns Painting by the Whitehouse. Scot puts colour on walls, inside and outside of residential and commercial buildings.

Jennifer Lynch Craig is also a sole proprietor who owns Kyn Design. Jennifer puts art on walls–murals, finishes, textures, treatments.

Both recognize that being self employed means they’ll be sometimes stepping outside their areas of work preference, but together they’re offering homeowners and commercial locations a one-stop-shopping. In the past month Scot and Jennifer have been busy producing custom work for clients in the Barrie area.

It’s not a new concept, but I want to write about it because doing this takes a special attitude. It won’t work if the two individuals don’t strive to ensure that it’s a three-way-win. It won’t work if the two professionals lose trust in each other. It won’t work if either party is out to score the whole job for him or her self next time. There’s no room for self protectionism when you’re doing business partnerships.

These two business people have interesting backgrounds which they bring to their painting vans. Jennifer is a graphic artist who was working in the marketing department of an industrial supply company. When she was laid off, she looked at the viability of taking her own ability to draw, design, and create and launched a business which puts art on walls, and also on clothing. While she builds her painting business, Jennifer is also building her clothing line.

Scot is a church pastor by profession, and to augment his income went into the car sales field. It wasn’t a good fit for Scot, and he re-grouped and opened a dormant painting company which his father had owned for years. Painting by the Whitehouse is a company Scot grew up in.

Both Scot and Jennifer launched their businesses through the federal government’s Self Employment Assistance Program. Because they are two of 60 businesses launched in Barrie area through the program this year, they’re learning about the validity of partnerships on many levels. When I went searching for Scot this week, I found him at the other end of the cell phone painting the home office of Kurt Williams, a self employment program colleague who owns a property maintenance and technical services business. Kurt was asking about a business which does window coverings and wanted to use an entrepreneur who also launched through the government program.

Partnerships. Trust. Win-win. Strength.

Accolades to Jen and Scot as they brush their way through colour and creativity.

Now, more about bug screen!

Here’s an intriguing issue that won’t go away. Those of you who read last week will remember my frustration in trying to find out about the discoverer of bug screen. As Canadians summer in the glory of warm weather, screening is essential to bug-free enjoyment. However, despite concerted research attempts we’ve been unable to find the inventor of bug screen.

Thanks to additional research attempts by Shari Morasch of Cyber•Stalker and web enthusiast Julia Senatore, we find that screen was initially made from woven horsehair. In 1903 William Kintzing from Hanover, Pennsylvania built a loom to weave wire cloth. Two other families, the Moul’s and the Gladfelter’s, invested heavily in young William’s idea which enabled him to develop the Hanover Wire Cloth Company which began production in July, 1903. North Americans were hungry for screening, and Kintzing’s factory grew beyond anyone’s imagination, using the Kintzing loom until a faster loom was developed 55 years later.

Now, it’s important to note that Kintzing developed the loom to weave wire cloth. It’s uncertain whether he’s the inventor of screen itself, but this is the closest we’ve come so far.

In 1944 the Hanover Wire Cloth Company merged with Continental Industry and four years later, a second merger with American Steel and Copper Company resulted in the Continental Copper and Steel Industries, shortened to CCX, Inc. and remains the parent company today.

If you have a look at the Hanover Wire Cloth webpage ( you’ll read that Hanover Wire Cloth is today characterized by charcoal alodized aluminum screening. Home repair sites claim aluminum and fibreglass screening is equally popular, though fibreglass is half the cost of aluminum.

Good to know this stuff, isn’t it?

Thanks, Shari, Julie, Karen Karen McKenzie, and Rod Lebel!