Hospitality and Tourism

Dragons' Den's Arlene Dickinson wants to save Save-On Meats

Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:00am PST

Save-On Meats, a Downtown Eastside butcher and deli with a strong social enterprise component, is getting a bailout for Dragons' Den star Arlene Dickinson.

Save-On Meats and the Flag Shop were two Vancouver businesses featured in a recent edition of The Big Decision, CBC's Dragons' Den spinoff.

In each episode, Dickinson and fellow Dragon's Den colleague Jim Treliving analyze businesses that are struggling and decide whether or not to invest in them and mentor their owners.

Save-On Meats has been struggling under debt, in part of because it spends a considerable amount of its earnings on sustaining social enterprise programs for needy people in the Downtown Eastside.

The butcher shop and deli employs more than 65 people, some of them DTES residents with work barriers, and offers a subsidized meal program that serves about 450 people per day.

In the most recent episode,Dickinson was swayed by Save-On's owner, Mark Brand, and agreed to invest $250,000 in his business. The Flag Shop wasn't so lucky – Dickinson declined to invest in the business.

"Mark Brand is incredibly driven, hard working and visionary," Dickinson said in a press release. "And those traits, combined with a great team, make for great entrepreneurs."

Dickinson told Brand to bolster the business's bakery, boost the deli's evening business and shave 10% of his social enterprises. In the end, Brand managed to bring the business' profits up.

"Partnering with Arlene has been amazing," Brand said. "She pushes my team and I really hard and brings a fresh set of eyes to this beast."


Tags: Jim Treliving, earnings, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., entrepreneur

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