Big Decision for Two Local Firms

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Radix Controls and Sauve's Home Building Centre in the spotlight

By Dave Hall, The Windsor Star

The Big Decision could mean a transformative investment for two Windsor-area businesses.

Radix Controls, of Windsor, and Sauve's Home Building Centre in Belle River have been under the microscope of CBC TV's business reality show for the past few weeks.

The Big Decision is hosted by Arlene Dickinson and Jim Treliving, one of Canada's most successful entrepreneurs, whose business holdings include Boston Pizza.

The businesses are handed a series of challenges to meet, and if they succeed, they could be given a cash infusion and expert advice from the hosts. The public won't find out how the two Windsor area businesses did until the show segments featuring them are aired - possibly this fall.

"A lot of the businesses we've looked at have been successful, and they're looking for a fresh look, but the question is, are they willing to make the changes necessary to continue succeeding?" said Treliving, in the Windsor area Friday.

For the Sauve family, which has operated a building products business in Belle River for more than 100 years, the show has already provided a much-needed shot in the arm.

"I'm fifth-generation, and we're still at it, but we need to bring some attention to the business," said Shawn Sauve, who runs the business with father Chris, mother Sharon and sister Brandy.

In a little over a month, they've been involved in 10 days of filming, and although Chris Sauve is grateful for the attention, he says, "I'm also glad it's almost over."

The show experience forced Radix partners Shelley Fellows, husband Ross Rawlings and Nick Dimitrov to look more closely at their business model and themselves to determine if they are ready to meet new challenges.

"We went through a transformation, coming out of the recession just like many others in this region, and it was a difficult time," Fellows said.

The company now has 27 employees, seven fewer than in pre-recession days.

"Once we were accepted and handed a list of challenges we had to face, we went out for pizza and wine and started planning," said Fellows.

Filming started this week in Windsor and continues Monday in Toronto. In Monday's filming, Radix will launch the company's new Tool Tracker. The system is guided by cameras that monitor and report any errors in a company's manufacturing system. It has already been approved for use by Ford Motor Co.

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