The Boiling Point Podcast

Introducing Cathy Sweet

Cathy Sweet has had the entrepreneurial spirit since she was a child.  She would collect and trade frogs with the kid up the street.  She came from a family business people in commercial real estate.  Cathy learned a lot of her lessons in business around the kitchen table.  Cathy started in the business in university by managing a few properties and continued to do so even while working for a few Fortune 500 companies.  Eventually, Cathy decided that she was going to focus on her entrepreneurial dreams instead of the corporate route and started Comztar Commercial Properties.

Comztar is a client centric company that finds unique industrial, commercial, and office properties for its customers.  “If you can’t find your Prince Charming, build him,” is Cathy’s motto.   Cathy specializes in creating spec buildings for companies from 4,000 to 60,000 square feet.  She is also a trailblazer for her region as a female in the commercial real estate industry dominated by men. 

Cathy’s business has her bidding on projects, and then constructing massive buildings.  This includes a three building project in 6.3 acres of Moncton, New Brunswick’s industrial Park.  Outside, she has a huge billboard that includes a large picture of her face; this is very untraditional for commercial real estate.  Taking a page out of Jake Palmer’s book, she plans to put a huge top hat and mustache on the face when it’s time for Halloween.  

Cathy says that, “people with integrity let time prove themselves.”  Cathy’s persistence and integrity were recently recognized as she won the Phenomenal Woman of the Year award in Southeast New Brunswick.  The award was based on business growth and impact to her community.


In this episode 

Cathy expels the importance of persistence.  She knows she is going to win sometimes, and lose sometimes, but she has to keep going and looking for opportunities.  Cathy also tells us the importance of having people be real with you and listening to what you NEED to hear.  We discuss the extracurricular activities people have to help focus their business life.  Greg is inspired by what Cathy has to say about integrity.  Dave notes that most times there isn’t such a thing as overnight success.


Direct download: BP022CathySweet.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 12:29pm -04

Introducing Jake Palmer

Jake Palmer always had a creative and humorous side to him.  As a young man, he even had is own sketch variety show on community television.  When Jake grew up he went toward a career path in IT and worked in the field for a number of years.  He had been interested in a career change to real estate, but a local broker had told him not to start until he had enough cash to float himself for six months.  This would happen soon enough when Jake’s employer came to him with an “opportunity” as Jake calls it. 

“They came to me and gave me and outstanding opportunity to do anything I want, as long as it wasn’t there.”  Jake was laid off, but his six-month’s severance would give him the opportunity to change careers.  Many in this scenario might consider giving real estate a try, but Jake wasn’t just giving it a try, he wanted a new career and success.  He received his real estate license in April 2009 and hasn’t looked back since.

People expect a level of aggressiveness and professionalism when they contract a real estate professional to sell their home, and these were two things that Jake could provide.  However, Jake wanted to be able to express himself with a more natural approach.  How did he do this?  Humor.  Being funny came naturally to Jake, and meant that he could have more fun in the business.  

This came about when Jake had a listing that he had been sitting on for over a year.  There had been an accepted offer at one point, but the deal fell through.  Jake and the sellers felt the listing was getting stale and potentially stigmatized, so they tried something unique.  Jake added a banner to his for sale sign which read, “indoor plumbing”.  This went viral in the community and soon many were taking notice.  Next, Jake changed the banner to say, “not haunted” and the sign went viral again, except this time media, including the Wall Street Journal covered his marketing genius.  The average salesperson in Jake’s region sells 10 listings yearly, and now Jake sells between 50 and 60.  He realizes his approach isn’t for everyone, and some might consider him a goof, but he knows there are plenty of stuffy real estate agents for stuffy people to work with. 


In this episode

We learn from Jake’s comedic brilliance in marketing and making the public take notice.  Jake teaches us that perception is not as important as we think it is.  Greg and Dave are inspired by Jake’s notion of being yourself versus what you think you need to be to succeed.  Jake also shows us how a goofy listing can actually show how professional you really are.



Jake's Website

Jake's Facebook



Direct download: BP021JakePalmer.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 12:51pm -04

Introducing Hal Somers

Hal Somers is the type of guy that takes opportunities in life when they are presented to him.  Hal went to trade school to learn brick laying as a young man and for a short time worked in mining.  However, one day a friend in the used car business called him and told him that he was perfect for the job.  So, Hal decided to take a crack at selling cars.  He asked for two-weeks vacation from the mine to try it out, and after two weeks he put in his resignation at the mine. 

Hal moved through the industry, starting with used cars, then moving to a GM dealership, and then he was offered a general manager’s position at a Toyota store.  When a Mercury dealership in town went out of business, they courted Hal to take it over.  However, there was a major problem, Hal didn’t have the cash to buy in.   Mercury was so interested in him that they set him up with a silent angel investor and soon enough Hal was a business owner.  He did this without a fancy diploma or degree, but with the right work ethic and attitude.  Hal currently owns two dealerships (Ford and Mazda) in Miramichi, New Brunswick and he also is involved with angel investing because that is how he got his own start and he believes in paying it forward in life.

The motto at Towne Ford is, “where customers become friends.”  Hal credits his success in the car retail business to this attitude.  When you walk into one of Hal’s dealerships, there is a different atmosphere then you find with many other dealerships.  Hal believes in treating people, both customers and employees, fairly and with transparency.  Treating people the way he would want to be treated builds loyalty and trust.  In fact, when Hal was shopping around new mottos for the dealership, it became pretty clear that the community wanted him to keep, “where customers become friends.”


In this episode

Greg tells us about his unfortunate experience using a backhoe.  Dave tells us how Hal is the ultimate salesman, and almost sold him a new car just after getting a car.  Hal explains why business people need to solve problems in economically depressed regions and not wait for politicians.  He tells us an anecdote about a rude customer, and another about a broken plow truck window.  Greg loves Hal’s approach to relationships with customers and Dave is inspired by Hal’s transparency and also inspired in general by the region of Miramichi. 



Hal's Linkedin 

Direct download: BP020HalSomers.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 3:36pm -04

Introducing Levi Lawrence

Levi Lawrence is a trained chef that has cooked in kitchens throughout the world.  As a chef, he knows the importance of fresh, local ingredients.  However, for the longest time if you wanted fresh, local ingredients you had to attend your weekly farmers’ market.   If you weren’t awake early on a weekend morning, you would have to buy your produce from California via your local grocery store.  Having worked in Europe, Levi knew there was a better way to offer local food.  So, he went back to school, received a business degree, borrowed $3,000 and made a website called, Real Food Connections, to connect people with their local farmers seven days a week. 

Soon enough he was building a network of food producers in New Brunswick.  Since then, Levi has expanded three times in four years.  Two years ago, he moved into his very own brick and mortar grocery store in Fredericton, New Brunswick, which also wholesales across the province, caters, and offers a vegetable box program in both Fredericton and Moncton, New Brunswick.  Levi still has bigger plans for the future.  He wants to grow his network of local food producers and make the big grocery chains buy from him.  

Grocery stores, until recently, had very little in terms of locally sourced product.  There was a good reason for this, it is more difficult to source and deal with a number of small distributers and it was far easier for them to deal with a large distributor.  This made sense from their point of view, but it also helped to kill the local food supply.  There was a generation of local producers who could only make money selling directly to consumers at farmers’ markets, online, or at their locations.  This worked okay for small farmers, but didn’t look for much growth in business.  Also, the average age for producers was 65 and the number of producers was dropping.  Young food producers or immigrants found it difficult to break into the market.  The new local food movement has changed this; people are looking to get into the market, and Levi can help. 



In this episode


We hear of Levi’s new 10-year plan.  He tells us how he isn’t involved just to save the planet; he is out to make profit.  We hear how the supply chain in Europe differs from North America.  Levi also tells us why the Atlantic Provinces are the perfect place to set up as a food producer.  Greg is inspired by Levi’s approach of conscious capitalism and Dave appreciates Levi’s ability to educate.





Levi's Blog

Levi's Twitter

Real Food Connections' Twitter

Direct download: BP019LeviLawrence.mp3
Category:entrepreneurship -- posted at: 5:45pm -04

Introducing Kristy O’Leary

Kristy O’Leary calls herself a vision broker and has a goal to make entrepreneurs and change makers succeed in making a positive impact on this Earth and make a profit while doing so.  Growing up her family’s business was a great example of how business should be done in a positive fashion.  She also saw the other side of the coin when large and uncaring big box stores outdid the family business.  Kristy has always had an eye for making a change or an impact.  She studied foreign policy with the goal of working in international development, but then studied art in order to express herself.

She realized the best approach was a hybrid of her two educations where she could make real change and tell great stories.  So Kristy eventually opened Scout and Burrow which is a marketing agency for mission/cause based organizations and social entrepreneurs.  Her goal is to help her clients change the world AND make a profit while doing so.

Kristy is a big proponent of B Corps.  A B Corp is a third party certification that is given to companies that certifies that they are fair and ethical across their entire supply chain.  You might buy fair trade coffee, and that means that a farmer was treated fairly.  What about the farm workers, the shippers, or the barista the ends up making your latte?  A B Corp certification proves that a company is ethical in its governance, to its workers, to the environment, and to the larger community.  Instead of a corporation only being loyal to its shareholders, B Corps have to be loyal to all stakeholders.  Currently there are over 1,100 B Corporations worldwide in 35 countries and across 60 industries.  

Check out the following video to get a better idea of what B Corps are all about.


In this episode

Kristy explains her passion for B Corps and what they are all about.  Greg gets inspired to get Hemmings House on the B Corp route and is reminded of an article he wrote on the differences between Kevin O’Leary and Sir Richard Branson.  Kristy threatens a cage match between herself and “Mr. Wonderful”.  Dave is reminded of a time when he was left with an impression that corporations were mean and ugly but is pleased to find out that there are so many do-gooders.  Both Greg and Dave have a takeaway that you can become wealthy by doing the right thing or through a destructive path.  It is up to you to decide the better path.



Kristy's Twitter

Scout and Burrow Twitter

Direct download: BP018KristyOLeary.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:51pm -04