Lakes Leasing – A Canadian Business Story
“Companies become a part of the PROFIT 500 through innovative thinking, smart strategy and sheer grit,” says James Cowan, Editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business. “These firms demonstrate what Canadian entrepreneurs can achieve, both at home and across the globe.”
In our fast paced world of instant messaging, meaningful recognition is often hard to come by – being recognized for years of hard effort and community service even more so yet that was exactly the situation at the 19th annual Bell Business Excellence Awards of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce in May 2016 when financing and equipment leasing firm Money in Motion, Lakes sister company received the prestigious Chair’s Award. Sponsored by the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation the Chair’s Award is the Bell Excellence Award’s most prestigious honour.
“These businesses are really the engine of the community,” said Debbi Nicholson, CEO of the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. “They are the ones who take the risk and employ a lot of people in this community.”
LAKES LEASING CORP. was formed in 1991 by Alfred and Susan Chisholm in a small space above Gloria’s Restaurant at 469 Bouchard St. in Sudbury. In its infancy LAKES provided businesses throughout the north with commercial lending solutions to help them realize their long and short term goals. Today, LAKES has roughly 11,000 customers nationwide with its head office still located in Sudbury Ontario.
Kurtis & Erin Chisholm, co-owners at MIM – part of the Chisholm Family Trust, note that the company “has always been a strong supporter of our community here in Greater Sudbury. Our most recent venture and our most passionate has been our work for pediatrics in Greater Sudbury.”
In May 2012, Kurtis’ newborn son was diagnosed with a rare genetic complex called Tuberous Sclerosis. After multiple trips to Toronto to Sick Kids Hospital, and seeing multiple families from the North, LAKES and the Chisholm Family felt it was important to develop pediatric care and began to raise money towards a comfort room at Health Sciences North Pediatrics so that kids doing tests could feel more comfortable. LAKES, along with the rest of the Chisholm group of companies, raised 52k in 2014 as part of the KICX for Kids campaign and since the launch of the NEO Kids foundation in 2015 have become proactive to make this a reality for the children of Greater Sudbury.
It’s an approach to business that has been with the company since its inception where Alfred and Susan envisioned a three-prong approach that included customer service to small businesses, work-life balance for employees, and community involvement. It’s this focus on customers, on their clients, on people, that has and continues to allow the company to grow, in spite of the economy.
“Our approach has become much more modern allowing people to work from home and on their schedules. We are building a new 9,000 sq. ft. facility at our head office in Sudbury,” says co-founder Alfred Chisholm. “Although we operate through Canada our original home was Sudbury and it is why it is still our head office to this day. We are very thankful that we have been able to bring our Northern Ontario mentality to a much wider audience.”
Like much of the North, in part this success was built on economic hardships. When the financial recession in late 2008 into early 2009 hit, both USA and Canadian funders pulled out of the market, withdrawing their support of MIM. This loss of funding was devastating for MIM’s owners, employees, and most importantly, clients.
A majority of funders were crippled by these changes with core funding levels, and MIM was left with a very small funding pool to service customers. Many might throw in the towel at this point, and many did but driven by the “Northern Mentality” of strive and survive, the Chisholm Family Trust invested all of their personal resources and negotiated a much larger internal funding line with their bankers. The original leasing company founded in 2001 – LAKES Leasing Corp, along with Eagle Equipment Sales, and Eagle Property Holdings – were ramped up to take on more business directly with clients to where MIM’s internal leasing company has now grown to be one of the larger independents in the country.
Awards are simply recognition of the care given to customers. The Bell Business Excellence Chair Award was earned through an ongoing commitment to MIM’s neighbours in Sudbury as well as future customers, their children.
“We were honoured to receive a Bell Excellence Award and we’re dedicated to continually striving for excellence with each and every transaction we make,” adds Kurtis Chisholm.
Recently, LAKES has also been recognized for its business acumen as one of the top 500 companies in Canada, because of their compassion for helping people, by PROFITguide.com and Canadian Business Magazine.
From coast to coast, LAKES & MIM provide equipment leasing and financial support services to businesses that depend on special equipment to generate revenue. Our services include equipment leasing, creditor insurance, working capital, account receivables financing, sale leaseback program, engine repair financing, and new and used equipment financing. First and foremost, we are in the relationship business. If you have questions about financing and leasing services that we offer to businesses just like yours, contact us at 1-800-461-8625 today and one of our associates will be in touch with you within one business day.