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HISTORY OF
BUSINESS IN CALGARY

1990

Business in Calgary is launched by Prowest Publications, a Regina-based company. The team was a combination of Prowest employees handling sales, led by publisher Stuart Poole, and a team of writers from a company called Script: The Writers’ Group, led by John Challice. The publication was launched as a newsprint tabloid and touted over 30,000 distributions within Calgary. Prowest was primarily an advertising agency in Regina that was tied heavily to the ruling Conservatives, and much of their work came from the government. The fall of the Saskatchewan Conservatives in 1991 was also the end of Prowest.

1991

Business in Calgary was salvaged by the editor, John Challice. While John now had the ownership and the passion for the product, he did not have the infrastructure or the backing to develop a fledgling magazine. He began to look for a new owner to purchase the magazine.

Business in Calgary was sold to Consolidated Communications, with John Challice retained as the editor and Script staff contributing to the magazine’s editorial content. Consolidated Communications was a small printing/publishing firm with offices in Calgary, Saskatoon, and Mount Forest, Ontario. They immediately changed the tabloid format to a magazine format with a glossy cover and newsprint insides. The first revamped issue was 56 pages and published in November 1991.

1992

In September, Business in Calgary was changed once again to make it an all-gloss publication. The newsprint was gone, and the magazine featured full-color photos and ads of much higher quality than in the previous format. Profitability, however, still eluded the magazine.

Business in Calgary changed hands again in December, this time through a management buyout in which Business in Calgary and five other publications were purchased from Consolidated Communications by OT Communications. OT Communications was a startup company with few resources and very little backing. Consolidated Communications conceded operations but carried the ownership (and the financial obligation) until proper financing could be arranged. Financing was finally secured through the TD Bank in February 1994, and the purchase was completed.

In December, Business in Calgary moved downtown to the Burns Building with a lease for $1 per square foot plus operating costs, which were approximately $5 per square foot.

1994

The fourth ownership group and the 49th issue finally achieved a profit in October 1994. The magnitude of this profit could be erased by a nice lunch in downtown Calgary today, but it was a victory nonetheless.

1996

In May, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce formed an alliance with Business in Calgary to publish the Chamber’s news within the pages of the magazine.

1999

On April 1, Southam Inc. (owned by Conrad Black’s Hollinger) bought Business in Calgary as a complement to the Calgary Herald. By this time, the magazine had reached full stride and was a healthy, consistently profitable magazine.

2000

eBusiness in Calgary was launched in April to focus on the new e-commerce sector that was taking off in Alberta. Having launched the month after the tech bubble burst, the publication was suspended after only three issues.

On November 15th, Hollinger separated Southam Inc and sold it to Canwest out of Winnipeg, making Canwest the new owner of Business in Calgary. Well under the radar of this large multinational organization, Business in Calgary began a slow decline.

2004

On February 27th, OT Communications re-acquired Business in Calgary along with a bit of a mess to clean up. Under the ownership of a large corporation, many of the relationships that had been built up to 1999 suffered. The Chamber of Commerce had left, as had many clients of the magazine – in fact, only 20 percent of the revenue from 1999 remained in 2004.

In the May issue, the publishers under OT Communications declared that “It’s good to be back” and committed to rebuilding Calgary’s business magazine.

2006

In February, Business in Calgary launched Business in Calgary’s Leaders of Tomorrow program. A luncheon at the Chamber recognized 20 of Calgary’s business leaders and community builders. Now rebranded as Business in Calgary’s Leaders, the program remains an important part of the magazine’s involvement and celebration of the business community in Calgary.

2012

In September, Business in Calgary launched its sister publication, Business in Edmonton, and was now able to reach more than 80 percent of Alberta businesses.

2015

Business in Calgary celebrated its 25th anniversary on September 3.