With BDC's support, Underworld Skateboard enters Vancouver skate scene

VANCOUVER, Dec. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - Underworld Skateboard, one of the largest retailers of its kind in Canada, today announced the official opening of its new Vancouver store. Underworld already has two stores in Montreal and an online shop that alone generates over half a million dollars in sales. BDC is proud to be associated with this important step in the company's growth plan.

Since opening its first store in 1995, Underworld has gradually established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the skateboard industry in Canada. It sells all the major brands of boards, accessories and skatewear as well as its own brands.

Underworld is the dream child of its founder, Alexandre Bastide, a 33-year-old entrepreneur who already had a highly developed business sense at a young age. Ever since he opened his first store in Montreal at the age of 19, Alexandre talked about opening a second. It didn't take this young entrepreneur long to realize he needed good people around him. Hence the partnership with BDC: "I hadn't realized that I had to manage people while growing my business. It was really cool when BDC offered to coach me, I didn't know that a financial institution provided that kind of service. It saved me a lot of time and money. Also, when the time came to consider expanding to Vancouver, I needed a Canada-wide institution. BDC has helped me grow ever since."

BDC Consulting manager Robert Ducharme says that good support and advice were critical in the company's progress: "Underworld's employees are not the traditional type of human resources you have to manage. They are Generation Y members. They are enthusiastic and work hard provided they like their work environment. This was a challenge Alexandre had to deal with, and we were able to guide him in his search for solutions."

Financing is also a crucial element in achieving business success. According to Irfan Jiwa, an account manager at BDC's Entrepreneurship Centre in Vancouver, one of BDC's greatest strengths is that it can support its clients' growth wherever they are: "Whether you are based in Montreal, Vancouver or somewhere else in Canada, BDC's consulting services and financing solutions follow you. And if the company grows internationally, we have the expertise to help there too."

If its president has anything to say about it, Underworld is not ready to stop growing. Even after just opening the new store in Vancouver, Alexandre Bastide is already thinking about selling franchises as the next step in developing his business: "No way do I want to stop now, I just want to keep moving forward."

About BDC

BDC is Canada's business development bank. From more than 100 offices across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.bdc.ca

SOURCE Business Development Bank of Canada

For further information: For further information: Johanne Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, BDC, (514) 283-7929


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