Rock the vote for Alberta finalist in quest for $100,000 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award grand prize

Marc LeBlanc dispenses rich tasting experience at Jasper Liquor Lodge

JASPER, AB, May 22, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that the turning point project, "A Space with Taste", submitted by local businessman Marc LeBlanc will represent Alberta in the finals of the 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award.

Marc's project aims to transform a vacant space below his Liquor Lodge store into a state-of-the-art wine tasting facility. To pull off a win and bring home the $100,000 grand prize, he needs votes from supporters from coast to coast!

Marc plans to increase the growing popularity of his store among locals and tourists alike by treating customers to a new service. His plan: provide an unforgettable customer experience by creating a tasting space to host specialized product events, and to house premium wines and spirits in an environmentally controlled area. "We'll start a wine club, introduce tasting events, and ramp up our offering in the spring and summer with daily tastings that will allow tourists to discover unique Canadian products," he says. "This will build customer loyalty and enhance the tourist experience."

A former Coca-Cola sales rep, Marc moved to Jasper in 2005 and fell in love with this tiny town of 5,000, which welcomes some 2 million tourists every year. He opened his boutique liquor store in 2007 and worked to develop a reputation for stellar service. This outgoing young entrepreneur, who believes in having fun at work, keeps the beer cold, provides a special delivery service and keeps his doors open 364 days a year. Liquor Lodge has become a fixture in Jasper, where Marc's team helps raise funds for the local arts community and also sponsors a local hockey team. Last year, Marc installed an Enomatic system to provide free samples of wine by the glass. "The 'try before you buy' approach has really taken off, and with a new tasting space, we would be ready to take this winning idea even further," he says.

"All the finalists competing for the 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award presented sound turning point solutions that could provide a solid springboard for future growth and success," says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. "Marc has his finger on the pulse of good customer service. He has achieved year-round success by building a loyal local following and capturing a sizable portion of the tourist trade."

"When you can engage with a customer in a space like the one we're proposing, that's very powerful," says Marc. "I'm asking everybody across the country to give Liquor Lodge the power to win the grand prize. Vote for our project to help us taste success!"

Voting for the 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from May 22 to June 11. To support your favourite project, log into the contest microsite and vote once a day. Follow the contest through updates on Facebook at "BDC Entrepreneur", Twitter at @BDC_News and LinkedIn. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 17. The runner-up will receive $25,000 in consulting services.

About the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest
Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years of age. Nine finalists were short-listed to compete for a $100,000 grand prize. The winner will be selected by public vote and the contest runner-up will receive a second prize of $25,000 in consulting services.  The Financial Post and La Presse are the media partners of the 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award.

About BDC
Canada's business development bank, BDC puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 2,000 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital, securitization and consulting services to more than 28,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity.

SOURCE: Business Development Bank of Canada

For further information:

Maria Constantinescu
Senior Advisor, Public Relations
Business Development Bank of Canada
(514) 496-7146

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