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Press: Chronicle-Journal, March 2004

The Chronicle-Journal 
Monday, March 8, 2004
By Chen Chekki


City Counter-top Business Wins Provincial Market Expansion Award

A Thunder Bay business that makes granite counter tops is all but throwing on its tuxedoes after winning a coveted provincial market expansion award.

"It's like the Academy Awards," said John Hakala, sales and marketing manager for Duracon Tile and Concrete. "It's amazing how many calls we received from different companies in Thunder Bay.

His company was informed last week of its first-time win of the Norther Region Ontario Global Traders Award in market expansion.

It praises its export efforts for the past three years to Duluth, as well as its entry last fall into the Minneapolis market. Growth in the counter-top market there is about 12 per cent a year and is expected to move Duracon's export earnings from $100,000 to $150,000 a year. Exports represents about 25 per cent of its total sales.

In the next few years the company that employs nine workers expects to have cross-border sales of $1 million.

It will get its award that is expected to be a trophy and contratulations from Joseph Cordiano, minister of Economic Development and Trade, April 15 in Sault Ste. Marie.

There; 10 exporters from the northern region will get one or more of the provincial awards from six categories recognizing export success of small and medium-size businesses.

Duracon was the only winner from Thunder Bay. Other winners who will attend the sixth annual awards gala are based in Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Dwight, Atikokan and Bonfield.

Benefits abound from receiving the awards.

Recipients get the rights to use the award logo in company websites and advertising, as well as the added credibility that comes with it. 

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