Member Spotlight: Chromag
Outstanding Employee Retention
September 24, 2018
By: Lauren Perkins
Chromag is a Whistler business with a reputation for hiring great staff and retaining the same team year-after-year. They hired their first employees in 2008, and the team has been steadily growing since then. A local’s favourite bike brand, we were keen to learn more about what makes this place so special. We asked Ian Ritz, ‘Big Boss’ at Chromag to shed some light on the ideas behind the brand.
Chromag is a Whistler based company that designs and manufactures mountain bike products based on the demanding conditions here in B.C. We started making and selling products in 2003 in the sea to sky corridor and have since extended both manufacturing sales to locations around the globe. Our focus is high quality products for discerning riders and our situation here in Whistler is the ideal test grounds to understand the needs of mountain bikers at the highest level.
What is your business’ PURPOSE?
To produce and sell leading products for mountain bikers based on our environmental experience here in B.C.
What is your business’ VISION for the future?
As a company we continue to grow organically, seeking new opportunities both in product development and regional sales expansion.
What are your business’ VALUES?
As riders in the community we have an interest in creating the products we wish to use. We believe deeply in bicycles as sport, recreation and lifestyle that is healthy and sustainable both for personal enjoyment and our environment. Our goal is to produce the highest quality products that will not only be reliable and perform well, but will last as long as possible.
What do you think makes your business special?
Being passionate about what we sell makes it rewarding for us to do what we do. Connecting with our customers and relating with each other about the experiences of mountain biking in the outdoors is fulfilling in a way that is constantly expanding. We meet new people every day and share our love for riding through work, but also when we get out on the trails. We have a lot of fun working together this way but we also meet outside of work for rides several times a week. It’s like working with your best friends.
What challenges have you come across with running and business in Whistler and how did you overcome it?
Logistically our business is very complicated. We have over 600 items in production and managing the process flows is very challenging. As we grow, we are constantly upgrading our systems and processes to do our jobs more efficiently so there is always something new that needs to be learned. Setting aside time to research ways to do things, and seeking knowledge from people who have been through what we need to learn has been an effective way to discover methods that have been tested by others. Meeting regularly as a team has allowed us to evaluate our needs from several perspectives to make the best choices.
Describe one major learning curve you have experienced with your business:
Growing from a one person operation, to a team of 15 and learning how to divide our tasks, while coordinating with each other as fluidly as possible is a constantly changing challenge. Learning how to coordinate with each other to fulfill all processes is an ongoing quest that will never end!
What one piece of advice would you give to current or aspiring Whistler business owners?
Your product needs to be the best in some way. Whether it’s the best performing, the most efficient, or even the lowest price, you can succeed if you can find a way to achieve this.