Gair Maxwell, author of Big Little Legends, joined Moose Jaw Mayor Clive Tolley at the building formerly known as Mosaic Place, where guests listened to local business leaders and enjoyed pulled pork sandwiches and a Moose Jaw-brewed IPA.
The event took place August 4 in the Founder’s Lounge. Craig Hemingway, the City’s communications manager, thanked sponsors including Burns & McDonnell, Thunder Creek Pork, which supplied the meal, and the staff at the Events Centre.
The night’s featured businesses were the Moose Jaw Brewing Company (MJBC), Lion’s Creek Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, and the Moose Jaw Co-op.
Tolley noted as the event got underway that he had only met Maxwell that evening, but discovered they shared a past in hockey colour commentary. The pair spent some time bantering in character before Maxwell talked about how the city’s prohibition-era reputation lent itself well to the brand of Most Notorious City in Canada.
Maxwell’s style during the evening was to interrogate guests on their branding strategies and try to come up with suggestions for their next reputation-building move. He engaged the audience with rhetorical questions such as:
“I just want to know if fundamentally you’re ok with greatly expanding your customer base and driving revenue, is that ok, are we ok with that?”
Terry Zwarich and Cody Schulze are the passionate brewers and co-owners behind the Moose Jaw Brewing Company (MJBC), which began producing beverage in January 2022. They brought a sample of their MJBC IPA, which was the evening’s hot topic.
The MJBC’s “silly sauce” — Zwarich’s description — is currently available from Cask 82, Bugsy’s Irish Pub, The Crushed Can Rec Room & Bar, and the Sobey’s Liquor Store. The company’s passion for their process was apparent as Zwarich and Schulze described the various influences of time, temperature, humidity, herbs, and spices on their flavours and how they have refined a consistent taste in their core lineup.
Charmaine Franken of Lion’s Creek was up after the MJBC.
Lion’s Creek’s flagship store in Moose Jaw, but the company imports its olives from South Africa and its balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy. Franken told the story of their successful rebranding.
The name Lion’s Creek comes from the source of their olives in South Africa — where two rivers converge. Both rivers are named after the legendary predator: Leeu in Afrikaans and Gamka in Khoisan.
Free tasting sessions, staff expertise, a wide variety of pairing options, and scores of flavours have made Lion’s Creek justifiably famous and a regular stop for downtown shoppers.
Geoff Anderson was the final guest. Anderson has been the general manager of the Moose Jaw Co-op Association since 2019 and has built a reputation for his community participation. He is the current chair of the Downtown Moose Jaw Association (DMJA), which recently announced a goal of creating Canada’s Most Notoriously Charming downtown.
Anderson and his wife Juanita mentioned that their careers with the Co-op have resulted in more than 45 moves between the two of them. During his conversation with Tolley and Maxwell, Anderson expressed his passion for the culture of customer-owned co-operatives, which translates into a brand centered around experience rather than product.