Ben and Rusella Klassen are no strangers to any longtime Prince George residents. When they opened Homesteader Meats back in 1982, the couple became friendly fixtures in the local business community, a characteristic that Ben would attribute to their tireless commitment to keeping his customers happy. “You look after the customer, and they will look after you,” he explains.
After 25 years in business, Ben and Russella decided it was time to slow down and they sold Homesteader in 2007. However, things didn’t work out exactly as planned. When the business failed under the new owners, it was put up for sale again and Ben was asked to play a role in the transition. A deal couldn’t be secured, so Ben made an offer to buy his old business back which was accepted. Ben and Russella re-opened the doors to Homesteader Meats in November of 2010.
Among the many business lessons Ben has learned over the years, probably the biggest one he would share is the value of collaboration. “Networking is part of working together,” Ben says,” and to me it’s very important.”
That’s where the Prince George Chamber of Commerce comes in. In fact, when Ben opened Homesteader for the second time he renewed his membership with the Chamber, saying, “There is no business in town that should be without a Chamber membership.”
“I’m a very strong believer in the Chamber, in opportunities to work together, to learn from one another,” Ben elaborates. He feels that because you are associating with like-minded people, it opens the door for more knowledge and opportunities to grow your business. It’s relationships like these that are essential to building a community.