West’s Department Stores

Services: 8-month service Contract as General Manager, to support overall business development

West’s Department Stores included a diverse selection of retail stores, with specific product and service offerings, including GE Appliances, Home Hardware, West’s Travel, West’s Fashions, and Sleet Experience.

Letter of Reference

May 2008

Hartley Berg was hired as our General Manager on September 2007. His contractual position was set for an 8 month period and was hired to support Business Development for Ellison’s Market & Cafe, Wests Home Hardware, Wests GE Appliance Centre, West’s Travel, Wests Fashion and Sleep Experience.

Hartley set out to quickly learn about all the operations and began to identify, plan and launch initiatives to build communications and training among over 80 of his general staff and Managers. This included the creation of comprehensive Policy & Procedure Training Manuals for each business. Team building was certainly one of Hartley’s gifts. Hartley’s personal approach to quality service also won the hearts of our customers. Over some time, we clearly saw that sales and profits were exceeding expectations. Existing customers shopped more often and new customers were coming in. We attribute this, in large part, due to Hartley’s ability to motivate and stimulate new and positive directions for all our businesses.

Hartley’s mandate was to identify areas of concerns and issues and to inspire a proactive approach to staff training, day-to-day operational activities as well as business and marketing development strategies. Hartley provided conflict resolution training and created consensus among management, staff, customers and suppliers.

Hartley quickly defined, created and launched effective marketing initiatives that helped to build our business profiles within our communities. The results of his efforts could be measured with increased customer counts and increases in average dollars spent per customer. Hartley initiated, created and launch a natural foods Café in Ellison’s Market, with live music every Saturday. He produced print and radio advertising campaigns and trained our staff in effective product merchandising and layout strategies to optimize store space, visual effectiveness and ultimately sales. Hartley supported structural changes, systems and procedures, community fund-raising, customer appreciation events, product purchasing and strategic financial management, to name a few.

As one of Hartley’s Senior Managers of West’s Department Stores, I can say without hesitation that Hartley was directly responsible for bringing our businesses to the next level of success. Chairing weekly management meetings, Hartley brought about a way to optimize our collective efforts. Having served in our community as President of the Castlegar and District Chamber of Commerce, I have worked closely with many Business and Marketing Consultants. Hartley has earned my respect and gratitude for his abilities and integrity. He has also earned the respect of many within our business communities. Hartley has effectively supported business development and positive change for all of our businesses in both Castlegar and Nelson.

I give Hartley my highest recommendations for any company looking to build their business.


Mark Melnyk
West’s Department Stores Ltd.
Castlegar, British Columbia