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Start-ups and Expansions

MRA evaluates products and does the analysis of markets, however, it is the entrepreneurs, investors and risk-takers who really deserve credit for success. MRA mentions the following projects our personnel played some part in. Projects where specific information is supplied are a matter of public record.

  • Canadian produced plastic lumber (now Cascades Plastics, formerly Shaw Plastics and Delta Plastics) is now shipped worldwide. Since it doesn't rot, it is especially efficient in exterior and water environments (some Halifax park benches are a result of this project, as well as salmon cages in New Brunswick, and earth retaining walls in Florida). MRA joined the project in its grass roots and followed it through until the company was taken over by Shaw Plastics. ACOA provided the initial seed money for MRA's Market and Feasibility Study.

  • Bigfoot Systems concrete footers were invented by a Nova Scotian (Kirk Swinimer) and patented by F&S Manufacturing in Chester. The footers, produced in Nova Scotia, now sell worldwide. ACOA provided the initial seed money for MRA's Market and Feasibility Study and subsequent loans to F&S for capital equipment acquisition.

  • MRA personnel walked the Granite Springs Golf Course, outside of Halifax, before a tree was cut. MRA's market plan and survey results were appendixed to a public prospectus that generated the initial monies to start construction.

  • The Skye Motel, the Belmont Resort and Golf Course and the Mountain Gap Inn and Resort are examples of existing hotel/motel/resorts that were able to achieve public funding assistance for renovations and/or expansion based on MRA reports.

  • In-house initiated projects played a major role in opening the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to new Iceland scallop and surf clam fisheries and to the export of scallop roe to Europe. (Reference: Technical and Economic Feasibility Study of Exporting Scallop Roe to Europe - Project Report 33, Scotia Fundy Region and the 1982 Grand Banks Exploratory Scallop Survey, Canadian Industry Report of the Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences).

  • When the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup, their Captain stated that it was the oxygenated water they drank that kept the team going. MRA did the initial market study that created investment interest in the Oxyleau brand (patented process).

  • Urban Pouch Pack's Ltd. Juicy Cool fruit drinks received significant public funding assistance after the client retained MRA to conduct a marketing and feasibility study on its products and packaging (patents pending).

  • Many other companies from toys, games, water disinfecting equipment, lift tows, new hotels, film companies, software developers and general manufacturers have been able to use MRA reports to raise needed capital for their projects.

Publications and Communications

  • MRA's production of the Canadian Fisheries and Ocean Industries Directory was chosen to represent Canada by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) in the 1989 World Fisheries and Oceans Exhibition in Copenhagen. The book was also purchased as a reference source for 100 Canadian Trade Offices worldwide. (The publication was produced under license from Maritime Ocean Resources Ltd. of Halifax.)

  • MRA also produced 3 editions of the Canadian Fish and and Shellfish Exporters Directory - representing Canadian fish products worldwide. MRA's production of the World Fisheries Map for ICOD was major feat of world statistical information acquisition and analysis followed by a master graphics achievement in portraying the information in a user friendly fashion, in both French and English. The map had a 50,000-wide distribution to embassies and consulate offices in countries worldwide.

Not Everything Works

Some MRA studies also result in recommendations to the contrary, saving our clients significant investments in money and time.

  • MRA was retained by one client to study the feasibility of building a new motel in a major Nova Scotia centre. The study determined that the projected occupancy rate would be significantly lower than the client expected. Although the client was somewhat distressed with this news, the results were later borne out when several hotels/motels in the immediate area closed their doors or went bankrupt. MRA was again retained by the same client to study the potential for a new hotel in Dartmouth. This time the study projected significant demand and that hotel was built and has subsequently operated successfully for many years.

  • Other independently proposed hotel/resort operations in Amherst and Springhill were also found to be lacking markets by MRA and the client subsequently abandoned plans for them.

  • MRA was retained by the client to evaluate the demand for rebuilt automobile engines in Atlantic Canada. The study substantiated that the client would be investing in a shrinking market. Sure enough - within a year, the only other producer in Atlantic Canada closed its doors.

  • Proposed air cargo services between points in Nova Scotia and Maine were investigated and found to be lacking markets and the project was abandoned.

Disappointments and Opportunities

If you are traveling throughout North America, it is a good bet many of the buildings you see will have interior walls made from Nova Scotia gyprock. Nova Scotia exports most of its gypsum to the US, where it is made into gyprock wallboard, and then shipped over the continent, including back to Nova Scotia. An enterprising Nova Scotia organization had an option on gypsum rights in the province. MRA investigated the mining and manufacturing of gyprock wallboard in Nova Scotia and, under the conditions stated, determined that the project was indeed, feasible. Unfortunately, because of other commitments, the client could not proceed at that time.

Market studies show that frozen "baby" food, made mostly from Nova Scotia fruits and vegetables, has a market with both babies and grownups. Although the processing is not patentable, there are secrets in the manufacturing and marketing of the products (as determined by MRA research with our client) that make the opportunity very attractive. The initial capital cost of production is also very low.

Some clients such as Peter Visser Farms (alfalfa dehy) and Atlantic Concrete Roof Tiles had good ideas, and even received offers of funding assistance based on MRA reports, but were unable to proceed with their projects for one reason or another.  Another study indicated that Nova Scotia could utilize mineral waters comparable to the best in Europe to develop spas and this is still a great opportunity.  Another study showed how a new type of mobile sawmill could benefit Atlantic Canada - this study still deserves further attention.  Opportunities do exist!

2014 Market Research Associates Ltd.























































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