Business Briefs 

Black joins The Affinity Group

Sandy Black, formerly vice president of Retail Operations for Intrawest, has left the company to become a partner in The Affinity Group.

Black joins Scott Carrell, Charles Grooms and Jon Dietrich at Affinity, which now has 11 businesses in Whistler with the recent acquisition of the two Mr. Whistler’s and two Cold Coyote stores.

The Affinity Group’s other businesses include Affinity Sports, Advantage Ski Rentals and Moguls Coffee.

"We now have 11 very strong locations, with focus in five key resort disciplines: ski and snowboard rentals, accessories, clothing, logo wear and of course great coffee," Black said.

Carrell, who started Affinity Sports and Advantage Ski Rentals with Grooms three years ago, said with Black leaving Intrawest after seven years to get into the retail business, the new partnership seemed logical.

"Rather than Sandy competing with us, it made sense for him to come and work with us," Carrell said. "Sandy is a passionate guy and we end up with a stronger group, adding value to the company."

The group acquired the Mr. Whistler’s and Cold Coyote stores from Dave Davenport, who founded them in 1989. Davenport still owns the Skitch store in the village as well as Mountain Crests Inc., which does custom stitching and embroidering.

"I’m excited. I think Sandy will do a very good job," Davenport said. "He’s got exactly the right level of excitement and expertise to take it to the next level."

Black said he is evaluating each of the four new stores but he likes the business they do.

"Mr. Whistler’s is a great addition to the group. They’ve got a great staff," Black said.

Origin goes interactive

Origin Design and Communications Ltd., Whistler’s largest design, communications and advertising agency, has launched its redesigned Web site (, coinciding with the creation of a new multimedia division.

Origin entered into Web design and development in 1999, but the launch of Origin Interactive signals a new emphasis on this area. Origin Interactive services include Internet/Intranet site planning, design, development and programming; e-commerce; kiosk creation; e-cards; banner ads; and direct e-mail.

In adding these services to its existing design and print services, Origin intends to facilitate integrated marketing communications for clients.

"With Internet marketing producing significant revenue returns for businesses, more and more of our clients are looking at redesigning their existing Web sites or, in some cases, creating a first Web site," said Danielle Kristmanson, president of Origin. "During the past five years, in the initial wave of Web site development, businesses frequently used one agency for print and another for Web. This created both branding and design problems for companies," Kristmanson said. "They just didn’t get a consistent ‘look’ and ‘mood’ for their print and Web marketing – they weren’t integrating their strategies."

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