Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

A dragon nudges Frogbox forward

Boston Pizza guru aids new city franchise

  • Print

THE tall, weathered man in dress blue jeans and smart loafers sitting in the lobby of a downtown hotel looked like he could be a retired sports star.

But a young child with her father in tow knew exactly who he was.

Jim Treliving is the "nice dragon" on the CBC television show Dragons' Den. When asked, he happily agreed to have the father take his picture with the young girl.

With the popular reality show about to start broadcasting its sixth season, Treliving has agreed to invest in more companies than he can remember.

He was in Winnipeg to take part in Monday's Boston Pizza Jonathan Toews FORE Kids Golf Classic that raises money for the Children's Rehabilitation Foundation.

It also coincided with the launch of the Winnipeg franchise of Frogbox, one of the companies Treliving now has a stake in from the Dragons' Den experience. Winnipeg has the 16th franchise of the eco-friendly moving box company.

He is famous for Dragons' Den, but Treliving, 69, made his fortune from the success of Boston Pizza where he is the founder, chairman and still one of its largest shareholders.

Treliving grew up in Virden before moving to Regina where he become an RCMP officer. He ate in the original Boston Pizza restaurant in Edmonton in the mid-60s and by the end of that decade he quit the RCMP and became a franchisee.

In 1983, he bought the then 44-restaurant chain. Today, there are 346 locations in Canada, 54 in the United States and three in Mexico.

He is based in Dallas and focused on the restaurant chain's U.S. expansion, with six to eight new locations per year.

It's his expertise in marketing Boston Pizza franchises that is particularly valuable as an owner of Frogbox.

The concept is simple. Frogbox rents reusable plastic boxes delivered to the door and picked up when the move is over.

While it may not sound like it has the potential for triple-digit returns like some Internet businesses, the word is Frogbox could be a winner.

"When I looked at the numbers, I was shocked," Treliving said. "This really is a high margin business."

Partners in the Winnipeg franchise are Dave Owen, who will run the business, real estate agent Chris Pennycook and businessman Harry Ethans.

Owen said more and more people are willing to pay a fee -- $79 for 25 boxes for one week -- for the convenience and the eco-friendly aspect of having reusable boxes dropped off and picked up at the door.

"The costs are comparable to the purchase of new cardboard boxes," Owen said.

It is also a pleasant alternative to the classic runaround of scavenging for used boxes and then struggling with their awkward sizes and questionable integrity.

Started in Vancouver in 2008, the Frogbox franchises have been selling well since the Dragons' Den show.

Treliving said the business is low risk and has good returns.

But he said the secret to his style of investing is being comfortable with the people involved.

He was impressed with Doug Burgoyne, Frogbox's founder, and was happy to learn that its Winnipeg franchisees are close friends and associates with Treliving's Boston Pizza franchise owners in Winnipeg, Richard and Kim Enright.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 12, 2011 B4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Top 5: Famous facts about the Stanley Cup

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 25, 2013 - 130625  -  A storm lit up Winnipeg Tuesday, June 25, 2013. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press - lightning
  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google