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Staff supplier eyes Winnipeg

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ONE of North America's largest staffing agencies is looking to set up shop in Winnipeg.

Express Employment Professionals already has 35 locations in Ontario, Alberta and B.C. and several hundred throughout the U.S. and is ready to hit the Canadian Prairies.

The locations are all operated on a franchise basis.

Fred Muse, the company's Canadian director of development, said the diversified industrial base in Manitoba is perfectly suited to Express Employment Professional's market approach.

"In many ways, Manitoba matches where we have seen great success in the past," Muse said. "The province has a core industrial base with food processing, light industrial, printing, aerospace and we do business in all those segments."

The company is based in Oklahoma City and has grown dramatically in the last few years. In 2013, it added 74 franchises, its second most and hopes to add 100 this year.

It currently has 675 in total, mostly in the U.S. In addition to existing Canadian locations, it operates in South Africa. Last year, the privately owned company generated about $2.5 billion in top-line revenue.

Last year, the company put 400,000 people to work in the U.S., Canada and South Africa and the company's long-term goal is to employ one million people on an annual basis.

Neil Smith, president of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services (ACSESS) said Express Employment is one of the pioneers in the staffing industry and one of the largest franchised operations.

"They do their due diligence when they decide to enter a market," Smith said." They have been in Canada for some time and are in all the major markets in Ontario."

ACSESS publishes a monthly Canadian Staffing Index that reflects the volume of demand for temporary staffing in Canada. It was down four per cent from February a year ago.

Smith said business demand has been fairly steady throughout 2013 and into 2014. He said the slight decline in February was likely a result of the severe winter experienced all across Canada.

Muse said Express Employment Professionals intends to offer one franchise for all of Manitoba and two in Saskatchewan.

Franchisees need to invest between about $150,000 and $250,000, including a $35,000 franchise fee.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 5, 2014 B7

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