Big Decision

Arlene Dickinson, best known to TV audiences from the hit show “Dragons’ Den,” headed to Vancouver this season to film the finale of the spin off show “The Big Decision.” Entrepreneurial icon Arlene Dickinson visited Save On Meats in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to see if she could help owner, Mark Brand, trim the fat off the business, deal with mounting debt and increase community support. For more information visit

Each episode of “The Big Decision” focuses on two Canadian businesses that are struggling to survive in today’s volatile economy. In the end either Jim Treliving or Arlene Dickinson must decide whether they will invest in one, both or neither of the companies vying for their cash. One of Canada’s most-renowned marketing communications entrepreneurs, Arlene Dickinson, is CEO and owner of Venture Communications. Facing mounting debts and a need for renovations, Brand is in need of her help. The stakes are high – will Arlene decide to come to his financial aid or will they lose this neighborhood icon?

Save on Meats has been a Vancouver landmark since it opened in 1957, serving the local community with a butcher shop and lunch counter. Much to the dismay of local patrons Save on Meats closed it’s doors in 2008 after 52 years in operation. The community thought this was the end of this iconic establishment. Mark Brand, however, one of Vancouver’s most recognized entrepreneurs, decided to revive the enterprise after seeing what a devastating effect its closure had on the community. He started to resurrect the Save on Meats enterprise in 2010, and reopened its doors on June 27, 2011.

Today, Save on Meats houses a butcher shop, sandwich counter, diner and much more. Brand and his team are working to produce a true social enterprise by collaborating with community partners and programs, to create a sustainable business model serving the varied Downtown Eastside area. Save on Meats employs over 65 workers, many of which live in the community, some struggling with employment barriers. With strong ties in community initiatives including a meal program for 450+ people per day seven days a week, Save On Meats is a strong anchor in the renewal of Hastings Street. Save on Meats wants to ensure that everyone within the neighborhood has somewhere to eat and congregate. What does the future hold? Watch the episode to find out!

Watch the full episode on The Big Decision’s webpage



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