With no sons willing to take over the Stratford family farm, in 1969, Bruce Ballantyne’s father decided to sell it and move to Kitchener-Waterloo where Bruce spent his final two years of high school. “l loved math…I took a lot of math.” This passion for numbers first landed him in Waterloo’s BMath business administration option, but an accountant he met in his first co-op placement counseled him to switch to the chartered accounting program and earn his CPA. Bruce took this advice and served his remaining co-op terms at a small accounting firm in Kitchener.
Post-graduation, Bruce interviewed and was hired as an assistant controller for Roxton Furniture “and fell in love with the furniture business.” In 1988, he transitioned to New Hamburg’s Magnussen Home Furnishings, Ltd., where he served for 22 years in the role of VP Finance and CFO and helped to shepherd ten-fold growth. “In 2008, we had the Great American Recession. Magnussen survived but I didn't.” After several months in the job market, he caught Jamie Bailey, founder of CR Plastic Products (CRPP), seeking managerial and financial support for his furniture company’s expansion on CBC’s Dragon's Den. In the fall of 2010, Bruce approached Jamie for a job and the opportunity to become an equity investor. He mortgaged his house and replaced the Dragon investors at CRPP.
CRPP was among Canadian Business magazine’s 500 fastest-growing companies and the 2016 issue included a feature article about the manufacturer and Bruce’s involvement in its most recent expansion. “When I joined the company, there were 60 employees… We're now Stratford's largest private employer with more than 250.”
Bruce enjoys all of the travel to trade shows, contract negotiation, and managing margins, expansion and growth that this job entails. “My math degree equipped me to fulfill that role as a number cruncher—a marketing-and-sales-oriented accountant.”