There's an air of trepidation about Jason Viberg as he looks ahead to this evening.
It's not concern or worry that's causing it, more unease over how his family's company, Viberg Boots, will come across when CBC airs the fourth episode of this year's season of The Big Decision, tonight at 6 p.m.
"I guess we'll have to see what gets said and what makes it to air," said Viberg, who has only seen a short clip of the show CBC has put online. "It will be their representation of what was said. Hopefully it comes together."
CBC bills The Big Decision as a chance for Canadian business, desperate for expert advice and a cash injection, to reach for a lifeline, with all the commensurate drama reality TV packs into an hour these days.
Indeed one of the show's taglines: "No hand outs. No charity. The stakes are high. This is The Big Decision" suggests life and death for these companies.
According to CBC, each episode opens the doors to two Canadian businesses who look to Jim Treliving, chairman of Boston Pizza, and Arlene Dickinson, CEO of Venture Communications, both of Dragon's Den fame, as their "last hope" while banks call in loans and financers tighten their wallets.
If the companies "rise to the challenge of changing their ways" they may be given what the CBC calls a life-changing investment from either Treliving or Dickinson - hence The Big Decision.
From Viberg's perspective, however, there's not a lot of drama to play with.
While many of the companies featured on the show have been desperate, Viberg points out their Victoria-based boot company, run by father Glenn with sons Brett and Jason, is busy and doing well.
"We didn't really have a crisis when we were approached by them," he said, noting Viberg originally turned down the opportunity.
That changed when the company wanted to buy new machinery to allow them to make a lighter version of their heavy-duty work boots in order to open up a new market and to keep up with the strong demand from offshore markets for their more fashion-focused styles.
"Ours is an old-school way of making them," said Viberg, noting that makes them heavy and more inflexible. "It may take people out of the equation when boots are this heavy."
The new machinery would allow the company to eliminate a midsole by using a welt - a strip often made of leather that is stitched to the top of a shoe and its insole as an attach-point for the sole - but still use the same heavy-leather and material for the rest of the shoe.
Viberg was not allowed to say if the company landed the money for the equipment after working with Dickinson for a couple of weeks.
However, he did say despite the television series poking around to look for drama, which he chalks down to a lack of a financial crunch, the experience was worth it for the 42-year-old company.
"I think it's really good to have someone else's opinion and take on things," he said. "You get to hear the good and the bad - the good is nice but the bad is sometimes more useful."
Viberg said the company is probably more flexible now and less rigid in how it does things as a result.
"As a company I think we're more open to doing things in different ways," he said.
The company has already shown a tendency to do that as it shifted gears into the fashion business.
After decades of providing heavy-duty work boots designed for the forest industry, Viberg started manufacturing fashion-forward styles.
"It started with very little interest and with subtle changes to our work boots and now we have 12 models and it's gone well past our work-boot market," said Viberg, noting sales of the fashion footwear now account for 70 per cent of total sales. Those boots are also expensive with some styles selling for in excess of $1,000.
"Right now we're really busy, we are about four or five months back-ordered," said Viberg.
Again, that's where The Big Decision may come in handy, as new equipment may help the family firm keep up with growing demand.
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