Business success story: Prairie Mobile Group of Companies

16 February 2024 by Mario Toneguzzi
Two Prairie Group Mobile employees discussing while walking

From a small family business, to a pan-Canadian company, discover the success story of Prairie Mobile Group, a company supported by the National Bank of Canada for around 30 years. Kim Bishop, the group's current president, tells us more about the secret to maintaining a successful business, even decades later.

This article is a part of the Business Transitions Forum.

How the business began

The Prairie Mobile Group of Companies started as a small, family-owned company founded in rural Manitoba over five decades ago that has grown to include several locations from British Columbia to Ontario, dedicated to connecting Canadians.

Its commitment is to keep pace with the demands of the ever-changing digital world.

Kim Bishop, President of the Winnipeg-based company, said the wireless technology company within the telecommunications space has a chain of retail wireless stores that sell cell phones to consumers and businesses in Saskatchewan.

“And then throughout the rest of Canada, we have a more industrial, or commercially-focused, communications company. We sell communication devices within a number of different verticals from agricultural to mining to manufacturing and public safety agencies. And this is primarily your two-way radios, your walkie-talkies. We sell, service, commission those products and build and engineer networks for those products to operate on.”

The company has 26 locations across Canada from Coquitlam, B.C., to Toronto. It has a presence in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Bishop said the company is celebrating its 55th year after her father started the company in 1968. She joined the company in 1999.

“I bought my father out in 2013. For 10 years, I’ve been the single shareholder. We’re privately held, Canadian owned, woman-owned 100 per cent and proud of it,” she said.

Five decades of business growth

Bishop said the plan is to open new locations in the future.

“We’ve opened new locations either organically or through acquisition. In our history of the business, we’ve acquired 19 locations. Myself as an owner, I’ve done eight and 15 since I’ve been with the company. So there’s definitely activity ramping up,” said Bishop.

“There are always businesses in our industry looking to wind things down generally because of their age and not having a succession plan with either family or employees that want to take over. So there’s definitely opportunities for us to continue to grow through Canada.”

The National Bank advantage

Bishop said the company has been working with the National Bank of Canada for about 30 years. Today, National Bank experts Richard Bosc and Éric Lafrenière continue to help Bishop and the company grow and expand.

She said National Bank has provided the support, trust and belief in what the company is doing and where it's going.

“In particular, since 2020 we acquired five locations and opened two new locations organically within a matter of two years. I wouldn’t say it was risky but they went out and made a great case for us, our vision and what we were trying to accomplish and made it happen. I think that was a pretty tight time frame for us to do all those acquisitions,” said Bishop.

National Bank is a major sponsor of the Business Transitions Forum.

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