Our next story is on MJS Biolynx, which has been in operation since 1998. MJS Biolynx is a Canadian Distributor of quality laboratory products for use in life science research.
This company has a unique outlook on health care, not just from the range of products that they offer for the life science and pharmaceutical industries, but also from their commitment to their staff’s overall wellbeing and work-life balance.
We followed up with Cherin McKend, President of MJS Biolynx, to find out what she loves about having her business in Brockville and what is next for their company.
1. Can you provide a brief overview of your company and what you do:
MJS BioLynx Inc. is a Canadian distributor of quality laboratory products for use in life science research. Our products are used in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Genomic, Proteomic, and Epigentic labs across Canada. Our customers work in Pharmaceutical Companies, Academic Research Laboratories, Hospital Research laboratories, Government agencies, Biotech Companies, Clinical research centres and Core research facilities. In February, 1998 (during our in-famous ice storm), MJS BioLynx Inc. emerged from its sister company, Chromatographic Specialties Inc. (est. 1963), in order to expand upon its life science business.
Since our debut, we have continued to expand and develop partnerships with reputable international suppliers – bringing their products and knowledge to our Canadian Life Science Researchers.
2. How many people work for your company?
MJS BioLynx has 7 full-time employees focused specifically on Marketing and Sales. We share approximately 15 employees with our sister company Chromatographic Specialties for our shipping and receiving, order desk and office administration needs. We also have two students working part-time on various projects.
3. How would you describe your team?
Awesome! We have been very selective in hiring our team. It is very important to have matching or complementary philosophies. We are a very close team. We work very harmoniously and require very little supervision. There is no competition amongst the team just cooperation. We all have a common goal to take wonderful care of our customers and we enjoy what we do.
4. What makes your company unique?
Our 5 Core Values (Truth, Trust, Help, Love, Listen) and our Purpose are quite unique.
Our Purpose is to create a company to help advance scientific research within a work environment that fosters teamwork, sincere customer service, compassion, peace and joy. A Company that does the right thing - we put our human values and service to others as our guidepost. As a result, we will be extremely successful, where all tasks are done well, and in a timely fashion, and we all reap the rewards. We will grow, and flourish and we will demonstrate to the world that a financially healthy company can have a heart, can give endlessly and can be a joyous place to work.
“We are a very people centered family business. We understand that our employees and our customers make us who we are. They are our strength and our future. It’s critical that everyone feel supported, important, cared for and welcome. We have many long-term employees and that speaks very loudly.”
- Cherin McKend
5. What did you look for in a city when you were looking to set up your business?
My late Father-in-Law chose the location. He immigrated to Canada from Scotland in the late 1950s to find work and ended up at DuPont in Maitland with his home in Brockville. His business, our sister company Chromatographic Specialties Inc., started in his basement.
However, if I were to start my business fresh I would still choose Brockville.
It is important for us as a business to have a location with the greatest reach to our clients. Brockville’s location is perfect, as we are in close proximity to both Montreal and Toronto where we have the majority of our customers, and the cost of living is significantly lower here than in those cities. It was equally important for us to find a community that was safe and friendly for raising children, like Brockville is.
6. What impressed you most about Brockville that helped lead you to set up your business here?
We have easy access to the US border crossing for bringing our products into Canada. The Ottawa airport is only an hour away which makes for easy travel to customers and shows and for rapid product delivery to Eastern and Western Canada.
7. What is something most people don’t know about your industry?
That it is an industry full of opportunity; there is opportunity for marketing, sales, finances, research, office administration, technical support. Science is fascinating, and we are all part of this wonderful human experiment.
8. Is there anything you would like to highlight about your business?
A few years ago we started a new division to our business called MJS BioLynx Well Being. This was in response to the crazy stress energy that was manifesting all around us. Supplier pressure, customer pressure, financial pressure, job satisfaction pressure….it appeared the world was having a nervous breakdown.
MJS BioLynx has enabled us to pursue our purpose of assisting the scientific community to find solutions for many of our health concerns such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity, autoimmune disorders, and more. MJS BioLynx Well Being is a second division that has been created with the intention of bringing personal health awareness to the dedicated health researchers, health professionals and the general population across Canada by creating a portal for understanding the benefits of living a life of balance and vitality. In addition to providing this website as a personal health resource, MJS BioLynx also provides workshops/classes in meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda. Our hope is to continue to aid life science researchers to better understand and combat disease, while also providing the tools for individuals to take charge of their health and help themselves prevent disease from occurring in the first place.
9. What is the biggest challenge you have overcome in your business?
In 2006 our number one supplier was purchased by a large competitor and we lost over half of our business almost overnight. We discovered that we were more than this one supplier and slowly, with many challenges, brought our business back to profitability.
10. What is next for your company?
We would like to see exponential growth and exceed our 2019 sales and profitability targets, increase our sales and technical support staff and expand our well being message to our customers, employees and community.
11. What is your favourite part about living and working in Brockville?
12. What would you say is the “best kept secret” about Brockville
The River and the peaceful energy.
“The community in general is a perfect space for healthy and active living. We have health food stores and health conscious restaurants. Our grocery stores sell plenty of fresh produce which are supplemented by our local farmers markets in the summer…. The beauty of the St. Lawrence River and the Islands is the icing on the cake!”
- Cherin McKend
The recreational opportunities that are available in Brockville (such as running/walking/biking trails, yoga centers, meditation groups, many fitness clubs, swimming, skating, fishing, boating, sports teams) provides us with great options to get out and enjoy our time outside of work. If more dining or entertainment is desired, we have 4 major cities (Montreal, Ottawa, Kingston, Toronto) an easy drive or train ride away.
13. How do you stay involved in the community?
I stay involved by grocery shopping – A LOT! Such a great place to commune with people. We also try to support our local retailers and restaurants.
I volunteer 5 days a week teaching yoga and meditation classes at the Royal Brock Retirement Home, Brockville Montessori School, and the Brockville River Otters Swim Team. I also offer our employees weekly guided meditation sessions during lunch hours and a complementary Wednesday evening yoga class.
14. What would you tell other people who are considering setting up their business in Brockville?
15. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Follow your Joy! If you meet resistance, keep going but try turning your boat around a little so you can go with the flow and not force anything. The resistance is usually telling you there is an easier way, another choice, something even better.
Contact MJS BioLyx:
Location: 300 Laurier Blvd., Brockville, ON
Click here to contact the Economic Development Office at the City of Brockville
or call 613-342-8772 x4440 for more information.
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