By Chris Drost
H&R Block has a long history in Haliburton.
The Haliburton office was first opened by Betty Irvine in 1981, more than 40 years ago, in a space she rented from Vasey Insurance. The office was located below Subway in the space that Luke Schell, Haliburton Photo Service, now occupies.
Over time, as the office continued to grow, it was moved around town until finding its current location, having purchased the building from Haven and Jill Cook in August 2002.
Betty, had started first with opening an office in Bancroft more than 44 years ago and according to son Chad Irvine, the franchise in Bancroft has been in its current location for more than 30 years. Besides the Haliburton and Bancroft offices, locations started in Bobcaygeon in 1989, started in Minden in 1992 and started in Fenelon Falls in 2006.
“We have just received the award for the best growth in Canada which means serving more clients,” explains Irvine. They received a congratulatory letter and a statuette for winning the The Outstanding Performance Award from H&R Block. Receiving awards is not uncommon for this franchise, according to Irvine.
“In our world, the main reason for growth is maintaining staff. Many of our staff have been with us over 30 years,” Irvine said.
During tax season they have about 12 people on staff, and four during the rest of the year spread across all the locations. His right-hand assistant, Cindy Baumhour has been a friend since they were 10 years old.
“Our staff is like a family. We do things together like canoe trips or going down south,” he says.
The vast majority of their clients are individuals, however, they do offer services for businesses as well. As tax requirements become more complicated, they do a considerable amount of trouble-shooting and following up with the CRA for people. Irvine spends time in the various locations each week dealing with challenging cases.
“I am the clean-up man, the resource person,” he explains.
“We have a 90 per cent repeat business. I can think of people who have been coming in for 40 years,” Irvine said.