Rockford Rutledge, owner of Canadian GunHub, has his sights set on growth and diversifying business in Medicine Hat if elected as a member of city council.
Rutledge moved to the city in 1997 to attend Medicine Hat College. By 2000 he was working in the oilfield where he stayed for about 17 years, most of which he spent in Australasia.
“When the oilfield crashed I decided to start a small business,” said Rutledge.
The GunHub in Dunmore is both a firearms retailer and an indoor shooting range. Rutledge says his four sons, aged 22, 20, 9 and 7 all love his business.
Rutledge says events surrounding the establishment of his store led his interest toward municipal politics. He says the city denied his request to build in Medicine Hat.
“Not because there was any kind of a bylaw or restriction, they just said no to something that was new,” said Rutledge. “It never even made it to council, they stopped right at planning and development.
“That’s one of the things I’m going to work really hard for, is to diversify Medicine Hat and allow businesses to come in, whether they’re new or old, and make it happen for them, whether it be by zoning or helping them in other ways.”
Rutledge says his goal is to bring industry and business to Medicine Hat by developing industrial land inventory and making the city more attractive to manufacturing businesses and other larger industries.
“If an industry wants to come to Medicine Hat, we currently have nowhere to put them. You’d have to have zoning, you’d have to put them somewhere, you have to have utilities in the ground,” said Rutledge. “If you have the inventory you can bring in the business, if you have the business you can bring in the people and the city grows.”
Rutledge wants the city to utilize incentives to bring more businesses in.
If elected, Rutledge wants to work closely with Invest Medicine Hat.
“They’re a powerhouse of bringing business in,” said Rutledge. “I’d get close to those them and encourage their plans to become a reality.”
LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News