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Community Futures Sunrise

11 - 3rd Street North East, Weyburn, SK - Phone: (306) 842-8803

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destination business program logo
[Outlook, Saskatchewan, September 19, 2023] – Community Futures Mid-Sask is thrilled to announce that the highly anticipated Destination Business Program has received approval for the Rural Opportunity Fund (ROF) 2.0 funding and will be delivering courses as soon as October 2023. This innovative program is poised to transform small businesses into thriving destinations, helping entrepreneurs discover their company’s unique qualities and enabling them to stand out in the marketplace.

The Destination Business Program is set to roll out over the next two years in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Its primary objective is to empower small business owners by providing them with the tools and knowledge necessary to position themselves as compelling destinations within their respective industries and regions.

 

What Business Owners Are Saying

Hannah Hannah, the owner of The High Maintenance Hippie in Warman, Saskatchewan, shared her experience with the program, saying, "One of the main things that I learned while taking this course was positioning my business as a destination, with a bonus that I got to meet other like-minded entrepreneurs – I loved collaborating with them in an intimate network."

Lilah McIvor, the General Manager of Community Futures (CF) Mid-Sask, emphasized the significance of this program for entrepreneurs in rural regions, stating, "Entrepreneurs know about Community Futures because of the great lending program and advisory services we provide to rural businesses. This Destination Business Program is one of those important services we're now making available to entrepreneurs in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba, due to the support received from the Rural Opportunity Fund. We’ve heard from business owners and know that inflation, debt-load and changes beyond their control have been huge worries. By participating in the Destination Business Program, entrepreneurs can take back some control, learn how to expand their company's market beyond the local region and boost their bottom line. Becoming a destination business can make a big impact on a small business."

Join the Destination Business Program
The Destination Business Program offers a comprehensive approach to help businesses become sought-after destinations. Participants will:
● Learn the Fundamentals: By enrolling in the Destination Creation Course to understand the core principles of becoming a destination business.
● Deep Dive into Game-Changing Business Topics: By attending monthly Connector Series sessions to explore transformative and trending business issues.
● Access One-on-One Guidance: By meeting with a Destination Coach to receive personalized assistance and insights, after completing the course.
● Build a Powerful Network: By collaborating with other like-minded destination business owners that have also taken part in the Destination Business Program.

This Program promises to equip business owners with the knowledge and resources needed to showcase their company's uniqueness and stand out in the crowded marketplace. Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are encouraged to find out more about this innovative learning opportunity. For more information and to register for the Destination Business Program, please visit https://destinationbusiness.ca

About Community Futures

Community Futures (CF) offices can be found across rural Canada. CFs assist rural businesses to start and grow their operations. Services include business financing, business coaching and advisory services. They also work within their communities to provide community economic development support and strategic planning assistance.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Lilah McIvor, General Manager
Community Futures Mid-Sask, Outlook SK
gm@midsask.ca
306-962-7419
https://cfsask.ca/mid-sask
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Community Futures (CF) Sunrise’s contribution to community economic development in Saskatchewan was recognized at the 2022 Provincial Summit held at Dakota Dunes Resort on September 27 & 28, 2022. CF Sunrise’s Destination Business Program received the 2022-23 Award for Excellence in Innovation for its work to develop destination businesses in the southeast Saskatchewan region. The win showcases CF Sunrise’s ongoing support of community economic development initiatives, business development assistance and its focus on promoting economic diversification in the region.

“This award is great recognition for the efforts put forth by so many stakeholders in southeast Saskatchewan. I’m proud of the team that helped to make this program happen! It’s amazing to realize that more than 100 businesses in the southeast Saskatchewan area have learned how to become destinations and are now working together to promote the region as a tourism hub,” comments Christina Birch, Regional Economic Development Coordinator for CF Sunrise.

Over the past year that CF Sunrise has offered the Destination Creation course, more than 100 businesses have taken the program and benefitted from its innovative teachings, networking opportunities and focused business promotional campaigns. “The program has received excellent reviews from its participants. The course itself helps our businesses uncover their uniqueness, concentrate on what makes them distinctive, and market their one-of-a-kind features to gain new customers. This benefits their business, their communities and the entire region,” says Birch.

Business owners are big fans of this award-winning program, noting the benefits of being connected to ongoing learning, support and new collaborations. “I loved being a part of the Destination Creation course. I gained knowledge of trends, unique aspects of my business that seemed simply common to me, and the power of collaboration and making connections with some amazing entrepreneurs. I would recommend this course to any business owner looking for practical, inexpensive ways to design your business to become a destination,” said Deb Andrew of Living Skies Lodge in Carlyle, Saskatchewan.

This award-winning program is now open for new registrations, with the next course starting on November 3, 2022. The registration fee is only $50 and space is limited, so interested business owners are encouraged to contact the CF Sunrise office or visit their registration website to reserve a seat: www.cfsunrise.eventbrite.com.

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OUTLOOK, SK., September 8, 2022 -- Helping destination businesses to uncover their uniqueness and boost their marketing efforts . . . that’s the promise of Community Futures (CF) Midsask’s Destination Creation course. The course, coming to the region in October and November, 2022, is the latest initiative of CF Midsask, whose mission is to provide business and economic development supports in central Saskatchewan. The Destination Creation course will be led by a certified Destination facilitator, and held virtually to accommodate the busy schedules of entrepreneurs in the region.
“Entrepreneurs know about Community Futures because of the great lending supports and advisory services we provide to help them start, expand or even buy into a business. But we have so much more to offer, and this Destination Creation training is just one of the many services we provide to our business community in the Midsask region of Saskatchewan,” comments Lilah McIvor, CF Midsask General Manager. “Our post-pandemic economy looks quite different. Business owners have pivoted their operations and now are taking advantage of opportunities they’ve encountered over the last few years. We know that tourism, and expanding a company’s market beyond the local region can really boost the bottom line. Our region has so many amazing destination locations and businesses! This Destination Creation course will help our destination business sector to uncover their uniqueness, focus on what makes them so special and one-of-a-kind, and market their uniqueness to gain new customers and increase profits!”

CF Midsask’s Destination Creation course will start on October 4, 2022 and run for 6 weeks (2.5 hours/week). The registration fee is $50/person, and space is limited. Register at https://midsask-destination.eventbrite.ca .

For more information, contact:
Lilah McIvor, General Manager of CF Midsask | P: 306-962-7419 | E: gm@midsask.ca

 

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Travel is back, and destinations are seeing an increase in travellers. Denise Taylor, a franchise owner of Travel Only, is seeing an increase in travellers seeking help to prepare for travel.

TravelOnly Denise


“I’ve been an agent for over twelve years now,” shared Taylor. “I love travelling; I love organizing travel and helping when needed.


I've had many favourite moments. I've organized destination weddings and loved helping others travel throughout Europe. One job that hit close to home was when a mother needed help getting her daughter home at the height of the pandemic from a remote, desolate island. We got her home; that job was emotionally fulfilling.”

TravelOnly Island

The business has many services they provide. The typical book the flights and hotels, which helps put many travellers at ease. And they also create itineraries. The not-so-traditional itineraries that they can custom build for you.


Not-so-traditional may have you thinking of international off-the-beaten-path, backpacking trips. They do that yes, but they can assist with regional trips and offer itineraries and must-see and dos in our local area.


“Groups of cyclists book cycling tours, bird-watchers come to the region to look for that bucket list bid, and we've found back road trips for them that sets them up for the best success in finding what they are after."

TravelOnly Cycling


Booking through an agent provides a lot of assurance while travelling. Throughout the pandemic, it has come to light: “We worked hard to get our travellers home and even now, we work hard with the constant changes that are happening with certain restrictions and requirements that are constantly changing.”


Agents also have expertise in the regions their travellers are visiting. It’s their job to make sure the traveller is as comfortable as possible, and if they need help, they are only a phone call away. Denise also knows who to call in need, and she has the inside scoop on the best things to see and do.


“We also have a knack for getting extras,” she joked. “For example, a client booked a backpacking trip and we got the hostels at some stops to upgrade the room for no extra charge.”


Taylor recently completed the Destination Creation course through Community Futures Sunrise. She learned that she doesn’t have to step outside the box all the time to look inside the region. “There is so much to do and see and experience here in the southeast and so much opportunity for travel.”


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Website: www.dtaylor.travelonly.com

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Travel is back, and destinations are seeing an increase in travellers. Denise Taylor, a franchise owner of Travel Only, is seeing an increase in travellers seeking help to prepare for travel.

TravelOnly Denise


“I’ve been an agent for over twelve years now,” shared Taylor. “I love travelling; I love organizing travel and helping when needed.


I've had many favourite moments. I've organized destination weddings and loved helping others travel throughout Europe. One job that hit close to home was when a mother needed help getting her daughter home at the height of the pandemic from a remote, desolate island. We got her home; that job was emotionally fulfilling.”

TravelOnly Island

The business has many services they provide. The typical book the flights and hotels, which helps put many travellers at ease. And they also create itineraries. The not-so-traditional itineraries that they can custom build for you.


Not-so-traditional may have you thinking of international off-the-beaten-path, backpacking trips. They do that yes, but they can assist with regional trips and offer itineraries and must-see and dos in our local area.


“Groups of cyclists book cycling tours, bird-watchers come to the region to look for that bucket list bid, and we've found back road trips for them that sets them up for the best success in finding what they are after."

TravelOnly Cycling


Booking through an agent provides a lot of assurance while travelling. Throughout the pandemic, it has come to light: “We worked hard to get our travellers home and even now, we work hard with the constant changes that are happening with certain restrictions and requirements that are constantly changing.”


Agents also have expertise in the regions their travellers are visiting. It’s their job to make sure the traveller is as comfortable as possible, and if they need help, they are only a phone call away. Denise also knows who to call in need, and she has the inside scoop on the best things to see and do.


“We also have a knack for getting extras,” she joked. “For example, a client booked a backpacking trip and we got the hostels at some stops to upgrade the room for no extra charge.”


Taylor recently completed the Destination Creation course through Community Futures Sunrise. She learned that she doesn’t have to step outside the box all the time to look inside the region. “There is so much to do and see and experience here in the southeast and so much opportunity for travel.”


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Website: www.dtaylor.travelonly.com

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At the height of the oilfield boom, a hotel room was hard to come by. So hard that rooms all over the southeast were booked not just for days or months—but years in advance. This demand spurred a conversation between a groupd of brothers over a glass of rum. That conversation was the seed of the Poplar Tree Inn in Stoughton.

PoplarTreeInn Front

The town of Stoughton sits on the crossroads of a hub of cities in the southeast, 60 km East of Weyburn, 60 km North of Estevan and 56 km West of Carlyle.

The Inn, a 41 room home away from home, offers many of the amenities you would see from a standard hotel. Continental breakfast, clean rooms, business rooms and even a gym. But the Poplar Tree Inn is different. It stands for everything that Saskatchewan people are. Kind.

Danielle Hoffman, the general manager, explains, “It’s hard to share what makes us so unique; I can talk about how excellent our service is like everyone else does. But does everyone else wash the volleyball team’s jerseys for their games the next day?

Other hoteliers hardly know their guests by name, let alone sit down in the evening and play a game of crib with them. You can catch one of our night staff playing cards with a guest on any given night. We treat our customers like friends and even family.”

PoplarTreeInn stitting

The Poplar Tree is not only where athletes and workers lie their heads, but travellers crossing the country coming to see what prairie lands are like stay there too.

“We had a couple from New Zealand come and stay a couple of years ago. They loved coming back each night asking about the different types of crops in the fields and sharing their discoveries throughout the day. They were fascinated by the beauty of Saskatchewan.

We suggested local places for them to go, The Happy Nun in Forget, the cute downtown in Weyburn and they even played a round of golf here at the Stoughton Golf Club.”

The team that works at the Poplar Tree Inn are long-time members. Since they opened the doors 12 years ago, the housekeeper has been working here, and the front desk staff for eight years. The team may be small, but they love their job, and it shows in their dedication and caring ways toward the guests.

PoplarTreeInn room

“Because we aren’t a chain hotel, we have the freedom and flexibility to provide these extra services that one can only expect from a genuine Saskatchewan business. We shuttle guests to nearby towns and try to accommodate any need they might have.”

Because of the drop in the oil economy, they, like many hotels, have seen a downturn in their overnight stays, but that time didn’t leave them pondering. It put them into action. They took the time to learn, diversify, target their efforts, and really listen to their customers’ needs.

“I took the destination creation course expecting help with marketing,” concluded Hoffman. “What I got was even better. Listening to the other business owners lit a spark back into me; it ignited the passion for making my little crossroads a better place to be.”

Cheers to that glass of rum.

Writers note: Even if you are passing through Stoughton, make the Inn a place to stop. They have the same pillows in the rooms for sale at the front desk and trust me; they are like sleeping on a cloud of luxury.

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Website: https://www.poplartreeinn.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/poplartreeinn

Booking: (306) 457-3540

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When Ralph Smart had a fishing pole in his hand, he was caught.

"I got the fishing bug," Smart said of his years fishing with his dad and grandpa, "and when I grew up and became a father, I got to experience the firsts of fishing again through their eyes when I taught them."

PraireProOutfitters dad

It seemed natural, then, to combine his passions for the outdoors and teaching into a business.

Becoming an outfitter can be tricky here in Saskatchewan. There are limited licenses available to specific bodies of water; some don't even have any. Rafferty Reservoir had one license.

"I've fished on the reservoir since it started to fill 20 plus years ago. I know all the coves and hot spots. I had all the equipment; all I needed to do was obtain that license."

He had asked about purchasing the license from the then owner for several years, and after careful thought, they were ready to sell. Ralph knew a lot about fishing, but when it came to running a business, he valued Community Futures Sunrises' help.

"The Destination Creation course was the real deal. Some other networking and learning courses can hold little value; this course was chalked full of ideas and advice from both the participants and the instructor. The instructor didn't just speak at us; she spoke with us and made us think; she helped guide the process."

PraireProOutfitters client

He opened Prairie Pro Outfitters a year ago and is the only outfitter in Saskatchewan that offers an angling academy. Anglers of all ages can get on the water lessons and learn anything from driving the boat to filleting multiple fish species.

He has the academy, but he also charters groups with the whole day or half-day trips.

Smart operates tri-toon boats that would be great for families or larger groups and professional fishing boats for smaller ones or experienced anglers, all equipped with state-of-the-art equipment.

"I try to teach fishers what works, on any lake, with any species. It's been a great start to the business, I wanted to grow the business slowly, and I am doing it. Making adjustments as I go, just like people were doing in the course.

 I got my feet wet last year, figuring out what my customers want and how I can meet that need. And now that the Canada-US border is open, I've got bookings coming from not only in our region but also US customers, from referrals from past customers."

Rafferty Reservoir is close to the Canada-US border. Estevan is just 15km North of the border and from there, the reservoir is just 50km away.

The fish that are caught on Rafferty may not be those trophy fish you see up north, but getting here is much easier, and we catch a lot of fish. It makes for an excellent experience for families and keeps young ones intrigued by the constant 'fish-on!' shouts from around the boat.

PraireProOutfitters kids

Experience is also key when it comes to fishing, and Smart has a good record of catching fish. He fishes competitively in the Saskatchewan Walley Trial and the Central Walley Trail with a first-place finish and multiple top 10 finishes. He also participates in the Manitoba Master Angler Awards, attaining the silver award for ten plus species, meeting the length requirements.

He has volunteered for 10 years at the Estevan Youth Wildlife Camp with fishing instruction on the water in his Tritoon boat.

The fishing season opens May 5th, 2022, and Prairie Pro Outfitters is ready to fish.

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Website: https://prairieprooutfitters.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Prairie-Pro-Outfitters-101595445383230

Phone: 306-461-8353

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Offering the best in all aspects of wellness with positive interactions that change entire perspectives.

LotusTree store

When Lotus Tree Wellness and Healing opened its doors in 2015, it filled a need for the people of southeast Saskatchewan who were craving an alternative solution for wellness.

Twin sisters Brittany and Briana's passion for wellness sits at their core. When Brittany started the business, she focused on human connection. And when Briana joined the company, that goal continued to focus on their clients; knowing them, seeing them, valuing them. They both genuinely care for every person's well-being that walks through the door— it shows with the service and services they provide.

LotusTree sisters

Co-owner Briana Grimes shares, "We grew up in a close-knit family; respect, positivity, and guidance were in the forefront. In our hearts, it was mastered. We were loved unconditionally and taught that you're only as good as how you treat people."

"We took that way of living," added Brittany Dalziel, owner. "…and modelled our business to reflect positive interactions that can change someone's entire perspective of themselves and their existence."

They started the business with registered massage therapy, cupping massage, Bioflex laser therapy, chiropractic care, registered psychology, yoga classes, and aesthetics, like hair styling and built it into a multi-disciplinary wellness clinic in Carlyle. Complete with all-natural supplements, therapy products, and Éminence Organic Skincare.

LotusTree products

All professionals that operate out of Lotus Tree Wellness and Healing are registered. Simply put, they are recognized in their field and are covered under most insurance policies.

Lotus Tree Wellness and Healing have clients that travel from across southeast Saskatchewan. They don't flinch at the travel time. They know that the practitioners give them undivided attention, are educated, and offer a soothing environment, with the best advice, best products that aid in excellent health and well-being.

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Website: https://lotustree.ca/

Facebook: @lotustreewellness

Phone: 306-453-3334

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Mainprize Regional Park, just thirty-five minutes Southeast of Weyburn and forty minutes West of Estevan, is the brainchild of developers of the Rafferty Dam Reservoir.

The regional park was originally formed in 1961 and sat alongside the souris river. Plans were underway to build the Rafferty Reservoir, and if it were to be made, the park would be flooded over. The park’s board of directors decided to move it to where it sits today.

MainprizeRegionalPark golf

In 1994 the new Mainprize Regional Park was established and an 18 hole golf course was built. The development of a campground and residential lots started to take shape with it.

“The park grew a lot in forty years, today there are 9 rental cabins, 80 or more permanent homes, 187 seasonal campsites and 58 short-term rental sites,” shared Michelle Walsh, the park’s general manager.

We have so many things to do here at Mainprize. We have a venue that can host large events, a store, paddle board rentals, a beautiful beach, playground area, golfing and the best fishing in the area.”

MainprizeRegionalPark experience

The park is an example of how long-term visions can result in demonstrable economic benefits to the community.

“We have people that lease camping spots that come from all over. Many come from surrounding areas and towns, or even other provinces. Every year, they shop here, play here, and live here from spring to fall. They get groceries in nearby communities and go there when they want to explore the region.

They have been coming here for years; this is their little slice of heaven. They fill their days fishing or golfing and have their grandkids here enjoying the beach; swimming. This is where those kids have spent their summer vacations and the place that they’ll remember growing up.”

MainprizeRegionalPark beach

Walsh recently participated in the Destination Creation Course and learned to focus on goals and objectives and not be discouraged because they take time. With that focus, great things can happen.

One of the goals they will be working towards is to bring the golf course market-ready, with some technological advancements, online booking and the like. Another will be to focus their marketing efforts.

“Our little gem is a secret to some. We want everyone to know when they come down the hill to our park, they have arrived at the best holiday destination in southeast Saskatchewan.”

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Website: https://www.mainprizepark.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mainprizeregionalpark

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The first story about a quilt is the colour, pattern and size that the quilter chooses. The second part of the story is why the quiltmaker made it and who it is for.  Most quilters make their quilts with someone or some occasion in mind. Is it for a baby shower or someone's wedding? Maybe it's a comfort quilt for someone who is sick. If you take the time to ask a quilter about their quilt, you may be surprised at the story that fabric creation has to tell! 

Call it fate, destiny, life path...whatever you call it, it touched this rural Saskatchewan woman, and she listened.

Christa Marcotte's love for sewing started when she was about 8. She hated bell-bottom pants and decided to alter her pants. She successfully converted those bell-bottoms to straight legs.

She continued to dabble in sewing and creating her clothes from that point on. In the early years of her farm life, she expected her firstborn, and the nesting instinct kicked in. She was going to make him a quilt. Knowing nothing about quilting, she decided to make an Ohio Star quilt, not realizing anything about the intricate complexities of making one. She just saw a picture and ran with it. She ordered her first rotary cutter, mat and Omnigrid ruler that day (from the back of the Western Producer), and never looked back. 

SecondStoryQuilting feather

"I love to see what I can do with fabrics to make them do the work in a quilt," shared Marcotte. "Painters use paint on a canvas; I use fabric and thread."

Her love for quilting grew, and so did her quilting network. She travelled with other quilting friends to shows like International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas and Chicago, Illinois, and made little road trips with her quilting group, The Block Party Guild. 

In 2002 an idea took seed. Her friend started a business as a Long Arm Quilter (custom quilting for other quilters). Christa decided to start carrying some high-quality battings and backings that could be purchased when the tops were sent to be quilted up. It blossomed from there. 

Right then and there, her passion became her business. It was hard to access quilt supplies such as fabric, notions and batting in rural Saskatchewan. She saw the need, and I went for it.

SecondStoryQuilting shop

Second Story Quilting opened officially in 2002 and has been growing ever since.  Christa's son Justin helps with marketing and handling the shop when needed, while her husband helps with deliveries and even cuts fabric.

This part of the story is so unique; we are sure it's where destiny takes hold and confirms that her path is the right one.

 

Christa and 23 quilter friends hired a travel agent to organize a trip of a lifetime to Bali, Indonesia. This trip was different. They went to see the process of making Batik fabric. Batik is 100% tight woven cotton hand-dyed with beautiful colours and patterns. There is no right or wrong side to this fabric.


They visited many shops, and it was a cultural experience! But it was with one small shop that made Christa feel like a kid in a candy store. The prints were exquisite and precise and pieces of art unto themselves.

SecondStoryQuilting Bali

On the plane back home from Bali, she knew she didn't purchase enough there and planned to find the shop owner to import his product.

Fast forward through three years of searching and three years of trying to connect with the shop owner. And pause when she was scrolling through Instagram and saw a quilt shop that she follows in Australia, who shared a photo of Batik fabric from her favourite shop in Bali.

With the assistance of that Australian Quilt Shop owner, her first box of Batiks was on its way. It was unboxed and sold live on Facebook on Second Story Quilting. 

Just last week, she unboxed her fifth box of imported Batik fabric for her shop. It will sell quickly, and she will order more and make beautiful quilts that we will all treasure for years to come.

SecondStoryQuilting Quilt

Christa recently participated in the Destination Creation Course. She has plans to partner with some of the course participants in creating quilting trips and pop-up shops in the coming future. Her shop is continually growing and looking for new and fun projects to make and inspire other quilters, young and old! She carries a wide selection of Widebacks, Quilter's Dream Batting and Indonesian Batiks.

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Facebook: Second Story Quilting 
Website: www.secondstoryquilting.ca
IG - @SecondStoryQuilting
Email: acmarcotte@sasktel.net

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