The NSBA began in 1965 as a fledgling association of like-minded business leaders in Saskatoon’s north end. In 1965, the north end mainly consisted of open land and a large slough, with just a handful of businesses operating in the area. Among these businesses were Deer Lodge Motel, W.C. Wells, Saskatoon Salvage, and Siemens Transportation. Deer Lodge’s owner, Harold Latrace, would become the founding president of the NSBA and was a true visionary and pioneer in the development of the north end.
Given the geographical realities of the north end in 1965, the businesses in the area had common concerns that differentiated them from businesses in other areas of the City. One of these concerns, the route of the soon-to-be-built highway to North Battleford (Highway 16 as we now know it), became the motivation to create a formal association, the NSBA, and lobby the municipal and provincial government.
The initial success of the Association in lobbying to include Idylwyld Drive in the route for the new highway did not prove to be a sustaining force for the NSBA. It wasn’t until 1973 that the Association became a permanent fixture, mostly due to the growth of the north end business community (particularly in industrial and commercial applications).
The mandate of the now-permanent NSBA concentrated on practical infrastructure concerns necessary to service and sustain the rapidly-developing north end. These concerns weren’t necessarily unique to north end businesses and so the NSBA made every effort to work with other business groups in the city to promote the overall needs of the business community.
The NSBA is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors. In 1973, these Directors would conduct most of the work of the Association themselves. Over time, as membership in the Association grew, the organization struck Committees to handle key areas of interest to the member organizations (such as Government Affairs, Taxation, Labour, and Economic Development) and hired staff to oversee the daily operations of the organization.
The growth of the north end into a developed area of the City led to the mandate of the organization changing to reflect concerns that affected businesses in the City as a whole. As such, the NSBA welcomed businesses from the entire Saskatoon economic area to join its membership, eventually allowing the organization to grow to the current membership of over 700 businesses. These members range from single, owner-operator proprietorships to large multinational corporations that employ thousands.
Today, the NSBA continues to grow and advocate on behalf of its members. Additionally, the NSBA prides itself on hosting top-quality events for the benefit of its membership and the business community. The NSBA continues to operate in the spirit of its founders: consistently rolling up its sleeves and getting things done.