After 45 years of business in town, Ponoka’s H&R Block held a special celebration Thursday with cake and coffee for clients. The celebration is significant enough that the company president visited with company executives. Pictured in the photo are (l-r) Ursula Hefti, tax preparer; Gena Whiting, client service leader; Brenda Hulsman; senior tax pro; Altaf Hirji, AVP retail operations; Peter Bruno, president; Rob Conway, vp operations; Cecile Wahl, owner/operator; Tracy Taylor, district district manager; Joyce Vopni, tax pro; Jean Hastie, client; John Hickerson, director of franchise development plus Camrose franchise owners Janice and Allen Zimmerman. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kayep[;

Ponoka H&R Block celebrates 45 years of business in town

The company president stopped by for a visit to congratulate the Ponoka branch for its longevity

Ponoka’s H&R Block is celebrating 45 years of service to the community.

The tax preparation company has been in Canada for 55 years and the significance of the occasion wasn’t lost on company executives. H&R Block Canada president Peter Bruno and other executives converged on Ponoka to congratulate franchise owner/operator Cecile Wahl on the anniversary.

For the last 23 years Wahl has been the franchise owner and she’s proud of the longevity of the company’s place in Ponoka. Bruno added that sentiment.

“Cecile’s been and outstanding franchisee for us and when she shared with us that we were 45 years in the community, it was important that we came down and showed our support,” said Bruno.

Wahl added that while businesses have ups and downs, being able to work through those challenges is rewarding. She pointed out that Ponoka’s branch has seen continued growth.

Related: New market opens in downtown Ponoka

“I guess people must be thinking we’re doing a good job or they wouldn’t be coming back,” said Wahl.

For Bruno, the Ponoka branch’s stability is something the organization is proud of. “I’m sure Ponoka has had it’s share of hard times as well,” he said.

One big change the company transitioned into was working with an automated income tax preparation system. While it may have had some uncertainty at the time, Bruno says it’s increased efficiency but hasn’t taken away from the expertise of employees.

“Technology will never take away the human interactions that’s required with preparing taxes,” said Bruno. “There is still a component of the relationship between our tax professionals and our client.”

“You can’t replace that.”

For Wahl, her hope in the next few years is to see continued growth.

“We offer a friendly office and we offer good customer service here,” she said.

Bruno added that he would like to see H&R Block continue to improve the client experience. “That will guide us and that will help us remain relevant.”



jeff.heyden-kaye@ponokanews.com

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