Mr. Bob Cassels

RIP Mr. Bob

A very good man, Mr. Bob, has passed away.

I just mentioned Mr. Bob in my article a couple of days ago and had a picture of our first trade show exhibit at one of his Mr. Bob’s Let’s Get Connected trade show.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Mr. Bob Cassells was a force of nature and a founding staple of Barrie’s small business community. He wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea and could come on a bit strong at times but I got to know his true heart of gold and his love for the small business entrepreneur first hand.

I have many stories of Mr. Bob but here’s my first…

I remember moving to Barrie some 11 years or so ago. We didn’t know anybody and we were launching a brand new business venture.

Just before our move to Barrie, we thought it a good idea to go to a Chamber Business After 5 networking meeting. We went. And feeling very self-conscious and unconnected, there we stood trying to look cool and at ease.

And then something miraculous happened…

I saw a curious gentleman come in to the bar where the BA5 was being held and he started at one end of the room and walked the long corridor to the other end of the room. As he walked, the group around and following him grew like a snowball growing as its rolled across the lawn.

Who was this guy?

I tried to get to him but the crowd was too thick and my courage to break through too feeble. But I did see his “Mr. Bob” hat.

That night, Jen and I traveled back home and before going to bed I Googled “Mr. Bob Barrie”.

Found him!

The next morning, I called him up and recounted my experience from the night before. We met the following day at his house and told him of our plans to move to Barrie and launch our next business. He started to tell me how Barrie was the networking capital of Canada and about his upcoming trade show. He invited me back to Barrie for a meeting.

There I was, sitting on his couch listening to Mr. Bob downloading all the local networking things I could do to launch my new venture. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and remembering the awkwardness of my BA5 adventure, I had to fess up to him…I may be really strong with marketing but there’s a reason for that: I feel much more comfortable creating marketing systems that have people come to me. Going out to people–networking–is not “fun” for me.

He’d have none of it. No excuses!

A short while later, there we were exhibiting at his “Mr. Bob’s Trade Show”.

Now what he hadn’t told me was that a microphone was going to be passed around and everyone was going to do a 30 second infomercial. Aghh! I told him I wasn’t prepared and I’d pass.

He’d have none of that.

He practically dragged me, kicking and screaming, to the microphone. And I did my first infomercial.

Guess what? I survived! In fact, with the mentoring of Mr. Bob, I got to be quite comfortable at networking events. He showed me the tricks of showing up and getting integrated into the scene. Over the years, we traded mentoring advice. I’d tell him about marketing and such. He’d tell me about personal networking.

He was a most generous man. His generosity extended to two of my children, Kelly and Jason, who he invited to also display at his trade shows. I’ve shared a couple of pics and a classic Mr. Bob presentation below. I could share so many more stories…I’m sure they’ll be flying at his Celebration of Life.

Thanks Mr. Bob. RIP.


Celebration of Life for Mr. Bob. … Sunday, January 29th from 2 to 4 PM at the Sheba Shrine Club in Barrie at 142 John St. and Anne St S.

I’d love to hear your Mr. Bob stories in the comments below…

10 thoughts on “RIP Mr. Bob”

  1. Bob Cassels was the kind of guy you always remember. From his ‘opinionnaires’ to his trade shows to his marketing guru nights, to his infomercial training sessions for Grow Vantage, he was just THERE for everyone. I never knew Bob to make a negative judgement or comment about anyone, which sets him way above most of us.

    Bob, here’s your legacy: you helped people learn to think differently. You let them laugh at themselves without beating themselves up. You saw the world with a child-like innocence. With that familiar shrug of your shoulders, you went on to the next idea.

    You gave life its own special meaning.

  2. Thank you Scott for sharing your stories and memories. Mr Bob was a good hearted, generous networking legend. He impacted so many people. Mr Bob and I took Salsa lessons one year! A friend and I were taking the lessons and there weren’t that many men in the class so of course Mr Bob said ‘yes’ without any hesitation because that’s the kind of man he was.

  3. I too remember meeting Mr. Bob when I went to my first BNI meeting over 14 years ago! He was a fun guy, I didn’t know him well, but I have seen his face pop up over the years.
    It is sad to hear of his passing.

  4. Great Tribute I liked Bob he was always friendly to me and a positive influence I worked with Bob on several occasions amd I met a lot of the people I still do business with today through Bob and his network shows thanks to Bob for being the connector he was
    Daniel Flear

  5. I met Mr. Bob many years ago when we were starting up Midlands first BNI Chapter. We worked closely getting it up and running. He then became my client and a good friend.

    The business community is all the better because of him.

    RIP Bob

  6. Sat on many committees with Bob, he will be missed. He was always unique and he supported the people that he was working with. We shared many stories and many laughs. Bob had his own style and touched many people.

    Bob rest in peace !!

  7. I am very sorry to hear about Bob’s passing. He was a great friend and a lovely person. When the Chamber created BA5, he made my job easier as president because he was always there with support and a smile. I will definitely miss you Bob but I have great pictures and memories

  8. I met Mr.Bob at one of the BNI meetings. He introduced himself to me and we exchanged business cards. He was like a mentor to me. He taught me how to get my name and business out there. He encouraged me to join the Barrie Chambers of Commerce. I joined the Chambers and he introduced me to many people and made me feel so welcome.
    One day he asked me to clean the carpets in his house and detail his car. The day after, he posted pictures on his web site of how amazed he was at the work that I had done for him. Because of that many calls started coming in for appointments and my small business started to grow. I will always be grateful to Mr. Bob for all that he has taught me. R. I. P. Mr. Bob my family and I will miss you very much.
    Frank Napoleoni

  9. I first met Mr. Bob not by that name but by ‘Mr. Toastmaster’. I joined the organization in 2001 and Mr. Bob was a ‘legend’. Supportive, always with a sunny smile, he put his heart and soul in to every endeavour. He never stopped marketing – and believing in the power of branding oneself. He will be missed in many communities – entrepreneurial, marketing and speaking.
    RIP, Bob, you deserve it.

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