New Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy

The Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) announces three new Initiatives to Promote the Sustainability of our Local Economy - Salt Spring Island’s Community Economic Commission (CEDC) is announcing three new initiatives to help local entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Piloting in mid-2020 will be the development of a commercial distribution and export hub providing local food and beverage producers, artisans and craftspeople, along with health and wellness fabricators, the opportunity to share the cost of services and/or resources needed to grow and sustain their operations. Through the initiative local producers will have access to dedicated marketing and sales agents; shared labour force resources, and a value chain designed to facilitate more efficient production of supplies. The second initiative is the planning of an Innovation Centre for Rural Sustainability to help foster an environment appropriate for testing and scaling innovative green business soluti…
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Opportunity Portraits: Pod Contemporary Gallery

Pod Contemporary Gallery: Selling Contemporary Art and Artful Pieces - At Pod, owner Helen Mears offers an opportunity to take in contemporary art and boutique style shopping at the same time. How do you combine your passion for art and convert that into something you do for a living? I remember being in my early twenties and I traveled to Seattle for numerous weekends away and noticed how a lot of hotels and restaurants had original art displayed.It wasn't very prevalent in Vancouver and decided that I wanted to incorporate into my business endeavor. At the time, in East Vancouver, where my shop Mecca was located, there were many struggling artists with not many options to exhibit. I had a beautiful old storefront with 12 foot + ceilings. Art enhanced the space. I continued to incorporate it into my future businesses:Cafe Talia and Pod contemporary. I watch as people react, connect with and observe the work I exhibit. It's an exciting element of my work. As a woman en…
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Opportunity Portraits: InDro Robotics

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of InDro Robotics who specializes in the manufacture, distribution and operation of commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Their technology has been utilized in disaster planning, search and rescue missions, climate research, early detection of wildfire hazards and to provide agriculture & vegetation management. We recently caught up with local President and CEO Philip Reece. Indro Robotics - Q & A With Philip Reece, President and CEO How has InDro Robotics changed the way drones are positioned in terms of delivering services that make a difference in the world? InDro Robotics has been working on delivery of urgent care equipment from the very start. We were the first in the world to deliver and AED (heart defibrillator) back in 2014, and we have built on that success ever since, working with industry regulators, first responders and hospital to deliver urgent care items, blood and bl…
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Opportunity Portraits: Rhubarb Designs

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of Rhubarb Designs: Goods That Inspire and Preserve Tradition and Art Forms - Lorraine Hamilton is known for her inspiring landscape ideas and imaginative plant combinations. How has your move from the world of natural landscapes into the world of home décor been? Well, I see everything as an extension of the outdoors so the move for me has been an easy one. I am still heavily involved in the landscape world and it is a constant frame of reference. For me the outdoors captures so many things that are intrinsic to the way we experience the world. The shop is full of goods that connect us to that and to the world beyond our doorsteps. The running criteria for the goods I carry are they must be made of natural materials, mostly made by hand, have a story, be goods that support other communities, preserve tradition, have a small footprint, be useful, celebrate good design, be original, and add inspiratio…
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Opportunity Portraits: Twang & Pearl

Deirdre Rowland with the Community EcDev Commission shares their profile of Twang & Pearl: Inspired by the People & Stories Behind the Goods Curated - Jana Thomas combines her love of travel with a sincere appreciation for beauty. You’ve been a traveller and a buyer, how has your eye for curated goods expanded or changed over the years? I didn’t really set out to be either. I discovered a love for travelling as most people do - by travelling. I tend to appreciate and find beauty in experiences as much as I do in ‘things’ and travelling has opened me up to both in spades - one feeding the other. In other words, whether travelling near or far, it’s the people or community of people behind the products that really makes the beauty shine thru. So I guess as I travel more, my community expands and my eye for curation expands with it. Being a long-time Salt Spring Island-er you’ve seen many changes in the business landscape, what keeps you inspired? I can’t li…
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Opportunity Portraits: The Pottery Shop + Studio

We're starting off our Opportunity Portraits with "The Pottery Shop + Studio," a new communal pottery studio in Fulford Village,  run by three savvy potters.  So many sectors on Salt Spring are achieving great things and our island entrepreneurs are creative, innovative and award-winning. Read more below in our Q&A Portrait. The Pottery Shop + Studio - Q & A With Erin Morris, Partner What prompted you to open your new venture in Fulford? My time at my last studio was coming to an end and after looking for several months for a decent space (and not finding one) I decided to think outside the box a little and brainstorm some options. In order to grow my business I knew I needed a larger workspace to accommodate the volume of work I want to make. I also knew that I’d been working alone in my studio for many years and was really missing the richness of a shared creative space. Another reason for this venture is that I want to bring more education to the public abou…
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Shop Local This Season - BC Shop Local Week

Did you know it’s BC Shop Local Week!? I’m sure it’s no coincidence that this designated week for shopping local falls at the beginning of December. As we all prepare for the holidays, it is a great reminder to support the local businesses and creators that are here year round supporting our community in so many ways. When you shop local (all the time!) you contribute to the health and vitality of Salt Spring Island. But what does shopping local really mean? In our case, shopping local is more easily defined - Purchasing your goods and services on Salt Spring Island. I think by now, we all understand the economic impact of shopping local as there have been many campaigns around these benefits in recent years. There are additional benefits to shopping local that include but are not limited to environmental sustainability, health, supporting local artisans, creators and farmers, quality personalized service, knowing where the products are sourced etc. I find this quote sa…
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2019 Salt Spring Chamber Salty Awards Winners

Salt Spring community members gathered last night at the Harbour House hotel to celebrate business and community award nominees and award winners. The awards and dinner were organized by the Salt Spring Chamber board and staff members to celebrate the best parts of our Salt Spring community and the entrepreneurial spirit of the island. Twenty-nine awards were given out across two business and community award categories. Thank you for voting the Salt Spring Exchange your favourite Local Media Choice again this year. We're grateful for all our supporters and advertisers who help make the service of the Exchange possible. We'd like to thank all the other local media organizations on the island, The Gulf Islands Driftwood, The Fish Bowl and the Islands Marketplace who all work tirelessly to help share the news and events of our very special island community. We all benefit from their work engaging people on and off island in stories about our island. Our Local Media Choice aw…
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Voting for the 2019 Salty Awards - The People Have Chosen!

Voting for the Community and Business Awards is Now Closed - The Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that the Salty Awards for Business and Community will be presented at a Gala Dinner on November 14th at the Harbour House Hotel at 6 pm. Online voting took place on saltspringchamber.com between October 8 and 25, and once again the number of votes was significantly greater than in the previous two years. 2840 validated ballots were cast for the Business Awards and over 2300 for the nine Community Award categories Several categories were hotly contested ‐ a dozen or fewer votes separated the top three finalists in several categories ‐ Market Vendor or Artisan, Top Green Business, both Entrepreneur categories (over and under 40), and Top Customer Service. A single vote separated the first and second place Barber, Stylist or Spa Service category and two tiny votes separated the first and second place winners among the 109 Tradespeople that were nominated. …
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Championing Local Business: InDro Robotics

You might have read an article last month about a Salt Spring Island robotics company that made the first drone delivery of emergency medical supplies. The project was a partnership between Canada Post, London Drugs and InDro Robotics. InDro is one of only three companies in Canada that is approved to complete “Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight” flights in Canada and when I read of the accomplishment, I knew that it should be highlighted in the next edition of my on-going “Championing Local Business” series. So we reached out to Philip Reece, CEO of InDro Robotics. He welcomed us to his office located on Salt Spring and introduced us to his staff and technicians. InDro employs more than 20 people on the Island and in their Victoria and Vancouver offices and is leading the way in developing the technology for a variety of applications. For example, their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are used in agriculture, supporting fire and police operations and assisting paramedics.…
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2019 Salt Spring Chamber Salty Awards - Vote Now for Your Community & Business Award Choices

Make someone you know a Salty Award winner! - Presenting the Salt Spring Community & Business Awards! Winners will receive a Salty Award and 29 awards will be given out two areas – Business and Community. You can nominate one business or community group/area per session during the nomination process. You will then be able to vote for 1 business or community service per category. We will limit the number of times IP addresses can be used to twice for nominating and twice for voting. Nominations will take place from September 12th to October 2nd. Nominations are open to all Salt Spring based locations, groups and businesses. You do not need to be a Salt Spring resident to nominate or vote for someone for a Salty Award. After the nominations are closed, voting will take October 8th to the 25th. After that date the voting will be closed and results will be tabulated. The awards will be presented on November 14th at an Awards Dinner. Details to follow – mark your cal…
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Community Economic Development Commission Invites Island Businesses to Educational Opportunity & to Expand Your Market

How can island businesses offset Impacts of seasonal fluctuations… - Initiatives that boost our island’s economic health and well being are a key focus of the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC). The CEDC is inviting island businesses to learn more about programs currently available that provide knowledge and expertise to help offset impacts of seasonal business fluctuations. An opportunity to learn how to expand markets is scheduled for Monday, March 4 at the Salt Spring Public Library. Darrell Goertzen, Export Advisor with the Export Navigator Program from Small Business BC will be the speaker. “We’re really excited for folks to come and join us to learn how to identify new markets and see what support services are available via the province and through federal programs. There’s also an opportunity to diversity your customer base, increase profits and to foster innovation. And plus it’s a great networking event to share and learn from those in attendance,” say…
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Towards Sustainable Community Economic Health

Salt Spring’s Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) embraced new directions in 2018.  We focused on initiatives that facilitated collaboration, coordination and advocacy on behalf of our island’s economic health and well-being. Here’s an overview of the areas we expanded into and the progress we’ve achieved in 2018. Championing Entrepreneurship Across All Economic Sectors Much of Salt Spring’s economic culture is shaped by resilience and a do-it-yourself ingenuity. We are a community comprised of smaller businesses and many micro-businesses, with the vast majority being sole proprietors. Many of these entrepreneurs create and produce a variety of products that are becoming known near and far as unique to Salt Spring. Being an entrepreneur is hard work and can be isolating. Through our experience with the Rural Business Accelerator Program, we know that most local small business operators are busy working “in” their business, and don’t have a lot of time t…
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Salt Spring Island Businesses Recognized in the Fan Choice Awards

Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, has announced the winners of the 2018 Fan Choice Awards. Among them are three buzzing Salt Spring Island businesses: home décor and gift store Twang & Pearl, popular bistro Auntie Pestos, and fitness hub North End Fitness. “We are so honoured to be recognized as a ‘fan favourite' this year,” says Teile McDonald, Store Manager & Assistant Buyer with Twang & Pearl. “We truly love what we do and every product we sell, and we're humbled and thrilled to know that our excitement is contagious as the customers walk through our door.” Nestled in a heritage home in the heart of Ganges, Twang & Pearl offers stylish and unusual home décor and fashion items: clothing, artisan jewelry, handbags, candles, soaps, stationary and more. A retail experience that combines boutique shopping with warm country hospitality, Twang & Pearl is a go-to for gift-givers and delights both locals and visitors. These Salt Spring Island busines…
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2018 Salt Spring Chamber Salty Award Winners and Photos

The Salt Spring community came out last night for a beautiful evening to celebrate local businesses, people, places and the many charms of Salt Spring Island. After numerous years of experimenting with the format for honouring local businesses and people, the Salt Spring Chamber really seems to have struck a nice rhythm of creating a recognition approach as fun and special and unique as Salt Spring itself. It was just the right amount of appreciative and fun and a great way to honour many of the organizations, businesses, people and places that make this island so special. The evening was hosted at the newly remodelled Harbour House Hotel and attendees enjoyed a delicious meal, wines and desserts provided by the hotel along with music from local band Sky Valley. The event was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Windsor Plywood, Island Savings, our favourite local media choice the Driftwood, the Salt Spring Chamber with additional sponsorship from PCS Pest Control, C…
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Pharmasave Uptown Acquired by Country Grocer Salt Spring Island

Country Grocer and Pharmasave would like to advise Salt Spring Islanders that arrangements have been made for Country Grocer to purchase the Pharmasave business operated at the Upper Ganges Shopping Centre to be effective December 31, 2018. Pharmasave’s downtown location will continue to provide the outstanding customer service and patient care for which it has become so well known. Country Grocer looks forward to offering exceptional drug store products and services including a full-service pharmacy. It is anticipated that much of the staff at Pharmasave Uptown will become part of the Country Grocer team.
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Video: Salt Spring’s Rural Business Accelerator - Green Services Cohort

Salt Spring’s Rural Business Accelerator (RBA) is providing the skills local entrepreneurs need to grow their businesses on the island. Here’s a peek at Salt Spring green entrepreneurs who recently participated in the RBA. Program lead, Holly MacDonald, believes the green services cohort could go a long way towards helping to create a green business sector here. The program, spearheaded by the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), helps local entrepreneurs by providing them with training and resources to accelerate their businesses and get them on the ground running. So far thirteen local businesses have taken part in the RBA with the latest cohort featuring Craft + Lifestyle products. The provincially funded program was started thanks to a grant of $72,000 distributed by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources to the CEDC to stimulate growth locally and enhance the island economy. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%…
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Artisan's Soul Path, from Custom Shoes to Music

Handmade, customized footwear has become increasingly rare over the last century, and the words that capture that craft sound foreign to some. Words like factory-made, warehouse, and disposable have taken their place. In his Salt Spring Island studio on North End Road, however, Nathan deBridge creates artisan leather footwear that is durable, elegant, artistic, and ultimately comfortable. That is why I’ve been smitten with the Soul Path Shoes sandals and moccasin-boots since I first saw them. The quality is beyond what most of us have come to expect in a boot or sandal. To me, that is where the true beauty lies—in the way a pair of sandals or boots can shift our expectations of footwear. Footwear can be made to actually fit our unique feet instead of trying to fit our feet into standardized footwear. Nathan’s journey to Soul Path Shoes all started with a trip around the world and a toolkit of leather tools in his bag. He explained: “When in Zimbabwe, I’d hope…
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Island Savings Recognizes Local Businesses in the 2017 Fan Choice Awards

Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, has announced the winners of the 2017 Fan Choice Awards. Of the hundreds of nominations received between Sept. 11 – Oct. 8, top spots were awarded to the local and independent small businesses that received the most votes from loyal community members and supporters. “We were so impressed by the number of votes cast in this year’s Fan Choice Awards,” says Mark de Medeiros, AVP, commercial banking with Island Savings. “That said, the number of B.C.-based small businesses has grown by 1.0 per cent since June 2016—it’s an important part of our province’s economy. So it’s no wonder our community members were so enthusiastic in advocating on behalf of their favourite local eateries, barbershops and retail stores.” “Day in, day out, our business banking advisors see just how hard working small business owners are,” says de Medeiros. “It feels good to be able to recognize and reward the value they bring to our community throu…
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Video: 2017 Salty Community and Business Awards

The Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce took a fresh approach to the Business Awards this year. The awards were broken into 2 categories, Community and Business Awards. Voting was done entirely by the community online rather then by closed vote. Winners received a 'Salty Award' and over 50 awards were given out in the two different areas. This new awards approach replaces the Salt Spring Business Excellence Awards with a process that has Salt Spring residents and fans nominating and voting for the winners! Watch the highlight reel video with interviews with many of nominees and footage from each of the awards events.
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