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…
Read more

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. …
Read more

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.…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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.
Read more

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%…
Read more

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…
Read more

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…
Read more

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.
Read more

Salt Spring’s 2017 Business Award Winners

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 receive a 'Salty Award' and over 50 awards will be given out in the two different areas this week. 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! Along with Island Savings Credit Union, the Chamber is hosted Small Business Week events this week to thank Salt Spring for being such a great community! Community awards were given out at the Chamber event on Tuesday and Business Awards were given out last night. Here's a list of all the businesses you voted for to win Salty Awards! Congratulations to all! Top Young Entrepreneur under 40 Genevieve Price  Top Customer Service Moby's Pub B…
Read more

Salt Spring’s 2017 Community Award Winners - Salt Spring Exchange Wins Media Award

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 receive a 'Salty Award' and over 50 awards will be given out in the two different areas this week. 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! Along with Island Savings Credit Union, the Chamber is hosting Small Business Week events this week to thank Salt Spring for being such a great community! Community awards were given out at the Chamber event last night and Business Awards will be given out this coming Thursday. With very special thanks, the Salt Spring Exchange was awarded your favourite local media choice. Thank you to all those who voted for us and who support the Salt Spring Exchange. Tha…
Read more

Shepherd Shoes: Much More than Shoe Repair

Salt Spring has a new business for shoes, leather accessories, and repairs. Shepherd Shoes is a repair service for shoes, purses, horse tack, and marine gear. This new business, creating footwear and accessories, completes a circle in the life of John Shepherd. Having moved to Salt Spring last October, John has reunited himself with his passion for designing and making shoes and leather accessories. Back in his early twenties, John started doing leatherwork and, for six years, trained as a shoemaker. He then went to university and turned to the hotel industry. For the last few years, he has been making shoes by hand on a part-time basis while working in hotel and event management. But 2016 was an eventful year for John. In March, a major fire in downtown Nanaimo destroyed his entire workshop. Everything was lost, save one shoemaker's hammer that was recovered by one of the fire fighters. In May of the same year, he went to Europe for five months to work with shoema…
Read more

New Business Serves Up Deep Nourishment

Here on Salt Spring Island, Heart & Bone Provisions is helping islanders find deep nourishment one jar at a time. Heart & Bone owners, Adam, Julie, Matt, and Stephen, started the business to serve up hearty, flavourful broths and to help people find greater health and energy through Paleo-Ketogenic diets. They are creating “foods that love you back!” People who experience IBS, arthritis, leaky gut, and other auto-immune, inflammation-based conditions could also see improvement. In fact, results are already coming in from islanders who’ve reported less or no pain since starting the Bone Broth Diet. This diet is also championed by Naturopathic Doctor Kellyanne Petrucci, who describes bone broth as “concentrated healing.” Heart & Bone Provisions sells her book in their shop. The owners are passionate about great taste, healing through food, their regional community, and deep organic philosophies. They describe their business as “beyond paleo.” If these products m…
Read more

Salt Spring Digital Networking Group Gathering

It was over lunch in late 2016 that Emma-Louise Elsey and Holly MacDonald decided they wanted to revive the Salt Spring Digital group. Both women run successful businesses from the island that operate primarily through virtual channels, and most work days are spent in front of computer screens. It’s a great way to make a living, but can leave you feeling isolated. Plus, working online is sometimes hard to discuss with people who aren’t also in the business. The two women first met at a Salt Spring Digital event in 2009 and reminisced about how much they enjoyed the meet-ups. Both expressed an interest in increasing the human connection, and finding local people who are working in similar circumstances who might want to socialize and connect for business purposes. Checking in with Christopher Roy, one of the group’s founders of the now nearly 200 member networking group, he was keen to support the revival. While the group has come a long way from its humble beginnings of a handf…
Read more

Salt Spring Shine: A Vodka for Refined Palates

Salt Spring Island’s first licensed craft distillery has opened. On January 7, Michael and Rie Papp, founders of Salt Spring Shine, invited islanders to their light-filled tasting room to sample their first distilled beverage―vodka. And they will re-open their tasting room tomorrow, Thursday, January 26, for weekly sampling. Tasters sit at a long maple counter and face a wall lined with rows and rows of Salt Spring Shine’s vodka. The bottles are eye-catching. They have labels reminiscent of the era when alcohol prohibitions were lifted. The corked bottles glint in the sunlight, creating an effect that hints at the clean and subtle flavours within. Behind where the tasters sit is the distiller itself. For those uninitiated into the world of distilling, this is a curious creation. And for the scientifically minded, it’s a beautiful piece of equipment with the capability to distill any alcoholic beverage imaginable. And that’s what Michael―who seems to distill ideas with the…
Read more

Goodbye, Moonstruck! A "Cheesy" Farewell

Last month, Julia and Susan Grace, owners of Moonstruck Organic Cheese Inc., announced that they were hanging up their tools. But before they slipped into Salt Spring Island’s history, I wanted to acknowledge what Julia and Susan had accomplished and to see if they had any words of wisdom to share after 18 years in business. When Moonstruck began, artisanal cheese making was very young. Courses for small producers were rare. As Julia put it, “In those days, everyone was on their own farms trying to figure it out themselves.” Instead of taking a course, Julia logged in daily to a chat group with others passionate about artisanal cheese. She also reached out to award-winners of the American Cheese Society. If she thought a cheese was suitable to Moonstruck’s rich milk, she asked for advice: “People were amazingly generous, particularly if I was half way across the continent.” Within 5 years of starting their business, Julia and Susan had settled on their cheeses, and Moonst…
Read more

Island Tech Jobs Triple

When people think of Salt Spring Island, they typically conjure up images of a cottage industries; artisans; cheeses, wines, and other quality foods; great B&Bs; and a bustling little retail sector. So, it was surprising to hear that Salt Spring’s tech jobs have more than tripled within the last year. And most of those jobs have been created at one company―InDro Robotics. Founded by Philip Reece in 2013, InDro Robotics creates unmanned aerial and surface vehicles and provides related services and supports to clients and partners on Salt Spring and around the world. Currently, InDro Robotics is inconspicuously housed in the Merchant Mews. You might never know that while you’re buying meat pies at Jana’s Bakery, a 12-member staff is designing, fabricating, building, and developing drones and other unmanned vehicles right next door. But a couple of weeks ago, InDro advertised that it wants to rent a new office and work space. Could it be growing? On its website, the “…
Read more