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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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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 “…
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Salt Spring Island Kombucha Co.: A Giving and Receiving Business Model

Champagne of life. Divine che. Hero fungus. Jellyfish. Little Japanese mother. Manchurian mushroom. Russian tea vinegar. Teemost. Titania. Yaponge.* You probably know it as kombucha. Lea Weir, owner of the Salt Spring Island Kombucha Co., affectionately refers to this worldly and ancient “culture” as booch. Booch can be an acquired taste for many. But the time to acquire that taste can be minimized by sampling any of Lea’s effervescent ambrosias. Her kombucha flavours include Elderflower Ginger, Hibiscus Lemonbalm, Lavender Mint, Wild Rose and, soon-to-be available in bottles, Chaga Chai with five medicinal mushrooms and Turmeric Citrus. Salt Spring Island Kombucha Co. is in its fourth year, but Lea’s still excited and inspired by her work. When she starts her day, she’s motivated by continuing to build a business that’s based on a new model of giving and receiving: “We can give a product that is truly good for people, that benefits their lives and health, but is al…
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Dental Care and Herbalism at ClearHeart Botanicals

When you think of daily care for your gums and teeth, do you envision an herbalist? Not many of us do. Likely because few herbalists are focused on dental care. Certainly not here on Salt Spring Island. In fact, Saci Spindler is the only one. Her journey into dental care began when she noticed that her two-year-old son had dental decay. As an herbalist with a penchant for research and alchemy, Saci first examined his nutrition to see if she could find the cause. Then she created an antibacterial mouthwash concentrate that her son nicknamed “Fire Dragon” because of its tingling and stimulating effects. And the best part? The mouthwash proved effective, and at every dentist’s visit after that, her son was given a clean bill of health. Turning to herbs for answers was not something new for Saci. At age 15, after a childhood of being treated with antibiotics for illnesses, Saci walked into Self Heal Herbs in Victoria and found herbs that could support her condition. She ha…
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Culturalive: Krauts, Kimchis and Salsas

If you’ve been to Mexico, your taste buds have likely never forgotten Mexican fare. And maybe from time to time, your taste buds coerce you into trying to recreate the unique Mexican flavour combinations in your kitchen. And, if you’re like me, sometimes you succeed and your taste buds flare with delight. Other times, they wither in scorn. But a zippy li’l salsa made here on Salt Spring Island recently revamped my―let’s be honest―dull version of huevos rancheros. I was buying the Culturalive’s mild kimchi, a staple in my house, at Country Grocer when I noticed Culturalive’s latest product, red pepper salsa. It had been a long time since I had eaten Mexican, and my taste buds encouraged me: “¡Orale!” In that jar, I found my ferment fortune. It is an extraordinary salsa that literally brings Mexican dishes to life. The chipotle smokiness and the peppery sweetness interact like mariachi music and zapateado dance, and the coriander and cumin add flavour intensity. The f…
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Country Grocer’s Fall Harvest Sale

Fall is definitely here, but next week, Country Grocer is springing to life! For all of those who like to cash in on a great deal or who love to squirrel away a winter’s worth of food, your week is coming up. Country Grocer is offering a full week ― October 2nd to 9th ― of big savings. What squirrel wouldn’t appreciate a helping hand bringing in the seeds and nuts? And if indeed you are a squirrel and fond of seeds and nuts, you’ll savour the whopping deals on bulk pecan halves, organic mixed nuts, organic raw cashews, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and packaged almonds. If you shop for organics, you’ll find astounding deals on maple syrup, soups and broths, dark chocolate, yogurt, popcorn, quinoa, broccoli, olive oil, and more! If you’re a seafood fan, you can stock up on canned wild albacore, Alaskan pink salmon, wild chunk light tuna, sockeye salmon, and sardines. Love your sweets? Try Salt Spring Island’s Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream! It’s over-the-moon delicious. Or …
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Video: Salt Spring's 'Green' Offers Zero Waste Shopping Experience

At the beginning, people told Crystal Lehky that she couldn’t make a zero waste grocery store work and that it would never open. But green—her zero waste, low impact grocery store—is open. That says a lot about Salt Spring islanders. These supporters are on the leading edge of solving a world issue with consumer- and retail-led change. And many of those same people were on the cutting edge of the organic movement 20 years ago. Change begins somewhere. But the supply chain isn’t as ready. Ninety percent of Crystal’s calls end with suppliers saying, “What, are you nuts? Why would I change the way I do things?” Since green opened as Canada’s first zero waste grocery store in June 2016, another store opened in Montreal, and another is opening in Vancouver this fall. But Europe has been doing this for 10 years. Some call it a trend; others say it is the future. And many say it’s long overdue. In 2013, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating landfill that destroys mar…
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Local Business Profile: Salt Spring Ice Cream

Salt Spring Ice Cream - Some of the Best You’ll Ever Eat - When my grandpa taught me the “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” chant, I thought that I’d never scream for ice cream. I hadn’t yet met an ice cream that could arouse those passions. But, decades later, I’ve finally found that ice cream―right here on Salt Spring Island! In May, County Grocer started selling Salt Spring Ice Cream. Unless you go for scoops, you may not have known this. I didn’t find it until Country Grocer filled a front-row freezer with pint-sized jars and hung a sign over it with Salt Spring Ice Cream’s logo. I tried Salted Caramel, Cinnamon Toast, and Chocolate Espresso. Each flavour electrified my palate! Some ice cream crackerjack on this island has captured mouthful after mouthful of “fresh and real,” but who? I tracked Lesley and her daughter to their table at the Saturday market. Admittedly, I had walked by her table numerous times over the years because I had stopped eat…
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