Spruced Kitchens owner Caralee McKinney at her showroom in the West Arm Plaza is the perfect place to get started on your new or renovated kitchen. Photo: Bob Hall

BUSINESS BUZZ: Kitchen magic, a Shambhala summer and rising business stars

Bob Hall’s monthly column highlights local business news

Bob Hall

It’s the room where lasting memories are made. Whether it be zesty and scrumptious culinary creations or moments of celebration and conversation, the kitchen is the epicentre of a home.

Caralee McKinney opened Spruced Kitchens in the West Arm Plaza this past March knowing that putting priority on practicality, preparation and presentation in the hub requires a personal touch. The name of the business reflects McKinney’s love of nature, but plays on a word that includes both the material used in cabinets and the transformation of an idea into an end product when it is spruced up.

“Nelson really needed a showroom like this, a place that allowed people to come and have us focus on what they want,” says McKinney. “We don’t have anything retail in this space, we focus on what the client wants and how to get that end result.”

Spruced Kitchens is not McKinney’s first entrepreneurial foray in Nelson. When her three daughters were younger, in 2002 she started Play It Again Kids on the north end of Baker Street where parents could find quality consignment clothing and equipment for children. She sold the business when the family moved to Calgary in 2006 and that’s when McKinney dove into a career as a certified kitchen designer.

“I’ve always had my hand in design and decorating since I was a young mom,” says McKinney, who enjoys the idea of the complexity of kitchens. “A lot of memories are made in kitchens and I have always had an inkling to explore it more.”

When the family moved back to Nelson, McKinney continued to help design kitchens as an employee but yearned for more. After taking the self-employment program through Community Futures Central Kootenay, she developed her business plan and struck out on her own. With fellow Community Futures grads Randall Boisvert of Covet Interiors and Sue Scott of Kootenay Interiors, the three women have created a design initiative in the West Arm Plaza location that is the perfect stop for those looking to either build new or renovate.

“It can be a very stressful time for people, I’m aware of what it takes to do a renovation or to create a new kitchen,” says McKinney. “We support our clients from start to finish, that means preparing them for what is ahead and how the process will go.”

Through Spruced Kitchens, McKinney handles kitchen, cabinet and tiling work while Boisvert takes on interior design and Scott focuses on window treatments and design consultations. You can check out their services online, but stopping by the showroom is the best way to get the juices flowing.

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The scale and scope of what takes place on the Salmo River Ranch every August is nothing less than incredible. This August, the 22nd annual Shambhala Music Festival will once again welcome thousands of music lovers to the banks along the Salmo River for the world-renowned event.

The contribution to our regional economy is extensive, but to pull it off they need to create a small city of staff and volunteers to ensure it runs smooth. The festival is currently recruiting 2,500 crew members to help make the magic happen. With more than 600 paid positions, the festival is holding job fair on June 6 at its headquarters at 295 Baker St. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This event will be a great opportunity for community members interested in working or volunteering for the festival to ask any questions and meet an HR representative face-to-face. Positions are available to suit many different skill sets and experience. There are many opportunities for locals to get involved with the festival pre-show, with positions available throughout July and August.

Pre-show volunteer opportunities on the Salmo River Ranch include office duties, traffic control set-up, site maintenance and more. During showtime (Aug. 5 to 13), the festival recruits for a wide range of positions within food and beverage, retail, lodging and other site operations departments.

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Caring for aging parents presents numerous challenges on many levels, but local Vivian Kingdon is here to help families cope with the stresses while providing quality care needed. The owner of LaViva Seniors Living, Kingdon started her business six years ago to focus on quality, compassionate senior care in Nelson.

She provides private services such as home support, meal preparation, medication reminders, companionship, grocery shopping, errands, transportation to and from appointments; personal, respite, overnight and palliative care; transitional support from home to a care facility; plus therapeutic recreation programs both for individuals and small groups.

“As a registered recreation therapist, my specialty is in Alzheimer and dementia care,” says Kingdon, who grew up in Saskatchewan and studied at the University of Regina. “Contributing to an individual’s quality of life is very rewarding and fulfilling work. Recreation therapy for seniors increases socialization, boosts cognitive function, enhances physical health and alleviates stress.”

LaViva Seniors Living has registered care aides and professional health care staff ready to serve and assist you or a loved one.

“Our client base in Nelson includes people living at home and those who reside in assisted living, supportive or residential care settings,” she says. “Companionship, socialization and that human connection is a critical component of what we do.”

You can visit LaViva’s website at lavivaseniorsliving.ca and on Facebook.

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Nelson folks were well represented in the Kootenay Business magazine’s “40 Under 40 Rising Stars of Business in the Kootenays” which is an annual feature based on reader input. The Class of 2019 includes Cody Abbey (owner of Maverick Fitness), Sydney Black (executive director of the Nelson and District Arts Council), Yuki Kianna Conne (ceramic artist and owner of Yuki Kianna Studio), Mat DeVito (owner of Vince DeVito Footwear and Repair), Rachelle Hart (owner of The Hair-A-Van) and Gabrielle Plamondon (sales and marketing manager for West Coast Grill). The future of our community is in good hands with this crew and all those other youngsters making a difference.

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Family Financial Services is celebrating 25 years of investment and insurance planning in Nelson. A fourth-generation Nelsonite, owner and advisor Paul Bowolin is well known in the community. Bowolin has always had a passion to help people in any situation. He likes getting to know their stories, learning about their past and about their plans for the future.

“Close relationships are formed with us, because there’s a special level of trust that is built when you talk about money,” he says. “My mission is to give my clients the peace-of-mind they deserve and to help them achieve their financial goals. We have the trust and confidence of our clients because we are knowledgeable, we spend the time and listen to them, and we create long-term relationships.”

Proof of his solid work over the last 25 years is that Bowolin’s first client from back in 1994 is still with him today.

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For those looking to get into the exciting world of tech, Nelson is poised for a strong future with rewarding careers found close to home. To help local companies fill the need of qualified employees, Selkirk College has created a new web development program for those wanting to get formalized education and skills. The program is geared towards both the front-end and back-end of web development. Great careers abound and you can check out selkirk.ca for details on the program that starts this coming September.

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That’s all for this edition of the Business Buzz. If you have a noteworthy business bite to include in an upcoming column please email me at bobbyhallten@gmail.com with all the pertinent information. Please note that this column is not a platform for advertising sales or products, just a conduit for keeping readers up to speed on all the cool moves, awesome events, helpful workshops and notable promotions that take place in our wonderful little mountain community!

Bob Hall is the communications co-ordinator at Selkirk College and volunteer director on the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce. His column appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

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