The former CP operations building at 96 Baker St. will soon be the home of Nelson’s Cover Architecture, which will move its team to the second floor and open up new commercial space on the bottom floor. Photo submitted

BUSINESS BUZZ: Railtown gets the Cover it needs

Bob Hall’s monthly business column

Bob Hall

A terrific evening at the Prestige Lakeside Resort late last month at the annual Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The room was packed with folks making a vital impact on our economy on a daily basis. The area is deep in entrepreneurial, business and management talent. It was evident on that night.

The winners were worthy representatives of their categories and included the Civic Theatre Society, Backroads Brewery, Marzano, Whitewater Ski Resort, Cartolina, Wait’s News, Edge Roofing, Voytech Computers and Business of the Year winner Ainsworth Hot Springs.

Doug Jones from Retail Excellence Award winning Cartolina, summed it up perfectly at the podium when he said: “It’s a really exciting time in Nelson.”

•••

An important next chapter in the redevelopment of the Railtown neighbourhood is about to get started courtesy of a local company that knows more than a little about the transformation in that part of town. Earlier this month, Nelson’s Cover Architecture bought the building at 96 Baker St. with plans to redevelop it into their new headquarters.

“Our new office will be located at the entrance to Railtown and we look forward to helping the neighbourhood continue development over the coming years,” says Lukas Armstrong, one of three principals at the company. “Cover Architecture is absolutely committed to Nelson and the region. We truly feel lucky to live in one of the best places on Earth.”

The prominently located brick building at the foot of Baker Street was originally built in 1957 and used as the CP operations building. It then became a telecommunications building where Rogers had been running equipment out of the location as recently as the purchase.

Currently located in the 300 block of Vernon Street, Cover Architecture jumped at the chance to shuffle to a part of town that they have been heavily involved in over the last few years. The firm designed the new plaza, stage and washroom building that will be built in Cottonwood Park this summer, they are involved with the Maglio family in the development of their property behind Kal-Tire, and are responsible for the first mixed use commercial/residential building in the neighbourhood.

Cover Architecture is multidisciplinary firm involved in a wide range of scales and project types including architecture, planning, landscape design, interior design and industrial design. Cover employs 14 people and works with clients all across Western Canada.

With the target of opening the new office by this September on the second floor of the brick building, the refresh of the property will include 2,400 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor that can split into up to three spaces with ground level entry. Contact Cover Architecture if you are interested in being part of this exciting new space.

Seems like the perfect fit for a company that is playing a vital role in the future of our community!

•••

When Maplerose closed its storefront a couple years back there was a hole on Baker Street for those who frequented the shop for “all things Waldorf and wool for the Nelson area.” The spirit (and products) are now very much alive with new owner Jenn Chic who purchased the online business back in November.

“It was quite a community hub. I know as I shopped there for years, whenever I came to Nelson,” says Chic. “We only moved to town two years ago but have lived in this place forever! Babies made it a priority for us to get to the Kootenays. There was no better place I could see myself raising kids or being a parent.”

A stay-at-home mom with a four and two year old, Chic is helping the region (and beyond) with the current fibre arts renaissance that is taking place.

She is focused on the Maplerose website that provides those with a deeper interest in providing children (and parents) with safe and natural craft supplies, school supplies and toys.

She is currently resdesigning the website and the odd pop-up shop while she continues to build her trusted source for artistic supplies. You can find the website at maplerose.ca.

•••

Cannabis is a hot economic topic these days.

Earlier this month, the Kootenay Cannabis Symposium attracted close to 170 people that included a diverse crowd of stakeholders, policy influencers, industry professionals, representatives from Health Canada and the BC Provincial Cannabis Secretariat. Plenty of people who are working towards identifying the current challenges in transitioning the cannabis economy and exploring the best ways to address the obstacles.

On a related front, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce will be putting forward a cannabis policy at the upcoming BC Chamber AGM in late-May that has a focus on protecting the legacy of the well-established British Columbia industry that has been toiling successfully for many decades prior to legalization.

Based on work with other provincial chambers and the Association of Canadian Cannabis Retailers, the mission is to have the BC Chamber advocate for a “Made in B.C. solution to streamline the regulatory transition of the B.C. cannabis industry.”

The goal is to protect an industry that is estimated to provide up to $2 billion annually to the provincial economy and employs as many as 100,000.

There are several recommendations in the policy that includes direct sales between craft producers and private retailers, allowing B.C. cultivators the right to “farmgate sales,” and requirements that would lessen the heavily plastic-packaged products currently being used to sell cannabis under the new federal regulations.

•••

Fresh off its AGM, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce has shuffled its board of directors. Finley’s Bar and Grill owner Tanya Finley has taken the presidential reins from Baker Street Menswear owner Mike Borch. Paul Wiest moves into the vice-president role on the board that includes newcomer Scott Robertson from Taghum Shell. Thanks to Mike for his dedication and excellent leadership in advocating for our region on so many fronts.

•••

That’s it for this edition of the Business Buzz. If you have a noteworthy business bite to include in an upcoming column please fire off an email to 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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