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BUSINESS BUZZ: Spearhead comes to town, JEDI minister tours Nelson

All the latest in local business news from Darren Davidson
Pack of the Quack: The crew at Mallard’s Source For Sports celebrated the store’s 40th anniversary in May. From left, Monika Borkova, 20-year store manager Mike Ballance, owner Dale Donaldson, Sofia Barquin, 15-year staffer Kyle Boutette and Rhiannon Murray. Photo: Darren Davidson

by Darren Davidson

The Buzz starts out this month with a historic tale of pucks, big hucks and a duck.

Back when Kootenay sports gear veteran Dale Donaldson was learning the retail ropes with the newly named Mallards franchise, Brian Mulroney led the Progressive Conservatives to a landslide over the Liberals, the Band Aid super-concert brought together the hugest names and hair in music, and ski ballet was still a thing.

Launched in 1984, Mallard’s Source For Sports celebrated its 40th anniversary in May.

Donaldson started out at the store that preceded Mallard’s — Ski Daddle Sports, opened by Betty and Larry Mogentale — when he was in his teens.

With Donaldson as a partner, the Mogentales re-opened Ski Daddle as Mallard’s. (‘Mallard’ was in fact Donaldson’s nickname given the big ol’ swoop of grey in his then-otherwise dark mop.) The Mogentales moved on to retirement, with daughter Ashley still helping run the show at stores in Nelson, Trail, and Castlegar. Trail has since closed, but the other two shops have grown steadily, thanks in part to Donaldson’s decision to join the Source for Sports buyers group back in the day.

The shop has been a mainstay on Baker, with a few familiar friendly faces dealing out everything from hockey skates, skis and rugby cleats to paddleball paddlers and sundresses. Shop bosses Mike Ballance and Kyle Boutette have been with Mallard’s for over 30 years combined.


Down at the other end of Baker, Spearhead is hanging its international calibre shingle at the spankin’ new Deane Terrace property, formerly the Nelson Daily News building.

According to Ben and Josh Hall and dad Ted, the office will have some major wow factor once it’s done. No surprise given the company’s design work for elite customers ‘round the globe. (They’ve currently got over 80 projects on the go throughout North America including New York and Hawaii, with more big plans on the way.)

Spearhead’s Baker office will include 11 desk spaces in a multi-purpose setting meant to provide employees a chance to work in town, rather than out at the company’s cutting edge 12-Mile plant, while hosting events and meetings.

Deane Terrace owner/developer Tim Pearkes reports that all seven of the building’s commercial strata spaces are now leased. There’s one of 10 residential units left — a two-story unit with two bedrooms and an office. Price? $1,099,000.


Speaking of price tags.

Realty sales in the Kootenay and Boundary jumped 11.3 per cent last month compared to April 2023 with 246 sales. There were 574 new listings, a 31.8 per cent increase. The numbers are close to average compared to other B.C. markets.

Some noteworthy numbers… The benchmark price for town homes has decreased a few points over the last 12 months to $470,500 … The highest percentage increase in active listings was in the Shuswap/Revelstoke region with a total increase of 58.5 per cent.


Back to the world o’ wood. Kalesnikoff Mass Timber’s expansion project has secured a 7.5 hectares parcel near the airport from the City of Castlegar for its new facility and a $6.7-million grant from the province. The mill will add over 100 local jobs to the company’s current employee base of about 320 people.

The grant, from B.C.’s Manufacturing Jobs Fund, was announced by Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. (Yup, that’s JEDI. Just like Star Wars.) Bailey toured the Nelson-Castlegar region for four days last week with Nelson Creston MLA Brittny Anderson, who’s announced her bid for re-election.

Bailey was busy. She met with members of the Nelson Chamber of Commerce board Friday to listen to concerns from the business community over the region’s lack of affordable housing, the province’s sick day policy, the minimum wage increase and B.C.’s vandalism reparative program.

Bailey also took time to attend the Mountain Sports BBQ Mingler at The Cube climbing gym Sunday. Makes sense, given that Anderson is the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport, and the Premier’s Special Advisor on Youth too.

The Minister had a chance to see plans and the site for the Kootenay Climbing Association’s proposed new climbing facility, valued at over $10 million. Fundraising will start later this year.


A quick high-five from everyone at The Star itself, and countless advertising clients. Big thanks and arrivederci to longtime Star graphic designer and ad-buildin’ ace Katelyn Hurley. After 11 years at the paper Katelyn is moving on down the line. Having helped hundreds of local clients with their ads out over the years, Katelyn will be missed for sure.


There’s a bevy of business events to take in over the next few weeks.

Get prepared for disaster and grab a pint for good measure at the Chamber of Commerce Craft Beer and Emergency Preparedness event the evening of Wednesday, June 5. Learn about Wildfire Mitigation Efforts, building an effective emergency plan for your business, the significance of business interruption insurance and how to navigate claims procedures. A bunch of the city’s top-tap craft beers will be on hand too.

The Homegrown Bike Show celebrates Canadian bike craftsmanship and culture in Nelson at Torchlight Brewing on Saturday, June 1, from 5 to 10 p.m. Long-time bike marketing pro Eddy Marcelet or Six Mile Bike owner/builder Kevin Armstrong will be hosting the gig.

The Uphill Market and Café will be hosting a block party June 7. Owner Amy O’Neil look over the Uphill grocery mainstay a few years ago and has tuned the space into a go-to for everyone from Mom-with-toddlers-in-tow shoppers to hustling coffee and lunch-needers to Trafalgar kids looking to amp right up just in time for their afternoon classes. The venue’s been a market since 1902.


Here’s some numbers to crunch. Want to make $1 million a year? You’ll have to bank three cents a second, $114.15 an hour, $2,739.73 per day or $83,333.33 per month.

Better get at ‘er. See you next month.