Business Buzz: The Buzz is Back in Nelson

Bob Hall is a volunteer director on the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce. His column appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

No matter what time of year, Nelson’s business scene is vibrant and bustling. The engine that helps drive our majestic little mountain burg is multi-faceted and ever-changing. It’s into this vortex of economic activity that I’m diving into with the a not-exactly-new column called the Business Buzz.

For those readers who don’t know or have forgotten, I spent 17 years in this community as a reporter, then editor of the Nelson Daily News and the Nelson Star before moving on to my current post at Selkirk College where I handle communications for the regional post-secondary.

Earlier this year, I was elected to the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce board. I’m far from a fountain of business knowledge and that became clear after sitting around the table at my first Chamber meeting with our community’s leaders. In order to feel useful, I offered to put my skills to use in the role of chronicler.

That’s the backstory, now here’s the scoop on some recent goings-on in our business community…

Village Ski Hut

It’s whole new look for one of Baker Street’s pillar retailers. Village Ski Hut has done away with its iconic old awning that fronted the 367 Baker St. building for over 35 years. Owners Ian McAdams and Heather Renwick have changed up the awning feature that has helped define the ski shop by replacing it with a beautiful new sign, exterior paint job and a stroll-stopping security gate.

“We decided it was time for a new era,” says McAdams, who has owned Village Ski Hut for an amazing 40 years. “It’s a clean, modern look for the store. Civic pride is a big thing for us, we are a ski town and we need to present that in our buildings.”

One of the coolest parts about this new look is that it has an ultra-local feel. McAdams didn’t need to look for an eye-catching image to frame the logo with Joy McAdams Photography (his wife’s company) providing the image so beloved by locals and visitors alike. Glo-Tech Innovations created the overhead sign and Alfab Manufacturing was responsible for the gate, both are Nelson companies who McAdams says “knocked it out of the park.”

When McAdams purchased Village Ski Hut four decades ago, the shop was housed in the building that is currently home to Snowpack Outdoor Experience just a couple doors down. At that time the building housed four traincar stores that included Snowpack, Village Ski Hut, Vince DeVito Shoes & Repair, and New Leaf Books (which is now Otter Books). The building that McAdams now owns was built by former mayor and Nelson business pioneer Tex Mowatt.

Tea Garden Salon & Spa

The ebb and flow of Nelson’s downtown continues with all kinds of businesses moving locations, expanding and some new additions popping up. One of the big changes coming soon is being precipitated by Tea Garden Salon & Spa, which will be moving locations with renovations starting this month.

The move will be from its current location at 502 Baker St. to 476 Baker St. Not only will this be a much bigger space for the Aveda hair salon and spa, but a state-of-the-art accredited esthetics school will be built into the lower level. The school will be able to accept up to 20 students per term achieving a diploma in Esthetics and Spa Massage.

John Dutton

Nelson Whitewater Rafting owner John Dutton is one of five new provincial appointments on the Selkirk College board of governors. A multi-talented outdoor recreation leader in the community, Dutton joins fellow appointees Audrey Repin, Kris Salikin, Margaret Sutherland and Danny Bradford as trustees of the public interest for the regional post-secondary.

“I’m excited and proud to be on the Selkirk College board of governors because the college helps shape and give substance to the communities of the West Kootenay,” says Dutton. “Selkirk College helps attract people to our region and provides local youth with the opportunity to study close to home.

Dutton started Nelson Whitewater Rafting in 2010 from scratch because he wanted to bring well organized day tours of area waterways for visitors and locals. In 2015, Dutton took over management of the Prestige Marina, which is now also the home of Nelson Whitewater Rafting and Nelson Paddleboard & Kayak Rentals. In the winter, Dutton works as a backcountry ski guide.

Selkirk College is currently accepting students for this January in programs that include Business Administration, the School of University Arts & Sciences, trades programs and several others. Registration is open for the rest of the month and more information can be found at selkirk.ca.

Kootenay Co-Op Radio

On the local media front, Kootenay Co-Op Radio has recently welcomed a new operations and program manager to its HQ at 308 Hall St. Rob Andrew has come on board as one of the non-profit radio station’s two permanent staffers. A well-known face around town, Andrew was previously the branch manager at the Nelson SPCA and has made the move across town where he is helping ensure the daily operations run smoothly with a roster of community members who deliver an eclectic mix of programming on a volunteer basis. The station made its first on-air inroads in February 1999 when it was granted a special 28-day special event broadcast licence. Kootenay Co-Op Radio can be found in Nelson at 93.5 on your dial and kootenaycoopradio.com on your screen.

Columbia Basin Trust

Columbia Basin Trust brought together local food businesses in our region at the end of November for the Basin Food & Buyers Expo. Held at the Best Western Baker Street Inn, Hume Hotel, Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce and Selkirk College, more than 160 local food suppliers, buyers and food industry experts took part in the one-day event that featured workshops, a Basin Burger Bar lunch and afternoon expo. This was the first time the CBT has put on the Food & Buyers Expo and based on the success of the November 29 event, more work in this area is planned in the future.

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 Bob Hall 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!

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