Ojas Cats cuts the cake to celebrate 15 years in business in the community.

History’s link; great ink in Nelson

History plays huge in a number of local businesses including Kootenay Motors

History plays huge in a number of local businesses including Kootenay Motors which is now embracing its earliest days with a rebranding that brings yesteryear to today.

There’s been a mechanical shop at the west end of Baker Street since the 1930s when Kootenay Motors was founded. In the 1950s it became known as Bill DeFoe’s Super Service and ironically two Bill’s took over a few years later — Bill Openshaw and Bill Apostoliuk. Sticking with the name Bill, they ran it as a Datsun dealership and mechanic shop called Bills’ Motor In.

When Ray Ellis purchased the business in 2007, he continued operating the well-known repair shop now serving all makes of vehicle. This year, he’s decided to take the name back to the business’ roots.

“Kootenay Motors is a way for me to have the business reflect where it’s at currently, under my ownership,” says Ellis.

“It needs to be a reflection of me, my staff, our expertise and current technology. It’s important in a small town because customers want and need to know who they are dealing with. It creates personal relationships with them and that’s what keeps customers returning.”

The new name comes along with new building signage and promotional products consistent with their heritage theme.

“A new brand will help Kootenay Motors create a relationship with Nelsonites. Nelson as a community, supports local business and the roots and history of the city,” says Melissa Hambalek who helped Ellis with his transition. “A new brand will make the business more memorable and give it personality.”

Using the slogan “Traditional Values, Modern Technology,” says worlds about how they view their brand.

“We want customers to feel comfortable when they deal with us, and really know that they can trust us — hence, traditional values,” says Ellis. “At the same time, we want them to know that while we are going back to our roots, we have the absolute latest equipment and technology.”

And that new technology includes bringing Kootenay Motors online at kootenaymotors.com. They have also embraced Facebook and Twitter.


Last weekend local tattoo legend Ojas Cats celebrated his 15th year in business in the community. At an open house hosted at his 711 Houston Street parlor, Cat’s Tats saw an array of folks stop by to congratulate their tattoo artist — all of them sharing one thing in common: ink.

Cats has worked hard over his many years in business to change the way tattooing is viewed in Western culture focusing on safety, serenity and a lost healing art. According to a feature in Route 3’s Spring 2013 issue out now, tattoos are no longer reserved for “bikers and marines.”

“I want to change the way tattooing is looked upon,” Cats told Skin Deep author Amy Robillard. “I think that we as a Western culture don’t mark rights of passage like the ancient tribal cultures do… I believe that everyone who gets a tattoo is healing something within themselves.”


Motivated by his dislike of most magazines in circulation, Michael Chesney has published his first issue of Comment.

The “variety” magazine features short articles written by readers, lots of pictures and no advertising.

“I am just trying to build a better mousetrap,” he said. “Our objective is to become the most interesting magazine in Canada.”

The former advertiser has always had “the bug” for writing but it was pushed aside as he got busy making money. Putting content first on this project will be a challenge.

Without advertising to fund his publication, he’ll need about 10,000 subscriptions at $60 each which Chesney knows will take a while to build up.

The publisher of the former Kootenay Times gave this Spring issue a peace theme because “most of us are hippies and we’re all anti-war and we want to keep that message going,” said Chesney.

As he travels promoting Comment, plans to gather stories for two books the politically vocal man would like to see published: Homeland Insecurity and What would you do if you were the leader of Canada?

Publishing is a new challenge for Chesney and he sees his inexperience as an asset.

“Because I don’t know anything I am not going by any rules. I’ll probably end up getting into trouble somehow but at the same time, we have a magazine that’s totally unique because of that,” he says. “I am like one of those crazy scientists trying to figure this out.”


If you have an item you wold like to see in The Biz Buzz, email Kirsten at reporter3@nelsonstar.com


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