Sabrina Baker of Bumblebee Toys.

Sabrina Baker of Bumblebee Toys.

The Nelson Biz Buzz goes Bumblebee

Another long-time Kootenay restaurateur, Yoshikatu (Yoshi) Jack Shirotani has reached a major milestone.

As a mother-of-three recently back to work after a long time in my kitchen office, I have a soft spot for moms who seem to be able to do it all. And then there are some who can do it all and win awards along the way. Sabrina Baker is one of those women.

It has been an amazing year for the Bumblebee Toys owner.

Baker was just won the 2013 Influential Women in Business Award where she was nominated with the likes of Val Semeniuk of Kootenai Moon and Janet Skolka of Jilly bo Billy.

“What an honour to win this in the midst of so many amazing and influential business women,” says Baker. “I’m totally floored and it completely caught me off guard.”

Found at, Baker’s business also won six platinum and one gold awards in Kootenay Business’ first Annual DidiTech Awards handed out this winter.

Chosen for favourite overall website, e-commerce website, retail website, blog, Facebook page, eNewsletter and Twitter feed as well as favourite use of photography, the list of honours is long and impressive.

Baker was also nominated for MOMpreneur Award of Excellence put on by ParentsCanada last fall. Through all these accolades, Baker feels pleased she “can be an inspiration to others whether they are women in business, or hard working moms.”

“It’s been long journey with many mistakes and successes and I’d love to think I can help others follow their passions also,” she says.

Started in 2007, Bumblebee Toys offers a unique collection of natural toys, crafts and playthings “to inspire the imagination and nourish the senses,” says Baker.


Trevor and Todd Hutt are no strangers to nourishing the sense — namely taste. The owners of Bogustown are hanging up that hat as the Fairview pub offered its last famous beef donair, last pint, last hurrah on May 31. The brothers who formally owned DJ’s on Baker Street, have been in the restaurant business for 20 years and are ready for a new chapter in their lives.


Another long-time Kootenay restaurateur, Yoshikatu (Yoshi) Jack Shirotani has reached a major milestone. Kurama Sushi celebrated its anniversary this week. On June 4, the local sushi business turned 11-years-old. The sushi bar at 491 Baker Street offers “healthy, nutritious, appetizing and delicious fare as sushi becomes one of the most popular foods world-wide.


After 15 years at the top of a steep stairway Alan Burch Law Office has moved to a newly renovated, wheelchair accessible office on the main floor of the same building at 466 Josephine Street.

Alan Burch provides legal services in real estate matters, wills and estates as well as notarizing services.

Just next door, Skin Bliss Medi Spa has moved into the former Araya Day Spa location. Owner Rebecca Wilcox opened the new location on June 1.

Skin Bliss is most well known for its laser and photorejuvenation tretments which will continue.

Still offering beauty services such as eyelash extensions and the mineral make-up line by Jane Iredale, new services will now be featured.

With three massage practitioners on board offering hot stone, shiatsu treatments among others, Skin Bliss also has drop-in infrared sauna available. New too are detoxifying and firming mud wraps. Body sugaring is new to try as well.

Now in its third year of business, Skin Bliss used to be located at 601 Front Street. They will celebrate their new location with a grand opening in July.


Kootenay Glass and Mirror have also moved shop from their 121 McDonald Drive location to 206 Lakeside Drive. The full-service glass provider offers windshields, door glass and much more for contractors and the general public. Open since 1991, Woody and Dale will continue to offer that “old fashioned” service their customers have some to rely on.


Away from the bricks and mortar of the Biz Buzz, KAST and Community Futures Central Kootenay are bringing a very successful initiative back to Nelson on June 17 to continue growing the local entrepreneurial community with a little bit of legal advice.

“We deal with a host of immensely talented people who have excellent business ideas and are very good at what they do,” explains KAST’s executive director Kelvin Saldern. “One of the common challenges we hear from start-ups is that the legal aspect of the business is not their strength and can be challenging.”

KAST has a strong focus on assisting and accelerating entrepreneurial growth in the region and implemented the “Ask an Expert” program in September.

The program is designed to provide a helping hand for small businesses, companies and start-ups that traditionally may not see their issues as being substantial enough to motivate them to pay a lawyer but are critical to their venture.

The first three sessions held in Nelson, Trail and Castlegar were great successes and featured the help of Leon Pigott of Pigott and Co. He provided valuable advice to 18 businesses from sectors including digital media, IT, manufacturing, finance, construction, professional services, education and tourism/recreation.

“It has been rewarding,” says Pigott. “People often don’t know the extent of the resources and assistance for small businesses that are available. Right now, some of these ideas are in the business conception stage, but could turn into a great business and a great thing for the area. I see the Ask an Expert program as a long term investment, to grow the region and build on an existing startup community.”

Half-hour per-client appointments are available between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. but must be booked in advance. Contact Community Futures at 250-352-1933 or email Janeen Mather at by Thursday June 13. The event will be held at Community Futures Central Kootenay found at 201, 514 Vernon Street.


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