I am writing this testimonial with heartfelt gratitude towards Community Futures of BC (Nadina), and the professional guidance and assistance they provided during a challenging year for my small business. As sole proprietor of a successful dog boarding and training facility for the past decade, I was in uncharted water when the boarding business dried up overnight due to Covid-19.
Shannon, our local representative was remarkable in her approach to my situation. She guided me through the entire process of applying for assistance through the RRRF loan program offered through Community Futures of BC, and even did house calls to my rural location for signatures on the paperwork! The availability and rapid response of aid was a major relief. It allowed me to meet my obligations while continuing to develop new strategies to keep my business viable, and my employees working. Otherwise I may have faced losing all I have worked for during the past 10 years.
Dog Digs Kennel
Based in Burns Lake’s Southside Region on a beautiful ranch bordering Ootsa Lake, Ursa Minor Brewing’s motto is “Wild Taste from a Wild Place.” This brewery and 12-person tasting room is the brain child of Nathan and Gwyndolyn Nicholas. Nathan brings a life-long passion for flavour, growing and beer making. Gwyndolyn brings business expertise from owning and operating a successful health food store for 10 years. Together they have a love for inspired taste, a dedication to sustainable farming, and a wish to create a product that celebrates our North.
In addition to beers which can be enjoyed on site, ordered online and bought from Houston to Prince George in pubs and liquor stores, Ursa Minor Brewing are also manufacturing Kombucha and Botanical sodas. Flavours are inspired by the North such as haskap, raspberry, juniper, spruce, cottonwood, potatoes, small grain crops, and rhubarb. Small consistent batches, made with state of the art technology designed in B.C., are being used to produce a truly unique and high-quality flavour.
Community Futures Nadina began working with the couple in early 2019 and supported them through the writing of their business and finance plan. Their loan approval for brewery equipment purchases and final renovations came in October of the same year, which set them up to begin producing in early 2020. Be sure to include the Ursa Minor Brewing tasting room as part of your spring or summer plans.
In the spring of 2018, Bryanne came to Community Futures Nadina with a desire to become an entrepreneur specializing in floral design. Receiving business coaching and startup capital from CF Nadina, Bryanne’s dreams of owning her own store front came true. Wildroots Flowers & Gifts opened its doors in 2019 in Burns Lake, BC. Bryanne brings over 18 years of experience in the floral industry to the Bulkley-Nechako region.
In 2020, Bryanne worked with CF Nadina to secure Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) supports.
The Government of Canada RRRF is designed to support small and medium size businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The RRRF that I received with the help of Community Futures Nadina was such a huge help. The process was painless, and it was nice to have support throughout the entire process. With all the uncertainty these days, this was such a relief. I had initially attempted to qualify for federal assistance but being a new business, I was not eligible. The RRRF has offered me some security and a little breathing room while I navigate my business through this pandemic. I am grateful.”
– Bryanne White
My name is Sven Riemann and I am the president of Northern Fire Apparatus, a company that specializes in the service, repairs and certification that keeps fire trucks in top condition so they are ready to perform when it counts.
A couple of years ago I was at a crossroads in my career as a technician in this field and was confident that I could make more of a positive impact by taking the steps to go into business for myself. I met Sarah Fitzmaurice at CF Nadina about that time, and we discussed my options. Sarah explained that this would be no easy road as I would be doing most of the work to get this off the ground. She was right, there was a lot of work to do, but it was not for an employer from here on in and that was what made all the difference. That day Sarah had me purchase a laptop and begin the process of putting together the financial framework and proposal for what would become Northern Fire Apparatus. That was in spring of 2019. I continued to work as a mobile Emergency Vehicle Technician for a colleague for the time being as Sarah worked closely with me and guided me through the development process and completion of all the administrative tasks that were being carried out. Sarah presented the board at Community Futures Nadina with our proposal and did an amazing job, as the proposal was accepted. Dreams do come true!
Fast forward to 2021 and we are poised to grow modestly but growing nonetheless considering the uncertainty that all of us have faced in the past year. CF Nadina has continued to support Northern Fire Apparatus through these times, and we are very grateful for that support. Future prospects look bright and it`s onward and upward from here.
We would like to thank Sarah, Natalie, and all the hard-working staff at CF Nadina for all the great things they do for aspiring entrepreneurs, as it takes a lot more than one would think to start a business nowadays.
Sven Riemann, EVT and President Northern Fire Apparatus
If you are from Smithers, Four Seasons Automotive is an automotive shop that is known to most. Being in the community for over 27 years has provided them the opportunity to serve their loyal client base, to be an excellent employer and a dependable partner for their suppliers. In September 2020, the original owners decided to pass on their legacy to new buyers. Community Futures had the honour to take on Carl Chad and Samuelle Simard as new clients to help make their dream become a reality. Here is what Carl had to say:
"I found Community Futures Nadina to be excellent and friendly! They were professional at every turn and helped us reach our dream goal of being our own bosses! Natalie and Sarah were always attentive to our questions and quick to answer any concerns we had. I would highly recommend them if you are thinking of starting or purchasing a business."
We as an organization are honoured to have been given the opportunity to help this essential business get passed on to new buyers. We wish Carl and Samuelle all the best in their new venture and look forward to seeing how they take Four Seasons Automotive to the next level.
Ana Stavast is a young entrepreneur who makes a variety of all-natural beeswax lip balms. She operates under their family business, Lychak Acres, located in Smithers, B.C. When Ana came to Community Futures Nadina, she was selling her product in a Smithers shop with the hope to expand her business across the Bulkley Valley. From there, she received a microloan from Community Futures and used the funds to purchase equipment and supplies to kickstart her expansion. Fast forward to today and her lip balms are being sold in Terrace, Telkwa, Houston, and Burns Lake locations! We love to see youth ventures succeed, and this young lady has proven to be a major success in the community.
Make sure you check out Lychak Acres on Facebook to follow along Ana’s impressive journey.
Shannon has been an incredible resource as a new business owner. Shannon provided support in the application process by providing input and suggestions on my projected cashflow and start-up budgeting. After that stage, entering the new start-up phase has so many new challenges and at a time when I was overwhelmed, Shannon was the perfect resource to help with coaching and training on the financial aspects of the business where I had room to learn. Shannon’s support has been extremely timely and clear. Shannon is helping me navigate my payroll system, receipt and budget tracking and CRA obligations. I’m actually very impressed CF Nadina has this resource available, and it certainly makes me glad we’ve chosen CF Nadina for our business support.