Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’

  1. Donuts and Crackers?!

    May 12, 2017 by Tessa Bousfield

    Picking up on the topic of local businesses run by women entrepreneurs (so far we’ve featured Singing Bowl Granola and Earth’s Herbal), Dan Gunn discusses two more local businesses: Empire Donuts and Jenny Marie’s Cracker Company.

    Empire Donuts 

    Empire Donuts aren’t your average donut (or doughnut if you want to be real Canadian about it). All the donuts are made by hand, from scratch, with quality ingredients. These babies come in all types of flavours, many of which are very unique such as: Lemon Coconut, Earl Grey, Lavender, Cinnamon Toast, Maple Butter, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Brown Butter Toffee Pecan, Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Maraschino Cherry and MUCH more!

    Melanie Laverick is the owner and operator of Empire Donuts and she’s been baking more than ever now that Empire has it’s very own shop at 736 View Street. They’re open Tuesday to Friday 8am until Sold Out, and Saturday 9am until Sold Out. You can also buy these delectable delights from: 2% Jazz, Picnic Coffee, Niagara Grocery, Hide + Seek Coffee, Fairfield Market, Second Crack Coffee, Shatterbox Coffee, Ground Control Cafe, Koffi and Fernwood Coffee. They also deliver right to your office. Sorry, none of them are fat free.

    Jenny Marie’s Cracker Company

    Jenny Marie’s passion for fresh and wholesome food was born in her Grandmother’s Newfoundland kitchen. Jenny Marie’s Cracker Company uses simple ingredients, free of artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, GMO’s and hydrogenated oils. These small-batch artisan crackers are freshly baked and either enjoyed on their own, topped with fresh local cheeses, preserves or charcuterie.

    You can purchase Jenny Marie’s crackers from: Moss Street Market, Oak Bay Market, Sidney Night Market, Niagara Grocery, Pepper’s Foods, “The Local” (Haultain Corners), The Rootcellar, Ottavio Bakery & Delicatessen, Slaters Meats, Oak Bay Seafood, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, Carnivore Meats & More, Deep Cove Market, Nicholas Randall, Fairways Markets, Fantastico Bar-Deli and more.

    Listen below as Dan Gunn discusses all of this, ermmm “fidget spinners”, and more on the Zone at 91.3fm…


  2. ART ATELIER 546

    April 16, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield



    Art Atelier is taking shape at 546 Yates Street (Two doors up from Ferris’ Oyster Bar), and it’s opening to the public this Saturday, April 18th at 7pm with a free event Victoria residents and visitors will love…

    Victoria: Past, Present and Future will celebrate Victoria as seen through the eyes of over 20 of Victoria’s top Fine Art photographers through over 100 images. This is an extensive photography exhibit that plans on evoking emotional connections, nostalgic memories and shared experiences. The community can get involved by voting for the Viewers’ Choice Award up until the end of the show on May 22nd.


    The owners, artist Guillermo Mier and photographer Laurie June, are thrilled to add Art Atelier 546 to Victoria’s rich art culture. It will include a working studio space (“Atelier” means “workshop” in French), with alternating exhibits in multiple medias featuring Canadian and international Fine Art and photography. The gallery is also equipped with a projector and sound system, allowing them to host art films, presentations and talks that are current and intriguing, adding another vibrant touch to Victoria’s unique downtown.



    Laurie and Guillermo crossed paths in 2013, got married and started collaborating on multiple pop-up art galleries before finally opening something permanent.

    Guillermo Mier’s artistic background consists of working with texture and pigments over wood panels. Each panel goes through several stages of preparation and he uses Canadian Birch mainly, primed with shellac several times. Guillermo picked up a talent for art at an early age in Chile and travelled to Brazil and Spain before heading to Canada 22 years ago. He spent a few years in the Yukon before finding his home on Vancouver Island.

    Laurie studies photography, art history and cello. Travelling the world and raising five children gave her the inspiration she needed to take the leap towards professional photography. She has a background in film and digital photography.

    “Everyone and everything in Victoria inspires us,” commented Laurie. “We love walking around downtown day and night and are constantly observing people, buildings, and the general downtown landscape. The city intrigues, amuses, inspires us.”

    Getting ready for the unveiling at 546 Yates Street.

    Getting ready for the unveiling at 546 Yates Street.



    “The purpose [of the event] is to showcase new and unknown talent. We want people to know to expect interesting and intelligent art in many mediums,” commented Laurie. “Victoria is an evolving city, especially downtown. We need to articulate what is important to us about Victoria. For example, The Johnson Street Bridge project… Images of the blue bridge will be archived at the first show along with street scenes, shipyards, marinas and architecture.”

    Sponsored by Phillips Brewery and GMC Projects Inc, the opening night will have the room bustling full of photographers, artists, art lovers, buyers and the media. It runs from 7pm to 10pm, open to all ages, and light snacks and refreshments provided.

    List of participating Photographers:

    • Lis Bailly
    • Trevor Ball
    • Neil Boyle
    • Quinn Campbell
    • Doug Clement
    • Adam Colborne
    • Dan Eastabrook
    • Lloyd Houghton
    • Benoit Jansen-Reynaud
    • Mark Law
    • Evan Leeson
    • Anne Lei-Yeung So
    • Dom Leong
    • Kevin Lintern
    • Cim Mac Donald
    • Donna Robertson
    • Geoff Robson
    • Eileen Seto
    • Brennan Storr
    • Caprina Valentine
    • Adrian Wheeler
    • Terry Zlot

  3. Accio: Anything you want, with the lift of a thumb

    April 1, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield



    Accio means “to summon” in Latin, but you may have heard the name before in the famous Harry Potter series. It was the “Summoning Charm” that caused an object to fly from a distance into the caster’s arms. This spell is one of the oldest known to the fictional wizarding society, and it’s the idea behind Mike Rowe and Carla Smart’s new, local business, Accio.


    Accio is a way to get anything you want, from anywhere you want, delivered to anyone in Victoria, without leaving your house. It’s as simple as texting “ACCIO” to 250-800-2680 to get started. When you’ve announced the “Summoning Charm” you will receive a link to a signup page. Once the formalities are completed, the user texts Accio their email address and POOF! Everything is synced.

    From here, the user can send a text asking for just about anything, as long as it’s legal. Accio scours the city with lightning-speed, sends a quote (which includes tax, delivery charge and tip for the driver), and then the user confirms the charge on the credit card linked to their account. And like magic, the product arrives on their door step. The user can choose immediate delivery, or to receive it at a later date.

    “There are a lot of reasons why someone would use Accio over walking or driving to the store, explained Rowe. “The most obvious one is just laziness, but it could also be because of mobility issues, can’t leave the kids at home, in the middle of some work, or perhaps they’ve just had a few too many drinks.”

    With the recent success of Magic in the United States, now was the perfect time for the duo to launch Accio (which, unlike Magic, does not outsource). Plus, they’re well ahead of schedule for the very busy holiday shopping season, when many people would rather avoid driving.

    Screen shot 2015-03-30 at 10.40.49 AM


    Accio uses a secure service called Stripe to store the credit card information and print receipts so nothing is ever going through Accio’s server; an added piece of mind for Accio’s customers. This also adds to the VERY low business cost of Accio… a meer $250 total to get this all started!

    In addition to Stripe, Mike and Carla had to make use of a few other existing services that are readily available to everyone in order to keep costs down. For the text messaging service they use Twilio, which provides phone numbers for developers. To share the Twilio number as a team (with unlimited operators), they implemented Front to send and receive messages from customers. Rowe and Smart also purchased the theme for their website through ThemeForest for just $20, an SSL certificate for $10, and an IP address to host the SSL certificate for $24. They use Quickbooks for bookkeeping and accounting purposes and Zapier to integrate all of these services with each other.

    For example, when a customer signs up through Stripe, Accio gets a message in Slack about it. When Accio charges a customer in Stripe, Zapier will automatically send this information to Quickbooks so they don’t have to.


    After graduating from Camosun with a Diploma in Business Marketing and then trying his hand at a career in professional poker for five years, Rowe switched paths to the startup world, which can also be a gamble at times.

    Rowe and Smart, have spent the past five years creating various tech-based businesses. The most recent was ForkJoy, a web and mobile app for rating and reviewing dishes from restaurants in Victoria, Vancouver, and San Francisco. There was potential to grow it further, but they ran out of money.

    “I’ve spent thousands of dollars trying to build businesses that have ultimately failed,” explained Rowe. “With Accio, I have only spent a few hundred dollars and about 50 hours of my time between inception and launch. If I can start gaining traction with this idea I will be able to build software around it to help scale. Not just in Victoria, but across Canada and maybe even further. If it doesn’t work out it’s not a big deal to shut it down. The worst case scenario is that I end up learning a lot about an industry I didn’t know before.”


    Rowe and Smart will be hiring their CTO in the coming months and more delivery drivers as business picks up. With Smart receiving her Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management from Royal Roads University this year, there are bound to be new ideas and strategies implemented as well. The biggest goal for the future of Accio, however, is providing more services.

    “We want to be the place where everyone goes to not only get something, but also get something done,” commented Rowe, “For example, lets say your house is a mess. You can text us and we’ll send a cleaner to you. Car break down? We will send a mechanic. Dirty laundry? We will pick up your clothes, get them cleaned and folded, then drop them off to you. Every service provider we use will be hand picked by us to ensure that our customers are getting the best service possible.”

    If everything goes as planned, Accio might just turn into your very own personal assistant!



    March 6, 2015 by Tessa Bousfield




    Jeff Zamluk is becoming a “regular” on the B-Side. We may just put his name on one of Fort Tectoria’s orange bar stools and call it a day…

    You may have heard of Jeff when we raved about Lochside Bikes last summer. Well, Jeff Zamluk has been proving the title “entrepreneur” true with his emerging brand, Cascadia Board Co.


    Cascadia Boards are Island-designed, hand-made and showcase a slice of West Coast life. They come in the form of skim boards, wakeboards, surf boards and stand up paddleboards (SUPs). The cedar SUPs (available this Spring), are extremely unique as they’re made entirely of reclaimed and foraged cedar and are 98% free of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which Zamluk believes is the first for any paddleboard company. They even have a crab trap tie-down on them!

    The wood comes from anywhere on Vancouver Island. The first run of boards was built with reclaimed lumber from a disassembled bridge in Port Renfrew, BC, as well as fallen cedars found at beaches and forests. As a result, no two boards are exactly the same, making them an even hotter commodity.

    The SUP is handmade by local master craftsman Chet Frost in conjunction with a well known Maui shaper. The board starts with an original hollow-core, cedar strip and is then cloth-laminated. “We’re super excited to be introducing a high performing, environmentally-sensitive board,” commented Zamluk. “Truly a lifetime-use board that respects the land and shores it comes from.”


    This isn’t Zamluk’s first swell. “Swell Source” is the designing and manufacturing parent company behind Cascadia and also behind his first brands, Zed Skimboards and Forbidden Snowboards.

    As a way to bring the watersport community together and get his brands off the ground and into the water, “Island Skim Sessions” was created over 15 years ago. “In the beginning, skimboarding was sort of a cult, everyone knew everyone and it was super close knit,” reminisced Zamluk. “If you saw another skimmer on the beach, you’d go up, say hello and skim for a few hours. The Island Skim Sessions was a coming together of these people and their friends to celebrate skimboarding. Once it grew, we used it as a platform to expand to the mainstream having media and community members attend, as well as incorporating demos to get those who’ve never skimmed, on a board. Almost 15 years later and some of my best friends are people that I met through these events.”.


    The formation of Cascadia Board Co. is a result of a full-blooded entrepreneur, his knowledge of past watersport brands and his strong passion for the water itself. He built his first skimboard at the age of 13 when he saw a group using them on the beach and he wanted in. When he couldn’t find a shop that sold them, he learned how to build his own. The first time he brought one to the beach, he received two offers to buy his custom board, right there on the beach. So he sold it, built another one, and the cycle repeated.

    With Zamluk’s father starting one of the first craft breweries in BC in the 80s called “TUG,” he saw first-hand the rewards that came with self-led success and the issues with self-led failure.

    “Starting in junior high, I realized that the traditional educational system is not where I learned best, so I took different routes to educate myself through co-ops, friends, family and mentors,” explained Zamluk. “This experience led me to believe at a young age that I didn’t want to live a traditional life laid out by career counselors, media and teachers.”

    His mother, on the other hand, was more of a traditionalist so she encouraged her son to attend college for a few years. Zamluk says “mothers know best” and although he didn’t get much out of his years attending classes, he thinks it assisted him into becoming a more critical and observant thinker.


    Cascadia Board Co. now uses upwards of 30 very talented subcontractors; Everything from shaping and design, to materials engineering, sales and shipping. Having such specialized professionals work on Cascadia products makes for a lot of experience and education in one board. “Working in the factory is great because you get to work one-on-one with the other board designers and use the world’s most cutting-edge materials and tools that change so quickly!”

    With Swell Source, Zamluk also works on many contract manufacturing projects for lifestyle oriented brands such as action sports and liquor companies. This is about 50% of their overall business. Unfortunately Zamluk has his lips sealed on these project details as they’re currently being built. But we’re sure we’ll see him on here again very soon.

    With Cascadia products available for sale on and at Ocean River Sports, HTO and Pacifica Paddle Sports… the future looks promising. Cascadia is constantly innovating and looking where they can go next. This summer they’re developing a touring shaped inflatable paddle board and expanding their skimboard line.

    “Myself and the people that are involved with Cascadia are #addictedtowater,” commented Zamluk. “Catch a wave on the West Coast, spend a day at the beach, crack a beer wakesurfing, catch grabs on a SUP and go free-diving to spear a lingcod, and I’d bet you’d be addicted to the water too.”