Business Expo Logo

2016 Business Expo Targeted to Businesses & Consumers



For Immediate Release

Nanaimo, BC

August 18, 2016


The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce presents the 9th Annual Business Expo sponsored by Coastal Community Credit Union, Thursday, October 20, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The trade show is targeted both to the public and for business to business marketing.


Business Expo began as a way for Nanaimo businesses to meet each other, and to network in an environment where their products and services could be on display. It was like a pop-up shopping mall for business. Consumers started to notice it was a great place to make deals and began showing up more and more. This year, well over 100 exhibitors will share the experience and meet hundreds of contacts and customers.


This year, Business Expo celebrates BC Small Business Month as well as National Manufacturing Month. It’s no secret that small businesses are a mainstay of the Nanaimo economy but it might come as a surprise that manufacturers are increasing in numbers in the mid-Island. Additionally, exports are becoming a bigger focus of Nanaimo business interests, and not just by manufacturers. Software developers, educators, agri-food producers, craft distillers, wineries and others are all seeking support in their export endeavours.

Two reasons for the Chamber to bring some special guests aboard. Public Works Canada is assembling up to twenty booths from agencies, ministries and non-profits offering government services and funding support to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Together, we will also be offering a series of breakout sessions with topics like “How to Sell to Government”, “Pillars of Start Up” and “Access to Financing”. The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association will present a luncheon with a keynote speaker addressing “Trade & Export” from Vancouver Island.

At the end of the day, Community Futures hosts an Awards Reception honouring Best Booth, Most Interactive and People’s Choice titles. The reception, hosted by the Coast Bastion, includes appetizers and refreshments.

Access to the Trade Show and breakout sessions are free but there is a small fee for the luncheon, and for non-exhibitors to attend the Awards Reception.

Mark October 20 in your calendar whether you are a business in the community with something to show off, an entrepreneur interested in developing your business ideas, or a consumer interested in emerging trends and new, breaking products and services. Business Expo only happens once a year, call us today so you don’t miss out.




For more information contact:

Kim Smythe, CEO

Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce


Nanaimo News and Information has a new home online!

NNN media release – launch



Nanaimo news and information has a new home online


Nanaimo, BC – July 27, 2016  Nanaimo has a new source for hyper local news and information: produces the most daily, Nanaimo-focused, up-to the minute, reliable news content, 7 days a week.


The team is passionate about reporting the news that matters. From breaking stories, to traffic updates, community events, sports, weather, classifieds and more – you won’t find a more complete Nanaimo news source. And with more than 40 years of combined news experience the team has a proven record of reliable reporting.


“As Nanaimoites we wanted an online news source that was fast, but also trustworthy. It didn’t exist- so we created it,”  said Rob Bye, General Manager of “The news is constantly updated. Our newsroom is focused on breaking news coverage and in-depth reporting.” also features regional and international news, community event information, free classifieds, auto and real estate listings and public announcements. It is mobile and tablet compatible so you can read your news easily on your preferred device. was created by the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, the team behind Nanaimo’s most listened to radio stations 102.3 The Wave and 106.9 The Wolf. At a time when other media are reducing service and staffing levels, the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group is investing in providing Nanaimo with a new source of high-quality, trustworthy, local news.


The NanaimoNewsNOW team includes Rob Bye – General Manager; Katie O’Connor – Sales Manager, Content Editor Holly Tribble and news team- Daryl Major, Ian Holmes, Dominic Abassi, Dan Marshall and Kyle Ireland.


For more information contact:


Rob Bye

General Manager


Member Profile Tim McGrath, ITS-FOOD Food Photography

ITS-FOOD Food Photography

Anybody in the food and beverage business knows the importance of great looking food photos. Tim McGrath at ITS-FOOD Food Photography specializes in the art of making food look delicious.

Tim creates a refined portrait of food, unlike the glut of bad snapshots on social media. He knows how to style food, create appropriate scenes with props, and apply the best lighting to make the food look its best. Distillers, restaurants, brewers, food trucks, or anybody in the production or distribution of food, would benefit from Tim’s expertise.

Shooting food for over seven years, Tim loves the art and creative elements of photography, but he also excels at the technical, marketing, and business side of photography. He provides guidance for clients, as different flavours, market, and media trends, can impact the style of photographs required for any given project.

Tim teaches clients how imagery can make a huge difference in how their company is perceived. It can enhance their message, and make their brand stand out in their advertising, or social media campaigns.

Being exclusive to food and beverage photography, allows Tim to hone his craft. He’s not distracted by other photography genres like weddings, and portraits.  His commitment pays off, as clients see Tim’s photos of their food, and can’t believe how scrumptious it looks.

On Vancouver Island, ITS-FOOD is the only food photography company north of the Malahat. Covering Central and Northern Vancouver Island, Tim also services clients in the Lower Mainland, as well as in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec.

Tim creates photos to make people hungry, or thirsty. He invites Chamber members to a free consultation about their food photography needs, or welcomes introductions to anybody in the food and beverage industry. Contact Tim McGrath at ITS-Food, at

Written by Bonnie Chomica


Teamwork – Working as usual by Kim Smythe, CEO & President Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce


Summer living on Vancouver Island is nothing less than great. The weather has been fantastic since spring, business seems to have found a good groove locally, and there is much going on to entertain ourselves in our communities.

The best part of summer seems to start on the weekend of the Save On Foods Dragonboat Festival – always the weekend after Canada Day. I participated in planning this event during its earliest years, we were mainly made up of a group of business colleagues who simply thought “what a good cause, what a good party”! That team has evolved and transformed, the event has grown into one of the premier annual special events in our community, contributing nearly a million dollars to the Hospital Foundation, and impacting the local economy by untold millions with the 80 or so teams of paddlers and supporters participating each year.

Nanaimo Child Development Centre’s Silly Boat Regatta followed the next weekend with teams of businesses, community groups and families whipping up vessels in a few hours that were expected to float, move forward and stay under control for a hundred meters or so. Few finish, but the experience of working together to attempt that, plus the experience of the organizers and volunteers who are successful in raising over $100,000 on that day, makes it about as rewarding as it can get for a team.

The Great Bathtub Race is the final jewel in the crown of Nanaimo’s Marine Festival month. A lot of reorganization went into celebrating the 50th anniversary of this iconic, exclusive event in 2016. Now, the race starts and finishes in the same Maffeo-Sutton Park location, a festival has regrown around race weekend, and a concert featuring the likes of Trooper, Chilliwack and Valdy launched the celebration in the park this year. Sunday, what looks like a solo sport due to the single occupant in the ‘tub’, is actually a team sport with a big group of supporters getting each racer to the start line!

The season carries on with numerous major events and festivals like VIEX – our own country fair – the Blues Festival, car shows… you get the idea. A common thread running through the success of all these events and activities is the committed and enthusiastic teams it takes to make them happen.

Teamwork is obviously the key to success in so many endeavours in our community, in fact throughout  our lives. All of these successful events that benefit community services and our quality-of-life in Nanaimo should be honoured for the collaborative efforts produced by teams of tireless workers. I hope you’re part of one of these so you can enjoy the rewards that teamwork delivers and the resulting pride in your community.

Kim Smythe

President and CEO

Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce


Business Expo Logo

Annual Business Expo Adds New Partners



July 7, 2016




Annual Business Expo Adds New Partners


The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce presents the 9th annual Business Expo on Thursday, October 20th from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. This free trade show is targeted both to the public and for businesses to showcase their products and services to other businesses. This year Business Expo honours Small Business Month in BC and Manufacturing Month in Canada.


The roughly 100 exhibitors who have been taking part in recent Expo’s will have some new company this year. Public Works Canada has confirmed they are bringing an additional 20 plus exhibitors from a variety of government departments, agencies and crown corporations whose business is helping small and medium size businesses with support programs and services. In addition to the information booths, Public Works will also host breakout sessions with panels addressing topics like “How To Do Business With Government”, “Easing Access to Funding”, and “Start Ups & Innovation”.

Another value-added component this year is the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Luncheon celebrating Manufacturing Month. The CME, a strategic partner of the Chamber, will also host breakout sessions during the day. The Luncheon’s Keynote Speaker will be announced at a later date.

The trade show floor will be a scene of energetic networking as businesses meet new customers and make vendor contacts. Creative and interactive booths are encouraged and rewarded at the Community Futures After-Party and Awards held at the Coast Bastion Hotel. That’s where door prizes and draw winners are announced as well. Businesses position themselves as leaders in their industry and build confidence in their prospects with this cost-effective, face-to-face opportunity to complement their marketing activities.



–  30  –


Kim Smythe, CEO

Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce

250-756-1191, ext 1

Member Profile – June 2016

Sea Salt Logo

Sea Salt Food Company

It started with a recipe book for recreational boaters, and evolved into a company that takes pride in making events memorable, because of the food. That’s Sea Salt Food Company.

With a creative drive, Chef Hilary Malone strives to deliver seasonal menus with flair. She sources ingredients from local farmers and food producers, and like a restaurant fresh sheet, what she can offer in June differs from a menu she creates in August.

This focus on serving local food makes it more challenging, but that’s what makes them stand out. Constantly rewriting menus, Sea Salt Food Company takes approachable ingredients and plays with the flavours. Attention is also given to the visual art of presentation to enhance the experience of enjoying food, and not just for nutrition or energy. Clients feel that the food is special before they even eat it.

Sea Salt Food Company is involved in a variety of events. Private functions are particularly appealing for people with food allergies or sensitivities. Clients enjoy a first class meal, without the worry of contaminated food. And, their kitchen looks like nobody was ever there. Sea Salt also does local weddings, or in other destinations, like Tofino, or even on boats.

Corporate functions have been particularly successful for clients like BMW Mercedes, Vancouver Island University, and Meyers Norris Penny. Clients love the elevated presentation and attention to detail. It impresses their guests, and everybody feels like they’ve had a quality experience.

Sea Salt Food Company also produces gift crates that have some of their own menu items, but also include locally-sourced food and gift items. They make great client or staff appreciation gifts.

For Chamber members who are looking for fun food presented beautifully, for business or personal, contact Chef Hilary at Sea Salt Catering.

Written by Bonnie Chomica

Message from our New Chair, Greg Phillips


It is a pleasure to be your Chair for this upcoming Chamber year. I want to take a few moments to introduce myself for those of you who don’t know me. Aside from a short period in Victoria for law school, I’ve been in Nanaimo for most of the last 15 years. I’m a lawyer with Johnston Franklin Bishop, and I’ve been involved with the Chamber for several years now, first sitting on our Successful Cities Committee before becoming a Director, then Vice-Chair, and now Chair.

The reason I’ve been involved in the Chamber is that I firmly believe that a community is only as strong as the businesses that operate in it, and that is especially true in a community like ours, where the vast majority of business licences issued are to sole proprietors and small partnerships. In other words, our business community IS our arts community, and our social network, and our neighbours, and in many cases, our family.

From the mom-and-pop shops who return their hard-earned money into the local economy to the large-scale operations who donate year after year in support of social or arts and culture events, we need a strong and involved business community because that is the engine that keeps a city vibrant and successful.

By the same token, a Chamber of Commerce is only as strong as the members that make it up. Your board of directors is selected from and by you – to represent you.

At each Chamber Luncheon I will ask the Board of Directors to stand so you can put a face to their names – and that is because these people are here for you. The same goes for our hard-working staff, and our wonderful volunteer Chamber ambassadors. If you are out in the community and you see something in the course of your business that you think the Chamber can help with, I encourage you to reach out to any one of us and let us know.

We are only a small group and can’t be everywhere at once – you are the eyes and ears of our organization, so please never be shy about reaching out. It’s our job, and our commitment to you.