Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island is a not for profit organization with a mission to provide affordable homeownership opportunities to families across the Mid-Vancouver Island Region.  Safe, decent, and affordable housing can have a transformative impact on families and on the communities in which they live.  Research shows that kids do better in school, parents’ employment prospects improve, and families are happier and better equipped to face life’s challenges after moving into a Habitat home.

Habitat for Humanity raise funds via their two ReStores, which sell new and used building supplies, home décor, furniture, and lighting, as well as through donations. With the support of their volunteers and community supporters they can build homes for families experiencing housing poverty who would not qualify for a regular mortgage.

Winning this award was “wonderful as it showed us that our local community in Nanaimo is supportive of our mission and understands what we are working to achieve.”

The impact of the winning the award has been to encourage everyone at Habitat for Humanity to think about how they can go even further to meet their Corporate Social Responsibility goals.  For example, they are looking at working with local contractors to divert even more waste from landfill, they are planning to hold community clean up events, and they have big ambitions to be able to provide more affordable homes for local families than ever before.

Habitat for Humanity has a busy few years ahead of them with home builds planned for the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo and will hopefully be expanding into other parts of the Mid-Island region. They would like to welcome more volunteers into our ReStores and onto our Build Sites and keep connecting with communities at local events.

Check out their website at www.habitatmvi.org, like them on Facebook at Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island, or follow them on Instagram at @habitatmvi!

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NANAIMO – September 11, 2019

NANAIMO CHAMBER ANNOUNCES FEDERAL ELECTION CANDIDATES’ FORUM

The Nanaimo Chamber announces it will be holding a Candidates Forum for the October 21 federal election announced today.

“We now have confirmation from the four candidates that will be attending,” according to Kim Smythe, Chamber CEO, “This would include Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; and current Member of Parliament Paul Manly of the Green Party. Ian Holmes of Nanaimo News Now will moderate.”

The Forum will be held in Beban Park Social Centre on Thursday, October 10 with the doors opening for a Candidate Meet and Greet at 5:30 pm. The debate among the candidates will begin at 7:00 pm. Questions will be accepted in advance at info@nanaimochamber.bc.ca and during the event. The event will be live-streamed.

Smythe continued, “The cost of these events continues to be a challenge for the Chamber so we’re very appreciative of the financial support offered by Vancouver Island University, Canadian Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Federal Retirees plus our media supporters”.

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For more information:

KIM SMYTHE: 250-756-1191

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Living Better Starts Here

Alair is a Custom Contracting Company that offer its clients, partners, trade partners, and employees a unique, high quality, and fully transparent experience.  The result of each project is a beautiful, custom-built, and expertly crafted home.  More importantly, Alair delivers a positive experience with life-changing results.

Alair was thrilled to have won the award.  “We’re very flattered to receive the award and its recognition is of great help in standing out in a very competitive industry.”  Acknowledging the competition of custom contractors here in Nanaimo, winning the award is bringing a new light to them

One thing Alair Homes is looking forward to in the future is help improve peoples lives through home happiness. They feel they are in “the human life improvement business and not the construction industry.”  They operate with the viewpoint that their greatest competitive advantage lies with the personal relationships formed between all team members across Alair.

Check out their website at www.alairhomes.ca/nanaimo, like them on Facebook at Alair Homes Nanaimo, or follow them on Instagram at @alairhomesnanaimo!

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The Mahle House Restaurant is a second generation locally owned business in the semi-rural community of Cedar.  They are a casual fine dining establishment specializing in creating outstanding guest memories.  Situated in a charming 1904 home originally built as a farm house their tables are hand made and each are individually unique, crafted from timbers from an old sawmill and built less than 300 yards from our door by a local artisan.

What sets The Mahle House apart from most Nanaimo restaurants is their approach to ‘farm to fork’.  While they do support the local farming community, The Mahle House does rely on their own farm for the majority of the produce they use.  They have over 2000 square feet of planted garden beds and a variety of vegetables and herbs. In recent years they have also added pigs to the farm and raise a few heritage animals that feature heavily in our charcuterie program.  It really gives them “a sense of pride to be able to serve [their] guests with bounty that [they] have produced ourselves.”

Winning the Nanaimo Chamber Award has helped to elevate their profile in the community and to increase awareness about who The Mahle House is and what they do.  Desipte being around since 1983 there are still many who have never experienced their hospitality.  This award has certainly encouraged diners to seek them out for the first time.  Next on the horizon for The Mahle House is to make even better use of their ‘farm’.  Each year they learn a little more about where, what, and when to grow.

Check out their website at www.mahlehouse.ca, like them on Facebook at Mahle House Restaurant, check them out on Twitter at @mahlehouse or follow them on Instagram at @mahlehouse!

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Loaves and Fishes Food Bank operates a nation leading Food Recovery Program that ensures good food does not end up in the landfill, but instead in the hands of people that can use it.  This program ensures there is an abundance of food for people in need in our community.  Additionally Loaves and Fishes provides food free of charge to over 80 other non-profits and schools.

Loaves and Fishes is “honoured that [their] hard work and dedication to serving the most vulnerable in our community has been recognized by the Chamber of Commerce.”  Their work has also been recognized within the community.   This honour has helped draw attention to the work we do and the positive impact it is having on people’s lives.

Looking to the future, Loaves and Fishes is hoping to bring on more grocery store partners.  In doing this they hope to increase the amount of food available in the community.  They are also looking at starting up additional locations where people can access food.

Check out their website at www.nanaimoloavesandfishes.org, like them on Facebook at Nanaimo Loaves & Fishes Community Food Bank, or follow them on Twitter at @nanaimofoodbank!

Click here to download the PDF.

Nanaimo • September 16, 2019

EXPORT FORUM AN ADDED ATTRACTION TO BUSINESS EXPO

Business Expo, the Chamber’s salute to Small Business Month in BC, is launching the Vancouver Island Export Forum as an added attraction at the Expo on October 3 in the VICC. Export traffic from Nanaimo to destinations regionally and around the world are growing. New tools are available to support those exporting from the mid-Island and the Forum will reveal some of these.

The Island’s Foreign Trade Zone designation, the Port Authority’s Short Sea Shipping advantages, the opening of Export Navigator offices here, and recent rapid growth of advanced manufacturing on the Island were all good reasons to launch the Forum now.

“Whether your business is actively involved in export trade, or you count manufacturers and exporters among your clients and colleagues, this is an opportunity to gain an advantage early in the game. Advanced-manufacturing and exporting is a rapidly growing sector of the local economy” according to Kim Smythe of the Nanaimo Chamber.

A panel including George Hanson of VIEA, Fabrizio Alberico of Export Navigator, John Juricic with the Island Manufacturing Council, and others will be in attendance. The event starts at 1:00 pm in the Departure Bay Room at VICC and is co-presented by the Nanaimo Chamber and Young Professionals of Nanaimo.

At 2 pm, the Forum highlights a team from the Belgian Trade Commission, encouraging export to Europe by taking advantage of the new Canada Europe Trade Agreement. With trade conditions becoming more complicated with current trade partners, CETA becomes even more attractive.

Help kick off Small Business Month in BC and find out what’s happening with business in Nanaimo today – attendance is free! Register now for the forum!

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Harmac Pacific is a green power generating facility and a 400,000 metric tonnes per year of Northern Bleached Kraft Pulp business.  Their products are 100% produced from regional sawmill and timber harvesting waste.  Their wood pulp is sold all over the world to produce high quality paper, packaging, and other materials essential to supporting a healthy and educated society.

Harmac Pacific makes unique products but what really sets it apart from the competition is the ownership structure since 2008.  The 340 employees own one-quarter of the company, are represented on the board of directors, and directly share in the financial success of the business.  Harmac’s employees are highly motivated to perform their best all the time.  The other shareholders in the business are committed to long-term success, demonstrating this through supporting the reinvestment of $200 million since 2008.

Among Harmac’s employees, winning the award rekindles the feeling of pride and power in their business model. It has also helped draw attention from other businesses looking to partner with them in synergistic ways.  Harmac Pacific continues to invest in its long-term future with an eye on improving competitiveness through ongoing equipment upgrades and strategic acquisitions.

To learn more about Harman Pacific and what they do in our community visit their website at www.harmacpacific.com.

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Our new City Council has taken some major steps toward Nanaimo evolving as a community firmly committed to a ‘greener’ future.  Following Council’s declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ in April, they have begun adopting policies that reflect shifting municipal philosophies to address some of the elements of human-influenced climate change.

They’ve made changes to city planning to increase our community’s walkability while appealing to the province for more transit hours to create the greatest single expansion of public transit service in our history. City staff are working on recommendations to Council on ways to regulate single use consumer plastic bags. We’ve long been targeting ‘zero waste’ in attempts to divert as much as possible from our landfill and extend its life while also encouraging citizens to reduce their water and energy use. As much as legislated actions will help minimize climate change, we need to strike initiatives on our own in our businesses and our homes.

Committing to a major shift in our thinking and practices is vital to extending our lease on this planet. This longer lease will give us more time to figure out how to balance, or more fully integrate, environmental concerns with a heathy and strong economy for the future. Rather than looking at managing climate change as an expense, business needs to look at the opportunities to create efficiencies through enhanced energy management, waste diversion, reduction and reuse activities, and other green initiatives.

Seeking out potential business opportunities in this new economy is paramount in unison with the motive of saving money and protecting the planet for future generations. Businesses are doing this in a wide and diverse manner. There are a number of local businesses either operating, expanding or planning on opening to serve new markets created by this ‘green’ shift in our thinking and actions. The term coined to describe this approach is ‘the circular economy’. Take a look around and see where what actions you’re taking and how you’re impacted by this emerging economy.

Live·Laugh·Eat/Repeat

Famous Franks, the winner of the New Business Award in the 2019 Nanaimo Business Awards, is a small, local business that sells comfort food fast and fresh.  You can find them located at Nanaimo Northtown Centre beside Canadian Tire most days, at events across Vancouver Island, and at the Commercial Street Night Market on Thursday nights throughout the summer.

Famous Franks strives to provide their customers with the freshest ingredients.  They also are big supports of other local businesses such as Cobs, who provides all their fresh baked buns.  Their goal is to bring you comfort food made fresh in minutes.

Their chef, Tao Breese, is “a bombastic man with charisma and an explosive personality” who “enjoy[s] meeting new people, learning new things, and keeping people happy.”

Famous Franks is honoured to have been recognized by the community as the Best New Business in Nanaimo in 2019.  To them, the awards shows the hark work and dedication they have put in over the last few years to realize their dream of “bringing comfort food to Nanaimo in minutes.”  Since winning the award there are plans in the works to expand their menu and add another food truck to better serve Vancouver Island.

Check out their website at famousfranks.ca, like them on Facebook at Famous Franks Nanaimo, or follow them on Instagram at @famousfranks!

Click here to download PDF.