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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best Not-For-Profit Organization

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.

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Nanaimo Launches BC’s Small Business Month

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!

Click here to download PDF.

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best Large Business

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.

Click hereto download PDF.

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The ‘Greening’ of Business in Nanaimo

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.

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best New Business

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.

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Developing Nanaimo’s Economy

Nanaimo’s economy arrived at a ‘sweet spot’ over the last 18 months allowing the business community to boast its lowest unemployment rate in decades and a healthy, growing GDP. Our population is noted to have passed the 100,000 mark evidenced by the release of 2016 census data. We’re seeing signs of that growth in burgeoning building and development statistics.

2019 will go on record as having the highest value of building permits issued in the city’s history. The work to keep pace with demand on real estate partially fuels the growing economy, as much as the people moving here create new business. Major projects by the Port of Nanaimo, Vancouver Island University and the growth of the health care community are some of the major moves.

It’s the perfect time for Nanaimo to take on new endeavours in managing this growth and targeting specific sectors and industries to harness future prosperity. Economic development generates wealth and provides opportunities across the socio-economic spectrum enhancing the quality of life for the whole population.

Targeting economic development efforts at the kind of businesses we want to see grow in Nanaimo is vital to managing a healthy future for ourselves, our kids and grandkids. Aiming our sights on clean, green businesses that employ numbers of people in family-sustaining careers is an obvious goal, and preparing our community to welcome, support, and retain these kinds of businesses is essential to economic development.

Nanaimo is embarking on new economic development initiatives. After a rocky experience with its municipal corporation – the NEDC—City Council is identifying new ways to manage the future. Actions are currently underway that will see a much more active role by Council, civil servants, community economic development stakeholders like the Chamber to take advantage of this ‘sweet spot’.

Now is the time to direct actions and investments towards attracting business outside of our community to consider Nanaimo for entrepreneurial startups, relocation of established businesses and expansion of those already in place. Nanaimo’s new economic development activities are destined to do just that.

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2019 Nanaimo Business Awards – Best in Builders and Trades

Safety, Service, and Reliability

Congratulations West Coast Helicopters on winning the award for best in Builders and Trades in the 2019 Nanaimo Business Awards!  West Coast Helicopters offers a versatile aerial approach to support remote construction jobs across Vancouver Island.  Whether it be moving crews, slinging construction material or pouring concrete, West Coast Helicopters always finds a way to get the job done.  Their maintenance staff has also provided reliable and professional service to many other helicopter outfits over the years.

“It was a great honour for all of us at West Coast Helicopters to receive this award.  We have serviced the builders and trades community of greater Nanaimo for more than 20 years now and to be recognized in this way brings a great deal of pride to our team.  Showcasing this award on our front desk and across our social media platforms has reinforced what our committed clientele has already come to know of our service.”

West Coast Helicopters has grown so much as a company and would love to extend their services into the tourism industry here in Nanaimo.  They know of the growth and potential within the tourism sector and believe they “can offer a very exciting element to any tour package looking for a beautiful thrill!”

Check out their website at www.westcoasthelicopters.com, like them on Facebook at West Coast Helicopters Maintenance & Contracting Ltd., or follow them on Instagram at @westcoasthelicopters!

Click here to download PDF.

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The “Busy-ness” of Nanaimo’s Summer Events

It starts a little earlier every year, but by Canada Day our city is into festivals and special events full swing! It’s become part of our rising brand – a city of special events and entertainment. From our parks and waterfront, to our downtown streets and event venues, there are not many idle nights or weekends until we head back to school in the fall.

What started as a way to raise a little money for our hospital and show support for breast cancer victims and survivors has turned into one of the city’s biggest events – the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival on the weekend after Canada Day. Slightly more than two dozen boats showed up the first year, and now we often see up to 80 teams competing over the weekend. Almost every hotel room in the city is booked for visitors to this event that welcomes international guests as well as locals. Restaurants, bars, and shops fill up and tens of thousands of dollars are raised annually in this celebration with every penny going to the fight against breast cancer at NRGH. The financial impact of this one event on our community is massive.

Just one weekend later and Nanaimo returns to the waterfront at Maffeo-Sutton Park for the annual Silly Boat Regatta. Over $110,000 was raised for Nanaimo’s Child Development Centre last year, a goal sure to be surpassed with participation increasing annually. Businesses and organizations

© 2019 HA Photography, 2019 Nanaimo Silly Boat Regatta.

compete to raise funds and then collaborate to build all forms of wacky craft and race out to a marker buoy and back without sinking. Fortunately, for the fun of the audience, not that many make it. There are all sorts of fundraising events attached to the day and it seems like most of Nanaimo’s population is in the park.

The following week it’s the annual celebration of the spirit of Nanaimo at the Marine Festival and World Championship Bathtub Race which draws throngs of visitors from outside of Nanaimo to figure out what makes us want to race bathtubs on our waterfront – a spectacle created by none other than our famous Mayor “Black Frank” Ney. They might not figure it out but they’ll have a ton of fun trying and leave a lot of money at Nanaimo businesses in the meantime.

Space here prevents me from mentioning much about things like Thursday evening’s Commercial Street Night Market, Concerts in the Park, Infringing Dance Festival, Wheel-o-Rama Festival, VIEX, Fringe Festival, Summertime Blues Festival, the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship Qualifier…

The point is – Nanaimo is turning into a city of festivals and it’s making cash registers ring while we put smiles on people’s faces and emerge as an Island leader in how to celebrate summer.