Modern day Squamish is built on the passion and vision of local entrepreneurs and small business owners. Last month I had the pleasure of connecting with 27 local Squamish business owners. We spoke about what brought them to town and the biggest rewards and challenges of running their own business. One consistent theme that surfaced repeatedly in these interviews was the attraction to the lifestyle and outdoor nature that unites our town.

Throughout this four part series we will introduce you to some of the amazing people behind your favourite local businesses. In a small, but rapidly growing community without major industry it is up to these creative and driven people to initiate opportunity and stimulate the local economy.  We hope you enjoy this series, and with out further ado:, 

Meet The Trail Blazers:

In the first part of our series, we chatted with business owners who have been in business up to two years. We refer to these folks as “The Freshies”. As a community we are lucky to have an incredible mix of intelligent, focused and generally awesome entrepreneurs. Show your love, share this article and help support these local businesses.

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Backcountry Brewing | Ben, Adam, John, Marc and Ranjiv

“BEER – Be Excellent, Earn Respect.”

Just one owner missing… is he behind the camera? Photo: https://www.instagram.com/backcountrybrewing/

What started as a casual conversation between Marc and Ben over a beer (no surprise!) sparked the desire and intention to start their own brewery. Within three years they found the right partners to complement their skillsets in Adam, John and Ranjiv. So it began. To stay on track, the team of five had weekly meetings to discuss the development and vision of the brewery.  When an opportunity to rent a warehouse in Squamish materialized they jumped on it. “With such an active and outdoor lifestyle, Squamish is perfectly paired with our brand,” said Marc.

Each of the five partners brings a unique perspective to the business, creating a recipe for success. These combined differences are evident in the delicious beer they brew and the community atmosphere you feel at Backcountry Brewing.

Opened April 1st, Backcountry Brewing offers a tasting room, growler station, tasty pizza and brewery tours. Squamish has already embraced this new business wholeheartedly, be sure to check them out on Commercial Way. Our tip: Try a pint of the Widow Maker paired with a Forager Pizza.  

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The Green Moustache | Jennifer

“Squamish is an inspiring place, so many entrepreneurs and small businesses.
A great support network and just a beautiful place to be.” 

Just a girl and her greens.  photo: https://www.instagram.com/jenniferjust/

After attending one raw food workshop in Squamish, Jennifer discovered her passion for nutrition and her new career path was set. She signed up for a holistic nutrition course in Vancouver and upon completion, worked at The Green Moustache in Whistler. Green Moustache Founder, Nicolette, built her business on a passion and knowledge of the healing powers of nutritious and detoxifying foods. Nicolette was Jennifer’s mentor and provided her with the guidance, skills and inspiration to take her career to the next step. Jennifer commuted from Squamish each day to work at The Green Mustache in Whistler, while learning the ins and outs of managing a business.

Combining her passion for nutritious food with a business that aligned with her personal goals and values, Jennifer opened the first franchise of The Green Moustache to the welcoming community of Squamish. Jennifer says, “Squamish is a young, driven and active community. A healthy lifestyle is crucial to keeping people active and vibrant for years of adventure.”

Be sure to stop by and say hello to Jennifer and her team at The Green Moustache to find a great selection of gluten-free, vegan & organic foods…because nothing tastes as good as healthy feels!

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Moksha Yoga Squamish | Troy & Kristy

“Trust in the Unknown.”

                    Where their Squamish story started. Photo: Submitted

During a cross-Canada road trip, Kristy and Troy had only a day and a half to explore Squamish. They were immediately captivated by the natural beauty of our ocean side town. “This feels like home,” Kristy told Troy and they made the decision to move. Returning to finish off their year of teaching in Ontario, they listed both of their homes and moved to Squamish. Within only 18 months of settling in Squamish, they bought a condo and opened their own yoga studio – Moksha Yoga.

Moksha is a place of community, healing and warmth, and you feel it the moment you walk through their doors. Their vision for a yoga studio built with a love, comes from seeing an opportunity that aligns with their own personal values and the values of the Squamish community as a whole. The details and design have all come together to create a unique yoga studio in Squamish that is open to all.

This amazing couple embraces the unknown together and their passion and warmth shine through when you visit Moksha Squamish. Be sure to stay tuned for the full interview, coming soon!

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Sandbox Marketing | Laura

“Where great brands come to play.”

Deep thoughts about how to help you clarify your message and grow your business. Photo: Submitted

Laura has a smile that radiates energy and excitement! She left Vancouver a year and a half ago and dove wholeheartedly into the Squamish community. Laura’s vast experience would put her in “The Masters”  category of this four part series,  however,  we included Sandbox Marketing in this section as it is new and fresh to Squamish. With vast experience working with startups to Fortune 500 companies, Laura brings her broad-based skill set to help local Squamish businesses lay the correct marketing foundation to build on.

Sandbox Marketing focuses on branding and strategic marketing programs for dynamic business owners. Laura helps to clarify her clients’ authentic message to position themselves in the marketplace and consistently communicate their unique value. Her straight-forward process integrates online and offline marketing strategies.

Part storyteller and part architect, Laura knows how to grab attention and convert browsers into buyers. In a community fueled by entrepreneurs and small business owners, her marketing skills are sure to help Squamish businesses grow and increase sales.

If you need marketing help and not sure where to start, Laura offers a 30-minute complimentary consultation (best shared over a cup of tea).

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One Tree Wellness | Jenna O

My real (and amazing) work is to create a space for people to feel like themselves, beauty and baggage included.”

calm mind and calm soul. Photo: http://www.onetreesquamish.com/

With a heart of gold and an adventurous spirit,  Jenna Olsthoorn moved to Squamish two years ago to live where the mountains and ocean collide. Jenna opened One Tree Wellness in 2015 with the aim of providing the community access to her tree-like branches of complete Self care and stress reduction techniques. She is an RMT, teaches traditional yoga, is adamant about daily meditation practices, and offers holistic detox retreats both locally and abroad.  Jenna shares her specific skills with each client while coaching them to develop healthy habits and shows them how to take actionable steps in their daily lives. She offers unwavering support and has helped many people achieve their health goals including pain reduction, work-life balance, and overall clarity.

One Tree Wellness provides guidance for mental, physical and emotional relaxation through yoga, meditation + mental training techniques, nourishing retreats and massage therapy.

At times, life can be very busy and stressful.  I have luckily experienced Jenna’s peaceful and potent workshops and yoga retreats.  They are the best gift I’ve given to myself in this fast-paced, busy world.  Reach out to Jenna at One Tree Wellness to grow your roots deep, and branch into wellness.

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Core Intentions | Andi & Vic

“My Favourite thing about Squamish is the energy and the passion that everyone has here for what they love.” – Andi

Combing their passions through Core Intentions Photo: http://www.coreintentions.com/

Andi and Vic fell in love with Squamish after only a few visits from Vancouver. They were looking for a town to settle in and put down roots. The intention was to find a community where they could run a business and raise their family. The outdoorsy nature of Squamish seemed like a perfect fit to complement their passion for fitness and wellness. They wanted to create a studio that combined both of their skill sets while bringing something unique to the fitness community.

Andi discovered Pilates in London and instantly fell in love with it. She followed her passion to Boulder, Colorado where she pursued training. The Boulder Pilates Center is known for being the most comprehensive and intense training center in North America.  

Vic has spent more than 20 years studying and teaching yoga along with human physiology and consciousness. Among his many qualifications and certifications, Victor is certified as a Yoga Teacher from the prestigious Semperviva Hatha Teacher Training program in Vancouver. He has a passion for Aerial and Vinyasa Yoga and brings his “love of hanging from things” to Core Intentions.

Core Intentions opened last August and offer Pilates, Yoga, and Aerial Yoga with the goal of creating balance in your body. Be sure to book a class and try out their top of the line Pilates equipment.

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MTN Fun Basecamp | Rachael and Brad

“We fell in love with the place on the first visit, I knew at that moment that we would become campground owners. ” Rachael

In the past, Rachael and Brad visited Squamish many times to mountain bike and enjoy the outdoors. On one of their visits a friend asked, “Why aren’t you guys living here?” With no real answer to give, they responded by moving to Squamish in December, 2015. They wanted to live in an active community where their kids could play outside and knew Squamish was the perfect place. The town drew them in and they started looking for business opportunities that aligned with their love of the outdoors and biking.

When a local campground came up for sale, they went for a visit and immediately fell in love with the property. “It was just an amazing place – so beautiful, close to town and yet it still felt like a hidden gem. We knew this was what we wanted to do so we made it work.” Rachael said.

Taking over what was previously Wonderland Campground in the summer of 2016, They have re-branded as MTN Fun Basecamp. This summer will be the start of a bike shuttle program – guests will be dropped off at the top of the most incredible bike trails, enjoy the wind in their hair on the way down, then jump in a lake to cool off and end the day back at the campground with dinner by a campfire.

If you’re looking for a great family-run campground and hotel, be sure to check out MTN Fun Basecamp this summer.

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For more insider advice and awesome stories from local business owners, click below to read the next part of our series: The Take Offs. Businesses who have been established in Squamish for two to five years.

[NEXT UP] Meet the Trailblazers: Stories from the Entrepreneurs in Squamish – Pt 2: The Take Offs

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