Modern day Squamish is built on the passion and vision of local entrepreneurs and small business owners. Last month, I had the pleasure of meeting with some amazing local business owners to talk about what brought them to town and the biggest rewards and challenges of running their own business. Throughout this four part series we will introduce you to some of the amazing people behind your favourite local businesses.
One consistent theme that surfaced repeatedly in these interviews was the attraction to the lifestyle and outdoor nature that unites our town. We have already introduced you to The Freshies and The Take Offs , which are classified as being open for up to five years in Squamish. So without further ado,
Please Meet: The Rooted
In part three of our series, we chatted with business owners who have been in business for five to ten years. We refer to these folks as “The Rooted”. 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
The Watershed Grill | Brandy
“It only takes one person’s smile to change your day.”
Guests are welcomed to The Watershed Grill with a warmth and energy that makes you feel at home. Seven years ago, Brandy was headhunted to join the team at this rustic riverside restaurant. From the moment she walked up the stairs and saw the view, Brandy knew with every fiber of her being that she wanted to own the place. So when the chance to buy into the restaurant presented itself, she jumped on the opportunity. Combining an authentic passion for people, with a stunning location on the Squamish River, The Watershed Grill is a favourite place for locals to hang and eat.
Having lived in Squamish for 17 years, Brandy has experienced first hand the transition from a logging town to more tourism-based economy. She is excited to see the growth and evolution of our community, the influx of more creative and passionate people like herself who are happy to call Squamish home.
Drop by The Watershed Grill and enjoy a Riverside Caesar on the award-winning patio rain or shine. Sit back, sip slowly, and let the beauty of the nature take your stress away.
Lucas Tea | Matt
“I’ve always loved Tea and the Tranquility it offers”
Photo: Monique Napier Photography
It was climbing that originally brought Matt to Squamish in the year 2000. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to put his roots down at that time, instead pursuing his education in Victoria before travelling and working in Vancouver’s film industry. Despite the fact that his life wasn’t based here, Matt was back here every chance he got. He knew he eventually wanted to stay and live in Squamish.
One special day, after exploring Squamish and counting foot traffic in downtown, Matt spotted a “for lease” sign at his current location on Cleveland Ave. He knew right then it was the perfect place. Lucas Tea opened in 2011, combining Matt’s passion for tea and his love of the Squamish lifestyle. When asked about how his passion for tea developed, he calmly replied, “I’ve always loved tea and the tranquility that it offers.”
Matt cares about the quality of his tea. This family-run business puts a lot of thought into the quality of their product.
Alpine Hand Clinic | Celine
“Get Your Grip Back”
In 1997, Celine became a Certified Hand Therapist. That same year she moved to British Columbia. Ten years later the entrepreneur in her surfaced when she opened her first clinic in Surrey, Coastal Hand Therapy. In 2012, Celine expanded her business, offering services to the Sea to Sky region, opening the Alpine Hand Clinic here in Squamish. After splitting her time commuting between the two clinics, Celine made the move to Squamish three years ago.
Living locally, she enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle. When not spending time on the water or in the snow, Celine loves to travel, especially with family and friends. Despite her active, busy life Celine continues to be restless, so she decided to join the Squamish dragon boat team as well (when she’s not riding her motorcycle that is).
Nate Solutions | Nate
“Bringing Shiny Back”
Nate Kelly is the founder and CEO of Nate Solutions Inc., a home detailing company that helps home-owners maintain their most valuable asset. He lives here in Squamish, where his biggest passions for sports like snowboarding and mountain biking can come alive in the incredible backcountry.
Nate started his company at the young age of 21. Beginning with just one truck and a great idea, he has grown Nate Solutions Inc. into a reputable and well-established home detailing business that now serves the entire Sea to Sky region as well as the North Shore. Complete with a fleet of five branded vehicles and a strong professional team to back it.
Nate is an entrepreneur recognized for his passion, vision and customer service based approach. Nate Solutions Inc. is known as an expert in the home detailing business, one that applies branding and a strong customer focus to a traditional, service-based industry.
Garibaldi Events | Shannon
“The most rewarding part about running my own business is the empowerment of following my voice and instincts”
Photo: Ainsley Rose Photography
Shannon is the owner of Garibaldi Events & Design, working with clients like the Sea to Sky Gondola, Refresh Market and Squamish Mothers in Business including recent contracts with GranFondo Canada and the District of Squamish. She followed her heart to Squamish 13 years ago and quickly settled into the small town lifestyle.
Her experience with event planning started at Furry Creek Golf & Country Club, where she worked the busy event season from March to October, helping coordinate and execute over 150 weddings and events in a four-year time period. This smaller venue allowed Shannon to be exposed to all aspects of event planning. Her next job was with the famous and inspiring TED Conferences, where she had the opportunity to work with high-profile clientele such as Jamie Oliver and his team onsite in Long Beach. While working for these conferences was definitely a high-stress job and rewarding, it offered Shannon many invaluable lessons in a short period of time. It inspired her to find a work-life balance for her and her family. So she struck out on her own as an event contractor, with TED becoming her first client.
Shannon says the most rewarding part about running her own business is the empowerment of following her own voice and instincts. With so many variables in event planning it is necessary to feel the confidence to make the right decisions. Time and experience helps.
Be sure to join Shannon and her partner Rachel for their seasonal Refresh Markets to experience her event planning skills in person and find some amazing fares from local vendors.
Bungalow 968 | Megan
“Squamish is more than just adventure, we have a wonderful and vibrant arts and culture community”
Megan is an entrepreneur at heart with a passion for helping people. Her diverse background covers working in both the public and private sectors, with start-ups in a range of industries including arts, retail, accommodation, food services, forestry, mining and tourism.
Having previously built two successful businesses of her own, as well as co-creating multiple, diverse ventures across a broad range of industries, Meg loves the process of building a business from the ground up. The part she most enjoys is fostering a genuine connection and sense of community through collaboration. She does this by drawing on her personal experiences to compel others to take bold steps in their own business and in life.
Join Megan for one of the upcoming entrepreneurial workshops at Bungalow 968 or check out the collaborative work space at her shop called “The Study”.
Be Clean Naturally | Kirstin
“The more I learn, the more I want to create.”
Photo: Lindsay Cornwell
Born and raised in Squamish, Kirstin worked in a variety of different occupations, each experience giving her the building blocks and necessary skills to successfully launch her own business. Be Clean Naturally started as a home-based business making organic soap to sell at craft fairs and farmers markets. After struggling with acne for over 18 years and trying many different approaches to heal it, Kirstin met her partner, who had allergies to many of the ingredients found in store-bought soaps and beauty products.
After adapting to her partner’s natural skin care regime, Kirstin found that her acne disappeared. This was the catalyst that inspired her to create her own line of organic and natural soaps and skin products. Be Clean Naturally has now grown from a home-based businesses into a national success story.
Kirstin’s approach is simple yet powerful: to make quality, organic products that she herself would use, and that align with her values while remaining open to learning and growing along the way. Her successful business is built on these strong standards that resonate with the customer.
When you visit her store on Cleveland Ave., you will find products made from the heart, products that value sustainability in a world where many people still discard their beauty products. Stop by and check out Be Clean Naturally for all your organic and sustainable beauty products and support a wonderful local business.
For more insider advice and awesome stories from local business owners, click below :
[NEXT UP] Meet the Trailblazers: Stories from the Entrepreneurs in Squamish – Pt 4: The Masters