Business Vancouver Island: Podcast #3 Vancouver Island Businesses

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Kael: Welcome to another Business Vancouver Island podcast, I’m your host Kael Campbell, and my co-host is:

John: John Keirstead.

Kael: John we’re going to chat about the what of doing business on Vancouver Island and what type of business do you do on Vancouver Island.

John: Well, I mean obviously there’s a specific types of businesses that you can do here but I mean, the island has people, people all have certain needs so all the regular businesses that you think about, like a grocery store or restaurant or corner store or any of those things, all of those business still exist, but there’s a lot of specialty businesses because the island as well. I particularly noticed that there’s a lot of artisans and small little wineries and you know, special you know I think it was cheese, you know they’re making cheese and, yeah so there’s a lot of unique type of businesses as well.

Kael: Yeah, and definitely if you just look at the boat building business on Vancouver Island, there’s amazing infrastructure related to boat and fishing, commercial and recreational as well, you know, those people might have learned their welding trade or their boat building trade, a place like Filbrooks out if Sydney or might have learned under a boat builder in the United States and come here and start their business, or started as a welder on another business that might have built a few boats on the side, so it’s amazing how either somebody just picking up a trade like welding.

John: Yeah.

Kael: And turn it into a multi-million dollar business on Vancouver Island, or even a hobby, I was turned on a little bit to wind surfing and kite surfing recently and found out that there’s a business with you know, 20 to 30 employees, all focused on teaching people how to kite surf and wind surf.

John: Amazing.

Kael: Yeah so.

John: Interesting.

Kael: People are able to change their hobbies into real businesses on Vancouver Island which is amazing.

John: Well, like surfing, I couldn’t believe that there is a, I didn’t know that you could surf on Vancouver Island, I had no idea and then my neighbour, he’s like every weekend you see him off with the, you know he’s got the van and the surf boards and off they go and I didn’t realize this, it’s like world renowned surfing. And you know that’s something that you could really only do in very specific places, who would have thought you could do that on Vancouver Island? There’s also a lot of recreational based businesses like you know, hiking tours, and one of the times down in Vancouver, they have walking tours where they tell you the history and stuff of the place I’m just like ‘cool!’ it’s a business you’d never hear off from Edmonton for instance, so yeah, you know you can turn your hobbies, wineries is a big one, I’ve seen, there’s just an explosion of little tiny wineries and Marydale side or Street by Us, the Unsworth winery, and now with the new rules that we’ve recently passed in VC for wineries, they had these great little restaurants and stuff on them and serving fantastic food menu, I was blown away at how great the chefs are in these little you know, mom and pop’s sort of husband and wife restaurants, right?

Kael: Yeah, and you know, some of us can’t afford to move to Vancouver Island and buy up a.

John: A winery?

Kael: At a state to build a winery or have that investment but others, you know I know a great trades person who had a tilling business, Ian, and he’s reinventing himself, started a second business, he’s a co-owner of Ales of Ashford, a new brewery that specializes in a lot of sour beers.

John: Oh, interesting.

Kael: And yeah, just looking at the brewery business on Vancouver Island, we’ve got some major heavy hitters and then some microbreweries that are also doing quite well, both selling well locally to tourism and locals, but also exporting their beers internationally and throughout VC and across Canada, so it’s amazing how much business you can do on Vancouver Island, and it’s changing as well, I think in our first episode I mentioned my friend who started a tow-truck business, you know he had no advertising and he was able to get customers almost right away through google ad words.

John: Hmm, yeah.

Kael: What other ways are people kind of kick starting or getting their business started these days?

John: Well, I mean we use the internet, I mean nowadays it seems that if you want to buy anything, the first thing you do is type it into google and see what people are saying about it, we certainly do that with our business, Facebook groups and stuff, chatting about stuff, and then just good old fashion guerrilla marketing. Getting out there and showing wherever it is. What I find interesting, especially with a lot of the artisan type businesses and stuff, there’s a lot of fairs and you know, county fairs, and yeah I was surprised, it’s like we have the best chicken, you know, like the rooster and the best pie and the best jam, and I was like, man, this is like really old school type stuff, but I just loved it, my kids love it, right? You know, are there other forms of marketing that are unique to the island? That I don’t know.

Kael: Yeah, I mean definitely if you go back to surfing, I have a friend Katherine Brueiller, she owns a surf and stand up paddle board shop and also is an instructor and you know, she’s managed to get some national advertising by partnering up with some major brands who want to film things on Vancouver Island so she’s done what I believe an ad with four of that I saw featured in NHL hockey game so you know.

John: Well, look at the Maple leaf adventures with their environmental eco vacations to see you know, the great barrier force and all of these different very unique island I guess they’re just very unique cultural things that we can go on and I’m actually going on one of those trips, I’m looking very much forward to it in May, but yeah, we’ve got this really unique environment, and I think there’s a lot of businesses around that, I think the first thing every time people come to the island here, we take them to go see the big trees and the, you know all the islandy things to do I guess.

Kael: Yeah. Well, exactly, and one of the big things that I think we’ll touch on in the future podcast or all of the businesses that support all of those businesses as well, right? So we’ve got great consumer businesses for both residence and tourist, and also we export a lot of that stuff, you just mentioned the Imax film making, there’s some great companies, a drone filming company, there’s some great production companies here on Vancouver Island that are able to export so it’s amazing what we have here and what people are doing for businesses on Vancouver Island.

John: Cool.

Kael: Alright, thanks so much John, thanks Dennis and thanks Kevin who’s doing our theme music and thanks EO Vancouver Island, our sponsors, I will be mentioning them a lot more in future podcasts.

John: Absolutely, thanks for having me.

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