Gibsons Public Market
The public market will be a new community hub for the Sunshine Coast, opening in Fall 2016.
The Gibsons Public Market is a community project that will inspire and support economic activities in the region. The public market will be a destination for Sunshine Coast residents and visitors of all ages where all will be welcome to convene and learn, laugh, enjoy local food, fresh produce, art and entertainment. The public market will provide space for community activities, guest speakers, a marine education centre, a community kitchen, special events and a restaurant.
Rhiza Capital Inc.
Work Hub 2 is up and running
We are pleased to offer work spaces at very reasonable monthly and hourly rates, conveniently located in downtown Sechelt.
Resorts of the Sunshine Coast
The growth of the hospitality industry in Pender Harbour has created more than just jobs and a means of funnelling international dollars into the rural community – for some it has been the chance to achieve a dream. When Pete Laurie and his wife Suzanne decided they needed a lifestyle change, the goal they set for themselves was “the work we love, with the people we love, in a place we love.” They knew Egmont was the perfect location to launch the Backeddy Resort and Marina. With the picturesque backdrop of the Sechelt Inlet amidst quiet and serene surroundings, the Lauries knew they'd have no trouble ensuring their customers left feeling better than when they arrived. But they also knew that selling a commercial bank on a dream would be a difficult task.
They needed a lender with local knowledge. “We talked to Community Futures and of course knowing we'd expand the business, create local employment and so on, they got behind us right away,” Pete said. During the initial acquisition and through the numerous expansions that followed, the Back Eddy and Community Futures partnered to deliver jobs and growth to the village of Egmont. “They're more like dealing with an old time bank, where you kind of knew them and they knew you and your business,” Pete explained while showing off one of the resort's new waterfront cabins. “They were there to make it work.” While the Back Eddy had targeted a rather domestic market, just down the road the West Coast Wilderness Lodge has been drawing international visitors to Egmont by the thousands. Capturing those visitors has necessarily meant spending money on expansion. For instance, the purchase of a Zodiac helped the lodge generate an additional $50,000 annually by growing their adventure program. Owner Paul Hansen also invested in the construction of a spa, something he shows off with great pride. Where previously a staircase straddled the main building, the entrepreneur added a hot tub, restaurant patio and multiple relaxation treatment rooms.
“The good thing about Community Futures is that they understand the local economics and opportunities,” Hansen said. “Each loan is assessed and approved by their board, made up of others working in the business. They took on the little extra risk that the bank wouldn't.” Those effects have also been felt in nearby Madeira Park, where Ralph Linnmann transformed a campground into a full-fledged resort. Community Futures funding helped Linnmann add a main lodge building as well as several cottages on the terraces above it. Those expansions, he estimated, increased revenues by almost seven times. “We were very successful here,” Linnmann said, estimating that the resort now brings about 6,000 people to Madeira Park annually. “I think because we were very successful here, other resorts also established themselves in Pender Harbour.”
West Coast Log Homes
West Coast Log Homes Ltd. of Gibsons, BC produces fine quality post and beam, full scribe, fusion and timber frame homes and commercial structures. Their distinct “flared” bottom cedar logs are a trademark of the company. The logs are hand-selected from the Sunshine Coast Community Forest and carefully power-washed to reveal their natural beauty.
Owner Andy Koberwitz, originally a fisherman, completed the BCIT Entrepreneurship program and approached CFDC Sunshine Coast in 1999 for a $60K start-up loan. Because there were few market opportunities and Andy had little experience, traditional financial institutions were not interested in giving him funding. Yet the product itself was unique and Andy had the right training and entrepreneurial spirit. It was a perfect CFDC loan. Over the past 11 years, and several additional rounds of loan funding and loan guarantees through the Forest Community Business Program, the growing company is a solid winner. Its products are seen extensively on the Sunshine Coast, from the Gibsons Harbour commercial building to high-end homes and cottages dotting the oceanfront. Sales and installations have also been made as far afield as Japan, Europe and the USA. The distinctive look and fine quality craftsmanship of the homes continue to bring additional growth opportunities to the business.
Victoria Maxwell, Crazy for Life Co.
After her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, anxiety and psychosis, Victoria Maxwell could have quietly focused on recovery and healing. But that’s not the kind of person she is. Instead she decided to “go big” and create plays about accepting and living with a psychiatric disorder.
Her one-woman shows are called “Crazy for Life”, and “Funny...You Don’t Look Crazy”, and have received rave reviews from sold-out audiences around the world.
“My shows offer a powerful ‘insider’s’ perspective on dealing with depression and other mental illnesses,” says Victoria. “I think there has been a real watershed with mental disability and there is a hunger for learning about my illness.”
Victoria is no stranger to the limelight. As an award-winning actress, she’s been working alongside stars such as David Duchovny, John Travolta and Johnny Depp for years.
These days she regularly speaks about living with and recovering from a mental illness, and helping to reduce the stigma that comes along with it. The combination of having theatre experience, a psychiatric illness and group facilitation skills make her message easier to grasp.
“With my background, I figure I’m in a unique position to share my life story in an accessible and versatile medium,” she says. "When people laugh, they let down their defences and start to ask questions. It’s amazing how much learning happens after you get the dialogue going."
Lately, Victoria has been able to reach out to people in a whole new way. She has a blog with Psychology Today online, writes columns for, and has appeared in, numerous magazines, and is a frequent guest on the radio.
Victoria credits the Community Futures Sunshine Coast Abilities 2 Business program with helping her develop the business skills she needed to truly get her message out to the world. This program helps people with disabilities explore self-employment by providing training and business coaching, and offering 12 months of business launch support to help people through the critical first year of business.
"I went to Community Futures because I really needed a better grasp of business skills and business plans," she says. "The program I went through was free, and took place twice a week. I learned everything I needed to know, including accounting, marketing and even how to write a great business plan.”
Sharon Anderchek, Community Futures Business Analyst and Victoria's business advisor, says that Victoria was extremely focused on succeeding. "Victoria went through a strategic planning exercise," Sharon says, "that involved closely looking at her business goals, and putting together a plan to get her where she wanted to be."
“They helped me focus on what was working and what wasn’t, and how to get good media attention. They really gave me great a skills set that has been instrumental in my success," Victoria says.
Victoria says she feels extremely grateful to Community Futures for opening doors for her and assisting her to have a career she loves – and help people at the same time. "After being diagnosed, I wasn’t sure how I was going to keep performing and writing,” she says. “I didn’t think I would get back into it, and I certainly felt like I had some considerable limitations to overcome.”
And overcome them she clearly has. Victoria’s horizon looks bright as she embarks on her third play, and continues to field invitations to be a keynote speaker at conferences and workshops across North America.
“To be able to perform, write, and run a successful business is like a dream come true.”
Mark Yellowley and his partner Jane started Wheatberries Bakery in Roberts Creek in 1996. Their passion has always been to offer delicious products in a warm and friendly atmosphere, with great customer service. At the time there was a lot of interest in quality ingredients, but not much representation at the commercial level.
“We have always believed that great products come from great ingredients,” says Mark. “We were able to offer something that matched our values and our customers' taste buds.”
For two years Mark and Jane worked out of rented commercial kitchen space. Then, in 1998, they opened their own home-based kitchen. With the small bakery building on their property, and signs leading customers from the highway, they became known as the "bakery in the woods" and business began to grow. “We think back to the early years of our business i with fondness,” they say, “and with a deep appreciation for the support of customers and the community that allowed our dreams to take root.”
But, making a business grow requires funding and support. In the early years, Community Futures was one of the organizations Mark and Jane relied on. “We started our company with a small loan from Community Futures,” states Mark, “and as business grew we would eventually receive four different loans. They were there for us when we needed them and we value and appreciate what this organization does for our local small business community.”
With the help of these loans Wheatberries has grown to four locations around the Sunshine Coast, which have now been sold as franchise businesses. Jane and Mark still maintain the overall corporate structure and are currently considering options for growth.
A few years ago, Mark joined the Community Futures board as a director. “This experience has only made my appreciation of the organization grow,” he says. “Getting to know this very dedicated and talented staff and board has been inspiring, educational, and rewarding. It is a pleasure to work with local entrepreneurs who are facing the same challenges that we faced when we started off. It is also a pleasure to work with such a great team of talented volunteers who make up our board and committees. I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten to know Community Futures both as an entrepreneur as well as a volunteer.”
Celebrating 25 Years of Community Futures on the Coast
Over one hundred friends, allies, partners and guests attended the Community Futures 25th Anniversary Dinner Celebration on December 12th 2012 ~ and what a celebration it was ~ complete with photo booth, a live DJ, and charming festive décor.
The evening started with a lively networking session and delicious buffet. We enjoyed a media presentation capturing 25 years of people, places and memories. Our keynote speaker delivered a memorable message about changing times, the role of social innovation and the importance of collaboration across sectors and between non-profit organizations, government and business.
The highlight, and most captivating portion of the evening, was the Ted-X style presentations featuring local innovators. We heard from a resource recovery center, a social entrepreneurs' co-working space, a creative farming opportunity for a Sunshine Coast organization dedicated to build capacity for and empower adults with special needs, a social venture that uses waste to produce food in a shipping container, and a major composting and growing facility on Sechelt Indian Band land at a former mine site. The energy, optimism and excitement was almost palpable as participants evidenced the innovation and collaboration that is alive and well on the Sunshine Coast.
Community Futures and the event organizers would like to extend our grandest of appreciations to the people who helped to make this event such a success and look forward to 2013 and further innovative events on the Sunshine Coast.