The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) has recognized four start up businesses that will be honoured this week at the RDBN Business Forum – Ride the Wave in Smithers.
Lori Koops’ Aspen Acres Culinaries & Eclectics and Sean Wright from Heavenly Grinds and Little Treasures Café are two local businesses that have been selected as finalists.
“It’s pretty exciting that’s for sure,” Koop said.
“It’s a little overwhelming right now because I have these little boys of mine.”
With two young boys at home Koop wanted to give them something that would be healthy but at the same time easy to handle and transport.
After her son gave her the thumbs up for the delicious snack, Koop decided to make a batch and sell them at the local market.
The bars were an instant hit and have been gaining ground in the past couple of years.
Now they’re about to finish a deal to sell their products at the Bulkley Valley Wholesale. A huge leap forward for Koop’s business.
“We finished negotiating and we’re just trying to get the whole ball rolling,” Koop said.
“I’m just waiting for the opportunity to get into the kitchen and start baking.”
“It’s nice to be recognized for the work we’ve done and it’s a great opportunity,” she said.
Koop has a few different products, but the most popular product are the energy bars, the first of several Aspen Archer’s business plans.
“Food, we love food,” Koop said.
“We have an amazing garden and we raise primarily poultry and have had a lot of success with that. But the energy bars stated because of the boys.”
Koop offers five varieties, two of which are gluten free. Each bar is a mixture of nuts and dried fruit. “Something for everyone,” Koop said.
Currently Koop is selling the bars at the Farmers Market every weekend as well as Nature’s Pantry.
But soon you’ll be able to buy them in bulk and individually at the Bulkley Valley Wholesale with a biodegradable wrapping.
“Within a week or two these bars will be available at the wholesale,” she said.
“There are high hopes for this at the wholesale and they think we could be marketing these at all the Overwaitea Foods stores in the north within three years.”
Koop’s success is only growing and with the business about the evolve to the next level, Koop is happy to offer good wholesome food for the whole family.
To get more information about Aspen Acres or to inquire about their products, contact them at 250.846.5576.
Owners Sarah and Sean Wright of Heavenly Grinds and Little Treasures Café were having dinner with friends once when they started to talk about a good place to get a coffee in Smithers.
With the number of coffee houses almost out numbering churches in Smithers, they quickly realized having a relaxing cup of coffee was not that easy, especially with young kids running around.
That’s when they came up with the idea of a coffee house geared, not only towards good quality coffee but for parents with little kids.
“The fact we can’t really go for coffee in Smithers with small kids was a bit of a challenge,” Sean Wright said.
“So we thought it would be neat if there was a place you could go and have a coffee and the kids could actually be kids.”
Now after almost a year in operation they offer some of the best coffee in town and a large play area for kids, something that sets them apart from other coffee houses in Smithers.
Getting nominated as a finalist for the Regional District Bulkley-Nechako Start-up Business Contest is recognition of their innovative idea and a new spin on the traditional coffee shop.
“This is definitely something that’s really exciting,” Wright said.
“It’s been a good year for us and we’ve worked really hard this year.”
“It’s great for getting the business exposure. The prize for the winner is quite substantial and can really help push our business to the next stage.”
Sarah, who has a background in early childhood development and Sean with a background in business, found the perfect fit to come up with Heavenly Grinds.
“We decided to go with the playroom and it’s really worked out so far,” he said.
“It’s definitely something that sets us part from everywhere else in town.”
Mayor Taylor Bachrach said, it’s businesses like Heavenly Grinds and Aspen Acres that are leading the way for new small businesses in Smithers.
“The fact that they’re finalists, I think is a wonderful thing,” Bachrach said.
“It’s a reflection of our strong entrepreneurial spirit here in Smithers.”
In the past year Smithers council has tried to create an atmosphere that supports the growth of small businesses.
Recently, Smithers was named one of the most small business friendly communities in the province and with two local start-up businesses being recognized for their efforts, he hopes council can continue to help small businesses flourish in Smithers.
“Supporting small business in our community is defiantly a priority,” he said.
“We need to find ways to recognize and provide incentives for innovative businesses like Heavenly Grinds and Aspen Acres. We are always looking to support entrepreneurs in our community and create the conditions for small business success.”
To find some Heavenly Grinds for yourself, check them out next to Gone Hollywood on Second Ave. Or contact them at 250-877-0176.