Blue Crush Concierge co-owners Ashley Wells and Erika Greenland, pictured here following COVID-19 social distancing alongside their dogs Hank and Lady Bird, are up for two SBBC awards. (Photo courtesy of Erika Greenland)

Blue Crush Concierge co-owners Ashley Wells and Erika Greenland, pictured here following COVID-19 social distancing alongside their dogs Hank and Lady Bird, are up for two SBBC awards. (Photo courtesy of Erika Greenland)

Three Tofino companies up for Small Business BC Awards

Tofino Kombucha, Blue Crush Concierge and Surf Sister all received nomination honours.

The Small Business BC Awards has announced this year’s crop of nominees and three Tofino businesses are on the list.

Tofino Kombucha, Blue Crush Concierge and Surf Sister all received nomination honours and their fans are encouraged to head to to vote them into the next round by March 8.

“Don’t forget to vote, even if it’s not for us,” wrote Surf Sister owner Krissy Montgomery in an email to the Westerly News. “Accolades like this can be a great support to small businesses! Thanks for the love Tofino!!”

Montgomery’s popular local surf school is up for SBBC’s Premier’s People’s Choice Award and Best Community Impact Award.

“I was surprised and felt very honoured,” she wrote. “It feels great to be acknowledged for our efforts. The community impact nomination is especially exciting as we’ve always strived to have a positive impact on our community and to give back where we can.”

She explained that Surf Sister launched in 1999 to foster a safe, supportive environment for women to get into the sport of surfing.

“As we’ve evolved and grown our passion and focus remains the same, to make surfing accessible to all people regardless of your sex, age or ability,” Montgomery wrote. “We want surfing to be an inclusive sport. I think our efforts have really paid off as Tofino has one of the most eclectic and inclusive surf scenes out there.”

She added that the love the company has felt from its community has been inspiring.

“I feel like our town has always supported Surf Sister. I think the best example of this is emphasized in the success and support of our surf contest the Queen of the Peak! The community really embraced it and we are always humbled by the local support,” she wrote.

READ MORE: Tofino hosts 10th annual Queen of the Peak Women’s Surfing Championships at Cox Bay

Tofino Kombucha has been nominated for a Premier’s People’s Choice Award.

“It was just a total surprise,” Tofino Kombucha owner Kelsey Hendricks told the Westerly News.

Hendricks said the nomination was announced during a particularly hectic time for her business as she is transitioning from her garage-based operation to a warehouse.

“Like all moves go, it was stressful and it was a move combined with the scaled-up production and like anything new there’s growing pains,” she said. “So this came at a time when there’s ups and downs of a business. It definitely felt reassuring. It was a nice feeling…It’s just like, ‘Wow, OK, people really do like this.’”

Hendricks was on maternity leave in 2017 when she decided to research the feasibility of a kombucha company in Tofino and that research quickly morphed into a business plan and led to her launching her own in short order.

She said production has doubled every year since and she cited the support from her community as key to her success.

“I’m super glad I did it. I definitely got into business not realizing how competitive it was and I’m super fortunate to have started it in Tofino and to have had the local support of all the business owners,” she said. “If I was just someone in Nanaimo making Kelsey’s Kombucha, it would have been really hard. Having local support in Tofino, plus that Tofino brand recognition is definitely what got me here.”

She added businesses quickly buoyed her pursuit agreeing to carry her product in their stores.

“As soon as they started carrying it the sales took off, everyone couldn’t get enough of it,” she said.

“I had to make it grow as fast as I could to really keep the business viable and now that we’re in a warehouse and now that we have distributors it’s finally at the business point where I had always wanted it to be…I’m really thankful for the local support from Tofino and Island businesses that continue to support a locally made Tofino product and I’m really thankful that people keep buying our product.”

READ MORE: Four Tofino businesses up for Vancouver Island Excellence Awards

Blue Crush Concierge is up for the Premier’s People’s Choice Award as well as the Best Youth Entrepreneur Award.

“It’s just nice to have that recognition that we did do something good and our staff made a difference and people took the time to vote for us, there’s something to be said for that,” Blue Crush co-owner Erika Greenland told the Westerly News.

Greenland and her business partner Ashley Wells met in 2012 while working at the same resort in Tofino and each launched their own independent cleaning company in 2015. A year later, they decided to join forces and Blue Crush Concierge was born.

“We did basically a summer season independently and experienced the struggles of doing so,” Greenland said. “We talked about the business and the struggles of staffing and being everywhere as a small business owner and Ashley noted that it would be a lot easier if there were two of her and she thought that there could be two of her if we merged.”

Greenland said her focus on administration and Wells’ focus on staff management provide perfect complements and helped create a strong, professional infrastructure for the budding business.

“We were able to accomplish a lot more together than we were able to do apart,” she said. “If I were to say a regret, it would maybe be that we didn’t do it sooner, but we needed to do it independently to realize that to grow we would need someone else. With Ashley and I, our skillset is so polar opposite of each other that opposites did attract and it has worked. And, seeing what we’ve already gone through, I have faith and no doubt that we will continue on succeeding together as long as we want to in Tofino.”

She added the community’s support has been vital to the growth of the business.

“Community support is everything to us. This has been Ashley’s home for 16 years, it’s been mine for 10, and we stay here because of our small community,” she said. “Like the dishwasher in a restaurant, it’s kind of like the undersung hero in the cogs of a car. We do it because of the community…We do a lot of little things that we feel passionate about just because it’s helpful for our clients.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: Tofino scores at Business Excellence Awards

READ MORE: West Coast builder earns four VIBE awards

READ MORE: Ucluelet nominated for Small Business BC Award


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As part of Earth Week, Ucluelet Rotary Club member Ryan Wackett will be handing out free Clean Up Packages with grabber picker up tools at his shop Westcoast Connect from April 10 to 23. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Ucluelet Rotary honours Earth Day with week long community clean up

“Let’s spring into action and clean up our beautiful communities!”

Hwy. 4 was shut down in both directions for 10 hours on March 23 as a rock bluff was blasted as part of Kennedy Hill’s ongoing construction. Commuters can expect five more 10 hour closures on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning April 28. (Photo courtesy of Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Five 10-hour closures coming to Hwy. 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet

Closures needed for rock blasting as part of the Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement project.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

A screenshot from a Nuu-chah-nulth healing song and performance created in collaboration between Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso. (Screenshot from YouTube)
WATCH: Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation brothers produce COVID-19 healing song and performance

Hjalmer Wenstob and Timmy Masso share dance and inspiration.

Ucluelet locals Rachael, Caroline and Tom enjoy refreshments on a sunny Monday afternoon at a picnic table dining area set up by the District of Ucluelet to help residents and visitors support local businesses while staying outside. (Andrew Bailey photo)
Ucluelet chamber launches bingo contest to support local restaurants

Four Ucluelet Co-op shopping sprees are up for grabs in #Ukee2go competition.

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read