Tofino Brewing Company (TBC)

BC's newest craft brewery is quickly approaching the end of its first year of business. To say that this first year has been an eventful one for founders Bryan O'Malley, Chris Neufeld, and Dave McConnell would definitely be an understatement. Since opening its doors in April 2011 the three owners and head brewer David Woodward have been working non-stop, brewing, selling, and distributing their unique, handcrafted ales. Thus far, public reception of the beer has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the company has already had to expand its production capacity, and has begun a fast-track plan to bottle its products for local and, eventually, province-wide distribution.

Like any new venture, TBC began as just an idea with potential. As is often the case, one of the greatest entrepreneurial challenges was finding the resources and support to turn that idea into reality. One the first and most instrumental steps that TBC founder Bryan O'Malley took was to pursue a relationship with Community Futures. Over the several months that followed Bryan worked closely with Community Futures, putting together a business plan that would eventually become the framework on which the brewery would be built. Community Futures' resources, recognition of opportunity, and monetary commitment to TBC was a critical first step in bringing the idea of a Tofino-based craft brewery to life. Not only did the small business loan give the venture legs to stand on initially, it legitimized the concept and helped attract interest from other private local investors.

Although the company is still in its infancy, all signs point to a bright future. Many factors come into play in building a young business, but Community Futures' initial and ongoing support has been one of an influential and important factor in TBC’s success.

The Catnap Inn

Stemming from a single idea and a simple plan in late 2007, The Catnap Inn is quickly approaching its 4th year in business in the Alberni Valley.  With financial assistance and advice from Community Futures of Alberni-Clayoquot the business has grown and continues to care for people’s feline friends.

The Catnap Inn caters strictly to cats, providing them with a safe, friendly, loving home environment. Cat owners can rest assured knowing their cats are comfortable and safe in their individual furnished suites. There are 24 unique suites in all, each with a window to the outside.  Owner operator Nadine McLellan states "I'm fortunate to have found a career doing something that I love. It's very rewarding, the animals we see are great and every one of them has their own unique traits and personality. The people that bring their cats to me really care about their animals; I'll never get tired of seeing that."

When Nadine opened in the spring of 2008, she started with some general ideas, such as happy hour, catnip in the evenings, music on all day, birdfeeders outside the windows, and a nice cozy fireplace.  These ideas were implemented into the daily routine, and they haven't changed at all. The staff is happy to send pictures and emails to cat owners while they are away, a service many owners deeply appreciate.

Nadine says “I’ve met some wonderful people doing this, and it's great to see them come back again and again. They let you into their lives, everyone has a story, and I love it. I think we'll be purchasing some comfy sofas and a heavy duty cappuccino maker for such visits!"

Western Economic Diversification Canada