In a regular segment called “Meet The KORE Makers,” the KCR featured the owners of four local gear manufacturers.
One of the only co-operative radios stations in British Columbia has done a series of shows featuring Kootenay-based outdoor gear makers. As part of a regular “Meet the KORE Makers” segment on its morning news program, Kootenay Co-op Radio has so far showcased four manufacturers of recreational equipment who are members of the Kootenay Outdoor Recreation Enterprise (KORE) initiative.
The series began last November when host Darren Davidson interviewed Matt Mosteller, the board chair of KORE, who discusses how it is the first initiative of its kind in Canada. He says that KORE is based on similar American models in such areas as Montana, Utah and Oregon where outdoor economy incubators exist because of how powerful the industry is: “In fact, it’s larger than forestry in the United States and larger than the energy sector in the United States. So it’s a massive industry,” Mosteller says. He goes on to mention there are already over 30 companies and individuals in the Kootenay region that make gear right here.
The show then featured the makers themselves on various episodes that ran throughout January. They included Dale and Diana Olynik of Northern Teardrop Trailers, Jean Renwick of LYDA Collective, Greg Fortier of Trapper Snowboards and PJ Hunton, a Kimberely-based engineer with Norco Bikes. Below is a summation of each interview including links to the full radio shows.
“Powder” Matt Mosteller – KORE Chair
“Powder” Matt Mosteller is an outdoor adventurer, outdoor writer, and lifelong ski bum. He’s also the chair of KORE and was interviewed by Kootenay Co-op Radio about exactly what the initiative is, how it’s a first for Canada, and how it will positively impact the craft gear industry in the Kootenays. He also spoke to KORE’s long-term goals which are to entice small and medium-sized outdoor gear manufacturers to relocate area and “provide the opportunity for future gear makers who already live here to start down this path as well.” You can listen to the entire broadcast with Matt here.
Dale and Diana Olinyk– Northern Teardrop Trailers
Northern Teardrop Trailers was launched in Salmo, BC, in 2016 when owners Dale and Diana Olinyk decided to stop working for others and start working for themselves. In their interview with Kootenay Co-op Radio they talk about how the mountain lifestyle convinced them to move to the West Kootenay and how their eclectic work pasts allowed them to create a business that requires everything from mechanical and carpentry skills to administration and purchasing. “Don’t be afraid to do it, but don’t jump in unprepared either,” is Dale’s advice for others thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. “Your timing for your business debut has to align really well with what’s going on in your life.” You can listen to the entire broadcast with Dale and Diana here.
Jena Renwick – LYDA Collective
Jena Renwick started Nelson-based LYDA Collective in 2018 after working and interning at Vancouver-based Sombrio, a bike clothing manufacturer, and then at Arc’teryx. She applied all the skills she learned at those companies when forming her own company, which stands for Live Your Dreams Always, and which specializes in durable cross-over adventure/streetwear for women and men who live active lives. She spent a part of her interview talking about the importance of KORE and how she’s “made more valuable business connections this year more so than the last two years of being in business and a big part of that is because of KORE.” You can listen to the entire broadcast with Jean here.
Greg Fortier – Trapper Snowboards
Greg Fortier is a 10-year veteran in the outdoor industry. He pressed his first snowboard in his Revelstoke garage and the company Trapper Snowboards was born. He’s a big proponent of supporting local business and he sources core materials for his boards from BC lumber mills and he goes on to say that the primary demand for his products has shifted to backcountry this year: “We went from about 65 percent of sales being splitboards last year to about 95 to 97 percent this year.” He also speaks about the power of the KORE initiative and how “when you’re a small company working in the Kootenays, you have limited resources but if we can all pool together we have a collective voice that can advance us in a lot of fields, whether it be assisting with financing or funding or marketing or whatever resources we might need to run our businesses.” You can listen to the entire broadcast with Greg here.
PJ Hunton – Norco Bikes
Although not the owner of mega Canadian bike brand Norco, Greg Fortier has been with the company for 13 years as their senior design engineer, a position he can do remotely by designing bike frames in the basement of his Kimberley home. In this interview he speaks about how he arrived in BC from his native Ontario, how he found work in the bicycle industry and what his day-to-day now looks like and why he eventually moved to the East Kootenay: “It’s a great combination of things: working in the outdoor industry and having very easy access to the great outdoors is a great combo.” He also offers some advice on what trails to ride in Kimberley. You can listen to the entire broadcast with PJ here.