Success Stories

Hammer Song Forge

Mike O'Neill

Hammer Song Forge is a custom artist blacksmith business. This business evolved out of Mike’s interest in forge work from the 27 years as a horseshoer. In the fall of 2008, Mike decided he wanted to move the blacksmithing from a hobby to a business. To kick start his business Mike attended a blacksmithing course in Santa Fe, New Mexico. When he returned from Sante Fe he received help in starting up his business from Nadina Community Futures with the Small Business Program. Hammer Song Forge is now working for the local markets producing custom orders for a truly unique product.

Mike O’Neill 
Ph: (250) 847-5781


Wood waste from harvested mountain pine beetle killed trees.

Biofire is a Houston, B. C. Company that manufactures Biofire Logs, Biofire Fire Pucks and Biofire Pellets.

The benefits of Biofire fire pucks and logs:

  • wood waste from harvested mountain pine beetle killed trees is ground, dried, and formed under extreme heat and pressure into fire pucks and logs. Lignin, a natural component of wood, liquefies with heat and solidifies upon cooling to ‘glue’ the log together.
  • the wood is additive free and a cord wood alternative 
  • which is clean – no bark, insects, or dirt 
  • 100% Natural wood – no additives or chemicals 
  • less storage space required due to high density

Biofire logs and fire pucks are three times denser than standard wood. High density and low moisture = longer lasting, cleaner burning, and safer fires with practically no smoke, creosote, and much less ash. ‘No mess’ durable bag contains the product and can be reused as a garbage bag 

Ph: (250) 845 0009
Fax: (250) 845 0091


Mark Thibeault

Resophonic guitars and Hawaiian acoustic guitars built with the highest standards using koa, figured maple, mahogany, rosewood and more.

My background is in visual arts having attained a BFAHonours in 1992. I have also played music semi-professionally for 25 years. Music and visual arts came together with designing and playing our own instruments. My business partner Jason Friesen and myself both worked for a large guitar manufacturer in Vancouver BC. When I moved to Smithers BC I decided to keep building instruments and start Rayco Resophonics. Jason moved here shortly after.

CF Nadina and all their resources were key in getting us going. Firstly the CFDC Advisors gave us encouragement and confidence to start then the tools to move forward. They continue to be a valuable resource after 8 years.

Living in a somewhat remote community can provide challenges that can equally provide opportunities. We are fortunate that our product made here in Smithers is now recognized worldwide. We have identified a niche market and have been very active in promoting our instruments online and through trade shows throughout the US and Canada. We now ship to Germany, Australia, UK, France, Spain etc.

Contact us at:

Rayco Resophonics
Box 3063
3465 Poplar Road
Smithers BC
Ph: (250) 847-5001

Canyon Creek Taxidermy

Clint Moon

Located in Smithers serving Northern British Columbia, Canyon Creek Taxidermy services will exceed your expectations.

Taxidermy incorporates many crafts, such as carpentry, woodworking, tanning, molding and casting; but it also requires artistic talent, including the art of sculpture, painting and drawing. With this in mind, being able to work from home has helped because I am able to create an art full trophy at my own pace in a setup that works for me. I feel more relaxed and creative now. I started my business up almost a year ago, I have no commute and no backlog of work like other taxidermists in the area. I am able to complete my customer’s trophies within an appropriate time frame that customers can be happy with.

I have lived in the Bulkley Valley for over 15 years. I chose to stay in Smithers because I love the north and the opportunities we have in this region. Smithers is a Beautiful place to visit for hunters and fisherman, it is the last destination airport for the northern region for hunters to be flying in. Therefore a lot of your guide outfitters are based out of here, so they can accommodate their clientele. Our community relies largely on tourism, and some of the local establishments have helped me to get my name out there by letting me advertise with them. Some for a nominal fee and others for free. Word of mouth has certainly helped being in a small close knit community. Community Futures Nadina has become a great service and source of help for me. They have offered many free courses on marketing and bookkeeping and anything you need to get your business up and going.

15725 Babine Lake Road
Smithers, BC Canada

Sacred Bear Soaps

Kala Hooker

This beautiful oval, white handmade soap with first nation artwork of a spirit bear looking at ursa major in the sky has the fragrance of coastal blackberries. The soap is packaged in a canvas sac printscreened with the artwork and the spirit bear legend.

I completed a degree in anthropology from the University of British Columbia in 2008. I just had my second child and we were looking to relocate to the Bulkley Valley. It just seemed like the natural time to start a business. I also thought that if I started a business that I would be able to set my own hours and still be able to spend lots of time with my boys.

The idea initially started as a soap company, my mother makes soap and has a successful small business and I have helped her with that for a number of years, so I was coming at it from something I was familiar with. However, once I started doing some market research I found that I should really focus on tourism and the natural heritage of British Columbia.

We chose to live in the Bulkley Valley because of the quality of life, the friendly communities of Smithers and Telkwa, and the natural beauty. It just so happened that when we moved here I started Sacred Bear Soaps. The entire community has been helpful. The Bulkley Valley Farmers Market Association, the Wooden Mallard, Art and Soul Pottery, and of course Community Futures Nadina. Even the Smithers Chamber of Commerce hosted a new business dinner at the Hudson Bay Lodge which was a great way to meet other new business and entrepreneurs.

Running a business isn’t for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, dedication, and constantly being outsides one’s comfort zone but it is also tremendously rewarding. The best advice I can give is to dream, don’t be afraid to dream big, and live that dream into reality


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Communities Served

Burns Lake, Granisle, Houston, Telkwa, Topley, Smithers


Community Futures Nadina
2430 Butler Avenue, Unit A
PO Box 236
Houston, BC
V0J 1Z0

T: 250.845.2522