Businesses in Merritt and the Nicola Valley

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Best Places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe, Merritt, BC

“Don’t panic….we have bannock”

One of the best places to eat in Merritt is Kekuli Cafe. “Don’t panic… we have Bannock” is the official slogan of Kekuli Cafe in Merritt BC. A wonderful place to enjoy a number of indigenous foods.

Before we dive into the amazing food I’d like to treat you to a look at the amazing skor bannock. You have got to try one.

skor bannock kekuli cafe merritt bc

Ohhh so yummy Skor bannock from Kekuli Cafe

How Kekuli was born?

It all started when for many years Sharon Bond wanted to own her own restaurant. Having a passion for cooking, baking and making people feel welcome. Sharon also had a passion for helping and pleasing people.

With all the other places to eat in Merritt Sharon knew she wanted to create a place like no other. Therefore that’s exactly what she did.

The Cafe

Sharon wanted a traditional cultural aboriginal ambiance. Low light pow wow music, aboriginal art, jewelry and of course aboriginal cuisine. She wanted a place where everyone would feel welcome and acknowledged. Along with her husband Darren Hogg they created one of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe.

You definitely feel welcomed from the moment you walk in the doors of Kekuli Cafe.

The Name Kekuli.

It was quite interesting to find out where the name Kekuli came from. Sharon was looking for a unique name that would have an aboriginal flair to it. While reading a book by James Teit she came across the word “kekuli” which means house. Right away she knew that was the name and sent in paperwork to have it registered that day. 

The Thompson Indians used to live in these pit house( Kekuli’s)  hundreds of years ago.  These houses are build into the ground with logs, tule, dirt and grass. They were a safe, warm and happy place. That also protected the people from the elements during harsh winters.

You can still find Kekuli’s throughout the Thompson/Okanagan areas.

Kekuli Cafe pit house bannock

Photo Credit: Kekuli Cafe

Now however you can also find that warm inviting feeling of home in every Kekuli Café.

Franchise

The next step in Sharon and Darren’s endeavor was to start creating franchises. With the first being sold in December of 2018.

On Dec 1, 2018 Elijah Mack, just 22 years old, started living his dream by becoming the very first Kekuli franchise owner.  When asked what he wanted to be in 10 years he would say “I want to be my own boss.” Now Elijah is the proud owner of one of the best places to eat in Merritt.

Kekuli Cafe franchise owner

Photo credit Kekuli Cafe

Saskatoon ice tea is wonderful and refreshing treat any time of year. I love the flavor. Makes me want another one just thinking about it. My daughters favorite it the saskatoon berry smoothie.

Kekuli Cafe saskatoon ice tea

Saskatoon berry ice tea. It was so refreshing.

They have a variety of Bannock available and some amazing lunches. Fry bread tipi tacos, grilled Bannock flatbread, bannowiches, and a variety of salads. Check out their menu here.

Lunch

Oh my goodness, look at this amazing meal. So nice to have a place where everything is made fresh with fresh ingredients.

bannock blt

BLT Bannock with cran apple feta salad

BLT bannock fresh

BLT bannock at Kekuli

This BLT bannock was so amazing. The bannock was soft and warm, lettuce and tomato were fresh and no skimping on the bacon which was cooked to perfection. Must say this was the best BLT I have had in a very long time. Along with my BLT I chose to have the cranberry, apple and feta salad. It was so crisp and fresh. Accompanying the salad was a saskatoon vinaigrette dressing made in house.  Perfect for this salad. 

salad cranberry apple feta

Cranberry, apple and feta salad.

Desert I had a skor bannock. It was so fresh and I have to say better than any doughnut I have ever had. I was very tempted to buy a whole bunch of them to take home. 

Happy customers

While I was visiting there were a group from White Rock who stopped in for lunch. They were extremely thrilled with the service. One lady spoke of how Kurt, chief at Kekuli Cafe, resonated such happy vibes. They really appreciated it and would come back again for sure.

Look at these happy faces.

kekuli cafe great food eat merritt

Guests from Whiterock having lunch at Kekuli in Merritt, BC

 The Staff

When you walk into Kekuli Cafe you are greeted by the amazing staff.  They always have a smile on their faces and are ready to help you any way they can.

staff kekuli cafe

Amanda and Kurt staff at Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe isn’t just on of the best places to eat in Merritt. Friday nights they have open mic night where patrons can come and express themselves over the mic. They have had people sing, tell stories or say a poem. It’s a great way to spend some time with friends, enjoy the local talent and of course have some coffee and bannock.

So far I have tried the traditional, cinnamon sugar and skor. What kinds have you tried?

Art work

Something else you will find a Kekuli Cafe is some art from a local artist Wyatt Collins. Wyatt has such a flair for life and creates some wonderful artwork which is featured on the walls of Kekuli Cafe. There are also greeting cards with Wyatt’s artwork on them. 

local art merritt bc kekuli cafe

Art work by local artist Wyatt Collins

Other aboriginal products

There are a number of aboriginal items for sale at Kekuli Café. Some of them include Jams, jellies, coffee, pottery and cards. Stop in and have a look.

Kekuli Cafe Merritt BC

Some other offerings from Kekuli Cafe

If you are interested in having a blog showcasing your business please feel free to contact me at Experience Nicola Valley.  I would love to chat.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

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PFN Coaching, Mark Nendicks Story

Mark Nendicks Story

Mark running a race in 2018

 

Local Merritt resident Mark Nendick is the owner/operator of PFN Coaching (Priority Fitness Nutrition). A successful Merritt based company that focus’s on helping people reach their greatest potential through diet and exercise.  

       While working a full time job at Highland Valley Copper and raising 3 kids, Mark has still managed to find the time to start and maintain his business. Showing that hard work, dedication and passion really do bring results. 

        Today he is in the best shape of his life but most importantly he is enjoying life on his terms, but it wasn’t an easy journey. I had the opportunity to meet up with Mark at a local coffee shop and ask him a few questions.  Below is Marks story:

The Transition

In 2007 Mark found himself weighing 260 pounds. Standing at the starting line of a 5 km run, his daughter strapped in her stroller, with a Venti Java Chip Frapuccino in his hand. He thought this race was an easy feat. However, unable to finish the race, and with no energy or self esteem he was fed up with how he felt both physically and mentally. So it was at this moment he realized he needed to make some drastic lifestyle changes.

        In 2010, he embarked on a health and wellness journey. Overweight and riddled with anxiety he knew there had to be a better way to live and feel.  Therefore he committed himself to learning as much as he could about making healthy choices and personal well being. Realizing he was not alone with these struggles, he created PFN Coaching to support others in achieving their lifestyle goals as well.

PFN coaching founder Mark Nendick

 

COACHING

 Mark began eating a healthier diet to lose some weight and started running to help his cardio, he also incorporated strength training to offset muscle loss. In 2016 he became a Certified Personal Trainer and took on his first client who had an amazing results. Converting his basement into a gym he holds 4-6 classes per week and now has over 100 clients.

Mark is 55 pounds lighter today and feels amazing. However, he had to constantly reach out of his comfort zone so he could achieve the goals he did. The end result was definitely worth it. PFN Coaching is growing stronger as are the people who are apart of it. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, this is a great example of how hard work truly pays off. 

 

Corporate Health

In 2018, Mark joined with a friend of his from Austria and became a senior partner in a Corporate Health Business. The goal of the program is to teach employers and their employees how to create a healthy atmosphere. While boosting morale and improving productivity, the employees felt more valued and the companies also noticed a reduction in sick time. It only makes sense to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home and at our workplace.

 

       Mark is currently training for this year’s 2019 Los Angeles Marathon. When he meets the qualifying time in L.A he will then be eligible to run in the 2020 Boston Marathon. Which has been a dream of his for years. Knowing Marks focus and dedication I have no doubt he will make the qualifying time in LA, setting a target time for him to beat in Boston I’m sure. PFN Coaching is more than a local business. It is a lifestyle transition for those wanting to improve their physical health and well being. 

 

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Confessions Of A Baker – Merritt BC Bakery

 Merritt BC Bakery-Confessions Of A Baker 

Confessions of a Baker, Merritt, BC Bound!

Dessert Tray made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

Confessions Of A Baker-Merritt BC Bakery

When I was a little girl, living in Merritt, BC. I was always in the kitchen helping my Grandma, my mom, and even my Foster mom cook or bake. Whether it be adding ingredients for them or mixing it up for them.

Even-though I was always in the Kitchen helping didn’t mean that baking was my passion, I just enjoyed helping and learning at all costs. I felt if I was not helping then I was not accomplishing anything, or contributing my part in the house hold.

Back in those days though; we were not asked to come in the kitchen, we were told not to get in the way, or not to play around the stove! I guess those rules are still in play with families today!

If we wanted to learn or even to be apart of the crowd so to speak, we would have to ask! Even show a little interest to learn what or how they made everything taste so good.

Confessions of a Baker# 1: I was more interested in playing and exploring the outdoors getting into trouble so to speak! The street lights were our window to curfew! Dinner Time!

First Attempt To Cook!

I was 7 years old, when I first used a stove on my own! Paying attention, or being observant paid for a great cause!

Both parents were working and the babysitter didn’t show up! We, (my sister, and I), were home alone. It was  late, and my sister was on a schedule, due to her medications she had to take. 

Anyway, my mom had made extra meat pot pies! First time I ever had to used a stove or oven, I was scared shitless! But someone had to feed us right?

 Can you imagine what was going through my mind at that time? That was a lot of pressure for a 7 year old, but I was determined to succeed!

My main concern was to feed my sister because she had to take her medicine. She has epilepsy! Guaranteed, her having a seizure was more scary to me than burning a house down, trust me!

Although, the countless things going through my head at the time was overwhelming, I did get it done. My sister was fed, she got her medications, and I was quite proud of myself in the end!

Confessions of a Baker# 2: I did get into a lot of trouble when my mother found out! I got grounded! But on the other hand, she was proud of me. Knowing that no matter what, I did what I had to do!

Chocolate Brownies, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

First Time Following a Recipe!

At the time, I was 10 years old. I was living with my Foster Mom, Joan Lawrence. This was the time I first learned how to bake! Joan was baking some bread and buns that day, and I has asked if I could help.

“Not with the bread!” she said, ” But how would you like to learn to make some cookies?”

Joan saw the interest in my eyes, at the time I was not sure how she did it, but she knew. However, she opened a cook book and gave it to me. She told me that all I had to do was follow the instructions.

 All we had to do now was place the cookies on to the baking sheet and bake. I was pretty excited that I actually followed the recipe step by step, well… at least I thought I had. 

Confessions of a Baker# 3: She told me they were very good! But they were hard as a rock! She didn’t know that I knew, Baking disaster….. What a Kind Soul She Had Though! I had forgot the baking soda!

Baking Was History!

A little bit of History of the first time I started to bake! There you have it, I lost interest after the last Confession. I took for granted how much work baking would be, thinking it was easy.Who was I kidding!

From then on, I enjoyed every moment of eating the baking everyone else did.

 

Confessions of a Baker# 4: I never started to bake again until… Until I became a mother myself. Of course it was not on a regular basis either!

When My Passion Came To Light!

The first time, I ever decided to try and be creative, when it came to baking, was is 2009! I was living in Kelowna, BC.  That was when I created a recipe, no cook book, no instructions, just the idea that flowed through my head. The idea came to light, and I even searched it, online, in every dessert cookbook out there! Could not find not one recipe that even came close to this idea.

My very first Creation! That was when everything changed for me. From then on, I dedicated, all my spare time I had baking and creating.

Edible Bouquets, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

That is also when The realization came to me as well. Every time I felt alone, sad, angry, and disappointed; my go to thing was baking! Yes Baking! I felt so much better after losing myself in creating new recipes,and baking up a storm. So much so that at the end of the day I started to give it away because I had too much, haha! Go figure!

Confessions of a Baker# 5: At first I was convinced I was going crazy, or thinking I had some kind of Compulsive disorder, or even a never ending baking frenzy! HAHA! Baking more than needed or necessary!

Therefore, this is how it was going for a few more years!

My First Business Was Created!

So after years of baking and creating, I thought what if…. Well that what if if, lead to getting a business setup! Such as a Business name, a business number (through Revenue Canada). Then finding the clientele, because first step, clients! Who else right? It takes a lot of work to get a business set up, it takes time and a lot of time. Learning all the rules and regulations, the laws, the city bylaws, and well you get the picture I am sure!

The most important though…. is you have to be completely committed…..you have to believe in yourself as well as your faithful clients! It all takes time, effort, and passion to be completely successful.

Learn as much as you can, put your heart and soul into your work, because if you don’t then you really are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Confessions of a Baker# 6: I have made this very Mistake. I had to Learn the hard way! My First Business failed because I did not put a lot into my business. I actually lost Faith in myself, NOT A GOOD THING TO DO!

Therefore I learned that before you get yourself into a loaded ship, and before you sail, make sure you put 110% into it all! Lesson Learned!

Success Of A Baker And Her Confessions

Today! Not only Have I succeeded, I have more experience, more Faith, and more clients! As the years go on, it only gets better! Although it is a lot easier now than it has been, the pride I have now is worth every moment this path has taken me thus far!

 Today I get more request, more happy clients, and it feels so good to see that thinks can only get better with each passing day! As along as I keep working on not just what I love, but constantly working on improvements and feed back from my customers.

Confessions of a Baker# 7: Never be afraid to ask for help! I learned this lesson along the way, and believe me the help and support from other bakers whom are more experienced is the best way to help you succeed!

Marie’s Sweet Shoppe did several Cakes in the past few Months!

Merritt

Cake made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC

Where friends meet to eat.

You have to try a piece of the homemade pies.

Tucked around the corner from the Adelphi Hotel is this quaint little Cafe called Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC. Because it’s so busy you know it’s got to be good. Some of the locals seem to be there all the time. And don’t let the location fool you, this is a very popular little cafe. Which I found out upon my arrival. 

I honestly never expected this little cafe to be as busy as it was. I have been here a couple times and it’s always full. That has to tell you something. When you find a good cafe, you keep coming back. Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC won’t disappoint.

Feeling Privileged

Being a blogger for Experience Nicola Valley makes me feel very privileged. I enjoy being able to share this cafe with you all. Please go, enjoy sharing a meal and having a few laughs along the way. Then share with your friends and family.

The Owner

Taking time to chat is very limited for Lynda as people are always coming and going. The whole time I was there the tables were full and at one point I thought that people were going to have to wait for a table. But, the customers are great and a couple that were finished promptly got up and allowed the new customers to have their seats. The food and service were wonderful.

Walking in.

As you walk into Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC you will find the atmosphere warm and welcoming.  Lynda will always be behind the counter or serving and joking with the regulars and other customers. It was such a great feeling, I was half expecting someone to yell “Norm” lol. The cafe has a real home town feeling where all the locals hangout and you make some great new friends. Which will eventually be thought of as family by coming back more often.

Merritt, BC, Lynda's Cafe

Lynda getting supplies ready for tables.

There are a lot of great choices on the menu and one of my favorite menu items is served all day, bacon and eggs. There is something about being able to have breakfast any time of the day or night. And after spying a meal from one of the other customers having burgers and fries, I will defiantly be having that on my next visit. It looked so good, almost made me wish I had ordered it this time. But, that just makes it better for my returning visit.

burger fries, lynda's cafe

Burger from Lynda’s Cafe

Bacon and eggs are not always easy to have made exactly how you like them. The cook did and amazing job. Eggs over easy and bacon cooked a little on the crispy side is how I like it done. It was perfect, I couldn’t have been happier with my meal. I also had a glass of ice tea which was not to tart, nor to sweet. Something anyone can enjoy over and over.

Lynda's Cafe in Merritt BC

Bacon and Eggs for breakfast.

Pies

When you have a look at the homemade pies it’s hard not to want to dig right in. Pies made at Lynda’s Cafe are all made from scratch, including the pastry. Just take a look at that strawberry custard pie, yummy.  Although you may be full from your meal, I would suggest taking a piece or two home to try late. Although I had to take my piece of pie home it didn’t last too long. Let me know what you think of the pie on your next visit, I would love to hear.

pie, home made, strawberry custard

Completely home made strawberry custard pie.

One of the first thing you will notice is on the walls are some gorgeous wildlife paintings. There is a beautiful wagon wheel hanging from the ceiling that has been turned into a light fixture. And the window sills are full of the signature bobble heads. Take a look as you walk up. 

What’s the story behind the bobble heads? You’ll have to head into the cafe to find out by asking Lynda.

bobble head, cafe, merritt, bc

Bobble heads line the window sills.

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC opened in Oct of 2013. Lynda has never looked back since opening. She thoroughly enjoys serving people, seeing them leave with full bellies and a smile on their faces. Joking around is another great thing about this cafe. There are always people smiling and laughing. This cafe has that home town, down to earth, family feeling while your here.

Lynda's Cafe, Lynda, Michelle, Merritt, BC

Lynda and I enjoying a laugh.

Room service

Lynda’s Cafe also offers room service for the attached Adelphi Hotel. Lynda delivered a number of meals to the hotel while I was there. Lynda’s Cafe serves meals at regular intervals throughout the day to the Adelphi Hotel.

Catering

Another service offered here at Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC is catering. To find out more about what Lynda offers with her catering service please contact her at the restaurant.

Lynda's Cafe, merritt BC

Outside Lynda’s Cafe

Hours of operation

Linda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC is open 7 days a week. Monday-Tues 7 am to 3 pm, Wed-Friday 7 pm to 7 pm, Saturday 7 pm to 2 pm and Sunday 9 am to 2 pm

Location

Lynda’s Cafe is located at 2101 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC

For bigger groups call 1-250-378-0331 to make a reservation with Lynda’s Cafe. 

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC made me feel very welcome and Lynda was so easy to talk to as well. I would recommend this little cafe any day of the week. The food and atmosphere are top notch in my opinion. And I will be back many times in the future.

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt B.C.

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Shopping Local in the Nicola Valley

Shopping local in the Nicola Valley

Sometimes easier said than done when you live in a small town.

“Shop for the experience that you get locally.”

Shopping Local. Sometimes easier said than done when you live in a small town. I think most people would rather drive down the road to get something they need instead of heading out to a larger town. This is very true for Merritt, where you have to go “up and over the mountains” on a highway to go somewhere. But if we are honest, that isn’t always an option. Especially when what we are looking for is a specialized product, or the projects we are taking on are larger, more difficult or a one off endeavor. And sometimes, we simply “need it now” and can’t wait for something to be ordered.

I was recently approached by a lady, Shirley Reynolds, is a long-time resident of Merritt who likes to shop local. She started to tell me her story about how a local business, Home Hardware, had gone above and beyond for her and asked if I could share it. It is a perfect example of why so many really try to shop local in Merritt.

This is her story:

Going Above and Beyond

Shirley Reynolds at Merritt Home Hardware

“This summer I had a project that I wanted to complete. I had some thick, plastic greenery stems that needed to be cut, and tried scissors, wire cutters etc. to no avail.

I popped down to Merritt Home Hardware near closing time, and asked if they could help me out. Larry and Dea at the service centre were up to the challenge. They tried scissors, then medium sized bolt cutters, but the stems were very thick and defied cutting. Finally, they brought out the big guns, a giant sized set of bolt cutters.

When they used this tool, the stems went flying. Luckily, the store had closed and no one was in the line of fire. They happily finished the task until success was achieved, even though their work day had technically ended. On top of that, they didn’t even charge me for the use of the tools!

 

Awesome Merritt Home Hardware Staff

Great service and helpful advice is what I have experienced and received over and over again from the staff at our local hardware store. You can be sure that I will continue to give them my business. If you are new to town, shop local, give them a try, you won’t be disappointed!”

The truth is, that was one of the first things I noticed even before I moved to Merritt.

Going the Extra Mile

My shop local story is a little different. I drove up to see my parents for a few days when I lived at the Coast. My parents live off the beaten path 15 minutes outside town and 5 kms up a very well maintained gravel road on top of a local mountain. When I pulled up the garage and got out of my car I noticed a loud hissing, and looked down to see one of my front tires rapidly losing air. I had driven over a large sharp piece of shale which had punctured my tire. Darn!

Knowing I only had a small donut spare, I pulled the tire off, put it in my parents truck and my Mom and I headed for town. There is a Kal Tire just as you come in to town, so we proceeded to head there in hopes they could fix it. It was getting late in the day and close to closing time, but I arrived and explained I was from the Coast and had to head home the next day. The gentleman behind the counter quickly said “no problem, come back in 15 minutes”!

A Quick Fix

We left, only to return 15 minutes later to a fully repaired tire ready to go. I pulled out my wallet to pay but was quickly told “no charge, have a safe trip home”. I could only reply “what??” followed by “are you sure”? These people didn’t know me, and I had disclosed I was from the Coast. Shouldn’t they be charging me through the nose for my bad luck? Apparently not, the man smiled and told me to tell my parents to come in if they needed anything in the future. My parents reply was “yep, we will be back” and they were, again and again, they too choose to shop local.

I never forgot that day. And of course, when you have a good experience you tell everyone who will listen. Not only did I tell everyone at home, but my parents happily spread the word in Merritt. Even when I moved here 5 years ago (and probably 15 years after this experience) I remembered the kindness I experienced that day. Although I am sure staff has changed many times in the last 15+ years, my perception of the business never did.

There’s No Place Like Home

These two experiences, while different, are what shopping local are about. I am constantly reminding people that even the large franchises here are owned by families, not just the small businesses downtown. The fact is that often the vast majority of businesses here in Merritt, are owned by the person next door. The parent you see at hockey, the kid who plays with yours, people on the PTA, the people you curl with, etc. When you support local, you support people in your community who just happen to have businesses that add to your life conveniences.

I encourage everyone, to consider where you shop. Support your neighbors. Allow local business the opportunity to price match. Consider the gas and time to shop elsewhere, is it really cheaper? What if you were a business owner? But more than that, shop for the experience that you get locally.

 

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Bees in the Environment

Bees in the environment

The Future of bees

“Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bees are on the decline.”

There are a number of different species of bees in the environment across Canada. These bees can be divided into two different categories, social and solitary. Social bees share the work of building and taking care of the nest while solitary bees have a very short lifespan in the air consisting of only 2-3 weeks.

There are over 450 species of native bees in BC and over 800 confirmed species of wild native bees in Canada. I am going to share a little info on two of the ones I like and will be adding to or helping on my little homestead.

Bees in the environment Nicola Valley BC Canada

Bees in the environment are so important – Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Most people already know about honey bees in the environment. I myself am not going to talk to much about them in this blog. I am more interested in a couple of the native species of bees. The mason bee and the bumble bee.

What I was looking for

I live just outside Merritt, BC on a 10 acre farm and enjoy all kinds of wildlife. Not many people take the time to notice the little things like bees.

I always thought if I wanted bees to pollinate my flowers, fruits and vegetables that I would need to get some honey bees and learn how to keep them and produce honey for my family. While I was researching about different bees in the environment and one we know the most about (the honey bees), I came across some information on mason bees. This intrigued me because I didn’t have to do near as much work to keep them.

bee collecting pollen in the environment Merritt BC

Bee with a load of pollen- Photo Michelle Lea’s Photography

Mason Bees

These little creatures are quite amazing. They are a solitary bee but do so much in such a little amount of time they are here.

Life Stages of the Mason Bee

Mason bees go through four stages of life egg, larva, pupa and adult. The first stage of life is spent inside the cell of the nest. The nest looks like a long straw divided into cell’s. Each cell has an egg and food left by the mother.

When the egg hatches the larva will have food inside the cell in which to eat. There is a rapid growth spurt during the larva stage. Once the larva goes into the pupa stage it can lay dormant for eight to nine months as it turns into the adult bee.

Once they emerge from the pupa stage they are ready to feed, mate and repeat the cycle. I am not sure if I have ever seen mason bees around Merritt or the Nicola Valley but, I will soon because I am getting some this spring.

The houses are so neat looking and they seem very easy to keep. The most common types of Mason Bees in the environment in the North West is Osmia Lignaria; Orchard or blue orchard mason bee.

Tips for Keeping Mason Bees

  • Don’t be afraid of mason bees. Male orchard bees do not have a stinger and they are not aggressive because all the females are fertile so there is no fighting over mates.
  • Make sure you have enough pollen. If there is not enough the bees will move on to other areas.

Nesting

  • Nesting boxes. Keep them facing south on the walls of a garden shed, garage or other building. Make food available from with in about 300 ft of the nest. 
  • Mud. Mud is very important for bees in the environment as they use it to block the eggs into individual chambers. You or your little ones can make some mud pies. Keep them moist but not soupy and keep them away from the openings of the nests because the newly emerging bees are weak and you don’t want them falling in.
  • Nesting material. Nesting material can be drilled out holes in logs (replace each year). You can purchase houses that have tubes in them or you can use pull apart wooden blocks. These can be great because they are easy to clean and sanitize. They are porous allowing moisture to escape
mason bee home and guide

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt BC

Watch your bees

  • They are fascinating, seeing all the different stages and watching them build their nests. Coming back with pollen. Watch her finish the last mud plug, use a flash light at night and see the bees peaking out of the chambers at you.
  • Keep your eyes open for predators. When they emerge from their nest birds like to go for the easy meals. They are like sweet little candy to them. You can try to avoid this by putting chicken wire over the tubes so birds can’t pull them out and eat the contents. You can also move them into a shed or garage once the busy season is over.

When to get ready

  • Get your materials ready for spring. Keep the units in an area that will protect them from the wind and rain. Secure them well and on a bit of an angle outwards so the rain will drain off and keep the tubes from molding. Set nesting material out mid to late March.
  • Don’t put it out to early or all your progeny could be mostly male. Make sure its on the South facing side as the bees need to warm up to 80 degrees for their wings to function.  Exposure to direct sun is very important as they can  soak up the sun even it’s only 58-64 degrees.

Harvesting your bees

  • Remove the tubes when the bee tunnels are all sealed up. You can leave them out until the end of summer but run the risk of loosing them to predators.
  • Give your cocoons a cool water bath 1/4 cup of bleach added. This will kill any fungus spores. Stir the cocoons for about 2 min and remove with slotted spoon and allow to dry.
  • Select the best cocoons. Cocoons that sink in the cool water bath are not good. C-shaped cocoons can be a sign of fungal infection. Holes in the cocoon can be a sign of parasitic wasp infestation. Discard all of these.
  • Refrigerate your cocoons. Store them in the fridge between 30-40 degrees F and about 60-70% humidity. By placing them in a plastic storage container with some small holes for ventilation and a damp sponge you should achieve no problem. Check now and again to make sure the sponge is still damp.
  • Store this way until the outside temperature is a constant 50 degrees F.
  • Nests need to be cleaned once all your bees in the environment have emerged. You don’t want to run the risk of pests, mites or fungus growing when the queens start to lay their eggs again. 

Releasing your Bees

  • Place the cocoons near the bee house you have set up. Putting them on top of the tubes inside the house until the bees emerge. This is a good way to protect them.

Attracting bees in the environment

  • Attract different bees in the environment. Fruit trees, and native flowers with a variety of colors like blue, yellow, purple. Dandelions and clovers are great. 
native wildflowers bees pollinators

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt, BC

How to make sure they have what they need.

Keep an eye out on which flowers and plants they frequent to learn which ones they like the best. Although they look like house flies you can distinguish them by looking for their antennae. The males you can tell apart from the females by the white hairs on the males’ heads.

Bees in the environment are very important. They are considered the best pollinators and help to grow our crops for food that we eat and feed to our animals. You can help by planting flowers that help the bees. 

Bumble bees

Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bumble bees are on the decline. But there are things that we can do to help. Plant a flowering garden with native plants. Use pesticides sparingly or better yet not at all. Look for and use natural ways to get rid of unwanted pests.

Bumble bees are the only truly social native bees. And to my surprise, the only native bee species that make honey.

The main difference between the bumble bee and the European honey bee is that the only one that survives to hibernate through the winter is the fertilized queens. Come spring she will find a new nest that may grow to include dozens of individuals and occasionally a couple hundred.

Bumble bees in the Spring

In the spring the queen will search out a suitable place to make her hive. Usually it will be underground in an old mouse burrow. She will lay around six eggs and when they hatch she will encase the larva in a cell with some food she has created from a mixture of pollen and wax.

Once the larva pupate she creates a cocoon. After a few days the Pupa emerge from the cocoon fully grown worker bees. They are ready to create a colony with their queen. The queen will keep laying eggs and repeating the process until the colony is the size she wants.

Summer

Summer the queen will start laying eggs that are intended to become worker bees and queens for next year. Once they hatch and become adults the worker bees will leave the nest in search of young queens to mate with.

The young bumble bee queens however will continue to live and work in the colony through the rest of summer and fall.

Fall

Once fall hits the young fertilized bumblebee queens will find a safe place to hibernate for the winter. Only these fertilized queens will survive for the winter.

Some interesting facts; Bumblebee’s don’t have a barbed stinger so they can sting a number of times. Male bumblebees don’t have a stinger at all.

Future of Bees

We can play our part in helping bees in the environment. The future of bees depends on what we do. Plant flowers, stop using pesticides that will kill them and make some places around your homes that will be inviting and safe for them to nest and reproduce. 

There are so many species of bees in the environment, research and find a species that you can connect with. Do what you can to help that species. Above all, have fun. They are quite fascinating to study and watch.

How can you find out More?

There is a Bumble bee watch group where you can record and report when you have seen a bumble bee. The group is Friends of the Earth The Bee Cause. There is also a chart so you can identify the type of bumble bee you have seen. This will be very helpful with statistics and keep records of how many of the different species of bees in the environment there are.

Here is another way you can find out more information on bees.  Ellen Miller from Miller’s Farm in Lower Nicola, BC is wonderful and so helpful. They hold a number of different bee keeping workshops. You can also purchase bee supplies and bees from Miller’s Farm when available. They will be reopening March 13, 2019

“We are having a free seminar on all types of bees, attracting them to your yard,on Sat April 27 from 1-2:30 pm. Also on May 4 from 1-2:30 we have a free seminar on honey bees for kids age 8 and up. Must be accompanied by a parent.. Our 6 week bee keeping course starts on Feb 19th and is $240.” Ellen Miller

Keep your eyes open for my upcoming blog from Miller’s Farm on the bee seminars and bee keeping course

In the mean time, I would love to hear what types of bees interest you, comment below. What are you doing to help the bees in the environment? You can also follow us on Experience Nicola Valley.

Bees in the environment

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Businesses in Merritt – D & D Emporium – Experience Nicola Valley!

Businesses in Merritt

Interview with Diane Lavoie – D&D Emporium

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

There are some really unique businesses in Merritt. D&D Emporium is definitely one of them. Walking into the shop is an adventure – your eyes are roaming everywhere and there are treasures everywhere! As they say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”!

I took this opportunity to find out more about the shop and it’s owner Diane Lavoie.

Businesses in Merritt

Diane and one of her little treasures

When did you come to Merritt?

“I came to Merritt in 2006.”

Where did you come from?

“From Burnaby were I have lived all my life.”

Why did you come to Merritt?

“I wanted to experience life in a small town – completely away from an urban centre where I grew up and lived all my life. 60 years I spent there.”

What inspired you to open a business?

“I wanted to live in Merritt and I soon realized that if I liquidated all my assets I still needed to work. The problem with that was there were no jobs in the field that I worked. So I took a good look around and consulted with Community Futures, the City and the Chamber of Commerce and I found that one of the things I liked to do most was haunting second stores. And that Merritt had no second hand stores. So it hit me there was my niche. I opened up a second hand store.”

Why did you want to open a second hand store?

“I choice a second hand store because I hate seeing things go to the dump that are perfectly good. Refurbishing, repurposing and repainting can transform an object from a throw away to a precious keeper. From an old lady’s wardrobe a young persons delight, with just a coat of paint.”

Businesses in Merritt

D&D Emporium Merritt BC

What do you like most about running your store?

“I enjoy the people that come in. They are so interesting and creative. It is nice to hear their ideas. It makes it fun for me.”

What do you like about Merritt?

“Pretty much everything. The people are great. I was very surprised when I came here that people help you without being asked and I was at first taken aback. The friendliness of the people totally changed my street behaviour. In a city you don’t look at the people coming towards you – it is considered rude and intrusive. In Merritt it is the opposite – if you don’t look at people you might be snubbing somebody. I would never go back to live on the coast. The people are great and I have made a lot of friends here. Besides, the weather and the climate suite my old bones –nothing aches.””

What are your future plans?

“I plan to continue with the blogging for Experience Nicola Valley. Something I enjoy and that I can be useful doing. And sometime during this year I may consider sharing the store – to give someone the opportunity to set up on a small scale.”

What are your hobbies?

“What I am into right now is writing. I am currently working on short stories that I want to publish. Also art –watercolour and drawing which I learned here in Merritt. I plan to continue with that.”

Businesses in Merritt BC

One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.

About D&D Emporium

If you are looking for a bit of whimsy this is the place to find it! This store has things from the past and ideas on how to use them. Lamps of uncertain vintage, both sophisticated and cute, pictures old and new and even used books all have a place here. Look carefully. There is something tucked away in every hole and corner!

Visit D & D Emporium at 2070 Quilchena Ave. in downtown Merritt!

Businesses in Merritt

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Ranching in the Nicola Valley, BC, Canada

Ranching in the Nicola Valley.

A day in the life at a local ranch; 8 Mile Ranch/Calton Cattle Co.

“If I get into a wreck can I call you? I already have a one in the house.” Corena

Anything can happen when your ranching in the Nicola Valley. I spent my day helping out at my friends at 8 Mile Ranch/Calton Cattle Co. while some calves were being born. Then I get to share that experience with all of you through blogging with Experience Nicola Valley.

I got the text about 9 am.

” Good morning Gerry has to go to Kamloops later this morning. If I get into a wreck can I call you? I already have a one in the house.” Corena @Calton Cattle Co.

frozen Calf warm kitchen

Photo credit Corena @Calton Cattle Co.

Getting Ready.

Oh my gosh, how exciting. I texted back right away ” Yes, I can absolutely come by if you need me.” I didn’t hear back right away. Then I got to thinking, what if something is going on right now and they can’t answer the phone. Well, I better get over there and see if there was anything they needed help with. Ranching in the Nicola Valley or anywhere can be full of surprises.
So I bundled up because the weather was a balmy -27 degrees.

freezing temp bundle up ranching life

Getting ready to go out in -27 to help friends with calving.

At the Ranch.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley of course always includes feeding. When I got to there everything looked good. Gerry and Corena a were out feeding and checking heifers to make sure there were no more calving at the moment. I walked out to meet up with Corena and chat with her to find out how things were going.

Back at the House.

She explained that Gerry had found the calf this morning looking like a little frost ball. With temperatures being so low they brought the calf in to warm up a bit. So, we headed over to the house to see how the little guy was doing.

Calf in the kitchen.

We walked in and in this big black tub was the cutest little baby calf. I have to admit I will never tire of seeing these little miracles. He was all dried off and getting ready to head back out to see mom and get some more food. Corena had already given him a bottle of colostrum to make sure he has the best start possible. I love ranching in the Nicola Valley.

calf, house, warm, cattle dog

Blue the ranch dog watching over “his” baby.

After taking a torch to melt all the snow and ice off of the trailer hitch, we got the it hooked up to the side by side then got ready to take this little one back to his momma. The tub wasn’t as heavy as I thought it was going to be. But with this little one standing up we had to be careful to have the weight distributed evenly while we carried him out to the trailer. Meanwhile, Buddy is keeping a close eye on what we are doing.

ranch dog border collie

Buddy watching us get the trailer ready.

Momma.

Once in the trailer we slowly hauled the little calf over to the pen his momma was in. She was still calling for him. It amazes me how when ranching in the Nicola Valley or on any ranch the cows and calves each have a distinct call so they know the sound of each other. Yet, to me they almost all sound the same.

Reuniting Calf with Momma.

We carried the tub into the edge of the paddock and set it down. Momma was getting a little agitated so we worked quickly to get the calf standing up and walked the calf into the paddock where mom could sniff, lick and talk to the calf to make sure it was hers. We watched to make sure Momma wouldn’t push baby away and that she would accept him back.

heifer calf reunited on the ranch

Heifer reunited with her calf

Quick check around paddock.

While we were waiting Corena suggested we take a look around the back paddocks to see how the other heifers were doing back there. While we were checking she mentioned to be careful of one of them as it wasn’t very friendly. We took a look around and all looked good so we went back and checked on baby and momma again. While I was watching and of course taking photos, Corena was blow torching the water trough to melt the pipes so it could be filled up again. In these temperatures everything freezes.

freezing water torch thaw fill trough

Thawing water lines to fill troughs.

Once we had the water filled we rechecked on Momma and the calf. They seemed to be doing okay at this point so we left them alone to bond.

Heading back to the house.

Just before we were going to head back to the house we thought it would be a good idea to have one more check. Things can change in a second when your ranching in the Nicola Valley. As we go around the corner of the lean-to Corena notices the heifer she warned me about earlier just had a calf. We went into the lean-to to watch through some peak holes. We had to make sure the mother was cleaning the little one off. She seemed like she wanted nothing to do with the calf. She would lick it once or twice then walk away.

new mother heifer calf freezing ranch life

Heifer with new calf and not interested in it yet.

Spring into action.

Corena went into the next pen and tried to rouse the mother into action by giving the new calf a little push. We thought it was going to work. Nope she again licked it once or twice again and walked away.

It was time to step in before the calf froze. We worked together to get the mom out of the pen (which didn’t take much). Then grabbing the big black tub we had just used we got the new calf up to load into it.

Calves don’t look that heavy. But it sure felt heavy when it’s not in the tub. Corena took one side and I the other. Together we lifted the new calf into the black tub. We carried the calf and tub out to the trailer and loaded it up to take back to the house. I was walking behind the trailer hanging on to the tub to make sure it didn’t slide out.
The calf was shivering so I took my jacket off and layed it over the calf. Once at the house we got the tub inside and Corena got warm towels from the dryer to lay over the calf. We spent the next half hour switching warm towels and drying off the calf.

warming calf cold farm life

Warming calf with heated towels from the dryer.

As I finished drying calf off Corena was getting a bottle of colostrum ready for baby.

Colostrum.

Colostrum is a very rich milk, the first milk that comes from the mothers. It is full of antioxidants that help protect the new calf against diseases.
Now that baby seamed to be a little perkier it was time to try feeding.

Feeding Time.

When you are ranching in the Nicola Valley one of the things you have to learn is how to feed new calves.
You would think that calves would automatically start sucking and it will be just that easy to stick a bottle in it’s mouth.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes it takes a while for them to “get it”, I was really hoping that in this case the calf would automatically pick it up.
First you have to stick your finger in it’s mouth to try and get the sucking reflex going. If the calf starts sucking insert the nipple and your good to go.

My Chance to shine.

So, here I go. I have the bottle and I am in position to start feeding. I think the calf is going to start sucking so I put the nipple in and nothing. It starts playing with the nipple a bit but no sucking. I take the nipple out and give the calf a min to taste the colostrum. Hopefully this will trigger it to start drinking. I try again, nothing. A third time nothing. Okay, time to switch positions and try at a different angle. Just not my day today.

Let the professional take over.

“Sometimes if you stand over the calf and try from a different angle the calf will start drinking.” Corena said
she then gets in position over the calf and gives it a go. Of course almost right away the calf starts to suck back the milk. Woohoo, this is a great thing. Calf is drinking and drinking strong. They can sure down a bottle quickly.

calf feeding colostrum house warmth

Calf drinking colostrum to give it the best start possible.

As Corena was feeding she asked “did we even look to see what the sex is” I laughed and said “no we haven’t had a chance yet” So while the little calf was feeding we took a peak.

Do you want to take a guess at what the sex was? A bull calf (male) or a heifer (female)? Comment below and let me know what your guess is.

boy or girl heifer or bull guess

Take your best guess in the comments below. Bull calf or heifer? What do you think.

Getting set up to take calf back out to it’s mother.

Now that the calf is warm and fed we need to go out and set up the paddocks, move mothers and babies around so we have the new mother in a paddock where they can work with her if she doesn’t accept her baby right away.

We start by opening up the gates and moving momma and her calf over one paddock. As we are doing this the new mother decides she wants to go in with them. Oh, here we go. Now we have to move them over and separate the new mother. She isn’t that friendly so we had to be very careful to watch she didn’t try to charge us. Was a bit iffy a couple times but we did get it done and they were all separated and in the correct paddocks.

Reuniting calf #2 with it’s mother.

After a few hours in the house, warming up, feeding and resting it was time to reunite this calf with it’s mother.
We again got the side by side in position to haul the tub out and into the trailer. Once we come back into the house to get the calf it’s standing. Another great sign. Carefully we carry the calf in the tub out to the trailer and load it up. I am not to keen on the calf standing, hopefully we make it over to the mother okay.

The wreck.

Corena starts to slowly drive over towards the paddock as I am holding the calf and the tub from the side to make sure they stay put. Well, what do you know. The calf decides it’s going to try playing. As it does a little jump in the air, the trailer still moving forward and calf moves back. Calf hits back of tub and as I jump in behind to catch it the calf is in my arms the tub has flipped up and dumped its contents on top of me and the calf. While all this is going on I am calling for Corena to stop. It all happened so fast. Everyone is okay and I am holding calf and laughing at the same time. I think I am going to name this calf “Touch Down” because that just felt like a long pass, catch and touch down lol.

We get the tub up righted and put the straw back inside and again lift the calf back into the tub. Okay, not much farther to go now. We can do this.
Whew, we made it back to the paddocks with out any further wrecks.

Putting calf in with its mother.

Now, for the fun part. This new mother is very jumpy and we have to get the baby in the paddock without the mother charging us or jumping the fences. We get everything ready and the calf out of the tub and standing. As I stand guard, Corena moves the baby through the gate and into the paddock. Mother is pacing around and not looking very happy. She actually looked like she wanted to jump the fence.

We get the calf in close the gate and leave her to check out her new calf again. Hopefully she will accept her new baby now and the circle of life will continue as these calves grow up to be strong young cows.

In the end.

Ranching in the Nicola Valley can be very trying at times. There is never a dull moment and sometimes you wonder why they continue. But it’s times like these that make it all worth it. I could work on a ranch every spring during the calving season. Although things sometimes go wrong and you loose a calf. It’s an amazing time of year and I wouldn’t trade the opportunities I have of helping out for anything.

Not only Ranching in the Nicola Valley.

Corena and Gerry not only do ranching in the Nicola Valley with cows but both have other businesses they do.

Corena with Calton Cattle Co. creates the most beautiful western decor items that are featured at Creative Company in downtown Merritt. Creative Company is a group of local people who had make products and sell them in this store. There are a lot of very creative people in Merritt. BC. Go in and check them out. There is something there for everyone. 

Gerry from Delistle Trucking also runs a trucking company where he hauls livestock or hay for people throughout the region. You can contact him through the BC Livestock Trucker/Hauling page.

Both Gerry and Corena are amazing people, I feel very blessed having met them and have become great friends. Plus, they let me come and help them out on the ranch which I love so much.

Cattle Co Ranching in the Nicola Valley

Photo credit Corena @ Calton Cattle Co.

Don’t forget if you want to check out more of my blogs about adventures and ranching in the Nicola Valley follow me or our other bloggers at Experience Nicola Valley

Ranching in the Nicola Valley

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Best Western Plus Hospitality

Five Star Hotels in Merritt BC, Canada

5 star rated Hotels in Merritt BC, Canada

Highly Recommended Places to Stay in Merritt BC, Canada

 

Where you STAY in Merritt is just as important as where you PLAY in Merritt.

For most of us cleanliness is the most important part of our choice when booking a hotel. The Best Western Plus, a 5 star Hotel in Merritt BC, Canada has passed with flying colours.

 When you pull up to the modern classy designed building you know you have made the right booking. The glass doors open into the lobby, you see a cozy seating area with a fireplace, a stocked hot beverage bar, and fresh baked goodies. Everything is so shiny and clean. It is like a downtown New York hotel in Merritt BC, Canada.

Convenience Store

Convience store has a bit of everything.

  The check in clerk is super friendly and makes you feel so welcome. She checks you in, answers all the questions you have about the area, and points you into the direction of the little onsite store.  This is an added convenience, and if you are like me, you have forgotten at least one item at home. 

You open the door to your room and “oh my gosh”, it is even better than you imagined.  THOSE BEDS LOOKED LIKE BIG FLUFFY PILLOWS!  Anoop and his family actually spent years researching sleep systems to get perfection.

Big beds in room

The beds looked like giant pillows.

 

Everything is perfect, right down to the final detail of a nice little separate sink outside the bathroom. I don’t know about you but filling my coffee pot from the bathroom tap has always made me a bit uneasy. 

 It’s like home away from home, BUT better!

 When I am away from home I want better than home. I want to feel like I am away from my daily duties, all the normal stress and I want to feel like I am being catered to.  Spending hours in the pool, dipping once in a while into the hot tub, and then going back to the room to watch great TV channels and chill was perfect. There is also a fully furnished exercise room complete with many machines to keep your exercise routine in place while you are away.

Pool Hot Tub

Time to relax in the pool and hot tub.

Of course, sometimes we do mix BUSINESS AND PLEASURE

It was exciting to see a nice size private business area complete with laptops right on the first floor. I could sneak away and do a few minutes catch up on business, ( don’t tell anyone). 

Conference room

Conference Business Room Best Western Merritt BC

After a good nights sleep what is the best thing ever????  A full on hot breakfast bar!!!

Fresh Fruit, cereal with real milk, hot sausages, bacon and eggs, toast and bagels.  AND MORE all waiting for you to get a super start to your day of fun and playing in Merritt BC, Canada. One of the special touches that I took notice of was the real plates and silverware. So much nicer than plastic and paper. Top class!

Hot Breakfast Bar

A full hot breakfast to start your day.

” Full hot breakfast was the perfect way to start my day, the crisp ocean coloured hot tub was the perfect way to end my day”

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Everything about the location of the Best Western Hotel in Merritt BC, Canada is perfect. Right across the street from Boston Pizza and walking distance to Fast Food Restaurants. Fine Dining Restaurants, Coffee Shops, and Large Department Stores are in view. A hop and a skip takes you to the local Skating and Hockey Arena, Merritt Civic Centre, Curling Club, and downtown core.  If you are a shopper like myself you will want to visit the sweet little charming stores on Quilchena Avenue. Also take some time to try your handprints up against major Country Music Artists on the Walk of Stars, and hop into the Country Music Hall of Fame for a fun attraction.

https://www.ccmhalloffame.com/about/visit/walk-of-stars

http://merrittchamber.com/

 

FAMILY OWNED AND OPERATED

Anoop Sekhon and his wife are the General Managers of the Best Western Plus Hotel in Merritt. Anoop was proud to tell me his family has been in the hospitality industry for most of his life, he actually started making beds when he was a young man.  His family also owns another hotel, the Ramada which is just down the road. From working in the trenches he has learned how to operate and manage a very successful business. Anoop understands the importance of quality staff and professional service in the hospitality industry. 

CONCLUSION: 

5 point ratings on Expedia and Trip Advisor are well earned and the hotel staff, cleaning crew, maintanance crew and management of the Best Western Hotel in Merritt BC, Canada should be commended on making visitors to Merritt feel warm and welcome. The Best Western Hotel in Merritt BC, Canada is right off the Coquihalla Highway for easy access and also offers TESLA SUPERCHARGE STATIONS for electric vehicles.

Quote for Best Western Plus Merritt BC, Canada

It is so easy these days to just do what is the normal, the Best Western Plus in Merritt goes above and beyond. I found this quote very fitting, I will leave you with a note from Maya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Community Marketing Blogging – The Merritt 18

Community Marketing and Blogging 

The “Merritt 18” are a positive voice for the Nicola Valley

“To sit back and watch the Merritt program empower locals to play a bigger role in representing their community positively online while interacting with others in the community… is very powerful.”

These past few days we have embarked on another round of training with some new Merrittonians about positive marketing and blogging for the Experience Nicola Valley Blog based out of Merritt, BC Canada. Thank you to Gurpreet and his staff at the Ramada Inn in Merritt for being so accommodating and just all-a-round great people to deal with. 

Content marketing training,  and engaging with like-minded people (aka blogging) is a top 3 favorite part of my job. Number one favorite – for you newbies to my blogging – is a no brainer, it has to be outdoor adventures. Number 2 would have to be research road trips in the Maple Leaf RV with my co founding brother Colin. 

But when it comes to communication, relationships and teamwork there is no better joy for me than sharing my passion and enthusiasm for small and rural communities in Canada. Being a small town boy, there is an affection that runs deep. In so many ways content marketing is good therapy for the bloggers, the community, the traveller and for us.  

Community Blogging and Marketing

Community blogging presentation in Merritt, BC, Canada

So if my elementary math teacher was right… 14, 15, 16, 17…  that makes it 18 bloggers. The “Merritt 18”. That has a cool ring to it! I think it deserves a hashtag for this post – #merritt18 . What do you think?

So you can imagine my excitement of having another opportunity to do some meeting and greeting with more real people. It was another opportunity for “moi” to connect  with 7 more quality individuals who live, work and play in Nicola Valley.  Here they are! Please give them a round of applause. I am clapping right now. Eh.. come on clap. 

Community Marketing and Blogging

(Back Row L-R)) Tony Luck, Greg Girard (Middle Row L-R) Melvina White, Wanda Luck, Michelle Bacon, Ali McDougall, Traci Marie Nixon (Front) Tania Stewart

Thank you Merritt and the Nicola Valley

We are already seeing the positive results online from the stories and experiences shared by the current Experience Nicola Valley bloggers. A great group representing many parts of the Nicola Valley ranging all over the map from a youth blogger in Grade 10 , Jordyn Lee, she so rocks… to one of our most popular bloggers, the very funny and classy senior Diane Lavoie.  So thank you to the community of Merritt and throughout the Nicola Valley for your support of our story tellers. 

The real gratitude comes in the chatter on the streets of Merritt, in the coffee houses and on social media. There is a feel-good buzz reverberating in this community. I am hearing it, I hope the locals are too. Slowly we are making a difference one word at a time. I feel like a proud parent!

We are now training another group of bloggers. Seven to be exact. I am sure there are 2 or 3 super star bloggers in this group too. As one blogger put it when talking about the team…

“Have your say everyday”
                                                                                Melvina White

Nicola Valley Skills To Succeed

Who better to talk up their community than the people who live, work and play in the community. It is the people who live in Merritt BC Canada who know the community the best. Not some suit and tie behind a desk in some far away land. Locals have the passion. It is an opportunity for all our new friends involved to become a positive role model in the Nicola Valley.  Something every community in Canada can never get enough of.  I do believe the “Merritt 18” will do their part.

Nicola Valley marketing

Presentation blogging in Merritt BC

Community Marketing Highlights of the Nicola Valley

So encouragement, teamwork and positive attitude were the key words of our 3 day retreat. As part of the process I wanted to know what this group of Merritonians thought of the Nicola Valley.  I asked our current new and eager “blogites”, “What makes Merritt BC Canada so special?” The catch was to blurt out one-word descriptions as fast as you can to fill a list of 10. Here is what the group came up with. 

  1. Music
  2. Lifestyle
  3. People
  4. Affordability
  5. Fishing
  6. Downtown
  7. Hiking
  8. Mountain Biking
  9. Photography
  10. Star Gazing

The Power of the Community

This is a big deal! The results so far in just 6 months clearly shows that this community marketing program can be a big part of the solution for many a rural and small communities in Canada. The success of some of the bloggers leaves us very little doubt that the community marketing program can accomplish great things with the right people, right tools and the right attitudes.

It is the first community marketing program of its kind in Canada. Congratulations to Merritt is in order. To sit back and watch the Merritt program empower locals to play a bigger role in representing their community positively online while interacting with others in the community… is very powerful.

Community Storytellers 

In a few short days the community marketing “blogites” will have a voice echoing throughout the “blogosphere”. Soon, real soon, the fun begins as the new bloggers will be unleashed on the Nicola Valley to explore, experience and tell positive stories. With so many boots-on-the-ground there are going to be some very impressive stories to tell.  So keep on checking them out at www.ExperienceNicolaValley.com or follow us on social media (links below).

Our content marketing family is growing and I am so proud of this group of people, putting their differences aside, and coming together for the common good of Merritt and the Nicola Valley. So… out of curiosity I had to ask this new group of bloggers, “Why they want to tell stories and share experiences via blogging?”  

“To share my stories, experiences about this amazing community!”
                                                                                            Michelle Bacon

Do you have a Nicola Valley story to share?

Everyone has a feel-good Nicola Valley story to share? Do you? Contact your favorite blogger today and make the arrangements for them to stop by. They love to chat, I do know that. 

Look up individual bloggers on the www.ExperienceNicolaValley.com blogsite. New bloggers will be added in next few days. 

You can find them online too on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram .

Tag them anytime on social media @experiencenicolavalley

Join the conversation and add a hashtag to your posts #experiencenicolavalley

Life is good in Merritt BC Canada!  

Community Marketing and Blogging