In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.
When devastating floods hit the town of High River, Alberta, it sparked a moment of change for Sarah and Lyle who shifted their priorities towards living a more rural, remote and self-sustainable lifestyle. After purchasing a trailer, the couple and their daughter, Marlee, sold their house in High River to start a new life in Haida Gwaii. This included starting their business, Green Eggs Market, to bring health and wellness to their community in Northern B.C.
Sarah and Lyle shared dreams about becoming entrepreneurs. It wasn’t until Sarah faced a health scare and started setting serious health goals for herself that their vision for a business promoting health and wellness in the community came into fruition.
“Smoothies, specifically green smoothies loaded with antioxidants and vegetables, have become a regular thing for our family since my health scare as a way to improve my own health, and the lightbulb went off – Haida Gwaii needs this!” says Sarah.
“I am totally fine now but going through what I did encouraged me to jump on the health and wellness wagon. I became driven to help others regain their health and achieve their own health goals, while working towards feeling healthy again myself.”
Green Eggs Market opened on June 30, 2018. A healthy takeout option located at the Skidegate ferry landing on Haida Gwaii, the eatery is known for their specialty wellness smoothies. They also serve healthy alternatives to meals including grilled paninis and oven-baked nachos with a focus on whole food ingredients and a commitment to serving fresh, locally-sourced produce.
Launching just in time for the summer, Sarah says surviving this was a milestone achievement for them and their business.
“Getting through our first summer season without having a nervous break down is definitely one of our key highlights and milestones. While it was a lot of work, with long days and long weeks, most of it was fun so that makes it easier,” says Sarah.
“Throughout it all I kept in mind that the body requires rest, and personally, my mind, body and spirit require balance, so I made sure to be mindful of this. Looking back at last year, I sometimes can’t even comprehend how we did it, but I know for certain that we have no regrets whatsoever. We’ve learned a lot and know that we will require more help this year for sure.”
This experience, in a nutshell, embodies Sarah’s key piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a business.
“Just go for it and be mindful…soak it in! Try to always enjoy and have fun in each process, while maintaining positive and healthy thoughts around your future goals and plans. And remember that setbacks just make you stronger.”
Sarah and Lyle also look to their own networks and communities for strength. While nearby communities have been generous with their business and promotional support, it is the guidance of their mentor that have been particularly valuable in helping Sarah and Lyle overcome challenges in their business journey.
“Our mentor, Danny, is an amazing entrepreneur who owns four businesses. We endured quite the financial hardship this past winter when our shop was closed and our rental unit in New Brunswick was abandoned and severely vandalized by long-term tenants. I took this to our mentor just to give him an update on how things were going, telling him we had to open the shop ASAP or our livelihood and everything we worked hard for was literally on the line, and he got excited. He was excited by the challenge – that the numbers were so tight and we were going hard for it – and being so full of positivity, he has been the most help of anyone we’ve ever met,” says Sarah.
“If you think you don’t need a mentor, just give it a shot. Danny’s light on our dark situation helped us to see it through his eyes. His experience in business has made him resilient and a great leader. Who doesn’t want to learn from and gain qualities like this?”
Sarah and Lyle were also finalists in the 2018 ThriveNorth Business Challenge last year. With the event taking place in Fort St. John, they were forced to close up shop for the competition, but the decision came at the perfect time.
“ThriveNorth has helped us mostly with encouragement and support. The Business Challenge was a really good break for us and a great experience that allowed us to learn a lot and make a lot of important relationships and connections,” says Sarah.
For Sarah and Lyle, starting a new chapter of their lives in Northern B.C. is the best move they made for both their family and their business. And they could think of no place more perfect than Haida Gwaii for Green Eggs Market and the lifestyle and community they wanted. the lifestyle they aimed for, the community they wanted and the business
“I don’t even know if we would even classify Haida Gwaii as Northern B.C. because it really is a place of its own!” says Sarah.
“We only dreamed of moving here four years ago. We packed up the dogs, cats and child, I bought a travel trailer, and away we went on our adventure to Haida Gwaii! It’s home to us now and we love it here. Although there are some limitations to living remotely, the air, the beauty and the atmosphere far outweigh everything else.”
Find out more about Green Eggs Market on Facebook @GreenEggsMarket