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New leadership at Community Futures Mount Waddington

By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle,  June 11  2021

The North Island community’s future is in new hands.

After 12 years under the guidance of David Mitchell, Riley Zimmerman is the new Executive Director of Community Futures Mount Waddington.

Community Futures supports businesses that are just getting started, or those that are expanding and growing. Community Futures also works with existing business owners who are ready to sell and need a new owner to buy the enterprise.

Over the course of Mitchell’s tenure, Community Futures has enjoyed some of its strongest years as a non-profit business development corporation.

“I always thought a big part of my role was to ensure that Community Futures was known in the region as the ‘go to’ funding and support resource for any small or medium size enterprise, or an entrepreneur taking their first steps into business,” said Mitchell.

Zimmerman may be new to the position, but not to Community Futures or the North Island where he was born and raised. Except for his time at Vancouver Island University, where he obtained a degree in business, Zimmerman has lived in Port Hardy. 

It was natural that business would be his chosen career path given entrepreneurism is in his genes. Until recently, his family owned Ecoscape Cabins in Port Hardy. 

“We hired Riley six years ago pretty much fresh out of university,” said Mitchell, and over the past six years, he has become a vital member of Community Futures’ loan program team.

“I really enjoy the challenge of working with a new entrepreneur who is developing the all-important business plan for their new business. It’s extremely gratifying to support a business from the  stage to seeing the doors open on the new business and ultimately looking back after a year on the success they have enjoyed,” says Zimmerman, who has also made a strong connection with Port Hardy Secondary School and North Island Secondary School in Port McNeill. “I offer a week-long program to the students, which hopefully opens their eyes to the possibility that entrepreneurism could be an option for them in their futures.”

Zimmerman was promoted to Executive Director after a widespread search that resulted in a shortlist of three candidates that were interviewed by a committee consisting of two board members and a Community Futures manager from Port Alberni, said Mitchell.

 

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Photo — Submitted

Riley Zimmerman, left, is the new general manager of Community Futures Mount Waddington, taking over the reins from David Mitchell who has retired after 12 years.

Devil’s Bath Brewing Co. opening soon

By Kathy O'Reilly, North Island Eagle,  June 11 2021

North Island residents will soon be bathing in beer.

Devil’s Bath Brewing Co. in Port McNeill is tentatively set to open on June 22 and currently has four batches of craft beer on the go.

“We have a Hazy Pale Ale, an IPA (India Pale Ale), an Irish red ale, and a golden ale brewing right now,” said Manager/brewer Aaron Battaglio. Devil’s Bath is owned by Jason Battaglio and Morgan Barratt.

They have now transferred the Hazy Pale and put an English brown on.

The brewery is located across from the post office in the old Shell station building.

While great beer is key, Devil’s Bath is looking to offer “a very homegrown experience. We’re really trying to showcase the North Island and all the greatness that it has to offer,” says Battaglio.

“We’re trying to bring influence from the whole area into our space,” he said, adding the flavours of beer will reflect the North Island as well.

“As we go along, we will be bringing more local flavours in in small batches.”

Beer will be available in 64- and 32-ounce growlers and in house. 

“We’re not doing any distribution; we’re keeping it all local. Our mandate is to stay local. If people want to drink our beer, they need to come to our community and enjoy it.”

To go with the beer will be a selection of food.

The ‘master of the kitchen’ has developed a great menu featuring healthy options.

“We don’t have a deep fryer. We don’t have a grill. We’ve got pizza ovens and we will be making our sourdough thin crust pizzas. We will be doing tacos, chili, pretzels, and a couple of kid items.”

These will be on the menu all the time, and Devil’s Bath will also have a chalkboard list of fresh menu items.

In a twist, spent grains from the beer-making process will be used in their food.

After making beer, Devil’s Bath is left with grains that are steeped, and they dry them out, sometimes grinding them into flour, or using them whole for more texture in their baking.

“They will be incorporated into the pretzels and some of the pizza doughs. It will make awesome pairings to have, let’s say, a red ale with a red ale pizza crust,” he said.

What they can’t use is being taken by local farmers for their livestock. An artisan baker in Hyde Creek is also using some of them.

Recycling, repurposing, and reusing has figured prominently in both the design and ongoing operation of Devil’s Bath.

 

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Photo — Kathy O'Reilly

Devil’s Bath Brewing Co. Manager/Brewer Aaron Battaglio has been busy preparing for their grand opening tentatively scheduled for June 22.