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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Dogs are Getting Groomed - Not Cowboys - at Country Suds in Greenwood, BC

Lifestyle Change

What if the end is only the beginning?

People are often confronted with significant changes and choices in life. We've all been through it. The start of a new job, the loss of a friend, sickness. Moving away from home or moving in with someone you love. Buying a car or choosing a house. Starting of a new business. Some changes are forced upon us due to circumstances. Others, we do to ourselves. 

Whenever a significant change occurs, we are confronted with at least two perspectives. The one view is a feeling of loss, decline, powerlessness, and the lack of control. The other a sense of gain, re-birth, strength, and a new beginning. 

It doesn't matter how small or large the change is. The key to success in life is how well we deal with changes. How good are we at moving away from what we had, towards something new? 



Nature is in a constant cycle of decline and renewal. It should be natural to us as humans too to easily let go of the old and to welcome the new. Why is it so hard then for people to embrace the same fluidity of life?

It is because we trap ourselves in temporal illusions. Our imagination creates time, circumstances and places in distorted realities. In our silliness, we fear losing things long gone, while holding on to things that may never be. Our perspectives define our reality. The hardest task then is to tie our reality down to the truth of where we are now and what we need to give up to move forward.

When we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that every change is a goodbye to get a hello, an end for a beginning, letting go for something new. Without this realization, we risk being trapped in an illusory twilight of despair. It will destroy our spirit if we cannot say goodbye. We won't have a future if we do not say hello.


Greenwood City in British Columbia has been saying goodbye since 1918 when the copper mine and smelter closed. It's been saying goodbye for such a very long time that it became trapped in a very real twilight of despair and decay. Old buildings crumbled, people moved away, and businesses left town despite the city seeing an average daily traffic pattern over 3,000 vehicles during the summer months (Traffic Patterns, 2011). It may well be on the road to oblivion like its predecessors Phoenix, Bridesville, Sidley, and others if it doesn't embrace a future.

Because of the city's rich history and its record resistance to change, Greenwood also attracted people fearful of letting go. You can see it in the junk of the yard collections. The failed upkeep of its small houses, and the prevailing rust of the old clunkers in the driveways.

We think that Greenwood and the area are poised for change and on the verge of a millennial renaissance. It is the right time now for the City to move towards its tomorrow as more and more people drop out of big-city life, avoid daily commuting, expensive mortgages, and having too much meaningless stuff.

Greenwood could and should say hello to young families, college graduates, entrepreneurs, crafters, makers, small houses, new buildings and people that embrace lifestyle, simplicity and old-school authentic values. The mine won't give it a future. Instead, it should court producers, makers, and telecommuters - the foundation of a new economy.

The last thing Greenwood needs is a Mickey D's on the corner, Starbucks or a Safeway parking lot. Instead, it requires a butcher, doctor, grocer, candymaker, woodworker, cabinet maker, knifemaker, weaver, and it needs more people that realize that it is an affordable place to work and live - really live. It has the required vehicle traffic. Greenwood just needs to give people more reasons to stop, and some will even choose to bring their dreams, hobbies, businesses and jobs to stay.


Tammy Bowering moved to Greenwood and established her Country Suds Dog Grooming in 2018. She just realized that Greenwood has dogs that need grooming. Her love for dogs compelled her to say hello to her future, and she started her small grooming business. It's been growing steadily, and we are proud to feature her as part of our portfolio of Boundary Country stories.

Tammy is so passionate about the future of the City that she is now heading the Greenwood Board of Trade. It is an organization that was incorporated in 1899, just two years after the city itself was incorporated. The chief goal of the Greenwood Board of Trade is to promote economic and community development, networks with local and regional businesses, and to provide small business support.

The Cowboys are glad that we can throw in our support too for the future prosperity of Greenwood. It gives another opportunity for people to find a better way to work and live in the Boundary Country of British Columbia. It is a chance for us to have our chosen lifestyle.

Boundary Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


City Hall

Powder Room


Doggy Love!

Doggy Wash!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sitting Out the Alberta Winter with Fried Chicken and Spiked Frulattes at Marv's in Black Diamond, Alberta

Worth the Trip

The Cowboys have a few favourite ways to pass the time when it is cold outside. 

One way is to visit friends in Alberta to do some home-style cooking. Marv Garriott, the owner of Marv's Classic Soda Shop and Diner, invited us to Black Diamond for such a visit. He wanted to tell us more about his special fried chicken and unique peanut butter burgers. We had a little surprise installed for him too with a spiked Frulatte!



Winter is a particular time in Canada. Canadians find all kinds of ways to make the most of the snowy, frosty season. Ice Hockey, Ice Fishing, Skiing and Sledding are a few of the activities that make winter exciting and bearable. You also have the festivities of Christmas Markets and the Holidays that precede the big freeze.

However, by late February and early March, the novelty of winter has worn off. Canadians become grumpy and start to look for something new to do. These are also the hardest months for some of Canada's tourism-related small business owners. People avoid travelling when it is cold. It means that business is slow during the mid-winter months.

If you are in locations outside the main centres, you are hit harder. As a business owner, you really have only two options during this time. Either, you shut your doors and sit it out, or you find ways to draw attention to your store with something new or unique.

A fifties diner is not new or unique. However, Marv managed to add his own personal style to this iconic attraction in small-town Black Diamond. During the Summer months, weekends are busy when people stop for a malt shake, ice cream and his unique hotdogs, sodas and burgers.

During winter things are really slow. It is then that Marv comes up with new recipes and twists on old favourites like his trusty crispy fried chicken. According to Marv, it takes a little longer to properly prepare his chicken. That is why it is not on the menu during the busier summer months. He reserves the chicken for the slower winter months instead. It is hearty and worth the trip to have produce that he sources locally, brine, bread and cooks personally, for his loyal customers.


We've often seen in Canada that small business close down during the winter months. They do it to preserve cash and to prepare for when the warmer season starts again. It has a knock-on effect for others in the community. When small businesses close their doors, even if it is temporary, then casual staff go without wages, local producers don't sell their produce, and destinations don't attract visitors.

Surely, this cannot be good for their communities. Kudos to Marv for staying open and supporting his local clientele. All we can ask is that you give him a hand by stopping by for some fried chicken or burger, and a milkshake. Who knows, you may also be able to have a yummy Frulatte to remind you of the approaching summer? In the mid of winter, we know, it is a welcome reminder.

Frulatte Cowboy

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Burger Filming

Burger Making

Frulatte, Eh!

Monday, April 1, 2019

Many New Beginnings and Constant Innovation at New Beginnings Toffees and Caramels in Pretoria


A small business owner lives in two worlds. The one forces him or her to standardize, systematize and consolidate for efficiency. The other calls on constant innovation and change to try and out-manoeuvre competitors and market demands. 

A small business owner is usually good at one of these. At New Beginnings Toffees, it is the latter that stands out. Jan Snyman is always busy with something new. His adventures have one thing in common, delicious toffees and unique chocolate caramels!



The challenge for a small business owner is to have the right balance in efficiency and innovation. Efficiency is not always tolerant of changes. By doing something in a standard way and scaling it, there are opportunities to increase profitability. Innovation presupposes change and is a very demanding partner that tends to destroy efficiency and gobble up capital. Sometimes, and more often than not, this means that profitability becomes a casualty.

The two are in a dance that is not always obvious to entrepreneurs. These are people that favours the latter, else they would not have bothered to start the business in the first instance. It is a 'chicken and egg' situation. Innovation drives growth, but efficiency drives the bottom line. Being profitable allows further innovation.

The key to the right priority is to know where in the business cycle you find your business. If it is a new business, and the industry allows it, and you have the capital and resources, then innovation should get priority. If it is an established business in a mature industry, it is usually better to consolidate and standardize to achieve efficiency and improved profitability.

The trouble with an entrepreneur is that they usually favour one. Either efficiency or innovation drives them. That is why it is essential as a business owner to recognize your strengths and realize that it has a place in the cycle of the success of your business. It can also quickly become the downfall if you do not temper or supplement your focus to establish important priority on either efficiency or innovation at the right time.


New Beginnings Toffees is a remarkable business that grew mainly from a necessity for Jan to have a second career. It provided an innovative confection play-pen to him and his partner, Joelean. The result is a substantial array of unique and traditional toffee-chocolate-caramel flavours, creative packaging, promotional positioning and marketing strategies. It is indeed something we have not yet encountered on our travels across the world. It is unique!

The business manufactures and distributes exclusive hand-made confectionary for select retailers, corporate gifting, hospitality industry, wedding favours and markets.

Jan cannot help himself but to continually explore the next possibility within his product development. He certainly landed a few of our favourites like the Turkish Delight Caramel and Treacle Toffee. It is encouraging to see his enthusiasm for creating the next "big" thing.

Unfortunately, South Africa has seen a series of casualties in strong confectionary brands. The toffees that did survive are no longer of the quality they used to be. We can only hope that Jan finds the magic recipe for successfully distributing his delicious products to step into the shoes of those that have gone before him.

Here is to wishing him and Joelean all the success they can handle. May we one day taste a new beginning for toffee-chocolate-caramels all over the world thanks to the work and dedication of New Beginnings Toffees in far-off South Africa.

We hope to have a maple syrup version we can take to Canada, the next time we see him ;-)

Sweet Cowboy

We earn our livelihood by producing great content and supporting inspiring people, businesses, and communities. Please book us here so we can tell your story too.


Toffee TV


Guilty Pleasures

Many, Many Flavours