Featurepreneur: Where the Wild Things Shop

Genevieve Allen Hearn

Jon Foster is no stranger to The Grapevine. You may remember him from a Mike Uncorked article where Mike Butler covered Motiv Fitness, Abhaya MMA, and the Adventure Climbing Gym—all businesses currently or formerly run by Foster. A serial entrepreneur, Foster has most recently seen opportunity in the outdoor gear market, especially during a time when activities such as fishing and camping are enjoying huge surges in popularity.

The Grapevine (GV): Tell us about Wild Valley Supply Co.
Jon Foster (JF): We are a fishing, camping and Timberland Pro workwear retail store with a brick-and-mortar location in Greenwich and online at wildvalley.ca. We offer top quality gear with customer service and advice.

GV: What is the story behind Wild Valley Supply Co.? How did the owners find each other?
JF: While all of my businesses and income were shut down in 2020 due to COVID-19, I decided it was time to make a change. Fishing and camping have been what I love to do forever and the more I thought about the idea of a shop in the Valley the more it made sense. I pitched the idea to a few friends on a fishing and camping trip and that is how Alex Kielburger and Kyle McDougall came to be part of the team. There are two guys I have also trained jiu-jitsu with at Abhaya for over a decade. Next, I pitched the idea to my brother Tim Foster who is half of Dose Media. Tim was in and his partner at Dose, Matt Smith also liked the idea, so Dose Media came on as a partner as well, handling our branding, design, marketing, and web development. With five of us on board we had all our bases covered and we worked non-stop from September to our opening on March 27 doing renovations, setting up suppliers, and everything in between to make it happen in time for this year’s fishing season. We officially opened on April 1.

GV: Your store focuses on fishing and camping product offerings. Do you see this expanding into other areas?
JF: Our full line Timberland Pro workwear will be arriving in May. We carry a line of inflatable sup boards which have been very popular already and down the road we plan to get into bow hunting at the shop and eventually guiding in the Valley. Once it is possible, we are planning a casting demo day with Nam fly rods (one of the premium fly fishing brands we carry) and hope to be doing more fishing- and camping-based events as soon as we can!

GV: The camping and fishing seasons are upon us! Any recommendations for places to enjoy the great outdoors in our region?
JF: If you are lucky enough to get sites booked at any of the provincial parks, they are always great. However, the best spots are usually harder to find. I highly recommend exploring public land around the province, where you can find amazing camping spots. Anywhere with a water supply and a view is a good start! Often when searching around lakes and coastlines you will find old established sites that have been enjoyed by campers for who knows how long. We have a few spots we have found and built out ourselves over the years that we continue to go back to year after year.

GV: What is it like to be an entrepreneur in this area? Any advice for future entrepreneurs?
JF: The Valley is a special place. It is small enough to enjoy a slower pace of life but big enough to provide opportunities to entrepreneurs in the area. Word of mouth is big here for local businesses. Build a community, get to know your customers, and learn their names! The biggest piece of advice I could provide anyone thinking of starting or buying a business would be don’t get into anything just for the money. Make sure it is something you enjoy. If you can build an income around something you love to do it makes it easy to get out of bed in the morning and work hard!

You can shop Wild Valley Supply Co. online at wildvalley.ca and visit the shop at 38 NS-358, Greenwich (former location of Adventure Climbing Gym).