BDC Small Business Week is a national celebration of Canadian entrepreneurs and their contribution to Canada’s economy. Events held during the week bring together entrepreneurs—and prospective entrepreneurs—at conferences, workshops, luncheons and trade fairs across Canada. Throughout October we’ll be profiling a few of Red Deer’s business owners.
Red Deer’s only tour company began as a ski bus offering weekend transportation to ski resorts in the Canadian Rockies. From that humble beginning, Pursuit Adventures has grown into a full service tour company offering transportation as well as summer and winter excursions.
For JP Fortin and Danielle Black Fortin, the business was a way to be able to spend more time with their two young children. Originally from Gaspé, Quebec, JP studied environmental economics and policy. His wife and business partner, Danielle is originally from Toronto and has a master’s degree in physical education majoring in sports psychology. The pair met while they were attending the University of Alberta and working as ski coaches.
In 2008, they moved to Red Deer and in 2010 they started the ski bus operation. “From the very beginning, our goal has been to inspire our guests to experience adventures and to introduce them to new ones,” says JP. “We specialize in small group adventures in Central Alberta and Western Canada.”
Striving to offer a high quality product has led to several other endeavours for the energetic business owners. “We have always offered snacks and beverages on the ski bus and on our tours,” Danielle says. “At first we purchased packaged foods from the grocery store, but eventually we started making our own from scratch.” Their homemade snacks were so popular with guests that they set up a commercial kitchen and began selling food products under the label Pursuit Provisions (@PursuitProvisions). From selling popsicles, hot chocolate, homemade marshmallows and s’mores kits from carts at farmers markets to their new Base Camp Cafe that creates soups, sandwiches, bagels, baked goods and more, their products are made from scratch featuring local food.
“We love spending time outdoors and sharing our passion for outdoor recreation with our guests,” says Danielle. “Central Alberta presents a world of opportunity for sustainable outdoor recreation.”