Mandy Chutskoff

Oranj Express in Castlegar offers about 50 fitness classes per week, including yoga classes from Mandy Chutskoff

Mandy Chutskoff of Oranj Express fitness studio teaches yoga classes and encourages general fitness

At Oranj Express fitness studio in Castlegar, Mandy Chutskoff teaches yoga classes and encourages general fitness. — Photo courtesy Mandy Chutskoff

Mandy Chutskoff is a Kootenay-born entrepreneur who is supporting the sustainability of her community and sharing her love for yoga through her business, Oranj Express fitness studio, in Castlegar.

“I hope to see the holistic and Earth-conscious boom in Nelson spread outward to the surrounding area,” she said. Chutskoff shared her thoughts about entrepreneurship in today’s world.

What qualities does a successful business person need today?

Presence—show up and be the best person you can be, every day. Compassion, confidence, inner strength, empathy to listen to others, openness to shift with the needs of your community. Ability to let go and be open to pursue new ideas. Camaraderie and the drive to follow through with your truth; lead others in a positive direction.

Finish this sentence: Entrepreneurs need a lot more ___.

Entrepreneurs need a lot more permission for themselves to just "be," to self-care and reflect. Knowing the world is OK without them opens the door to the infinite. It makes the impossible possible. It makes your business thrive and continue to evolve as all things should, always aiming for the highest good of us all.

What’s a common myth or misconception about entrepreneurship?

This is a loaded question. This comes to mind: “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” 

What makes the Kootenays attractive to an entrepreneur?

This area is a stunning and special place. We are surrounded by nature—forests, fresh water, rivers, lakes, mountains and an epic display of four seasons. The Kootenays attract people from all walks of life. When you find your niche, your heart is set right, you can be a successful entrepreneur if you put your mind to it.

What trends have you observed in your community that might impact the local economy in the next five years?

This area continues to grow, especially the Nelson area. I was born and raised in the Kootenays, and I think  it continues to get busier. I am seeing shifts in the Castlegar area, where a hip and youthful energy continues to emerge. Crumbs Bakery, Roots and The Grand Buddha Bistro are a few new, hip shops in the area. I look forward to seeing this wonderful town continue to grow. I dream there will be a buzzing downtown area and a soul-feeding musical scene. I see a hub where people can connect, socialize face to face and experience moments of awe. This is a place to remember.

Marie Milner

Marie Milner is a writer and photographer for Kootenay Business magazine and several other publications. She appreciates the inspiration that she gets during her interviews and hopes to share that inspiration with you. View all of Marie Milner’s articles

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