Nathaniel Miville

SEEDS OF SUCCESS

Interview by Derrick Scott and Mathieu Manning
Images © Vesta’s Photography

THE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY OFTEN INVOLVES DIVERSE EXPERIENCES, AND FOR NATE MIVILLE, OWNER OF BIG RIVER CANNABIS, HIS P NATHANIEL MIVILLE ATH FROM HIS HOMETOWN OF RED DEER, ALBERTA, TO HIS CURRENT VENTURE HAS BEEN A PERFECT ILLUSTRATION OF THIS.

Nate’s entrepreneurial spirit has always burned bright. Reflecting on his pre-cannabis ventures, he reminisces, “Before Big River Cannabis, I owned a company called Canada Car Care, specializing in automotive and marine detailing.” He elaborates on his extensive experience, spanning close to two decades, selling car care products through his online platform, Canadacarcare.ca. “I was also running a consulting company for the IT side of the business,” Nate adds, emphasizing his multifaceted entrepreneurial endeavours. “And I actually am still doing consulting to this day.”

Forging his own path

Nate Miville’s journey into entrepreneurship reflects his deep-seated desire for autonomy and independence. “I always wanted to own my own business. I wanted to make my own schedule,” Nate expresses, highlighting his reluctance to conform to instructions and his inclination to carve his own path in life. Raised with a perspective that prioritized self-reliance and empowerment, Nate attributes his entrepreneurial spirit to his upbringing. “I think it was just how I grew up and looked at employment,” he reflects. Dissatisfied with the limitations of hourly wage jobs, Nate recognized early on that true financial independence could only be achieved through entrepreneurship. His journey began with humble beginnings, from working at Papanack Zoo in Wendover to finding employment at McDonald’s in Rockland. Reflecting on his experiences, Nate emphasizes the invaluable lessons he gained from these jobs, highlighting the significance of real-world experience in shaping his understanding of the professional world.

Cultivating passion

Motivated by a desire for change and a newfound interest in the cannabis space, Nate made a conscious decision to pursue a career path aligned with his interests and well-being, and started his journey with Big River Cannabis. “I always was interested in cannabis,”. From cultivation to product development, Nate found joy in every facet of working with cannabis. “From growing it, to using it, to cultivating it, to making different products, I’ve always enjoyed working with the plant,” Nate elaborates. His natural affinity for customer service further propelled him towards the retail space. “I like working with people. I love talking to people about common interests,” Nate explains. Despite facing challenges posed by government regulations, particularly during the implementation of an LCBO-style distribution system, Nate remained steadfast in navigating the regulatory landscape. “It’s been quite a test of my patience, working with all the various levels of government to get this done,” Nate acknowledges. Nevertheless, his perseverance and dedication to his vision have propelled him forward in his entrepreneurial journey within the cannabis industry. Reflecting on the evolution of Big River Cannabis, Nate expresses gratitude for the enriching experiences it has provided him. Nate owns three locations: Rockland, Calabogie and Bourget, each serving not only as a business endeavour, but also a way to foster community pride and growth.

Balancing act

As a business owner overseeing three locations, Nate juggles multiple responsibilities, but he also recognizes the importance of finding time to disconnect from work. When asked about his strategies for unwinding, Nate shares insights into his hobbies and family life. “I have three kids, and I spend a lot of time with them in their extracurricular activities.” Nate’s dedication to his family is evident as he actively participates in his children’s pursuits, including ringette and arm wrestling. “My family is probably where I spend most of my free time,” Nate admits. He values the time spent at his cottage, where he enjoys fishing with his son, father, and father-in-law. However, Nate’s interests extend beyond family activities: “I’m also into car racing, snowmobiling, and growing. I love growing, not just cannabis, but my garden, my vegetable garden,” Nate shares. Reflecting on his hobby of growing, Nate highlights its dual significance as both a leisure activity and a fundamental aspect of his career. “When you grow the plant, you get to understand it a lot more,” Nate explains, underscoring the interconnectedness of his personal and professional interests.

Cultivating expertise

Nate uses an innovative approach to staff training and product knowledge within his cannabis dispensaries. “Every year I grow cannabis plants, and I give them some,” Nate reveals, outlining a hands-on learning opportunity for his team. He explains the importance of staff members understanding the intricacies of the plant they sell. “It’s up to them to determine the sex of those plants, make sure they keep the females, make sure they destroy the males, or if they want to get into breeding, they can use the males and the females together,” Nate elaborates. By actively involving his staff in the cultivation process, Nate ensures they gain first-hand knowledge of the plant’s characteristics and growth cycle. “It helps the staff understand the plant, and helps them sell the plant,” Nate emphasizes. He believes that this approach sets his staff apart, as they can speak confidently and knowledgeably about the products they offer. By guiding his team through the cultivation process, Nate ensures they are well-equipped to educate customers on various aspects of cannabis, from cultivation methods to storage techniques. “Because they’ve gone through those steps themselves,” Nate concludes, highlighting the hands-on experience as a key factor in his staff’s expertise. He believes that this approach contributes to the superior product knowledge and customer service provided by Big River Cannabis.

Nate’s perseverance and dedication have propelled him forward, resulting in the successful establishment of multiple cannabis dispensaries. Through his hands-on approach and innovative strategies, Nate has cultivated a thriving business while staying true to his values and interests. As he continues to navigate the dynamic landscape of the cannabis industry, Nate serves as an inspiring example of entrepreneurial success driven by passion, expertise, and a commitment to excellence.

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