Things are smokin’ hot for Kootenay Filter Inc.

A cannabis flower after it’s been harvested and dried. (Canadian Press/Black Press Media files)

Things have been smokin’ busy for Kootenay Filter Inc.

Co-owners Marco Gerhardt, Rick Arnett and sales and marketing man Kyle Downey are part of the company’s 12-member staff, most of whom were employed previously by Can-Filter, which built a great new venue on the North Shore with the help of Red Dog Carpentry a few years back, before Can-Filter was sold to a subsidiary of Scott’s Miracle-Gro, in late 2017. The multi-national company had its sights set on the cannabis hydroponics business.

But in the summer of 2018, Can-Filters’ 27 employees were let go. The North Shore business, which opened in 1989, sadly, closed.

The outgoing crew rallied though. They started a new business under the name Kootenay Filters Inc. And found a new home, on Highway 3, on the Grohman Mini Storage property.

“We were able to re-employ some of the old crew,” says Gerhardt, “and we’re currently expanding and hoping to have more employees back soon.”

Downey says KFI has dodged the COVID crisis for the most part.

“COVID has only put a delay in the logistics of receiving materials we need to make our filters that come in from abroad.”

KFI’s carbon filters and fans are used primarily in the cannabis industry, and with cannabis being an essential service, Downey says there’s still a demand for KFI product. The filters, available at Ellison’s in Nelson, are also great for gyms, nursing homes, hospitals, dental offices and even your kitchen.

What’s the future hold for the good-as-new Can-Filters building? According to the property’s owners, a cannabis production operation and licensed production facility is being proposed.

— Nelson Star