A high-profile Hollywood star brand manager, a fine gourmet doughnut shop, an artificial rock company and an urban green burial site. The companies on this list couldn't be any more different - except for the fact that they're the most memorable companies of the year, as chosen by the editors of the Report on Small Business
1 of 15
DeCosta Marketing Inc. From a small office in Mississauga, Ont., entrepreneur Jesse DeCosta has done what many small Canadian business owners might only dream of. He’s cracked one of the toughest, most cut-throat and seemingly impenetrable markets: Hollywood. Mr. DeCosta and his global brand management and licensing company have helped shape the images of some of Hollywood’s biggest celebrities – Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Kevin James, Lionel Ritchel, Donna Karan, Jordan Knight, and Robin Thicke, to name a few.
Photo courtesy of DeCosta Marketing
2 of 15
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods. The co-founder and chief executive officer of Winnipeg-based Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods knows the U.S. TV talk show host’s very mention of hemp will send demand for his company’s hemp-based food products through the roof. Of course, Mr. Fata loves the plugs for hemp. But he never knows when they are coming, and Manitoba Harvest sometimes simply can’t fill all the orders that follow the attention.
John Woods/The Globe and Mail
3 of 15
Raincity Rock & Waterscapes. During their five years operating Raincity Rock and Waterscapes, an artificial-rock construction company, partners Ryan Spong and Mark MacIsaac have developed naturalistic pools for some tough customers: a billionaire who owns a private island off B.C.’s coast and a Canadian rock star. But perhaps none was as demanding as the company’s latest clients, seven African penguins that now call the Vancouver Aquarium home. Read more.
Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail
4 of 15
Jelly Modern Doughnuts. When sisters Rita and Rosanne Tripathy opened the gourmet bakery in Calgary in April 2011, they wanted to reinvent the doughnut with sophisticated, imaginative flavours and high quality, local ingredients. Step into Jelly Modern's kitchen to see how executive pastry chef Grayson Sherman brings his ideas to life.
Katherine Scarrow/The Globe and Mail
5 of 15
Radiant Events. Call it a memorial, a celebration of life or a fabulous farewell; this company organizes gatherings that are typically held apart from a funeral or religious ceremony. They can involve dozens or even hundreds of guests, and are held weeks or months after the loved one has passed.
Dan Stone & Kathleen Wong/Stone Photography
6 of 15
SkyShed POD. Wayne Parker, the bassist in 'Glass Tiger,' is now the owner of a company that sells personal observatory domes to amateur astronomers, located just outside of Stratford, Ont. Find out how this eighties rocker found his second career in the stars.
Katherine Scarrow/The Globe and Mail
7 of 15
The Metrick System. Its towering wall of windows and killer views are enough to make anyone jealous. But it's the company's three restored trailers which serve as a recording studio, cafe and workspace that put this company’s office squarely at the centre of cool. Laurence Metrick, the creative director of this Toronto-based advertising and digital agency, shows off the space, while proving that the 'work hard, play hard' corporate culture is alive and well.
Scott Ramsay/The Globe and Mail
8 of 15
Guru Studios. The Toronto-based company, which has 100 employees and more than $7-million in revenue, has been producing computer-generated animation for commercials and TV shows since 2000. Family Channel bought the Canadian rights to the first season of their show Justin Time in spring 2009 and the show went into production in early 2010.
Screen capture from Justin Time television show/Guru Studios / Disney Junior
9 of 15
Woodlands. Canada's first urban green burial site, looks more like a park than a cemetery. It opened in October, 2008 at Royal Oak Burial Park in Saanich, B.C., and those buried there are either wrapped in a shroud or placed in a biodegradable wicker, bamboo, cardboard or untreated wood casket.
Royal Oak Burial Park
10 of 15
Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures. The company has built its business on trips for skilled cyclists. But with such a limited market, it needs to turn on less experienced riders without turning off its core customers.
Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail
11 of 15
Urban Cultivator. The 100-mile diet twigged Canadians to the benefits of eating locally. But Tarren Wolfe of Surrey, B.C., is bringing the go-local movement even closer to home – right inside it, in fact. With his company, the Urban Cultivator, he has developed an appliance that allows for easy indoor growing of herbs and small greens, and he envisions people around the globe snipping their own cilantro and tossing home-grown salads.
Photo courtesy of Urban Cultivator
12 of 15
CeraMaji. It looks a bit like a terracotta flowerpot sitting in a white plastic pail. But the CeraMaji water filter does much more than look nice on a windowsill – it saves lives.
13 of 15
Kik Interactive. Ted Livingston didn’t set out to build an instant messaging app. Like something from a John Lennon song, it happened while he was busy making other plans. When he began Kik Interactive in 2009, his first idea wasn’t instant messaging, but music. His company spent its first year building an application for finding and sharing music using a smartphone.
Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail
14 of 15
Frank & Oak. The business is based on a simple idea: While many women see shopping as a fun social activity, men do not want to spend a Saturday afternoon browsing in stores with friends. Frank & Oak is also designed for a younger demographic of men who are helping increase the readership of magazines such as GQ and men's style blogs – in other words, people who are aware of style but still do not have the patience and free time to seek it out.
Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail
15 of 15
Fotaflo. Like the roller coaster camera that snaps a picture when riders take their first teeth-rattling plunge, Fotaflo allows tour operators to capture similar moments for thrill-seekers who have a penchant for flinging themselves between tall trees.