In all my years living in the Cariboo I’ve met a few people who are truly passionate about where they live and what they do; Mark Savard is one of them.
Born in Vancouver, Mark and his family moved to Williams Lake when he was eight and by the time he was fourteen he was, like his parents, in business. Mark started building windsurfers in the basement of his house and after turning 16, getting a drivers licence, and finding suppliers for things like wet suits and surf gear, he turned his van into a mobile warehouse. Although an honour roll student, Mark hated school, always knowing he was going to go into business. He lived to ski and surf, and the day after graduation Mark loaded up his van and left for Mexico.
Back in Williams Lake in 1988, Mark opened a little shop above Ken’s restaurant, and due to some red tape, couldn’t stay. He traveled to Europe and got his snowboard instructor certification and started his business, Red’s Shred Shed (say that fast ten times) up at Mount Timothy. You may notice the name has slightly changed since then (Red Shred’s Bike & Board Shed) to help with this tongue twister. Mark, over the years has put a lot of time in at Mount Timothy, having the rental shop for three years, running the ski patrol, and many volunteer hours.
Mark has had locations all over Williams Lake, including across from the Tribune, and at the current Fit City location, until buying the building he currently occupies on First Avenue in the early 90s. The building has had many tenants in previous years, and started out as a Chinese Mercantile store, built in 1946.
We wanted Mark to be our featured personality for this adventure issue of The Stew, as he really has lived a life of adventure. He has always been on the move, whether it be skateboarding, skiing, BMXing, windsurfing, snowboarding, or mountain biking. With snowboarding and mountain biking, Mark was there when the sport really got its start.
There are many local events and projects that Mark was instrumental in starting. To name a few, the Likely Paddlefest, the Tour de Cariboo (with Joanne Wright), avalanche awareness courses, kayaking instruction, and backcountry skiing.
Mark’s current focus is mountain biking, and making Williams Lake the leader in mountain biking. He also helps organize bike rodeos with the RCMP, local Reserves and the Boys and Girls club, and this year so far has put together eleven.
A vegan and a man that follows Buddhist principles, Mark and his life partner Jacinta have two young children; if Dad is any example they are very busy children. He loves every minute of life and works hard to make our area the best place to live. “Business is awesome and if I have extra time, I volunteer more,” Mark says. He is not one to bask in the accolades of his volunteer projects, for as soon as a project is going, he steps back and lets it take off.
Mark understands what ‘paying it forward’ means and makes it his goal to help everyone in Williams Lake to be on two wheels. If you can’t afford one of the amazing bikes he carries, he has a stack of bikes that he has collected and his staff has refurbished that he will give away.
As well as being the Vice President of the Mountain Bike Consortium, Mark recently was the winner of the Kazlaw Mountain Biking Community Award for contribution in his community. The award gave him a pass to be in the BC Bike race through the sunshine coast (consisting of 630 riders from 31 countries, 320 kilometers through 7 communities) which showed him how much growth potential is still possible for our area.
Although Mark has no formal business training, you are not going to find anyone with a better instinct for trends and marketing than he has. The hour and half I spent talking to Mark was a business learning experience for me, and it’s hard not to come out of Mark’s store without a positive look to the future, plus you will really want to call someone “dude”.