Young Ethan Dortman of Sparwood has a motto: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
Ethan, 15, is helping people get out for walks in nature with his budding business, Ethan’s Walking Sticks.
In mid-June, he landed a new retail client, stocking a shelf of Sparwood’s Save-On-Foods with his hand-crafted staves.
“I’ve come a long way,” he said, adding that the quality of his products has improved a lot since he first began.
Ethan launched his business venture at the age of eight.
He was attending Frank J Mitchell Elementary School and had an opportunity to join a farmer’s market for free. He and his mother Lana decided to capitalize on the chance.
“We decided to make walking sticks because I just do it out camping a lot,” Ethan said.
“(I had) been doing it since I was a little kid.”
Selling his first stick brought a good sense of accomplishment, he said.
Aside from Save-On-Foods, he has landed his products on the shelves of the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce, The Bath Shack in Elkford, and Buds and Blooms in Sparwood.
Mark Lento, manager of Sparwood Save-On-Foods, said his father had purchased a couple of Ethan’s walking sticks, and that’s how he learned about the young entrepreneur.
He said he thinks its great that a local young man has started such a business.
“It’s a great product, it’s very well made,” Lento said, adding that they’re great for outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.
“Hopefully I sell a whole bunch.”
Aside from interested retailers, Ethan has had help along the way from family and friends.
“I’m thankful for everyone that supported me on my journey,” he said.
Ethan, who also has a fair bit of experience hunting, encouraged people to make time to get out into nature.
“It’s just a good experience, because you get outside, get away from all the craziness,” he said.
“You’re just in your own world, and there’s peace.”