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Small Business Owner Spotlight - Pure Life Chiro

Dr. E is a talented and knowledgable chirocpartor located within the Elk Valley. He owns practices that serve both the Fernie and Elkford regions. He is continually promoting a healthy lifestyle that starts at home with nutrition, exercise, mental/spiritual awareness and care, and of course chiropractics. One thing that I have learned from his teachings is that chircopracitcs are not meant to help you once you have back/spine/alightment issues (Though it absolutely(!) can help!) But rather as preventive care.... to keep yourself healthy for years to come.

Dr. E. regularly hosts clinics and school programs to help educate the public and youth around the Elk Valley about our health and how to take better care of ourselves. He is never shy to offer advice or help to his patients. His light sense of humour makes these clinics enjoyable and entertaining. With every treatment that I have received, he has been courteous, respectful, and helpful. So I decided to offer him a small business owner spotlight! Here we go...!

What is your name?

Erik Thorlakson

How long have you owned your business?

4 and a half years.

And is that Fernie and Elkford?

Yeah, it started about a month apart. Fernie first and then a month later, here.

Where did you grow up? Why did you choose the Elk Valley as your home?

I grew up in Winnepeg. I lived in Calgary for a while. I always knew that I wanted to be in small town B.C. and was drawn to the mountains, mountain biking, and just the outdoor kind of community. But I didn’t know where I wanted to end up. I actually drove through from here (Elkford) to the islands and kind of everything in between and Fernie always just resonated with me I guess; and the Elk Valley in general was just where I needed to be! But I also loved further west too, the island, everywhere in B.C. I loved!

Then my wife’s family all moved to the Elk Valley and it just made it easy having kids and grandparents close by.

So you’re thriving in the natural, organic, mountain biking type of community that’s here?

Totally, yeah! And I think the family was a big choice, for sure. There’s 18 of us in town.

So where is your wife’s family from?

From Winnepeg as well…

What’s her name?

Michele…. With one L ;)

A generic question with an easy answer but was a degree required for your field? How long was it? Where did you go to school?

Yes, chiropractic’s is an 8 ½ year program. Most people don’t know but it takes 200 more classrooms than a general practitioner. So it’s an 8 ½ year program but it took me 14 ½ years to figure out what I wanted to do so. My first career I was a mechanic, loved working on cars, and then I went to study environmental sciences. Started my business as an environmental consultant and then I discovered chiropractic that is a calling for me and moved to Atlanta, GA – spent 6 years there and soon as I graduated, I moved back to Calgary and then out here within 3 years.

So what school did you go to in Atlanta then?

It’s called Life University.

SO that’s kind of cool because it’s like mechanic-ing for the body…. In the organic sense. You’ve kind of got it all combined!

Totally! It was easy to understand the mechanics of the body and then as an ecosystem- our body is the ecosystem so learning about the environment and how everything is connected, the bridge between the mechanics and the environment, it really makes sense for the human body too.

Oh yeah, absolutely! What inspired you to be an entrepreneur? What’s your story?

That’s a good question! Entrepreneurship has been like a secondary for me because I wanted to be a chiropractor first and I didn’t know that I had to be a business person. I had no idea what I was getting into, in terms of actually running a business. When I graduated, I went and started as an associate for 3 years so I worked in an office, I got a ton of experience clinically, helping people but I never asked ‘how do you run a business’ so I was just like… You know it just all happens. Then when I moved here, it was everything thrown on my plate all at once, I had no idea what I was getting into and it’s been a huge learning curve since of everything from CRA to all of the day to to day stuff that I was never really ‘oh that’s me’.

Did you have any other motivation to create this particular business?

Helping families! I love and see a ton of kids and most people don’t know that about chiropractics and say the reason to take care of babies as soon as you see it, things thrown on America’s Funniest Home Videos and kids getting launched off of stuff all the time. And so I watch that and I go “That’s why kids need chiropractics!!”

Haha! Yeah, okay! So how many kids do you see? Any idea?

I would say probably 30-40%!

Really? Wow! Okay, so do they respond pretty well to being adjusted?

They love it! Oh yeah, I’ve got a lot of kids that are scared and then they meet me and I connect really well with them.

People in our community would mainly know you as the owner of Pure Life ….. What would your family say you are best known for?

Hmmm… Being a Dad and playing music.

What insturments do you play? I know it’s a multitude, isn’t it? I know you have your one-man band?

Haha! The one-man band, yeah that’s a new thing for me but mostly guitar…. And banjo.

How do you motivate yourself? To get up, daily grind – keep doing the same thing?

I have a life coach and I am going through the coaching process which is really eye-opening. It’s on every level from relationship to financial, you know, just how to figure out what motivates you. And so one of the big things through this kind of exploration is learning my core values of what actually drives me and how to relate everything back to it.

What is your philosophy towards your work?

So, as a business owner, what I’m learning is that the business is supposed to be congruent with your core values. So for me, my core values are my family, music, and this natural expression of life. So using my business as a tool for not only me to be able to do that but to share that with people. That’s what actually got me recently to go volunteer to play music at Rock-o-rama and get out there into the community. Before, I probably would have been more reserved and be more like ‘Well, I’m not going to play music for the people that I take care of and I don’t want to cross that bridge’. Then life coaching has been more like ‘Well no, that’s why I’m here… to share me’ and that will attract the people to me that I am supposed to take care of and be there for.

Describe one thing you want your loyal patients/clients to know?

That I think above all else, is that I want to be available to people. So I’ve opened up through social media, through having my personal cell phone, for people. So if somebody has a question, if somebody has a concern with their child, that I can be there to answer that. And it’s not just in the clinic that they have to come see me and set up an appointment. A lot of times, people have the same questions, and I can provide an answer to help them and it can be at anytime. I think it comes back down to the families too that lots of times your kid does something at 2’ in the morning and you’re like ‘how do I get the answer to this?’ and not that I’ll answer at 2 in the morning but just that they can reach out and ask questions.

If you were left in the woods with only 3 items to survive….. what would they be?

Hmmmm! A lighter, an axe, that’s pretty rustic, but some rope. That’d be good. I would build a house, get some food, and start a fire. I actually lived in Northern Manitoba for a bit and I studied natural resources management. Part of the education, because it was a field education, they took us out on this lake and they dropped us off, 2km apart and they didn’t tell us when they were picking us up. So we always had to have our 13 essentials which was like lighter, knife, rope and all of those things. So they dropped us off, didn’t tell us when they were picking us up because most people panic when they don’t have a timeframe. They took our watches and just drove away. So we had to build a shelter, we were graded on how we were to survive and not loose our wits.

So is that something you felt you thrived at?

Yeah, loved it!

If you can give a piece of advice to our youth and young people who are moving toward greater things, what would it be?

Follow. Your. Passion. Sometimes, people are good at something and so they follow it even though they don’t necessarily like it. I’ve seen people who have gotten into careers that are not satisfying, just to fulfill the status quo and society's expectations; as opposed to trusting intuition.

So lastly, what has been the biggest accomplishment in your life thus far?

Biggest accomplishment, hmm. Raising three healthy and happy kids! Olivier is my oldest son, is 11. Chloe is 9. Teo, my boy just turned 6!

Okay, last question now, I promise. Is there anything else that you may want your clients to know about you as a person?

A lot of times, just how information can change your philosophy. Knowledge can be empowering and the more that you can learn, the more that you can have a positive influence on your health.

Thank you so much for participating, Dr. E! I had a great time learning more about your experiences, craft, and natural positive outlook toward life and health. You have such a powerful and positive impact on our community. We are lucky to have you around to take care of our spines :)

To learn more about Dr. Erik at Pure Life - visit his website at:

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