Our Story

Spirit Bear Coffee Company is a locally owned & operated, First Nations business. We support the health of our coffee bean farmers through organic farming methods & ensuring that they are paid fairly via Fair Trade premiums. We love working with companies & organizations who share our values of community, family, and respecting Mother Earth.

Our Goal Is To Work With Every Nation In The World

We Are

Legend shared by: Bill Helin, [WeLaaxumYout]

Raven was sent by the creator of the universe, to redesign the earth after the first great ice age of cleansing. After Mother Earth added the foliage, Raven made all the new animals big and small. Then lastly, he made a Spirit Bear — a symbolic gift of peace and harmony to all creatures of the earth.

Inspired by this story, Spirit Bear Coffee Company was born. Today, products from this quality coffee operation can be found in over 600 locations countrywide. The company, clearly having fun with their brand, sells the likes of “Raven" espresso beans (full of life and strength), “Eagle” medium roast (soaring flavour) and “Frog-Breakfast Blend” light roast (jump start your day).

“We’re certified organic and fair trade,” says Paul Biglin, co-president alongside Sean Harding. “Ten years ago, we were told we would never survive. We fight the big guys all the time. The Tim Hortons and the Starbucks of the world. It’s tough to be an Aboriginal company in a commodity driven market. Tough to get people believing in you. But once they do, they’re fiercely loyal. Now, we have over 50 resorts countrywide on our books.”

Biglin says he gets to travel from coast to coast to meet with different communities. “I meet Cree, Blackfoot, Mohawk people. What I’m learning is amazing. If you’re open minded enough to experience what’s out there, you’ll find we live in an amazing country. We’re always trying to expand our market place and work with other nations. Our goal is to work with every nation in North America."


kermode spirit bear coffee company black bear
The Kermode Bear
Or "Spirit Bear"

The spirit bear is a unique subspecies of the North American black bear in which approximately one in every 10 bears is white or cream-coloured. Some have orange or yellow coloration on their backs. Other Kermodes are all black. The scientific name is Ursus americanus kermodei, named after a naturalist and museum curator named Frances Kermode of the British Columbia Provincial Museum. The term “Spirit Bear” is possibly attributed to First Nations tradition, which held that the white bears were to be revered and protected. Today the Tsimshian people call it “moskgm’ol,” which simply means “white bear.” Kermode bears may have evolved on the coast in the last 10,000 years from black bear stock that became isolated from interior black bears more than 300,000 years ago. The white colour may be due to inheritance of a single gene for hair colour, but other more complex mechanisms may be involved. Further genetic research is needed.

Owners & Founders of Spirit Bear Coffee Company

bill helin spirit bear coffee company

Bill Helin

Bill is a Tsimshian / Norweigan artist, wood carver, jeweler, children’s book writer / illustrator and designer. Bill has focused on the Traditional Tsimshian art of his Fathers ancestry since 1980 and has created thousands of Love Rings and Wearable Art ever since. Some of his accomplishments include designing the patch worn by astronauts on the U.S. space shuttle Columbia in 1996, Astronaut patch for Bob Thirsk his 2011 ISS 6 month mission and the carving of the “world’s largest” (192 foot tall) totem pole known as the Spirit of Lekwammen, carved for the Commonwealth Games in Victoria to symbolize unity amongst all Tribes and Nations of the world.

Robin Louie

Robin Louie is ʔak̓aq̓ⱡahaⱡxu from the Lower Kootenay Territory
land of two arches that encompasses the Arrow Lakes and Kootenay Lake. He is an
elected councillor of Yaqan Nuʔkiy and the Ktunaxa Nation.

His passions include living the culture, teaching traditional games to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth, and taking care of animals, and the land. In addition, he is active in protecting fisheries and forestry in the Kootenay area.

sean harding spirit bear coffee company

Sean Harding

Sean grew up in the Cree culture of Alberta. Sean’s mother danced in the traditional dances and pow wows, at the age of 16, his beliefs developed and later grew deep into the history of the Star peoples and the 13 moons. Being brought in by notable Cree families such as the Derieu’s, Calahoo’s, and the Cochrane’s of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Sean learned the values of a strong work ethic. His experience in the culture and teachings throughout his formulative years influences his business acumen to this day. Sean has a 32-year history in world commodity logistics and spent 13 years as a General Manager with the Jordan Company of Canada, a third-party weighmaster and logistics specialist located at Nabob Coffee. He then transitioned into horticulture controls, management, and Greenhouse Supplies. In 2006, Sean then co-founded Spirit Bear Coffee Company, Canada’s first national Indigenous owned coffee company. Spirit Bear Coffee is now a national “super-premium” brand (meaning 100% organic & Fair Trade) serving over 550 locations across Canada to date. Sean then went on to co-found with Paul 1Nation Distribution, a national distribution company. With powerful negotiating skills, Sean’s “Strategic Partners” include the likes of Chrysler Canada. Sean’s most recent successes include negotiating with various First Nation communities encouraging commerce and trade.

Paul Biglin

In Loving Memory... Paul has over 30 years of experience in Food & Beverage and Marketing Communications with both, retail and direct sales. He also comes with 6 years of public relations experience with an OTC public company. Paul also is the co-founder of Spirit Bear Coffee Company and 1Nation Distribution. Paul began his working career on the farm preparing fruits, veggies, and honey for farmers markets. His love of foods led him into the kitchens in Europe where he returned to Canada as a “City In Guilds” certified Chef. Paul spent the last 13 years of his cooking career owning his own catering firm specializing in events from 100 to 5000. The last 5 of the 13 years he was working with Culinary Team Canada. Paul is responsible for providing executive leadership and management of the Company’s marketing organization and in-bound and out-bound marketing activities worldwide, which include: Corporate marketing, partner/channel marketing, product marketing, and product management. His goal is to position their companies in the various niche markets and as a visionary leader to achieve its revenue goals aka “indigen-omics”, thus sharing the philosophy to our First Nations communities.

In Memoriam