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Photo by Gord Goble

Merchants do much more for area than just offer goods and services

Photo by Gord Goble

Jill McKnight of South Coast Casuals says personalized service sets small businesses apart.

Community involvement is a hallmark of Otter Co-op’s success

A $6-million revitalization project along Delta Street has made Ladner Village even more inviting for shoppers.

fist, which is probably the least likely scenario. Small independent business owners have to struggle really, really hard to pay the rent, pay their staff and all the taxes,” Miles added. “We realize that we can provide something that in many ways is not provided in the large global arena. We can provide that personalized interaction with our customers. We recognize them by name when they come into our store and we can provide excellent customer service. Our customers appreciate that.” Jill McKnight of South Coast Casuals said she feels the community is so vibrant because of the incredible people as well as the products and services that are available. “There have been times where one merchant might not have a particular product, but they will phone over to another store to see if they have it and that network comes from us working together, knowing each other and that we have a vested interest,” McKnight said. “I went to The Run Inn in Tsawwassen recently and walked in, told them what I needed and they brought out four pairs of shoes and after trying on two pairs, I had what I needed because they knew their product, they were listening to what I was saying and they found the right product for my needs.

The fact that I can go in and have that kind of experience is tremendous. That is the thing that is so special about small business and small communities.” And for McKnight, being connected to the community on a personal level is what she finds so special about being a small business owner. “We are connected to our community. I love that. This has a lot to do with why

but have been around for 94 years in B.C. Community involvement is a hallmark of the company’s success. “We love being a member of the Ladner community. We aim to support the community as much as we can,” said marketing coordinator Sean Weatherly. “I like to think of it almost like a loop in a way. As you support us, we support back to our community and we care about it.

Photo by Gord Goble

LOCAL BUSINESSES CONNECTED BY COMMUNITY

Photo by Gord Goble

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PART ONE OF A FOUR-PART SERIES

hen you walk into a local business and are greeted by name, offered excellent customer service and leave the store with a great experience, it makes you feel good, right? Shopping local and supporting local businesses can afford you those ah ha moments. With the retail landscape changing in the area with the opening of Tsawwassen Mills last month and Tsawwassen Commons now coming on stream, small business owners are raising awareness that by shopping locally you not only support a particular business, but also the community as a whole. “Local businesses like myself are very involved in all the smaller aspects of all that goes on,” said Carol Miles of South Delta Heels. “As part of the Ladner Business Association, we put on a number of community events — the Easter Parade, May Days, the Quilt Walk and Car Show. These are all events that bring people into our local community. It’s surprising when people come together just how many people know each other. It gives you a sense of belonging in where you live.” Miles said small business owners are the ones who also support sports and youth groups, galas and fundraisers. “I don’t know of any local business that says no. I don’t say no. I support all of them because they are out there grinding it out just like we are and they have to raise money and we are happy to support,” she said. “Everyone is working together for the betterment of everyone else.” Miles said local businesses are much more invested in the communities than some of the “big box” retailers. “Some people seem to think that if you are an independent business you are somehow rolling in cash and making money hand over

Carol Miles of South Delta Heels says local businesses organize a number of activities every year and support even more.

I live and work in this community — a real sense of belonging,” she added. “The Ladner Business Association and my fellow merchants are not just other business owners — they are my friends. They have a vested interest in my personal life in addition to my business life. These are the intangibles in how we talk about small business.” Otter Co-op Car Wash/Gas Bar/Confections has operated in Ladner since 2008

The more we are supported, the more we are able to give back. “When you support local business that money stays in that community and is circulated around. You can go down to the Esso or the Shell Station and you have no idea where that money is going to end up across Canada. With us you know that money is going to be sticking local and we are putting it into the benefits that our community cares about.”

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