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Photo by Gord Goble

‘You have to show that you are more than just a retailer,’ says The RunInn’s Kevin Ridley

Photo by Gord Goble

Notary Public Daniel Boisvert said residents supporting local merchants is crucial to the success of the overall community.

Gayle Budnick of Boutique Blanche said supporting local business is what keeps our communities thriving.

Bob Matheson from Home Hardware said when you shop local you come in for an experience instead of just a place to shop.

employees who rely on us for their livelihood and if you don’t support that local business and it closes, then what?” Matheson asked. “Culturally, I think it’s important to have stores like us that have been here for a long time. We have been here since 1981 and we have seen the community change — certainly nothing to the extent of what is happening with the new mall — but if we are not here the feeling of the community will change. With businesses like us, we know our customers — we try to know most of them by name when they come in. You won’t get that feeling in other places. You will just go there to shop instead of coming in for an experience.” Both Ridley and Matheson support as many local organizations as they can, saying the more support they get from the community, the more they can give back. Notary public Daniel Boisvert agrees that support by residents is crucial to the success of the overall community. “Just like you would support your neighbour when they go on holidays by picking up their mail or watering their plants, the same sort of thing can be said for supporting a business in the community,” Boisvert said. “We all want services closer to us, not further away, and the only way to ensure that those services remain here is to give them the support. Be-

ing a local businessperson, when I go shopping I want to shop here and support as much as I can.” He said as a small business owner, supporting sports groups and non-profit organizations is an easy trade-off and vital to the success of any community. “I support sports because my kids are in sports and without that where would this community be? The little bit I do doesn’t

community connections are what make Gayle Budnick of Boutique Blanche a proud local business owner. In Tsawwassen for the past 26 years, she said the community has certainly changed, but the small businesses help to keep that small town feel. “There was not a lot of boutique stores when we moved here. Over the years the support from the community has

Photo by Gord Goble

SUPPORTING LOCAL BUSINESS KEEPS COMMUNITIES THRIVING

Photo by Gord Goble

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PART TWO OF A FOUR-PART SERIES

he retail landscape is changing in Tsawwassen with the opening of two malls on Tsawwassen First Nation land. Whether these changes are good or bad for existing small business remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: the existing businesses want their customers to know how important it is to support local business. Community involvement helps drive many local merchants. It’s certainly a big reason why Kevin Ridley, owner of The RunInn, has been in business in Tsawwassen for 15 years. “Our focus has always been local, whether that is the numerous running clinics we hold throughout the year, the events we host or the events we help sponsor,” Ridley said. “You have to show that you are more than just a retailer. We probably get 20 donation requests a month and most of those requests are from customers. If a customer is supporting us, we will go out of our way to do as much as we can to support them.” Ridley said his biggest frustration or worry with the new malls is that a lot of times people think you’ll pay more at a specialty store, which he said isn’t the case. “All of our prices are set by the vendors. You are paying the same money here as you are at SportChek, but you are just getting a lot better service and that personal touch when you shop at stores like ours,” he said. “Shopping local keeps the core of our community strong.” Keeping a community strong and vibrant is certainly a shared philosophy by other business owners. Bob Matheson from Home Hardware said if people don’t support local business, it has varying negative effects on the community. “It affects not only the business but also the employees of that business. I have 31

Kevin Ridley from The RunInn says shopping local keeps the core of our community strong.

ensure that Delta Hospital is going to stay here, but at the end of the day I want that hospital to stay here and to flourish and when I do need it or my kids need it, I know that it is there, so that’s the reason why I support it.” The small town feel and

been fantastic and we do are part as well,” she said. “We are a part of this community. If you don’t have the local merchants, how does money go back into the community? Supporting your local business is what keeps our communities thriving.”

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