Some pastries, a few laughs and a lot talk about Tsawwassen's retail climate. That could sum up Delta MP Carla Qualtrough's walking tour in late January, coordinated by the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association.
Minister of Public Services and Procurement was led through the
commercial district (also known by its online moniker as “Sunny
Tsawwassen”) by executive director Lydia Elder and office
administrator Michelle Barlow, to introduce her to several locals.
first stopped by Thrifty Foods to speak with store manager Mike
Saysell, who spoke about the challenges of managing a store with more
than 150 employees. The minister took time to meet some of the staff,
joking with Thrifty’s bakery employees about their highly-reputed
blueberry scones, which she’d had just the other day at a meeting.
Thrifty's, it was on to visit second generation owner Luke Voaden at
Centre Stage Gifts and Accessories in the Tsawwassen Town Centre
Mall. Elder said she showed Qualtrough some items in the store which
she remembered purchasing from Voaden's parents when she was younger.
the way, several Tsawwassen residents who recognized the minister
stopped and chatted with her, including one French-Canadian who
delighted in Qualtrough's bilingualism.
stop on the tour was across 56
Street at the Tsawwassen Shopping Centre Plaza and into the newly
opened L'Aromas Bakehouse, an expansion of the nearby cafe. There
they spoke with Jenny Fechter and Craig Williams before sampling some
delicious fresh-baked pastries.
bumped into local artist Wayne Sayer while he was there picking up
some bread and she made sure to get a photo with him and one of his
pieces, which he’d made for L’aromas' grand opening.
was my great pleasure to join Lydia Elder and Michelle Barlow for a
tour of several Tsawwassen businesses, meeting the owners and
managers to learn about their successes and challenges," said
Qualtrough, after the tour. "Sunny Tsawwassen does a great job
of promoting Tsawwassen businesses and creating more economic
opportunities for its members.”
said she and Qualtrough had some interesting discussions surrounding
the changing retail climate in the broader area with respect to a
significant increase in competition for business and employees.
been encouraging our member businesses to focus on unique item
selection, high level customer service, and experience-based shopping
and dining that differentiates us from what's available elsewhere,"
she said. "We promote the fact that Sunny Tsawwassen is a
family-friendly beach community and a destination site for visitors."
Qualtrough has since returned to regular business in Ottawa, Elder
will look to share her impressions of the visit with member
businesses of Sunny Tsawwassen.