Delta MP tours Sunny Tsawwassen businesses

Delta MP tours Sunny Tsawwassen businesses

Feb 14, 2018

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.

The 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.

Qualtrough 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.

After 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.

Along the way, several Tsawwassen residents who recognized the minister stopped and chatted with her, including one French-Canadian who delighted in Qualtrough's bilingualism.

The last stop on the tour was across 56 th 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.

Qualtrough 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.

"It 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.”

Elder 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.

"We've 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."

While 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.