When somebody says, "I'll meet you at Tsawwassen's book store", you don't have to guess what they mean. It's true that our tiny beach town has just one book store, but it certainly feels like so much more.
Albany Books is as much a landmark in Sunny Tsawwassen as Winskill Park, the Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall or the South Delta Recreation Centre. Its current owner, Ruth Scowcroft, purchased the store in 2003, and will celebrate 14 years in February.
When asked why she wanted to buy the business, the answer sounds somewhat obvious. Ruth is an unapologetic book lover.
"Who doesn't want to be surrounded by your favourite kind of thing every day?" she says. "Except I didn't realize about the paperwork and the ordering and all the extra stuff that goes with it. I thought, oh yeah, it'll be a hobby. Now it's a 24/7 full-time job."
Albany Books is an important part of the local economy, employing seven people to work their seven-days-a-week 10 am to 6 pm hours (12-5 on Sundays).
Ruth says she imparts a business philosophy of giving the best possible customer service to those who wander into the store. And finding the right book for somebody is all about being a top notch problem solver.
"Sometimes they (customers) want books that we don't have," says Ruth. "And then we really have to be detectives and hunt things down and so we go above and beyond in searching out a book for them. When we order them in we don't charge them shipping, we just bring them into the store and they can pick them up whenever they're ready."
Whether you're looking for a gift for somebody else, a pick-me-up for the January blahs, or just want some friendly conversation about books, Ruth and her staff are ready to serve. She also has a message for all the locals who have supported the store.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you to all our customers who did come shopping here at Christmas time. It was because of them that we had a good year."