Posts Tagged ‘shop’

Steveston: Small Business Community Thinks Big

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Steveston Village SceneYou may have heard people talking about the SMA and BIA, but what are they and what is the difference between them?

The Steveston Merchants Association (SMA) was formed in 2010 by a group of business owners whose goal was to promote local businesses and drive more customers to their services, shops and restaurants through seasonal events, small scale advertising, a website and social media. With an elective paid membership the SMA does not encompass the entire business district, resulting in a smaller funding pool although events and promotions benefit the entire village.

An elected volunteer board is responsible for organizing popular events such as Christmas in Steveston Village, Girls’ Night Out, the Scarecrow Crawl and Trick or Treat in Steveston Village and has been a voice for many important area concerns.

While the work the SMA accomplishes is outstanding, the merchants’ association model is antiquated.

BIA stands for Business Improvement Areas and what this model offers is far reaching for both merchants and the entire community. Examples of what can be achieved for Steveston include a year round focus for promotional programs and activities, collective advertising and special events designed to drive more visitors to the area. Issues such as pedestrian scale lighting and parking improvements are also a focus of many BIAs.

Steveston’s business community is losing ground as business districts in virtually every surrounding region of Metro Vancouver and throughout B.C. have embraced BIAs. In comparison, Steveston is at a disadvantage without a BIA.

Business districts can dream big with input from a full membership’s participation at the board and committee level.

A simple way to explain a BIA is to imagine a shopping mall management system. All malls have systems in place to drive customers to the mall to benefit business tenants. Steveston without a BIA is like an outdoor mall with no big picture promotional direction. It just isn’t competitive nor does it come close to realized improved potential.

BIAs are able to plan further into the future to successfully promote areas. A BIA is approved by a vote and all businesses within a BIA’s boundaries automatically become members, creating a larger collective voice working for the betterment of businesses and the community.

A BIA is uniquely created for an area, no two are identical, and therefore Steveston could capitalize on its distinct locale where farmland meets the ocean and a historic fishing village.

Jim_vandertas_BlueCanoe_Steveston Village Palla MediaJim van der Tas, owner of the Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant (and president of the SMA) believes the sky’s the limit. He envisions everything from an Oktoberfest celebration spread over a number of days to celebrating a new Steveston heritage festival and transforming the entire village into a Christmas wonderland for the month of December to draw people to town.

Getting a BIA off the ground takes a lot of work and commitment from volunteers who believe that focusing on a bigger picture can produce some very effective results.

A new committee called the Steveston Business Development Association (SBDA) has formed under the SMA’s umbrella to partner cooperatively with other local non-profits that see the value a BIA brings to an entire community.

A municipality can’t force a BIA into a business community and generally shouldn’t stop a BIA start up group from asking them to initiate the voting procedure if the group has done positive outreach. After well over a decade of discussion Steveston merchants, land owners and key stakeholders have not gone before City council to ask for the BIA voting procedure but expect to this calendar year.

Peter Tong Pharmasave Steveston Village Palla MediaPeter Tong, owner of Steveston Pharmasave, comments,“ I think a BIA is very important for Steveston.”

“Looking at this unique location and the sensitivity businesses have in trying to protect the history, integrity and feel of the community; there are a lot of political and business challenges that are hard for each business to face alone,” Tong says.

He adds, “Promoting the village, rather than one single business, attracts more people and creates an atmosphere within the village that can only benefit Steveston. I think there are certainly frustrations amongst some business owners who have seen what other BIAs have done and strongly believe one is needed to start promoting the village. The sooner we get this done the better.

Carol_LittleMexico_Steveston Village Palla MediaCarol Janeczko, owner of Little Mexico Cantina, believes, “The opportunity to revitalize Steveston through the formation of a BIA is an exciting prospect. Looking at other similar business districts such as Fort Langley and Cloverdale and seeing what they have accomplished for their communities through elaborate events, marketing and beautification projects is inspiring. It would be amazing to see Steveston advance to that level.”

Jens Hertha DOriginal_Sausage_Steveston Village Palla MediaJens Hertha, owner of D’Original Sausage Haus, agrees. “I am excited about the possibility of having a BIA in Steveston. It would make Steveston stronger. For a business like mine the cost would be less than $200 per year. I strongly believe that a BIA is an investment and everybody benefits from a strong, vibrant business district.”Hertha believes, “This BIA initiative is a significant opportunity and every business and commercial property should plan to learn about it firsthand. This is too important an opportunity to be making a decision about a BIA based on nonfactual information or hearsay from third parties. Make an appointment with the organizers to talk about it.”

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The Cannery Store

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Cannery_Store_Steveston_Insider_5449aGulf of Georgia Cannery Store: ‘Tis the Season to Shop Locally

When you set off to shop locally this holiday season add the Gulf of Georgia (GOG) Cannery National Historic Site’s gift store to your must visit list.

Rob Hart, GOG Cannery Society Operations Manager is responsible for purchasing the products you will find in the shop. His goal? To find merchandise that enhances the museum visitor’s experience and appeals to local shoppers. As a result, you will find a very unique collection of gifts and souvenirs.

Established in 1986, the GOG Cannery Society is an independent non-profit society and registered charity responsible for the operation of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site of Canada on behalf of Parks Canada. The museum opened to the public in 1994.

Revenue generated through gift shop sales goes towards museum operations; therefore you can feel good knowing your purchase is making an impact.

Popular among tourists and locals alike is a wide selection of salmon products. The vacuum packed smoked salmon is one of the shop’s top sellers as it is so convenient for travel.

Cannery_Store_Steveston_Insider_5460Hart points out five species of gourmet-canned salmon (Chum, Coho, Pink, Sockeye and Spring) are available from supplier The Fishery Seafoods, based on Saltspring Island.

If you are looking to support a Steveston business try Soo Salmon Jerky made at nearby London Landing. In addition, a nice historical connection is the sale of Murchie’s 1894 Select Orange Pekoe Tea (the same year the Cannery began operating).

For the book lovers on your list, you will find a good selection of books addressing local history, fishing, boating, First Nations art and culture and environmental issues.

Fish and marine themed décor and related products are bountiful. Think glass candlesticks masquerading as fish, bottle openers, Rain Goose tea towels (designed in North Vancouver), Christmas ornaments, and even stuffed animals (yes, fish!) along with other West Coast toys you might not normally come across such as bears and walruses.

First Nations jewellery is well represented in the form of pendants, earrings, necklaces and rings. Fun for puddle jumping, Native Sole rain boots feature dynamic motifs. Prints, scarves, t-shirts, greeting cards, bowls and salad servers can all be found here.

The museum’s archive has a good collection of historical canning labels that have been printed onto mugs. Hart mentions that one of these coveted mugs was bought by an Australian couple and became a household favourite until it broke. Determined to put a smile back on their faces, Hart sent a replacement down under!

“There is something for every age range at the Cannery Store.” Rob Hart

Children love to explore shops and they will be happy to discover their own special section filled with toys, games, stuffed animals and what stands out in my memory as a highlight of school field trips, souvenirs priced to match a child’s budget.

How would you feel about finding some Salmon Slobber in your Christmas stocking? Made in Alberta by Goat Mountain Soap Company, this and other equally humorous wilderness themed soaps are bound to produce a few laughs. The label promises there really is nothing fishy about this cleansing product (coconut oil and goat’s milk top the list of ingredients).

There is plenty going on inside the historic site during the festive season. Steveston merchants and community groups will show off their tree decorating talents at the Cannery’s Festival of Trees (on display November 29 to December 31). Visitors can vote by donation to benefit the Richmond Food Bank in this friendly competition!

Santa Cannery Steveston InsiderWhat would Christmas in Steveston Village be without a visit from Santa? After Santa arrives at Fisherman’s Wharf (Sunday December 6) he will make his way over to the Cannery’s theatre for photographs. Bring your own camera, the jolly old elf will pose and listen to your Christmas wishes between 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

For further shopping needs, are you aware the Gulf of Georgia Cannery hosts an indoor winter market? Now in its second year, the Cannery Farmers’ Market provides an opportunity for local food producers and artisans to showcase their products. The market is held every second Sunday (consult the GOG website for the schedule).

Make a trip to the Cannery Store this holiday season. During the month of December customers who spend $25 or more will receive a can of Gold Seal salmon while supplies last. You are welcome to shop during regular hours of operation (daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and no admission is required to step inside the store.

Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Steveston BCThe Cannery Store
Gulf of Georgia Cannery
12138 Fourth Avenue
Richmond, BC V7E 3J1
Telephone 604-664-9009

Cannery Farmers’ Market

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Cannery Farmers MarketThis fall the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society is very pleased to take over operation of Steveston’s winter farmers’ market. Taking place in the unique Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, the newly-branded Cannery Farmers’ Market will open its doors Sunday, October 5th and operate every other Sunday to the end of April 2015.

From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., visitors can enjoy a cozy atmosphere, fresh food, and a variety of vendors showcasing products that follow the “make it, bake it, catch it, grow it” credo. Building on the work of the Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market, the Cannery Farmers’ Market is committed to offering even more local food and creating a welcoming community space.

Society Chair, Dave Semple is excited about this new undertaking. “We are committed to working with the community to offer events that appeal to locals and to help keep the village lively through the winter months. We are looking forward to creating a place where neighbours can come together to get to know each other better and do a little shopping at the same time.”

Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Steveston BCThe Cannery Farmers’ market is not only a great place to purchase local foods and crafts, but is also a place to enjoy the day with family and friends. Varied vendors and featured entertainment have something to offer everyone. A kids’ area, surprise demonstrations and workshops from “foodies” and experts will keep young and old interested. Vendors and public mingle in a social environment designed to become a traditional winter Sunday hangout.

Free to the public each market day, the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site provides a unique one-of-a-kind space for a community event. To create an intimate and friendly atmosphere, the Cannery has installed additional overhead heaters and will offer other touches of comfort. Helping make this happen is team of local volunteers, dedicated vendors, faithful visitors and Cannery staff. You are invited to join in the commitment to build a unique and Steveston-enhancing, sustainable event.

For more information and market dates please visit To join the market team please contact Patricia Toti, Special Event Coordinator, at 604-664-9261 or

The Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site showcases the history of fishing and canning in B.C., and is located in Steveston, at Moncton Street and Third Avenue.

Market dates for 2014 – 2015 are: 

October 5 & 19
November 2, 16 & 30
December 14
January 18
February 1 & 15
March 1, 15, 29 (March 29th Spring Break)
April 12 & 26

Hours: 10 am to 3 pm

Treasures Boutique

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

From Cabbagetown to Steveston

Once the West Coast is in your blood it is hard not to be Treasures_Barb_Corder_Palla_Media_Stevestondrawn back. The sea air, the mountains, and the mild climate were things that Barbara Corder (owner of Treasures Boutique) waved goodbye to when she set off from her hometown of New Westminster for Toronto in the 1980s.

She spent 25 years working in the city’s fast-paced financial district as an executive assistant at KPMG and Dutch bank ABN AMRO. She loved her work and all that Toronto had to offer, and she especially enjoyed Cabbagetown, the historical neighbourhood that she called home. She says the area has a similar feel to Steveston with its heritage buildings, boutiques, restaurants and community events.

In 2004 she returned home to tend to family matters. Polar opposite from her Bay Street career, she began to work at her friend Lynda Moore’s White Rock clothing store. This appealed to her, as she has always loved fashion. She recalls as a teenager being very industrious and “sewing up a storm.”

It was a natural progression to go into business with Moore and open a boutique. More difficult was determining where to situate the shop. They spent eight months searching Metro Vancouver for the perfect location. One night at a friend’s Academy Award party it was suggested Steveston might be a good fit.

Corder’s experience of the area was limited to her childhood visits when her father would bring her here for fish and chips, however her friend assured her Steveston had transformed and was an up and coming area.

After visiting Steveston on a busy sunny day they were sold on the village and found the current location. The friends were partners for two years, and while Moore is no longer an owner she continues to work at Treasures once a week. Corder says her friend is a brilliant merchandiser who has an innate ability to creatively transform displays. After a day off Corder will come back to find the store has magically shifted around, and it always looks fabulous.

Stylish, fun clothing at an affordable price point can be found at Treasures.

She delights in owning a clothing boutique and jokes that before opening her business she had not even run a lemonade stand. She takes great pleasure in having women drop in to discover the unique ‘treasures’ that she sources for the 40 to 60 year old demographic. She points out that while her initial concept was to provide clothing for this age group her clients span the entire adult spectrum from 19-year-olds to a 92-year-old customer who discovered, through Corder’s encouragement, the comfort of wearing leggings.

Treasures_Steveston_Palla_MediaStylish, fun clothing at an affordable price point can be found at Treasures. Corder strives to provide funky and versatile attire. She searches out unique and unusual pieces. Corder says, “There are no white t-shirts here!”

Fabrics have come a long way since the day of cotton, linen and wool. Corder points out that easy care wear (such as spandex) has opened up a whole new world for the clothing industry.

She is eager to help customers find a variety of ways to wear outfits by quite literally turning things around. She says the relaxed lines in some tops offer opportunities to achieve a new look. Depending on the way the shoulder and neckline hang you may be able to spin it around and wear it backwards. She recalls how teens wore cardigans buttoned down the back in the 1950s.

Whenever possible, Corder looks for two to three ways to wear a garment when she purchases clothing for her shop. She suggests changing the look of an outfit by wearing it off the shoulder, belting it, or adding a scarf. She is able to go on a two week vacation with only carry on luggage by transforming clothing from beachwear into evening attire. She advises clients to think beyond the obvious purpose of an outfit, and accessorizing will always add extra mileage and help change the look.

Approximately 50 percent of the clothing sold at Treasures is made in Canada. The remainder is largely from the United States, Indonesia and India. Corder says XCVI from California is one of her top selling lines and works well with our mild climate.

What fashion trends can we expect to see this autumn? Corder says animal prints (zebra and leopard) are hot in both garments and accessories. Pleather is popular, peplum tops and dresses continue to be in vogue, and tartan is a must have print this season. Year round she sells her personal favourite colours, black and white, as they are so easy to mix and match.

Animal prints (zebra and leopard) are hot … and tartan is a must have print this season.

Treasures exTreasures_Steveston_Palla_Mediacellent customer service extends beyond the storefront. If you have a particular item or colour that you are searching for Corder will look out for it when she is on her regular buying expeditions.

Living and working in Steveston makes this business owner feel very connected to the community. She instantly felt at home when she moved to the village. Having been away from the West Coast for so many years she missed being by the water and the area’s natural splendour.

She enjoys the variety of coffee shops in Steveston, and makes a point of starting her day with her morning java from Pierside Deli where she enjoys people watching and working on her daily crossword puzzle. Corder is living the Steveston dream. She likes visiting the farmers market, cycling along the dike, attending yoga classes, dining at numerous restaurants and shopping locally. She takes in as many musical offerings as possible including Steveston Folk Guild’s monthly concerts at Britannia Shipyard and the Music at the Cannery each summer.

As our interview concludes Corder reaffirms her passion for this unique waterfront village. “Within a couple of minutes I can walk from my shop to the wharf and purchase a freshly caught sockeye salmon for dinner. What’s not to love about that?”

Treasures Boutique
140-12240 Second Avenue
Richmond BC V7E 3L8
Telephone: 604-275-7119

Valentine’s Day in Steveston

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Steveston abounds with Valentine’s Day gifts!

Sweet Treats:

Bells’ Bake shop, Candy Dish, Dairy Queen, Damien’s Belgian Waffles, Diplomat Bakery, Outpost Mini Donuts, Sinfully The Best, Steveston Bakery, and The Sweet Spot.







O’Hare’s Liquor Store, Shady Island Liquor Store and Steveston Hotel Liquor Store.


Adorabelle Tea Room, Blue Canoe Waterfront Restaurant, Gudrun Tasting Room, Ichiro Japanese, Mandalay Lounge Steakhouse, Mega Sushi, Paesano’s, Sockeye City Grill, Shady Island Grill, Steveston Seafood House, Steveston Village Vietnamese, and Tapenade Bistro.







B & D Spa, Goegan Spa, Laquer Beauty Bar, Papillon Paradise Spa, Raintree Day Spa, and Tao Day Spa.







A Monkey Tree, Bare Basics Lingerie, Bliss, Cannery Store, Juvelisto, Nikaido Gifts, Pieces, Serenity Home Decor, The Spotted Frog.







Prickly Pear Garden Centre







Go to for a full directory of these businesses

Shop Steveston This Holiday Season

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

This holiday season, think outside the mall. If you choose to shop, make your gifts more meaningful by finding items that are truly representative of  Steveston, not something that can be found on any shelf, in any town. Steveston is home to a number of locally owned restaurants and specialty shops. Yet, many of these independently owned establishments face the threat of being run out of business by corporate chains and the escalation of hyper-competitive online shopping. Keeping your favorite mom-and-pop shops around requires a conscious effort and faithful commitment to choosing to buy locally.

There are so many reasons why shopping locally is the most economically beneficial choice for the community. Independent retail shops carry handmade items crafted by local or regional artisans, just as many independent restaurants focused on sustainability incorporate locally grown and seasonal produce into their menus’ recipes. Because these business owners recognize the importance of purchasing goods and services from other independently operated businesses, they are much more efficient at circulating money back into the local economy than chain stores which seldom, if ever, utilize locally sourced items. Building inventory through local purchasing also reduces our environmental impact, since less transportation is involved.

Small, independently owned businesses are adaptable when it comes to utilizing available rental space in their towns, and require comparatively lower infrastructure costs than nationally owned stores which typically demand uniform facilities. Whereas chains’ profits go back to corporate headquarters out of town, almost everything spent at locally owned businesses is guaranteed to stay within the community.

Because business owners are more focused on their own interests than on national trends, a community of locally owned businesses is able to offer a very wide array of products and niche outlets. Preserving this diversity in an increasingly homogenized world is essential in promoting community growth and prosperity, as it brings in tourists seeking destinations with distinctive character and entrepreneurs looking to settle in an area friendly towards new start-ups and innovation.

Truly recognizing and caring about the needs of their community, locally owned businesses donate to local nonprofit organizations much more frequently than their big-box adversaries. They’re also more flexible when it comes to strengthening the community through joining local organizations.

One of the greatest aspects of shopping locally is that you often get an opportunity to establish connections with the owners themselves.

photo by Clayton Perry

Christmas at London Heritage Farm

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Weekends in December 2011 from noon until 5pm:

Christmas Tea for $8.50 (includes tea or alternate beverage, a scone and three other homemade Christmas goodies)

Christmas Craft and Collectables Sale

December 17th & 18th (noon until 5pm):

Live animal Christmas manger display in the barn at London Heritage Farm between noon and 5pm on the 17th & 18th of December.

It’s a free event to just come out and have a traditional experience of Christmas and enjoy some animals as well (a donkey, miniature horses, sheep, goats and rabbits).

Away in a manger…Come join the animals in celebrating Christmas in the stable at London Heritage Farm.  A chance to make the personal acquaintance of Jacko a Sicilian Donkey,  a descendant of the patient donkey that carried Mary through Bethlehem, and some of his stable mates.   

Enjoy Christmas tea along with caroling in the tea room as well!!

photos by Clayton Perry