Skip to content

Business by design is a good living

Here on Bowen many of us have lived through last week's major shopping events south of the border, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, blissfully unaware.

Here on Bowen many of us have lived through last week's major shopping events south of the border, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, blissfully unaware. Retailers "in town" as we call it, have scrambled to keep Canadian dollars in Canada, bottom-line, to keep Vancouver businesses viable. Does this sound familiar? For Bowen Island it might as well be Black Friday here every day. Or is it?

We live here to have a life by design. We do business here to live well. As a shopper, think about the handwritten notes you've seen taped to Bowen business doors: Sharon Dunbar's Bell'occhio's gift shop has said "I'm a grandma and this week I'm away with my daughter and will return on". I have seen "Picking up my kids off the boat, back in five minutes" on Gino Rutigliano's Bowen Island Roasting company door. My favourite is always seeing what Becky Dawson is up to at Leftbank "Off to France, will re-open in two weeks". As a business owner, they are choosing to live well and they can on Bowen.

Some of my favourite Bowen shopping moments have happened at the General Store, or The Ruddy. I've been the person in line who is short a few dollars or have left my wallet at home! Both times, I've been rescued either by the store itself or an unknown Bowen "neighbour" behind me! On Bowen, we blend life with business, community with commerce and shopping with being neighbourly. Being in business on Bowen and shopping locally is what we moved here for.

That's all nice and good, but what about bottomline dollar? Okay. Let's look at that. As of today, there are NO houses for sale under $500,000 in East Vancouver. There is ONE under $600,000, and just nineteen under $700,000. That means in town, you can be carrying a massive mortgage for a probably tear-down in East Van. On Bowen, you can find multiple homes in the $400k-$600k range. Wow.

What about the ferry you ask? What about it? You just saved $300,000 plus interest on your home. Groceries? Did you know that Alderwood farms has $175 family freezer packs of organic beef/chicken/pork that will feed an average family of four? I have easily spent that across the water, and not bought organic.

Have you noticed that the General Store and The Ruddy bring in speciality items like Lowney's chocolate Cherry Blossom (which our local ambulance driver confessed to only buying when he's here because he can't find it in town), or Avalon's holiday eggnog (my doom and vice)just for us because as Bowen Islanders, they know that we have selective and sophisticated palettes. Moving over to toys now, the answer is Phoenix. Just go there. Better yet, give Bonnie Wright a call, and with enough lead time she can have your shopping list for the holidays done! Last on our list is clothing. I agree, if you are a man, your choices are limited, but if you are a woman, it's easy! Go see Erin at Wren, Amrita at Movement, Lisa and Carol at Out of the Blue or Susan at Fabulous Finds. Everything you need is right here, and I haven't even touched on the unbelieveable restaurants we have within walking distance from each other.

Your 'cost saving' trip to shop in town doesn't save much when you factor in the cost of the ferry, increasing gas prices, and the usual four hours it takes to get it all done!

There are many gifts to living on Bowen Island, one of which is perspective. We are far enough away from the maddening distractions of noise, lights, cars, and people that we have time to think, and Bowen Islanders think a lot. We moved here to live our life by design. We do business here to live well, and we can. Sometimes we just need a reminder that we actually do.

Tina Overbury