March 7, 2018
Congratulations, Chetwynd, we’ve just received the Open for Business Award for communities in our category. This means that this Most Charming Community (another award we have recently received) is also friendly and welcoming to business. It’s a commendable accomplishment to balance liveability and business and I want all you business owners along with the Chamber of Commerce and the District of Chetwynd to feel suitably recognized and rewarded.
From my earliest years I’ve admired charming communities where businesses and residences take pride in their appearance. Such a community makes a powerful statement to passers by, encouraging them to stay a little longer and explore the opportunities for a good life among people who care, who can, and who do.
I know it takes a lot more than good looks and a friendly atmosphere to create a lasting impression of an enduring community but these are the basics. They are essentials. Without them, and without the hope for more of the same, I wouldn’t have called Chetwynd my home town for the last 69 years. (I wasn’t born here and I distinctly remember my first roll down Wabi Hill and telling myself that this was home.)
Having bared my soul on the importance of charm and friendliness in a community, I will also point out an area that needs changing, and that can be changed. I am by nature a loyal customer and will stay with a supplier indefinitely unless I am given a good reason to switch. I will do my best to explain the issues that have been cranking my gears for months without identifying anyone or any business. You will have to come to your own conclusions.
I believe I now have reasons to switch loyalties and they are only to do with appearance and friendliness. Appearance came first and I then discovered friendliness.
(I know that winters put huge stresses on business owners trying to keep their floors clean and dry. Snow tracks in and melts leaving dirty puddles where the customers have been. It takes a mop and a bucket and a couple of hands to clean the mess – and then it has to be done again, and maybe again. I know the routine; my wife of 55 years, Mirja, used to let me help out in her store.)
On impulse I glanced at the competitor as I motored by and noticed an attractive exterior. It was winter and the business was facing the same challenges as the competition. So I turned in and darkened the door. To my pleasant surprise the floor was clean, the premises attractively orderly. As a memorable bonus, the clerk gave me a hearty welcome. How could I be unimpressed?
As if one bonus was not sufficient, I encountered another in the clean, well appointed washrooms. For an old man, if there is one facility that tops the list of essentials it is a clean public washroom. I’ll be back!
So there, I’ve bared my soul again.
Is Chetwynd open for business? You bet we are! And we’ve got the award to prove it. Drop in at the District Centre and see it for yourself.
But the award is only as good as the people and the businesses it represents. If eternal vigilance is the price of liberty (Canadians, wake up), so eternal effort is the price of holding our own in the competitive world of business (Chetwynd, don’t sleep on the job).
Relax our efforts, become careless or complacent, and customers, fickle or fastidious, will move down the street or across the line and may not return. What we lose once we may never have a chance to lose again.
By the way, I keep encountering little sparkles of wisdom like this one from thousands of years ago: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever.” That could be updated to read: “Be sure you know the condition of your inventory, and give careful attention to your customers’ sensibilities; for riches do not endure forever.”
Merlin Nichols, Mayor