Catherine Macey column: In-person shopping experience valued

Last week I was fortunate to attend a BIA conference in lovely downtown Kelowna.

By Catherine Macey

Last week I was fortunate to attend a BIA conference in lovely downtown Kelowna. BIA stands for Business Improvement Area and in a nutshell, BIA’s promote business, tourism, safety, and revitalization in their business and shopping districts.

There are dozens of BIA’s in our fair province, of which your friendly local Downtown Duncan BIA is one. The City of Vancouver alone has 22 BIA’s — each with their own unique personalities and composition of members. What I’m really happy to report about the Kelowna Conference (above and beyond the fine weather and wine!) is that while it may appear sometimes that Amazon is taking over the world, the fact is that people — a lot of people — still want an actual shopping experience; as in seeing the actual product and dealing with actual people.

So yes, e-commerce is on a rapid rise, but so too is the popularity of supporting small independent businesses. It seems to me that e-commerce is to shopping downtown what social media is to face-to-face conversations — convenient yes, but an ersatz experience overall. What we have here in Downtown Duncan is pretty special — wonderful little shops owned and operated by helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable people that are part of your community.

Maybe it’s time for a little more “shop with heart” instead of “add to cart”.

Did you know?

• Thanks to the hard work of Tourism Cowichan, our Valley has been receiving lots of media exposure recently. Check out the Tourism Cowichan Facebook page for links to all sorts of photos, videos, and posts from Tourism Victoria to top lifestyle bloggers to the KING 5 Evening TV program. Get ready folks — we are being discovered!

• Lise Brown Cosmetics is moving from Canada Avenue to Craig Street. As of May 1, they will be beside Shades Ladies Clothing and across the street from the Brew Pub.

• Newly opened Artisans’ Nest is having a shop-warming event on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This is a great opportunity to discover and support local artists. You’ll find the collective at the corner of Canada Avenue and Station Street.

• Uncle Albert’s Furniture Store has been in business for 45 years. Opened in 1973, this downtown fixture at Canada Avenue and Second Street has consistently offered great products, great service, and great staff for almost five decades — congratulations and well done!

Catherine Macey is executive director of the Downtown Duncan BIA

Just Posted

Isles end 2018 in fine form, excited for 2019

Kerry Park wins last home and road games before Christmas break

VIDEO: Shawnigan Alliance Church actors present ‘The Journey of the Wise’

One of a trilogy of plays showing different aspects of the Nativity, the show drew a big crowd.

Police incident reported on Cowichan River Bridge

Traffic going across the Cowichan River Bridge at about 1 p.m. on… Continue reading

Boat sinks in Cow Bay leaving sheen of pollution

Coast Guard responds, but finds only one vessel that required assistance

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Most Read