Simple Pleasures


Small pleasures are important to hang onto…& to enjoy.

In this beautiful Pacific Northwest Coast area, the sea usually features. Perhaps it’s just the pleasure of watching it…a deck or a patio, with an ocean vista, and the inspiration of sun and sea and sky’s breadth.

Sometimes, it’s the sleek freedom of sailing…the whisper of the sails in light airs…the sight of seals, sea lions, seabirds…gliding…maybe in the distance a pod of whales.

Sometimes, it’s hiking along a forest trail, emerging onto a beach, wading…maybe having a picnic at shore’s edge.

The news daily reminds us all is transitory. Remember to partake of those small pleasures…with family, with friends, with oneself…depending where on life’s road we find ourselves, small pleasures ignite our days.

Take five…


When should I be purged from the database?


Change, change, change….

I think it’s the mantra of our time.

Spoke earlier to a woman trying to sell advertising space in an English based magazine…the target market was a live/work somewhere else in the world scenario.

She called me because my name was on a database from 2010…I had advertised in a magazine targeted to people wishing to immigrate to Canada. That magazine folded after 11 issues, she told me…because advertising revenue had evaporated by 2011.

Ah, yes…publishing as it used to be done…another casualty of the big eraser we call the Internet.

Nothing has remained untouched. No business model has been left without serious change or even collapse.

My more focused eye is targeting my specific area…Salt Spring Island, the Gulf Islands, & Vancouver Island. Secondary home marketplaces, all. Recreational, retirement…and on the Gulf Islands the added aspect of being under the Islands Trust jurisdiction. No one “has to” buy in a discretionary area. How to connect with the interested and qualified buyer, when no one is local? That is the question!

Nothing wrong with change. It does bring opportunity. It can also create chaos, though, as one lifestyle slides through the sandpiper mitt into the next style.

Hmmm. Some things to do: increase your veggies & greens intake. Walk 30 minutes a day. Get up & walk around…don’t sit non-stop at the computer. Read something that has nothing to do with your job. Learn another language (better than crossword or sudoko puzzles, to keep your grey cells perking along). Breathe…listen to music that energizes you…dance! Important to keep oneself in good order so can tread water in the sea of change…en route to the dry land of the new.

And your thoughts about how to keep your ship on an even keel, on the ocean of change? Always welcome!

Salt Spring May Changes


Change, change, change….

Some Salt Spring business closings, and the island is sorry to see this:

Moby’s, Bruce’s Kitchen, Marketplace, Fernwood’s Raven Street Cafe…they have joined the disappearance of the Fulford Pub and the Vesuvius Pub.

Along with these foodie pleasures erasing away, we’ve also seen the demise of Mark’s Wear, a mini-department store option. A branch office of a major real estate franchise has closed, and another branch office of a competing franchise has moved from a large storefront to a much smaller one.

We also lost an art gallery location (Starfish Gallery in Grace Point Square). Two bookstores closed (Watermark & Volume 2). A small grocery/sundries outlet in Upper Ganges Village has also closed.

Changes no doubt created by the end result of the economic downturn, which caused a pause in tourism that was severe. In a secondary home/discretionary region, tourism does drive all business.

And yet, we have new businesses that have opened recently: Thrive eco-clothing, Dragonfly art supplies, Treasures of the Heart metaphysical store, a Dollar Store, Fevertree decor & clothing store, another Ganges specialty clothing and gallery storefront, plus Salt Spring Mercantile in Fulford Village (former Patterson’s Store location). Plus, the new library has created a destination in mid-McPhillips Avenue. Some businesses have expanded: Persnickety children’s store, in Grace Point, and Frankly Scarlet gifts/jewelery also expanded to a new location in Grace Point Square.

So, what to say about all this shift & change?

I do think that tourism drives the economy of secondary home/resort-based regions. If tourism was down by 40% in 2009, 2010, 2011, then this explains the faltering in real estate & in accomodations (hotels, motels, resorts, B&Bs), plus restaurants. Also car, scooter, & kayak rentals.

Real estate is usually the igniter of attendant businesses: architects, contractors, back hoe & excavator businesses, lawyers for conveyings of titles, building inspectors, well drillers, water testers, cleaners, landscapers, gardeners, painters, roofers, septic installers, hardware store items, flooring installers, lighting experts, dock builders, security systems, etc.

If fewer people visit, then there are fewer pieces of art being sold in galleries, fewer studios busy on tours, fewer people attending the famed Saturday Market in the Park, buying the works of talented artisans, or enjoying the local organic produce created on Island farms, fewer people eating out for lunch, dinner, coffee stops. Fewer people traveling on ferries or floatplanes…prices rise to meet the shortfall demands in transportation choices.

Yes, the economic downturns that began in 2007, and appeared globally in 2008, certainly created some of this rash of closings. The impact of the Internet cannot be ignored, either. No business format has been untouched. It seems, too, that the retail segment is the one currently dramatically shifting, post-Internet. Recently, I heard a statistic that 38% of retail sales were now online. Hmmm….

A seasonal market in a secondary home/discretionary region…a post-Internet world…a demographic shift (Boomers retiring)…a slow recovery, economically…a lot boiling around in that big pot! Should we call it societal change?

I think so! And your thoughts are? Always welcome!

Thoughts…sailing, technology, business…..leading edges.

From a distance, a sailing scene is just a flash of beauty.

Close up, the toil & stress of a race, the tacking & sail work, add up to a picture of hard physical crew work.

The skipper has to keep strategy of winning in mind…testing wind & water conditions, choosing sail decisions wisely…it’s about pre-planning, significant non-race practice, & on-the-fly on site changes, in order to be able to quickly respond to the race’s shifting conditions.

It’s also about race start jockeying for position. No sailor wants to be boxed in by that middle-of-the-pack wall. To be in the front few right off the start line, with room to manouver, is the starting quest.

A sailing race motif can sum up competitive business, too. Essential to have the business plan in place…that’s the pre-planning moment. Getting the best sail package is like having the best technology tools you can put together…honing the closing arguments so one can negotiate from strength…it is about practice & presentation…is like the crew practice time.

To be among the first starters is a bit about luck, but it’s also about knowledge, expertise, & the ability to quickly embrace change…to take some risks…to recognize & respond to shifts.

We don’t get to pick the conditions of our times, but we do get to choose our responses.

In a sailing race, the wind is not in the skipper’s control, but the agility to quickly respond to changing conditions makes the difference in outcomes…in our sales careers are we stepping forth with energy & a mindset that welcomes change?

Are we taking full advantage of technology’s gift? In Q4, it may be a good time to become at ease with all our creative tools…let’s begin 2013 at the beginning of the pack, ready to go & ready to react to whatever presents.

And your thoughts are? Always welcome….