Positive signs for economic growth

Outside interests recognize the potential that many see in Hope

Tammy Shields

Biz Connections

I know that several residents of Hope have grown weary of hearing about “our potential” as a community, but I think the time for talking about it is over. It’s time to live it.

It’s big news for Hope that after 39 years in the grocery business, Heinz and Susan Schiller have sold Buy & Save Foods to Pattison Group – not only because of the plans to convert to a Buy-Low Foods, but also because it represents a vote of confidence in the market by one of the area’s largest retailers.

Cooper’s Foods, which any local resident can tell you does a booming business in the summer months, is also owned by Pattison Group. So a second location seems to confirm they perceive strength and anticipate growth in the Hope market, which should boost the confidence of other major retailers currently considering a location here.

Barrick Gold’s project planner, McKay Edwards, has been in the area lately meeting with local stakeholders to update them on the status of the planned all-season resort at the former mine site just north of Hope. Local and regional partners are working together to provide support for the proposed redevelopment project which would be a “game changer” in terms of tourism growth and economic development in the area.

When I asked Randy Young, at Canyon Shell, if the Flying J opening up down the road has affected him, he let me know that not only has it not hurt his business, but he is on track to beat last year’s record sales volume by another million litres of fuel this year. This is only one of several local retailers, both on the highway and downtown, who have let us know that they are poised to experience a record year in 2013.

I know I might be considered overly optimistic, but that’s not something Hope Drive-In owner Gord Younie is often associated with. Yet when I asked him whether he felt this year’s strong performance was an anomaly, or if it was the start of a new reality in Hope, he confirmed that he is sensing a heightened level of interest in the community and thinks the increased activity in the market is a trend we can expect to continue.

It is very encouraging that outside interests recognize the potential that many of us see in Hope and are taking action to capitalize on it. It also presents an opportunity for us, as a community, to put our best forward at all times and do our part to attract even more investors. It’s our time Hope. Let’s work together to create a vibrant, prosperous community.

Tammy Shields is the executive director of AdvantageHOPE. She can be reached at 604-860-0930 or executivedirector@advantagehope.ca