It all started during a blizzard in ‘Winterpeg’
That’s what we call Winnipeg, Manitoba. The coldest place I’ve ever been. It was my first experience in retail — roads were snowed over, cars buried. Most people hunkered down at home for a couple of days.
Mom worked in a local, independent grocery store nearby. Since most employees couldn’t get to work, Mom brought my brother and me to work with her. We bagged groceries for the day. The mood in the store that day was jovial. Customers had skied to the store, just to get out of the house and pick up potato chips. They were happy to stand in long lines and swap stories with the neighbours.
For me, it was the beginning of a retail adventure I’ve been on ever since.
Grocery carts, fashion and art
Bagging groceries led to collecting grocery carts, selling clothes, and then to a degree in merchandising from Ryerson University’s School of Fashion in Toronto. Five years with a large, international retailer, in the busiest city in Canada, gave me invaluable experience managing staff and the nitty gritty of daily operations.
Yearning to be close to family & the mountains, I wound my way across the country to central BC. All my previous experience was put to work in marketing for a public art gallery. Coordinating community events & marketing campaigns, training volunteers and learning the unique aspects of museum retailing. After leading a team that developed the business plan for a gallery shop in the new, ‘Class A’ (that means national calibre) art gallery, I moved on to follow my dream.
Birth, business and babies
In 2000, Inspire Retail Solutions was born. It has grown up gradually, alongside (and maybe, in spite of) my four children. It grew from my desire to share what I learned along my journey.
That first experience in the grocery store is the essence of retail to me. Retailers meeting the needs of the community. Stores that are a social hub for the neighbourhood. Businesses with unique personalities, reflecting the culture and flavor of the area.
My passion for working with retailers, is a passion to help build stronger communities, and to inspire retailers to create a better world.