Bring Home Outside

To help contain the spread of the coronavirus, people around the world have been told to wear a mask, stay at home, keep your “bubbles” small ……  Thankfully we live in a region where fresh air and the great outdoors can be found by simply opening our own doors.

The pandemic has taught us that having a great outdoor space to gather with friends and family (or to have a space for some quiet time) is so important.  We found that consumers carefully researched the best products and services that would extend their indoor spaces outdoors.  It’s no surprise that the most popular products were patio furniture, BBQs, pizza ovens and fire tables.  Not only did these purchases take “socially distanced interaction” to the next level, elevating the experiences in that outdoor living area also became an investment in the home.  We anticipate that such purchasing trends will continue, no matter how big or small the space is.

Al fresco dining and fire side chats under the stars do not have to end just because the season is changing.  Cocktails/mocktails, great food on the table and a cozy blanket will take summer into fall. They are simple pleasures that we once took for granted. Being outdoors is the greatest place to heal, recharge and reconnect. So bring home outside.

Giving Thanks

With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner, I look back on the past year with extreme gratitude and appreciation of the positive response our little communities of Squamish and Whistler have shown our business.

While attending a women’s empowerment and business strategy retreat at beautiful Sulphurous Lake last fall, a seed was planted in casual conversation that grew into a real life venture.

  • how do you tap into a much needed retail market in our very active community that is influenced by those who explore the great outdoors and those who want to make the most out of their time with friends and family at home?
  • how do you keep business (that otherwise went to Vancouver) local?
  • how do you make an impact in your own “backyard”?

Goals with soul was the answer.

  • keep marketing personal
  • sell products of the highest quality
  • collaborate with local entrepreneurs
  • give back to your community

The answers became clear – I just needed to delve into the nitty gritty of it all.

In the past year we’ve been able to establish an ever-growing presence and seen first hand how the sale of simple quality outdoor living products have brought lasting memories to families.  They’ve shared their trial and error pizza creation photos with us, sent us messages of how much they enjoy their backyard gas firepit, posted photos of food they’ve grilled and smoked on their BBQ and shared stores of their glamping adventures.

This journey of being a creative, calm, active, present and mindful business person has been much more than I had anticipated and I am grateful for all of it (even the never-ending paperwork).

Modern Backyard Bliss

After almost twenty years of marriage, I still do all of the cooking.  I know, I know, it’s not very “modern woman” of me.  BUT this summer we added a new BBQ to our outdoor living room and it has been a game changer!  Hello hubby the BBQ’r!!!!!

I love my gas grill.  Winter or summer, that baby gets fired up 4-5 times a week.  While it’s fast and convenient, I find the true BBQ flavour just isn’t there.  Our new modern charcoal grill with electronic ignition (FYI – amazing feature) has literally changed our outdoor dining experience.  Just like the “modern woman”, the charcoal BBQ continues to evolve.  The temperature is much easier to regulate than I first thought;  it’s not as messy as I first imagined; and the flavours ………..  But have no fear ladies, I’m watching all of this from the sidelines and taking full advantage of my hubby’s new passion for cooking.

I am having to share some of my famous marinades with him and am having to wash the dishes a bit more (FYI:  house rules – if you cook, you don’t clean), but it’s a great trade off.  What’s been my favourite deliciously mouth-watering backyard meal so far?  Without a doubt it’s the grilled beef tenderloin roast.  I usually buy a large beef tenderloin roast and cut it into steaks, vacuum seal and freeze them.  The last 12″ or so at the end of the roast is thinner and is the perfect share plate protein.  I coat it with crushed garlic, fresh chopped rosemary, salt-free steak spice and kelp sea salt ….. and then pass it over to my new found chef to work his magic.  It’s constantly rotated with care on the grill until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit and is then taken off the grill to rest.  Thinly sliced zucchini, tomatoes and onions (all tossed with a simple olive oil/pepper/salt mixture) are quickly roasted as a healthy complement to our share plate/board.

Your outdoor living space is an extension of your home.  We spend a lot of time in our “outdoor living room”, aka “man cave”, aka “mama’s wine shelter”.  It is filled with items that are tailored to how WE live. This unique, modern, trendy charcoal grill has been the best budget minded purchase we’ve made in quite some time. In this modern world of online design sharing, there are so many great websites and social media sites where you can spend an afternoon (or ten) getting ideas. Wayfair is one of our favourites! Whether it’s comfortable furniture, a unique rug or pillow, simple patio lanterns, a fire feature, a patio heater, a grill or smoker …….. fill your space with products that have you not wanting to go back inside! That’s outdoor bliss.

Supporting Squamish

In recent years, a movement has begun that takes consumers away from big-box retailers and direct-to-consumer sales and introduces them to people doing business in their very own towns and cities. When a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in their community (fun fact: for every $100 you spend locally, $68 will stay in your community) . Let’s be honest, in a world where you can purchase almost anything with the click of your mouse, we become “disconnected”.  When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you create a “connection” you wouldn’t otherwise have. When you shop local, the business owner is usually directly connected to every one of their employees, which means any problem you have is taken seriously. A more personalized approach where the products you buy, or the services you request, are often tailored to make your experience even better.  Bottom line: when you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live.

So get to know your local farmers, craftspeople, antique dealers, photographers, construction companies, designers, mechanics, gardeners …….. FYI – photo is courtesy of the amazingly talented Tim Cyr. He has an eye for wildlife and scenery. Check him out on Facebook! You can also find his work for sale at many of our local markets.  Thanks Tim for allowing us to use your image.  It’s a beauty!

Taking it one step further, the global trend on where products are made and manufactured is also starting to reverse itself. Canadian shoppers prefer to buy goods made/manufactured in either Canada or the US (fun fact: some shoppers are even willing to pay more for a product knowing where it comes from aligns with their values). The most common reasons: save/create jobs, lower carbon footprint/less pollution, human rights and, once again, a stronger economy. Buying Canadian or US made goods doesn’t just support the workers who make the goods. Its benefits ripple out through the entire economy (from construction and accounting firms to skilled tradespeople and support workers to small retail stores).

Be mindful when you can of where the products you purchase are grown, made or manufactured. While it may not be possible for everything you buy to be made locally, sometimes you simply have to make cost and quality your top priorities (fun fact:  the majority of the products we sell are made/manufactured in either Canada or the US).