Monday, December 3, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Last April, I undertook a self-imposed moratorium on shopping in the city. My intention was to concentrate on fulfilling my daily needs within my hometown area, and I want to share with you some of my biggest surprises and how I managed to survive while depriving myself of neither necessities nor frivolous material whims. I am not without shopping-sin (curse you, Old Gringo) but after a year of research, I feel qualified to preach on the joys of shopping at home.
Something I knew before this project began but which became even more abundantly obvious is that customer service in small towns is nothing short of stellar. Whether I was looking blankly at a shelf that was lacking tanning lotion or an array of ink cartridges that did not include my specific number, or whether I was sitting in the crowd at the Stockyards – employees and owners wanted to know if there was something they could help me find. Without exception, local business offered to order in exactly what I wanted when they didn’t normally stock it. Oh, there is one exception - the stockyards, who cannot not seem to find a bovine that doesn’t scare me (they’re still looking though.) For the last three years I have been yearning for a thumb ring. I have tried on rings in expensive jewelry stores, mid-range jewelry stores and even American jewelry stores. You city people may laugh at what you are about to read – and that’s okay because it made me chuckle, yes it even brought a head-shake – I found the COOLEST thumb ring in the feed store. It is a Montana Silversmith black and silver ring and like tattoos, I should have been born with it. Insider tip: if you don’t find something in a small town, look in the least obvious place – if you still don’t see it, ask someone. It’s there somewhere, they just don’t know what it is called.
You get what you pay for. I proved this over the past year when I needed to make two major purchases of the same product. One was purchased at a sale price in the local furniture store and one was purchased for much less in the city during a Boxing Day sale. The one from the city is larger and was less expensive, but the one I bought locally is the one I use more (especially to watch curling, which is a religion in SK and therefore mandatory on Sundays). Whether it is brand name clothing at the fashion store in town or furniture or saddles or cowboy boots, the items that are popular in our small town are popular for a reason: we don’t have to buy them again soon. This may seem counter-productive to a big-box mentality, but if you buy a $10 shirt and it shrinks, are you going back to the same store for another $10 shirt?
Monday, March 5, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
In the early stages of forming our Northern Lakes Economic Development Corporation we chose our motto “partnering for sustainable economic growth”. We felt the importance of focusing on partnerships was worthy of being our primary goal. The difference in our communities today – because of population distribution, product and service availability and the increased mobility of the consumer – demands that we partner with our neighbors to offer a regional advantage.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
“We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We are beginning a new year full of hope and promise in a most successful province that still has vast unrealized potential. There is opportunity awaiting us in the areas of financial wealth, career advancement and quality of life. Have you thought about your personal plan for giving back to your community?
Many people will be setting goals at this point in the year, and I encourage you to include a goal that will see you taking steps toward leadership in an area that is important to you. With the opportunity we are facing comes longer work hours and more commitment to family and career objectives, so it will take a conscious decision and a concerted effort from you to stay involved once you decide to join a volunteer organization. However, doing so will add a dimension to your life that will help define your character as a humanitarian.
Reflect back on your formative years or your early career – what organizations helped you get where you are today? Chances are you learned about agriculture, public speaking and volunteering through a 4-H club. Perhaps your town had a Boy Scouts or Girl Guides squad, a hockey team to which you belonged or a softball team. These clubs exposed you to the concept of teamwork and demonstrated the value of a combined effort to achieve a goal. The skills you learned from a mentor are within you now.
As our civic and service organizations – Lions Clubs, Church boards, sports teams and youth groups – evolve, so too does their leadership. It is incumbent on us to be proactive, to join our communities’ volunteer organizations to strengthen and replace the long-time leaders. Learn from them and succeed them.