Summer on the Sunshine Coast is something to celebrate — the bright sun, the fantastic flowers and hip, hip, hurray, the arrival of the tourists and their spending power.
With so many other communities competing for the all-important buck in today’s lacklustre economy, it’s a pleasure to see merchants and the associations that serve them being proactive.
Just this past week the Sechelt Downtown Business Association and Sechelt and District Chamber of Commerce held a joint barbecue to celebrate the season and each other.
As always, Katharine Trueman, president of the SDBA, was front and centre at the event.
Many of the successful endeavours of the SDBA over the past few years have her stamp of excellence all over them. She’s championed the Thursday Night Markets on Cowrie Street — a program we’re happy to see more and more merchants buying into. It’s a pleasure to see the downtown core alive after 5 p.m. and we suspect that’s how many tourists and local people feel. Nothing is more disappointing than driving into a town and watching the sidewalks roll up before your very eyes. Now instead, there are attractions for the kids, stores open for their parents to peruse and smiling retailers hearing the welcome sound of busy cash registers.
And that’s not all Trueman has had her hand in. She’s the woman with the giant green hat who turned a ho-hum holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, into a day to remember on Cowrie Street. Her energy and jolly smile make everyone want to be Irish for at least one day. And the contest she designed to bring foot traffic to the downtown stores is much appreciated in a quiet time of year.
Celebrating the wearing of the green isn’t the only time we see Trueman dressed up for a cause. She’s everybody’s sweetheart for Valentines Day and has been known to raid more than one closet to out-spook all the other goblins on Halloween.
She’s also a great ambassador for the many festivals that bring folks to the Coast in the summer. Whether it’s readers, drivers or artists, Trueman wants everyone to feel welcome, and she works tirelessly to convince the other merchants to do the same.
For Trueman, like many other people on the Coast, the line between work and volunteerism is a fine one. She manages the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Cowrie Street, and she’s always open to discussing ways to better the downtown core and the first to encourage business owners to spruce up their surroundings. The great window displays she oversees in her store are testament to her belief in beauty and artistic flair.
As well, although we don’t know how she finds time, Trueman is a long-time Scout leader. She devotes many hours to helping the little guys and gals learn the importance of being good citizens. We think they couldn’t find a better example.