Retail strategy a smokescreen
It's pretty ridiculous that the RMOW is dragging their feet in regards to the London Drugs Store in Whistler Village. I've worked in one of those “Whistler-unique” stores that everyone thinks will go out of business if London Drugs comes to Whistler. I can say with 100 per cent certainty that the store I worked with had the same "made in China" bear magnets as each and every other "Whistler-unique" store has and made no effort to support local artists.
Places who have a great variety of locally made products will only complement what London Drugs can offer. The whole point of business is competition, and if these local owners can't understand that, then maybe it's time to rethink their business strategy.
Also, I don't understand how anyone can say the village is "boutique". Three Starbucks, plus another one in Creekside, Seattle's Best, Gap, Eddie Bauer, McDonald's, Cows, Rogers Chocolates, Body Shop, Guess?, and all those winter wear stores. How they can allow these huge, multinational chains here and not a Vancouver-based, 60-ish location store that's only in four Canadian provinces is beyond me. And, let's not mention the fact that Whistler is a company town to Intrawest, who's not even a Canadian company anymore.
So let’s hope that council does not adopt the retail strategy that so obviously was created as a smokescreen to keep London Drugs out of Whistler. Listen to the people — not the so-called experts — for once.
Locals want London Drugs
We have been property owners in Whistler for 29 years, and full time residents for the past 17 years. We are writing with regard to the results of the retail survey recently presented to council. The survey concluded that Whistler did not need more retail space. That is an understandable conclusion if they conducted their survey in the village where there are so many vacant stores. If they were surveying the people walking around in the village, they weren’t talking to locals, they were questioning tourists. We have volunteered for two summers as Village Hosts and can attest to the fact that very few locals are to be found in the village, possibly because: (a) the village stores cater to tourists, (b) parking is not convenient, and (c) prices are not affordable.
We (along with more than 70 per cent of locals surveyed by telephone) strongly believe that London Drugs would help revitalize Whistler Village. By converting unused space on a lower level to retail they would not alter the Whistler style storefront façade.