Don’t stay home without it
By Amy Fendley
There’s a new card in town. The Local’s Season Pass was created by two entrepreneurs as a means to lower the cost of living and playing for Whistler locals by 15 per cent.
Dave Boyko and Scott McNeil are the founders of LSP. They have negotiated with a cross-section of 65 local businesses willing to offer discounts to Whistler residents. The two held the suspicion that many locals had no idea where to go for a discount.
"The majority of us have no clue who offers the 10 per cent local’s discount," said Boyko. "Living in a resort town, the cost of living is somewhere around 15 per cent above the national average. Our idea was to reduce the cost of living to a fair and level playing field, so as to not have to go down to Vancouver or Squamish to shop."
The LSP is a plastic card with a full colour picture of "the last run of the day" on the back, Whistler Local identification information on the front and a small hole at the top, so as to slide it onto one’s ski pass string. The card sells for $20, half of which goes to Boyko and McNeil. The other $10 covers the cost of producing the card and running the program.
Boyko says that if used every day, the card will allow a local resident to live every seventh day for free.
"The card will pay for itself the first couple of times it’s used, some of the discounts are worth more than the card itself." says Boyko, 27. "You pay for six days, and live the seventh day for free. Use it, save your money and enjoy life. All the good reasons why we’re here. The idea is to not save a ton of money all in one day, but a little each day."
Residents need to present their card in order to get their 15 per cent off merchandise and entertainment, at any registered store or restaurant. Merchants reserve the right to ask you for identification, since the card lacks a magnetic stripe or bar coding system. In fact, all you need to sign when you get a card, is your name.
The need for another local discount card — on top of the existing Nesters Card, Grocery Store Card, Dubh Linn Gate Card, Levi’s Card, Ski Card, and Whistler/Blackcomb Pass holder’s discounts, not to mention staff discounts — Boyko says has everything to do with not offending tourists.
"The LSP logo is simple and easy to use as a tool to market to Whistler locals, without offending any tourists," said Boyko. "They can’t be very happy when they see a lot of ads with ‘local’ in them."
Whistler’s permanent population is now 8,700, with a transient population of approximately 3,000, many of whom are just trying to get by. Boyko says LSP is a way to make living here a little easier.
"It’s thanks to all the Whistler businesses," he says. "Now it will be easier to stay here a little longer and afford it a little longer... half this town is making eight bucks an hour.
"Economically it’s a good thing now, and a good thing in the off-season... offering another opportunity to market to locals."
LSP can provide discounts on coffee, pizza, subs, restaurants, chocolate, ice cream, groceries, ski and board tune-ups, video rentals, retail merchandise, photo processing, indoor entertainment, tennis and athletic clubs, and two for one cover at The Boot.
Winter LSP cards are for sale at Mailboxes Etc. and are valid until April 30, 1999. A summer LSP will be made available in May.
Any Whistler business who would like to offer locals a six month LSP discount can contact LSP at 905-4000, ext. 3084. LSP will include a list of businesses and the discount they offer in a guide that accompanies each LSP sold.