Rona has opened up shop in downtown Pemberton.
The chain, which stocks materials such as lumber and plumbing tools, is taking over the Home Hardware location on Prospect Street and aims to provide building supplies that Pembertonians previously couldn't access in town.
Paul Vacirca, one of four co-owners of the store and a former president of the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce, said the store will be owned independently and won't simply be part of a chain. That means profits will go to the owners and stay within the community rather than be directed to a company with headquarters in Boucherville, Quebec.
"Most people know Rona as ... just big box stores," said Vacirca.
"Rona's a company that's very progressive, traded openly, but you can be an independent owner and run a Rona store.
"Home Hardware's been great, all those great little departments have been wonderful. I can do the same thing with Rona, but I couldn't get the lumber and building materials to be competitive in my marketplace."
Before Rona opened up in the Spud Valley, construction workers and contractors who live there had to have to drive all the way down the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish, where they could pick up their materials from Home Depot or other similar stores.
Now, contractors who live in Pemberton merely have to drive a short distance into downtown to pick up materials then head back to work.
"Now people don't have to go to Squamish," Vacirca said. "They can remain loyal and not feel guilty."
The change from Home Hardware to Rona made it necessary for Vacirca to step down from his role as Chamber President. The Chamber works to support economic growth in the Valley and for Vacirca it was too much to balance it with family and a new business venture. But he still plans on being involved with the organization.
"I had to make a decision as to where I can be," he said. "I just couldn't be everywhere. I'd (thought I had) better stick with family, community and business, then I'm still acting as a (Chamber) director, taking one or two projects each year."
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