Welcome to BizBeat, Pique’s newest web series profiling Whistler businesses and their employees who go above and beyond.
Each week, we will profile another resort employer and one of their staff, who have each agreed to answer the same questionnaire that has been sent to businesses and employees across the community.
After yesterday's BizBeat entry profiling Whistler's cozy sweater shop, Amos & Andes, we chat with one of the store's star employees, manager Natalija Kudriasova.
The following interview has been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.
Pique: Tell us about yourself and how you landed in Whistler.
I’m from Lithuania. I came to Canada on a work and travel visa, with no expectations and no plan. I just wanted to feel the freedom of travel after being in COVID lockdowns for more than a year. After exploring the East Coast of Canada—New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario—I decided to visit the West Coast. It was wintertime, so it was an easy choice: Whistler was the best place to go!
Describe your current job and what you do at the company.
I work as a manager at the Amos & Andes store. My responsibilities are to provide great service and a great experience to our customers; to present our products; to take care of the day-to-day stuff; and to help (owner Hilary J. Davison) manage our cute and tiny, but very cozy little store.
What do you like best about the job?
I like to meet people from all around the world. It is very fascinating to hear customers’ stories and adventures in Whistler. I like our products—our sweaters are amazing. I like every single piece. This makes my job so much easier. It’s a pleasure to sell things that you really like.
What is your housing situation? How did you find it?
Housing is the most stressful thing in Whistler. And it’s the only thing that makes my stay and experience in Whistler less pleasurable. I found my accommodation by posting advertisements on Facebook and Craigslist. I’m renting a room in a local lady’s house in Creekside.
How do you try to strike a healthy work-life balance in Whistler?
I think Whistler is a perfect place for work-life balance. Every day you are surrounded by mountains, lakes and forest. Even if you only have one hour before work, you can go for a nice walk. Whistler offers plenty of activities all year around—skiing, biking, hiking, and more. Even if you have a really hard day at work, you can find way to relax and restore.
If you were mayor for a day, what single policy would you implement in Whistler to best support local workers?
I would implement more effective discount policies for people who are working in Whistler, for services and food. Living in Whistler full-time, you have to pay tourist prices for everything. I believe that people who contribute to Whistler should get some sort of subsidy. Ideas such as the Spirit Pass could be extended not only for skiing, but for other services and groceries. [Editor's Note: The Spirit Pass does offer discounts at participating businesses around town—although not for any local grocery stores.) And, of course, the housing situation should be solved more efficiently.
What’s a memorable moment or customer from your time on the job?
Christmastime was the most memorable moment for me. In general, Christmas is a magical time, but in Whistler it feels even more so. All customers are in a great vacation mood. Everyone is happy and kind. And it is our busiest time of the year, when we have the best sales!
Any advice for young people trying to make it in Whistler?
If it’s your first time, I would recommend finding an employer who provides staff housing. It will make your life so much easier in Whistler. Even if it’s not the most comfortable place to stay, at least you have a roof and a bed for a reasonable price. The magical atmosphere and vibes of Whistler will make up for any discomfort!