Beth Dunlop is in a good place.
The long-time Whistler resident recently tapped into her experience in the community and made a career change, buying a well-known, local store - Whistler Kitchen Works - and then dedicated herself to learning about what it takes to continue its success as a mainstay business in the resort town.
Dunlop has lived in Whistler for the best part of 18 years, working locally as a fitness instructor and restaurant manager.
“I taught fitness during the day and worked in the restaurants at night,” she says.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it shut down many of the hospitality businesses in the community, prompting Dunlop to explore other options.
Thankfully, the store was for sale and she decided to enquire about it.
“I needed a change and a challenge, and buying the store just felt right,” Dunlop says.
She took over ownership in February 2022 and has been busy since.
“It wasn’t easy, but at the same time it wasn’t something I couldn’t handle, or grasp,” Dunlop says. “You just have to be organized and honest.”
It helped that previously she was an ardent customer, and the store’s focus was a good fit with her, adding she appreciates, as a shopper, when presented with a welcoming environment and a selection of pleasing items.
“Plus, the store was laid out so nicely, I knew I could walk into it and find that perfect gift or something quick for the kitchen.”
“It reaches out equally to both locals needing essential items and tourists wanting to take a nice gift home with them.”
It’s that fine balance Dunlop is seeking to continue, while at the same time adding her own touches.
“The store has been a success for 27 years. I am buying different items that are reflective of my taste, however, there are so many great things that continue to be popular, so there is no reason to change them,” she says.
Another big part of Dunlop’s decision to purchase Whistler Kitchen Works was the social aspect, something she was well familiar with in her previous careers.
“It’s a fun and upbeat store in the village that reaches out to locals, as well as our guests. We invite people to come and browse,” she says.
“I want everyone to feel welcome. Just come in, look around and have a conversation. For example, if someone buys a cocktail shaker from us, the first thing I am going to ask them is what they’re going to make with it.”
For more information about Whistler Kitchen Works, visit their website at whistler-kitchen-works.business.site.