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Fields welcomed as a boost to downtown Lake Cowichan
To those just passing through, the Bargain! Shop was probably just another small town business.
But to Lake Cowichan residents it was a symbol of community convenience and self-sufficiency.
And that’s why news the Bargain! Shop’s empty shell will once again be housing a shopping centre is being greeted with so much happineness in the Lake Cowichan area.
Ongoing work at the site has created a community buzz that will culminate sometime early next month with the opening of a new Fields store.
“I think it’s huge,” said Ron McKenzie, interim president for the Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s going to bring back the employment that we lost when the bargain store closed, and it’s going to keep population dollars right here. People’s spending is going to be in the town, much more than it is now.”
“We were very happy with the bargain store that was in town, and we were pretty sad to see it close down, but that was more of a corporate decision, it wasn’t just Lake Cowichan’s bargain store,” said Mayor Ross Forrest.
“It was a much-needed service in our community. The products that they sold saved people a trip to Duncan—I’m sure Fields are going to be very similar.”
“They are trying to get the store open as a quick as possible,” Forrest continued. “I think they were hoping for somewhere around Sept. 1, but it’s not a definite thing.”
Fields president Jason McDougall said there is no set date for the store opening, but confirmed they are looking at a beginning of September start, says, of
McDougall’s dad lives in Ladysmith, and he has been out to visit Lake Cowichan several times. He thinks that it’s a nice community, and is looking forward to making it out to the river sometime in the future.
It is also the type of community the company is focused on.
There are 57 fields stores located throughout Canada, each one trying to cater to the small communities that they are located in.
“The sort of communities we look for are 25 to 30 minutes or more from bigger cities,” said McDougall. “We also like to be in communities were we can be a part of it and get involved.”
It’s expected that the store will employ between five, and six full-, and part-time workers, says McDougall.