Thursday, November 3rd, 2011
Had a visit with Mary Lou Bompas at the Old Salty today, downtown Ganges. We chatted about our companies, which incidentally are both 1979 vintage!Old Salty now carries most of our Saltspring Soapworks product line, with more to come in spring. I asked Mary Lou, after 32 years, what she likes about her job….. Everything! she said. “It’s the best of both worlds…..I treat it like it’s my own business,” she added…….and I’m backed by Mouat’s.”
I asked about her duties, and they include: buyer, merchandising and display, customer service, which I have to say she excels at, and also, cleaning lady!
When asked the secret of their success and why they’ve lasted so long, she said there are a lot of good things that people mention often: ‘That Old Salty continues to change with the times.’
That they have ‘an eclectic range,’ that there are’ so many different things!’ That there is such a ‘nice collection’ of items. That it’s a kind of ‘good, better, best’ place. That they stock both imports and local items. In fact, one sign reads, “Saltspring and Canadian artisans and treasures from around the world!” Hard to beat that!
She asked what I liked about Old Salty. “Well,” I thought, “it’s just so interesting! It’s really colorful in here, with a really vibrant atmosphere, yet it is never junky or busy looking. And, it changes all the time while still keeping it’s fun, fresh look.
“What’s the most fun part,” I asked. “It’s the interesting people,” said Mary Lou. “It’s really all about the people,” and I don’t think I’ve met a more ‘people person’ in retail than Mary Lou. After 32 years with one company, what enthusiasm!
“Any thoughts on retiring?” I asked. “Retire??!!” I’m too young!”
She added that the job really suited her lifestyle; 4 days work per week, time off, traveling for buying trips, and lot’s of responsibility, she said, which she finds challenging.
So, drop in at The Old Salty and say hi to Mary Lou, check out their lovely display of our products and visit one of the most fun shops on our island!
Got any great Old Salty stories?
Bye for now,