There’s something special about small towns. They have a charm and a certain character that you just don’t find in big cities. And in recent years, many small towns have been making a conscious effort to revitalize their downtown cores.
This is something I’ve noticed in the last ten years or so, as more and more small towns in British Columbia and Alberta have been working hard to reinvent themselves. Princeton, Keremeos, Oliver – these are just some of the towns that have undergone a transformation in recent years, and the results are really impressive.
When local officials and business owners attempt to serve their communities well by providing good services, they often do so with a sense of pride for their community. This is why we’ve seen such an increase in the numbers of community and business revitalisation projects across small towns. These changes bring people together, celebrate community spirit, and give residents and business owners a chance to show off what makes them special.
It’s great to see this trend happening because I think small towns often get neglected by governments and the general public. There’s so much focus on cities, especially big cities, that small town can sometimes be overlooked. But they deserve just as much attention!
Every small town has a story to tell, and I think it’s important that we take the time to listen to those stories. Who knows – you might just find that you have a lot in common with a town that you thought was completely different from your own.
Small Towns Have Success Stories All Business Owners Should Know
This July, I was in Princeton, British Columbia, known for its numerous downtown murals. It became apparent to me as I walked around and spoke with company owners that the city had made a significant change in recent years.
This made me want to know more about the city and how it had turned itself around.
Princeton has a fascinating history as an example. It used to be thriving in the 1800s and was ideally located when people were traveling in horse carriages. Then that town got forgotten a bit and now is rediscovering its identity.
I spoke with Gary Schatz, the director of economic development, about how Princeton is doing in 2022: building beautiful downtown outdoor spaces and incorporating a fantastic collection of bronze sculptures representing local wild animals. He came up with the tagline “Where rivers and friends meet”. It seems like Gary’s plan is turning things around, and putting Princeton on the map as a town that matters.
The town is attracting new condo projects in a bid to bring new families and young professionals who love the outdoors. They plan to build a great hotel as well.
Thanks to marketing/economic outreach campaigns, these drive-through towns are becoming destinations again. Where there used to be just fruit stands on the side of the highway, now there’s wineries, food orchards and farm-to-table restaurants…
A lot of people are looking to leave the cities, and these towns are way less pricey than other BC towns like Kelowna and Penticton.
If you’re ever feeling stuck or like you’re in a rut, take a trip to a small town and see what they’re doing right. You might just be surprised by what you find.
Getting Back To Our Roots
During my visit, taking in the surrounding atmosphere, my camera operator Vitor started wondering about the real estate prices around Princeton, because of the ambition of the mayor and city.
At this time, there’s a desire to go back to our roots, to nature, to be part of a small community, to be more connected, and go back to things that are real, not superficial. Who cares about expensive shoes or cars, or wanting to show off? When a flood happened in Princeton, the owners of a small restaurant told me how unbelievable it was, to see the community respond, and how it came together to help everyone in need.
Every day, BizWell Studio visits amazing towns and businesses in Alberta and British Columbia to network with entrepreneurs and tell their stories. We encourage innovative business owners to get energized, inspired, and explore new horizons. Small town business owners are often some of the most successful at that.
Not far away from Princeton is Keremeos, yet another small town that is on the rise. This picturesque community in the Okanagan Valley is known for its fruit farms and vineyards. In recent years, Keremeos has become a hub for artists and entrepreneurs, and it is quickly becoming a popular tourist destination.
Oliver, which is also located in the Okanagan Valley, is another small town that is making a name for itself. This community is known for its many wineries and its beautiful scenery. Oliver is also home to a growing number of artists and makers, and it is quickly becoming a destination for creative types.
These are just a few examples of the many small towns that are doing big things. If you take the time to explore your community, you might be surprised by what you find. Who knows – you might just discover your new favorite place.
Adopt a Pioneering Attitude
One of the things I admire most about small towns is their pioneering yet meek attitude.
When you live in a big city, it’s easy to take things for granted. You have access to all the amenities and services you could ever need, and if something isn’t available, you can usually just order it online.
In a small town, however, you have to be a bit more resourceful. If there’s something you want or need, you might have to get creative in order to get it.
This can be a really good thing for businesses, because it forces you to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions.
The truth is, many small town business owners have to be pioneers in order to make their businesses succeed. They are the ones who are constantly thinking of new ways to do things and are always looking for ways to improve.
So next time you’re feeling stuck, try adopting a more small-town mindset. You might be surprised by how much it helps you to get out of your comfort zone and think differently about your business.
How can your business or where you spend your dollar contribute to citizen pride in the places we live in? A pioneering mindset can also help reclaim our roots in nature. How can we live closer to nature, build micro-communities and businesses, and adopt micro-living and sustainable methods, in order to do business better?
It’s important to remember that every town has its own unique story. By listening to those stories, we can learn a lot about what makes a town special – and how we can help to make our own towns and small businesses thrive.
Watch Business Stories from Small Towns on BizWell Studio
Business stories are a great way to engage your audience and tell them about the things you do. But, they can be hard to find in small towns. That’s why we created BizWell Studio – a place where business owners can share their story with others who care about what happens in their community and do business better.
We believe that spending time watching or listening to inspiring people’s journey, opens our mind and stimulates new ideas. It also helps us see how people conduct business from different perspectives.
Watch BizWell videos and interviews from BizWell Studio here.