For Charlene Collison, owning the Golden Dollar Store was never something she envisioned, however 20 years later the store continues to thrive.
In the early 1990s when her and her husband first moved here, they had a three-year plan with the intention for him to eventually transfer his job to a different community so they could move.
But like so many long-term plans, their plan didn’t pan out as she had envisioned when his transfer failed to materialize. Collison was devastated.
“I was sitting across the street and I was crying, and I saw the 407 building was for sale,” said Collison. “We ended up buying the building. We gutted it and we opened the 407 Boutique in September of 1993.”
Collison ran the 407 Boutique for seven years before her mentor, her father, recommended she open up a dollar store.
From there, she travelled to Vancouver to learn more about tiered pricing and suppliers, and pounded the pavement until she felt she was ready to open up her own dollar store in Golden.
“I put my running shoes on and I ran around Vancouver for a week looking for dollar store companies,” said Collison. “I came back and I was like, ‘oh my god. We’re gonna do this.’”
The Golden Dollar Store opened its doors on Dec. 15, 1999.
To celebrate its 20th year in business, Collision will be putting on a promotion at the store, where on the 20th day of each month in 2020, patrons will receive 20 per cent off their purchases.
“Just because you turn 20 doesn’t mean you stop celebrating,” said Collison. “You have a whole year of 20 celebrations.”
For Collison, running her business is all about her customers and providing them a service that they value.
While she’s always looking to bring in new merchandise to keep her customers satisified, for her, its about the one-on-one interactions and the conversations she has with people who come by her store. She said she hopes people know that they’re welcome to stop by any time for a chat, even if they don’t want to buy anything.
“I’m still surprised every day that I have customers walking through the door and that just warms my heart,” said Collison. “They tell me their personal stories and I really do carry that with me.”
Running the store has become more of a hobby than a business for Collison, who says she’s tried to retire before, but always comes back to the store after a few months away. She says she misses seeing her clients and interacting with people on a daily basis.
“What’s been the nicest thing for me is the kids. I see their moms date, get married, and then they have a child and the come by the store to do their birthdays,” said Collison. “I get to watch the kids grow up, and I somehow always remember them. I’ve seen babies become adults and now they’re bringing their kids in. It’s quite beautiful.”
While she’s tried to retire before, she says there’s no timeline anymore on when she plans to pack up. She loves her job too much, and is focused on living her life and continuing to make her store the best it can be for the people of Golden.