One of the more enjoyable tasks I take on in a volunteer capacity is to sit as the Manitoba/Saskatchewan representative on an Independent Retailer committee with the Retail Council of Canada.

I came into the travel products business from an advertising and travel agency background, but with no actual retail experience.

Starting Journeys Travel & Leisure SuperCentre was a bold, if not crazy, move.

We combined a wide series of travel products and travel related services under one big roof…and opened with a lot of publicity and fanfare in May of 2000.

It was a good first year, for a new business, and we were looking for considerable growth in year 2.

Along came 9/11 and we really thought we weren’t going to make it.

We survived and because of all our aggressive marketing, I suppose, I was invited to join RCCC and sit on a local ‘advisory’ panel.

I met some of the biggest players in the city whose companies frequently had stores across Canada.

At first RCCC seemed to be only composed of big companies, but I soon met more members and realized the small ‘players’ need more help than the big ones.

In becoming involved I have become a perfect thief, stealing ideas from people and companies for whom I had and have great respect.

I will be in Toronto to try to create programs that small companies like mine can take advantage of going forward.

I will meet with other entrepreneurs and likely steal some more.

All this has helped us reach our 10th anniversary celebration.

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