Meet the Business Community

The more people that I have been meeting, the more interesting this town has become. I never knew a lot about the origins, or how Tumbler Ridge has gotten to where it is today. I find it very interesting that so many people have been here since the beginning. Two of those people are Gord and Carol Rothwell, the owner/operators of Shop Easy.

In 1982, these two optimistic individuals started out on a journey full of challenging and fulfilling adventures. ?There has never been a dull moment.? Carol and Gord replied when asked about their lives. They started out working together in Cranbrook, B.C., where they had managed a supermarket franchise for six years. Their desire to experience new things had them always looking for a change. One day it came. With a plan and an opportunity to run a supermarket franchise, they packed up what they had and headed for the unknown.

Upon arrival in Tumbler Ridge, there was a whole lot of nothing. No paved roads were built yet, no houses, no services. ?Just a few fire hydrants…? Gord mentioned. It was like walking through the desert, but with better weather. Still the thought of being part of the expansion of Tumbler Ridge was enticing.

Gord and Carol were ready to start the construction of their business. Then, like always, a dilemma arose. The franchise would not allow building to commence until there were people situated in permanent homes. The problem being that the homes were not to be built until there was a grocery store. It was like a Mexican standoff. So Carol and Gord knew that they needed an alternative.

They ended up opening the store in a modular home in early 1982. In December 1983, they opened the building that we all know as Shop Easy Foods.

In 1985, Carol and Gord got married, and had a family. They enjoyed watching their business continue to prosper within the town. Then the hard times came, ?When the mines shut down so many people left. We had considered moving on?, was the response I received when I asked about the decline in revenue during the mid 2000?s.

Now that the town is expanding once again, Gord says he can feel renewed optimism. They are pleased to see that this time around there is a good balance to the economy. Carol said, ?the bigger the better? when asked which direction she would like to see the town grow towards. As for services she would enjoy seeing a few hot spots to eat, such as Earls, or Tony Roma?s. Gord would like to have a place to hang out with friends, a sports lounge in particular.

If you want any travel tips, these two would have a few to give. They have been to Aruba, Panama, Hawaii, Mexico, North and South Carolina. Not only once either, they are avid travelers. To prove a point, they are heading out to Mexico in the near future.

Not only is the town celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, so is the only grocery store ever to exist in Tumbler Ridge. This is such a large accomplishment for Gord and Carol, they really have been here since the beginning. We hope to see them stay for the future.