(This story is sponsored by the Sechelt Downtown Business Association.)
If you’re ready to say “goodbye” to traffic congestion, high rent, and waiting for hours to get into a restaurant, it’s time to consider relocating. Instead of spending your evenings riding the bus home from work, you could be eating dinner at the beach with a breathtaking sunset backdrop.
Sechelt and Gibsons, charming towns located on the lower Sunshine Coast, are encouraging city slickers to come experience a more laid-back lifestyle. The seaside villages can be easily accessed by a short 40-minute ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Langdale and a 25-minute scenic drive. You’ll still be close to Metro Vancouver but far enough away that you can embrace a quieter way of life.
Moving to the Sunshine Coast will also allow you to explore a new natural setting while slowing down to the locals’ easygoing pace. Plus, in terms of real estate, you can even snag a beachside home for the same price of an apartment in the busy city—talk about a major upgrade.
For those seeking new career opportunities, the Sunshine Coast is the ideal place to start a brick-and-mortar business. Rental spaces come at a lower cost and the surrounding community and shop owners offer continuous support. If you desire a change of scenery and have an entrepreneurial spirit, there are currently four turnkey businesses for sale in Sechelt and Gibsons. These include a flower shop, hair salon, framing store, and bedding shop.
“I opened Blue Magnolia Clothing when I moved to Sechelt because I figured it would be a fun way to make money while getting integrated into the community,” says Lonnie Pasareno, owner of Blue Magnolia Clothing.
Blue Magnolia Clothing (5644 Cowrie Street) is a curated boutique that is focused on helping women discover their own personal style.
Pasareno’s ever so popular establishment can be found in Sechelt’s flourishing downtown area, alongside other retail stores, restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops. “I was only supposed to run the shop until a more serious job came along but here I am, 18 years later. It’s the other Sechelt businesses and Blue Magnolia’s dedicated customers that keep me going.”
Sechelt has a thriving main street lined with unique shops and that’s because of the locals—it’s not the tourism that keeps it afloat. “All of the companies share information and celebrate each other’s successes,” she says. “I use this saying at Blue Magnolia, ‘we’re small but beautiful, come find us,’ and I think it applies to the town as well.”
When she’s not putting together comfortable ensembles for customers, Pasareno is unwinding with a friend at a nearby café or kayaking around the Sechelt Inlet.
The outdoorsy town has everything that an active individual could ever dream of—the world-class bike park, kayaking spots, hiking trails, beaches, and indoor climbing gyms keep residents busy. It also has an impressive collection of picturesque beaches and green areas like Burnett Falls Park, Davis Bay Beach, Sechelt Heritage Hidden Groves, Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, and many more.
People who enjoy an evening out greatly appreciate Sechelt’s vibrant nightlife offerings. Trendy eateries like El Segundo Restaurant, the Wobbly Canoe, Tapworks Brewing Company, 101 Brewhouse + Distillery, and the Bricker Cider Company, keep residents well-fed and refreshed. Three more restaurants will soon be joining the list.
Since the pandemic began last March, the waterfront town has seen an increase in permanent residents. According to Pasareno, many property owners in Sechelt used to commute or stay in the city during the week for work. Because of the recent rise in remote employment, they’re now able to fully embrace life on the Sunshine Coast.
But if working on a laptop at home doesn’t bring you joy, purchasing one of the village’s available turnkey businesses is a rewarding alternative.
“The piece of advice I would give to future business owners is to set aside time each day to be present and have a genuine conversation with a customer. I think that’s what gives small businesses an edge compared to bigger companies. We’re able to authentically connect with the people who are choosing to support your business. This will make your business grow and you’ll be enriched by those connections that you’ve made,” says Pasareno. “There’s truly nothing better than being able to make a living in the most beautiful and laidback spot in the world.”
For more information on the current business opportunities, visit www.secheltdowntown.com/business-opportunities. Follow the Sechelt Downtown Business Association on Instagram and Facebook for updates.