Sue Moss distinctly remembers the enormous sense of community pride and support that emerged during the South Cariboo’s devastating wildfire season in 2017.
She recalls the hoodies and bumper stickers, proudly declaring how strong and united the Cariboo would remain in the face of overwhelming diversity; the sense of solidarity that resonated throughout the region during that unforgettable summer and beyond.
Three years later, as Moss takes the reins as executive director of the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, she wants to reignite that passion for local businesses and service providers.
“There should be a certain sense of pride in shopping locally and supporting our town,” Moss explains. “It’s where we raise our kids, where people come to fulfill their dreams. There’s no reason why we can’t help the local business owners to prosper as well.”
Moss is thrilled to be joining the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization comprised of nearly 150 local businesses. A lover of horses and the outdoors, she bought a house in the area 14 years ago – she only recently moved here – believing the community would allow her to pursue her passion for horses in a more affordable setting.
Describing herself as a “self-propelled entrepreneur” with a background in commercial sales, Moss has no shortage of ideas to help businesses thrive. While she’s only been in the executive director’s chair for just a few weeks, Moss said her main focus will be to keep shoppers within the 100 Mile House area, rather than venturing to Kamloops or other destinations.
“We need to figure out how to capture people’s shopping money right here in our community as best we can,” she says, noting she hopes to roll out a specific program in the next few weeks designed to encourage local shopping. Her efforts will include not just the retail businesses in the community, but service providers – accountants, hairdressers and dentists, to name a few – and finding ways to help propel their businesses as well.
She acknowledges stepping into the role during a global pandemic comes with its fair share of challenges, but says local businesses have done a good job adjusting to the new protocols and regulations.
“Each business is trying really hard to find their way around this,” she says. “It’s been costly and probably quite scary. Even just getting the supplies they need, the things they sell, is quite difficult as well. We need to work together as a community to figure things out and to help those who want to stay in business here.”
Moss’ first order of business is to connect with the community and hear from business owners – even those who aren’t Chamber members – to find out how she and the Chamber Board can provide support.
“This role is really important. People need a place to get enthusiasm from, they need to know someone is working in their favour,” Moss says. “I want to be a sounding board for the good and the bad. Let’s get a feel for how everyone is doing.
“I’ve been a part of this town for 14 years and I want to help it prosper.”
Anyone who wants to chat is invited to call her at the Chamber office, 250-395-6124 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.