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Growing the North – Northern Trendz | Northern BC Business
Home » BC Economy, Business Advice, Business Profiles, Economic Development, Employment, Mackenzie » Growing the North – Northern Trendz

Growing the North – Northern Trendz


Courtesy of Community Futures of Fraser Fort George


Northern Trendz – Mackenzie

It can be tough business to run a specialty retail shop in a small town, where residents often travel to the big city to do their shopping, but five years after Northern Trendz in opened its door in Mackenzie, British Columbia, owner Rae Surgenor is very pleased with the success of her business. Rae was looking for a change in career and had a desire to be her own boss. Like many savvy entrepreneurs, Rae got her business idea from an under serviced demand she saw in the community for a quality local clothing retailer.  She had spent fifteen years serving as a child and family counsellor, but had previous experience working in clothing stores, and has always loved clothing and fashion.

Getting started was a challenge for Rae. She had very little encouragement, and support was hard to come by. Many weren’t convinced that starting a business was a wise career move. In 2008, the local mill in Mackenzie closed its doors. Rae knew she had to put her dreams on hold until the economy picked up. In a town like Mackenzie, the success of single industry will make or break the success of other small businesses. When it was announced that the local mill would re-open in 2010, it was time to dust of her dream and take the plunge.

Rae joined the Community Futures Self-Employment Services Program. The program provided her with a small living allowance, which helped reduce her risk during the start-up phase of her business. Instead of drawing all of the profits out of the business to pay for her living expenses, Rae was able to re-invest her early profits back into the business in order to grow her inventory. Rae was also able to secure a loan from Community Futures. Without the loan, Northern Trendz would have never opened its doors.

About Northern Trendz

Northern Trendz offers brand name men’s and women’s clothing, footwear, accessories and jewellery. More recently, Rae has added body piercing, a head shop and tuxedo rentals to her store, making her the only retailer of these products in Mackenzie. Rae is a smart business owner, always on the lookout for needs that are under serviced in her community.

Rae knows that in addition to responding to under served demands, she has to provide exemplary customer service; she puts a lot of effort into keeping her loyal customers happy. Many of Northern Trendz’s customers are actually from out of town, and they make a point of stopping into the store when visiting Mackenzie because they love the service and products she offers. Even though her prices and products are competitive with retailers in Prince George, Rae has a difficult time attracting shoppers from within her own community. She hopes Mackenzie can grow a buy local movement to help bolster the success of all local businesses.

Measuring Success

In five years of operations, Rae has succeeded in reaching many of her business goals. When she began, she was working seven days a week on the business and had trouble finding good help. Now, she has found an excellent employee, which allows her to time off over the weekends. Rae also paid her business loan off early so that she could take more time off and reduce the stress of paying down a debt. Rae says she’s still conscious of the risks of owning a business in a small community dependent in on a single industry, but she made smart choices to reduce her risks while always growing her inventory. Not only did Rae succeed in becoming her own boss, but she was surprised at how much she enjoyed making connections with customers. To see how much someone loves a product they bought at Northern Trendz or how happy they are after great service is incredibly rewarding and motivating.

Northern Trendz

403 Mackenzie Blvd, Mackenzie, BC






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Posted by on 12:58 pm. Filed under BC Economy, Business Advice, Business Profiles, Economic Development, Employment, Mackenzie. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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