Winter Park’s Singin’ Dog celebrates 10th anniversary
December 14, 2007
For local businesses, it’s challenging to have staying power in a resort town.
Restaurants and bars come and go, and small businesses struggle during the off seasons.
But many business owners realize that in order to be successful in the Fraser Valley, they need to offer more than a draw for tourists. The key is to provide a niche in the community to keep year-round customers coming back.
Singin’ Dog, for example, is the only CD and video store in the Valley, and this month the shop is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.
Jen Emery admits she didn’t have any retail experience when she first opened the store in December of 1997, but after a decade selling a variety of specialty items and offering the most colorful shop on the block, Emery is doing something right.
“The industry has changed so much. It’s really hard to compete with the Internet,” Emery said, casting a glance toward the CD rack. “So we’ve really tried to change it up.”
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Singin’ Dog is a little splash of everything. Tapestries adorn the walls, depicting bands like Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and The Misfits. Stands hold acoustic guitars, banjos and mandolins. There are stickers, posters, incense and purses, and everything has a touch of Bohemian flare.
“I still do music because I love it, but we just brought in a lot more gift items,” Emery said. “It’s definitely not your average video store.”
Emery is not your average business woman either. A mother of three, she and her husband Scott Emery are both local business owners, juggling their time between skiing, family and work.
But there’s another side of Emery that explains her knack for selling items that are hipper than most. As she guiltily looks up at the Jon Bon Jovi poster behind the cash register, Emery reluctantly admits something only her friends know. She loves ’80s rock music.
“I did touch Jon Bon Jovi last year on the arm,” she said, and laughs. “I’m a rocker at heart, sad but true.”
Emery’s photo of her and Gene Simmons of Kiss is also a dead giveaway of Emery’s passion. Her laid-back personality and a long-time staff are what help give the shop its flavor.
“I think every mountain town needs a story like this,” she said.
Emery pointed out that the store caters to music lovers. The instruments are affordable, so beginners can try them out without spending a fortune. They can also order any instrument accessory they need if the shop doesn’t carry it, as well as order any CD ” with no extra charge. For the movie lover, the store offers thousands of movies “and friendly service,” she added. “We like to talk movies. You can’t talk movies to a red box.”
Next month Singin’ Dog will offer a two-for-one deal on videos for locals to show appreciation to the local community who have helped keep Emery’s store in businesses for the past 10 years, she said.
“I feel very fortunate. And I’m so thankful to our community and locals. Retail can be tough with out-of-state customers, but your regulars and local community make it all worth it. I still enjoy coming to work after 10 years.”
” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.