A conversation with Mission business owners

A distinguished and prominent business member of our community, especially in our downtown core, is The Gold Bin.

Bob Mackovic has been operating in the downtown for over 40 years.

“It’s like birthdays,” Mackovic said. “Once you get to a certain age, you try to stop counting.”

Mackovic grew up in Eastern Ontario, but during the ’60s, he left to explore, making his way west. He fell in love with Vancouver the moment he laid eyes on the city.

But why Mission?

“Mission was attractive because it was a location where you could still afford to buy a home and raise a family.” Mackovic said. “The economics were not as dramatic as they are today, but it was similar.”

Even years ago, Mission had an inviting affordable reputation and Bob was immediately captivated by the good natured, solid community qualities he recognized of his own hometown.

Back in the late ’70s, gold skyrocketed. In 1979, the price of gold was $226.80 per ounce, which is equivalent to $860.88 in 2020 dollars.

What began as a hobby eventually turned to a profitable business as the inventory began to grow. There was similar angst in the economy, but Mackovic was presented the chance to start a business and jumped at it.

“There was a recession at the time, but when there is turmoil, there is opportunity.”

Now, as he looks back on his 40+ years, he realizes that he would not have been nearly as successful, had not been for the benefits of the downtown core.

Mackovic is eternally grateful for the grassroots of a downtown. The support he has received from that neighbourhood has made it easier for him to keep his business alive.

“Mission’s downtown gives business a chance to express themselves. It provides opportunity in a manner that would be impossible in a mall location.”

From that moment, Mackovic continued to grow with the help of the downtown community.

His philosophy has always been “listen to what the people want. Then keep giving them that.”

The Gold Bin has been in three different locations, beginning in what is now Bella Sunless Tan, above the Big Box.

“It was back in the days of Dino’s, so everyone heading in for a meal had to walk by my shop.”

As a long term business owner, he is an active director of the Downtown Business Association and has been on and off the board over the past 40 years.

“I remember when they used to hold the meetings in Dino’s. Carlos (Billinger) invited me along one day and I decided to pop in and listen to what everyone was saying. It was actually the last time that the downtown went through revitalization.”

Mackovic is continuously determined to make new businesses feel welcome in the neighbourhood and ensure they know that they are part of a very family orientated and close-knit team.

Advice for everyone during difficult times?

“There is a light at the end of the tunnel and working together is how we always get through tough times.

“Now, more than ever, we all need to realize how important it is for both personal health and for our businesses, is communication and connection.”

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