Sitting on a small chair behind her counter, Heather McCormick chats with two friends/customers. The 78-year-old entrepreneur sips a coffee while discussing the days events, surrounded by a clutter of items.
Tables, chairs, dog leashes – if you can think of it, you will likely find it at her store.
McCormick is the owner and operator of The Bargain Store on North Railway Avenue in Mission’s downtown core. She’s been running the store for the past three decades and has no plans to stop.
“Next year will be 30 years. I think I’ll make it, I feel pretty good,” she said with a hint of humour in her voice.
McCormick, who loves living in the country, came to Mission from Powell River in 1981. Her youngest child was born with medical problems and doctors encouraged her to move closer to children’s hospital in Vancouver.
“And Mission was as close to the country as we could get,” she explained.
Less than a year after arriving in Mission, McCormick’s husband found himself out of work and she decided it was time to make some money for the family.
“You can’t pay the mortgage by selling at the flea market one day a week so we jumped in here,” she said.
At that time, the building on Railway was vacant and locked up. McCormick went to work turning it into her new business.
Twenty-nine years later, she s still running the business.
“It’s always fun because there are always people coming and going. I think that’s why we’ve lasted so long in Mission because there are so many nice people in Mission.”
She still enjoys chatting with customers and meeting new people, but, the real thrill is when new items are brought in.
“That’s why it’s always fun, you never know what you are going to get. We’re always happy to get something old and interesting or ‘antiquey.’ I like the old stuff.”
While she loves to see the merchandise, McCormick said she never takes any of it home for herself.
“We sell everything we get.”
Well past retirement age, McCormick has no plans to slow down, adding that running the store is just a way of life.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t. It’s good for you to keep going. It’s all good.”