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Save the wedding, get a bus

Is it possible that a bus could save your wedding?

Most weddings are a spectacular affair, but anyone who’s planned one knows there are a million moving parts making the magic happen behind the scenes.

While you can plan for most anything on your big day, one thing you can’t control is your guests.

Most of the time your friends and family will be happily eating, drinking and dancing, but the time there is the most danger of things going off the rails is the transition from ceremony to reception—especially if the two are in a different place.

The last thing most newlyweds want is for tipsy guests scattering into dozens of cars on their way to the after-ceremony reception.

To keep people safe and contained, couples often contract cabs or limos to shuttle their guests from place to place.

However, few guests are thrilled with the prospect of cramming into a grimy cab while in their wedding best. Likewise, limos might seem like a luxury alternative, but stretches are often little better than cabs once you get past the flashy facade.

To get around these obstacles, more newlyweds are now looking to a different option for moving their guests safely, and in luxury—and avoiding several potential headaches in the process.

Corinne Underwood is the director of business development at BlueStar Coachlines. She points out that motor coaches provide a level of luxury most don’t expect.

Extra-comfortable seating and professional drivers aside, modern coaches come chalked full of options like complimentary wifi, reclining seats, fully equipped entertainment systems, and onboard washrooms.

“What do you really want at a wedding? You want simplicity, luxury, and class,” Underwood says. “Motor coaches epitomize all of those things, and that makes them the ideal transportation option for newlyweds and their guests.”

Even beyond the material perks, Underwood says coaches offer a level of safety and community you can’t find anywhere else.

She says there’s a lot to be said for the convenience of getting an entire group of people to the same place, at the same time. It’s a huge logistical relief on a day where dozens of moving parts have to all line up.

Underwood points out that BlueStar has a fleet of coaches—ranging from an-11 seat sprinter, through to a 27-seat executive class motorcoach, a 48-seat motorcoach, and more than 20 56-seat coaches—so it can handle groups of virtually any size.

On top of that, having everyone in the same place for the trip will keep the party going, helping guests bond and have a good time.

“BlueStar understands what newlyweds are looking for when they’re planning their wedding. The professionalism of our uniformed drivers and the convenience of our coaches is leading many to turn to our service,” Underwood says.

For more information on how a motor coach can make your big day simpler, check out Bluestar Coachlines.


Female leaders make a mark

On March 8, women and men from across the globe come together annually to commemorate International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to closing the gender gap and celebrating the cultural, economic and social achievements of women everywhere.

Values such as respect, collaboration, and equality guide the movement behind International Women’s Day and work to initiate action to support gender parity and women’s rights.

Prospera Credit Union, headquartered in Abbotsford B.C., is committed to helping women in business and
believes it is uniquely positioned to make a meaningful difference in their personal and professional

Women represent more than 74 per cent of all employees at the credit union, 66 per cent of the board
of directors, and 50 per cent of the senior leadership team. Prospera also has a growing women’s leadership group that inspires women leaders of tomorrow.

Women play a critical role at Prospera and are vital to the continued success of the credit union and their business communities.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential and International Women’s Day helps
make that happen,” says Diane Dou, the chief operating officer at Prospera Credit Union. “Whether they
are business owners or a part of the team, women are a vital part of our business communities and our
goal at Prospera is to support them in their business endeavours and help them to succeed.”

According to Statistics Canada, women-owned businesses account for 17 per cent of the economy, and
this number is on the rise faster than any other subset of the population.

Women in business have historically faced unique challenges achieving work-life balance and Prospera wants to be a part of the conversation focused on removing these barriers and ultimately building greater success for women in business.

Prospera has partnered with the Wonder Women Society, a not-for-profit located in Abbotsford and operates throughout British Columbia, to help empower women in business. The Wonder Women Society offers free workshops for women on health, wellness, education, business, and employment.

Prospera has partnered with the organization to offer a scholarship for women who want to begin, return to, or continue their education. Learn more about the Wonder Women Society here.

Join Prospera Credit Union and others on International Women’s Day to recognize the women we have
in our lives and celebrate the positive impact they have every day–in the workplace, in the home, and
in the community.

Fight the mattress hump!

Oh, the dreaded body impression!

It’s happened to many of us: you invest in a new mattress and after just a few months there’s already a hump in the middle and two deep sinkholes on either side.

You call the salesperson and she tells you the mattress is just conforming to your body. Rotate your mattress more often and this should minimize the issue, she says.

Then, you find out the sags have to be more than “1.5-2 inches” deep before they’ll do anything about it. 

You explain that you have to roll uphill to meet your partner, and they tell you this is normal.

“I assure you that this issue is very common, but it is not normal,” says Geoff McLeary, the owner of Sleepy's Bedroom Furniture and Sleep Shop.

McLeary points out that, in decades past, mattresses didn’t get body impressions, and most good mattresses would hold up for ten to twelve years.

But today you’re lucky if they make it five or six, and most will get body impressions in no time flat.

That’s because larger mattress stores have put pressure on manufacturers to reduce costs so the stores can amp up their profit margins.

The only way to make this work was to do away with flippable mattresses, use inferior components, and source low-priced fillers from China.

Some of the largest mattress makers are using 1.2-pound density foam in their high-end sleep sets. That’s only one step above camping foam, folks!

This kind of thing horrified McLeary, so Sleepy’s teamed up with the Restonic and Spring Air Mattress factories in Vancouver to resurrect the nearly-forgotten two-sided mattress.

These factories build their beds with integrity, using all North American components, and they don’t sell their products in bigger mattress stores.

Restonic has won the Women’s Choice Award for the most recommended mattress brand for four years in a row, and the Consumer’s Digest Best Buy Award eight years in a row.

“For about 15-25 per cent increase in the cost you will receive more than double the lifespan on one of these double-sided, flippable mattress,” McLeary says. “The mattress will perform better, will feel better over a much longer period of time, and will retain its shape.”

“We have had clients come into our store that were dealing with a big mattress store in town and gone through as many as five mattresses in two years, due to premature body impressions and warranty issues,” McLeary added.

“Sleepy’s offered them a solution, a better-built and refreshing alternative to the defective designs being offered from other stores, and they are now sleeping soundly.”

McLeary added that Sleepy’s is striving to be the Okanagan’s one-stop sleep shop, offering a range of green, natural, and organic mattresses and bedding.

“Sleepy’s promise is to offer you only the best materials in our mattresses. No smoke and

mirrors; no toxic memory foam; no gimmicks. Just the straight goods,” he says.

Sleepy's Bedroom Furniture and Sleep Shop is located just behind Costco, on Baron Road in Kelowna. For more information, you can also visit the company’s virtual showroom.


Westgate lives as Traveland

Art Pike and his wife Faye joke that it’s great to see their baby grow, even if it’s technically in someone else’s hands.

The couple’s baby, of course, is the dealership they ran for more than three decades, a place many still think of as Westgate RV Centre.

They bought the business in 1979, and Art remembers raising three kids on its back, all while contributing to the community by sponsoring sports teams and building unbreakable relationships with his customers.

But a few years ago he and Faye almost lost it all.

The great recession hit the business hard, but a well-timed deal ended up vaulting the business to heights beyond anything they’d ever dreamed.

Art explains that when the economy “dropped in the tank” in 2008, problems with his manufacturers stuck him with $6 million of excess inventory.

“It cost us a great deal of money, because we had to take such losses, and we weren’t sure we could recover,” he recalls.

But he persisted, and as the economy began to turn around he was approached by an old colleague, Dale Howes of Traveland RV in Langley, who offered to buy him out.

He accepted, agreeing to turn Westgate into Traveland, and stay on as the dealership’s general manager.

“Opportunity knocked and we decided to shake hands and put it together,” Art says. “That turned out to be a great decision.”

Since that 2013 handshake, Traveland RV Kelowna has grown substantially.

Tyler Steel, the general sales manager at Traveland RV in Kelowna, explains that in a few short years Traveland went from about 12 staff members to almost 50.

In fact, things have been going so well they’re in the middle of a massive expansion. Along with renovating their building, they’ve also bought property next door where they will eventually put up a major new service centre.

Steel says a big part of Traveland’s success has been how it’s combined the best of both Westgate and Traveland.

Westgate was known primarily for selling high-end motorhomes, but as Traveland it now sells everything from small family trailers right up to $800,000 luxury RVs.

Steel explains that being part of a larger business allows them to leverage the brand and bring in way more inventory, but that despite that purchasing power Traveland retains its family-owned charm, thanks in large part to Art.

“Every customer that comes in here knows Art, and if Art’s doing something they’re asking about him,” he says. “Sometimes big businesses can lose their connection with their customers, but Art has always had a good reputation in the industry, and he’s allowed us to stay grounded.”

Art says that comes through in the fact that Traveland has retained many of the staff who worked there when it was Westgate. Although some have moved on, he says, “the nucleus is still here.”

“We like to think we’ve taken the best of both companies, where we’ve got the customer service of Westgate but the advantages of being a bigger company,” Art says.

Right now, Traveland is offering early bird prices on hundreds of its products. Purchase a motorhome, fifth wheel, toy hauler, or other product and get a $1,000 Costco gift card. More information is available online.


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